What is the place for dance? What does it mean to transform an art gallery in a dance space?
An Exact Vertigo is a month-long project curated by Brynn McNab and Alexa Mardon. For four weeks, Unit/Pitt Projects (formerly Helen Pitt gallery) will become a home for Vancouver’s contemporary dance.
The space of the art gallery will act as a library, a dancing museum and a space for lectures and movement workshops. Every week there will be a talk on Wednesday, 7 p.m., a reading hour (Friday, noon to 1 p.m.) and a movement workshop on Sunday, at 2 p.m.
Additionally, Mardon and McNab have offered the 650 square-feet of the gallery to four artists-in-residence (Emmalena Frediksoon, Deanna Peters, Lexi Vajda, Natalie Gan and Francesca Frewer). During their weekly residence they are invited to re-invent their practice, investigating how it changes in this unusual space.
Mardon and McNab’s project has two main purposes. First, they transform the relationship between the audience and the dancer. During An Exact Vertigo, dance becomes accessible to everyone: not only all the events are free and open to non-dancers, but the public can see most of the activities in passing from the gallery’s Pender Street window.
On Saturday, March 7 from 12:30 to 4 p.m., Emmalena Fredriksson, the first artist in residence, presented an open sharing of her work. While dancers performed their solos – with an hour-long shift! – people on the street stopped. They looked inside, they interacted with dancers. Some even came in and took a seat to watch, on a chair or on the floor.
Secondly, Mardon and McNab affirm that dance is not just movement. Dance is movement thinking, or thinking in movement. Dance is books, reading and talks. Dance is thought. Creating a library of open-source critical writing, a lecture and workshop series open to the public, Mardon and McNab seem to claim: “Dance – as the other art – has a value and critical studies support it. Dance is not only funny movement: dance is a serious activity.”
The first week is over, but three more are still to go.
For more information and details about the following weeks and all the activities, visit the Unit/Pitt gallery at 236 East Pender Street, or just walk down and go inside – a magic space for dance, art and critical thinking is waiting for you!