Q&A: Steven Weisz, artistic director of MM2 Modern Dance Company on finally coming to Canada. Interview published in the National Post of Canada.
After six months of applying for grants, the Philadelphia-based modern dance company MM2 will finally get the chance to perform in Toronto. The company’s dancers will tour the city on June 20-25 to perform their new work, Conversations: A Dialogue in Movement, which will culminate in an outdoor performance at the Toronto Botanical Gardens. The Post’s Rachel Phan talked to the company’s artistic director, Steven Weisz, about the upcoming tour and the reasons why he loves Toronto.
Q You’re a Philadelphia-based dance company and you’re about to tour Toronto. How did that happen?
A I had actually taken another dance company back in 2006 to Toronto and we were so well-received. It was just an incredible experience, so I had it in the back of my mind to return with my current dance company, MM2. We’re really excited because Toronto just offers so much culturally. I just find the city–between its diversity and its acceptance of the arts and culture–just a great place to perform.
Q One of the highlights of the tour will be the “Dance in the Garden” at Toronto Botanical Gardens. Can you talk a bit about that performance?
A We’re going to be doing about a 60 minute performance. We’re a little bit different from most companies [because] a lot of dance companies have a single choreographer, but we’re more of an incubator for young artists that are getting started. Most of our dancers have recently graduated from a four-year college with a degree in dance, and for the first time, many of them are exploring the choreographic process. Each member of the company, besides dancing, has also choreographed a piece that will be presented. So, there is a total of 10 pieces and they’re all under the guise of our theme this year – Conversations: a Dialogue Through Movement.
Q And how is this theme, “a dialogue through movement,” manifested in the choreography?
A Conversations, as we want to explore it, took on different meanings for each of the dancers. We have one dancer presenting something in terms of a conversation that she always wanted to have with her absent father that didn’t happen. We have another case where someone is examining little white lies. It varies, but each conversation has a personal meaning to each of the dancers.
Q And what was the appeal of the “Conversations” theme?
A I try to pick a theme each year that challenges what they need to do as a group choreographically, to try to push their boundaries a little bit. But I wanted to keep it in the realm of something that could be personalized by them because I think it creates a more meaningful piece.
Q You love Toronto – what do you hope will come out of your tour here?
A While we are performing there, we’re going to try to take in as much as we can. We’re hoping to attend other dance performances and…to take a class with one of the companies up there as well. I just think any time there can be an exchange of the arts, it just benefits everyone. We hope that, if people come out to see us, that they’ll take part in that process and enjoy the performance.
MM2 will perform Conversations and an improvisational dance at the Toronto Botanical Gardens on Saturday, June 23rd. Visit the company’s website at http://www.mm-2.org/