On The Fringe #5
Written by Denyse Terry
Play: Frankenstein Fragments
Company: Blue Ceiling Dance
Details: Choreographed and Performed by: Lucy Rupert
Location: James North Studio 328 James St. N
Show Times: Fri July 19, 6:45pm, 8:15pm; Sat July 20, 3:45pm, 5:15pm, 8:30pm; Sun July 21, 4:30pm, 7:45pm, 9:15pm
The Gallery Mini-Series is a first for the Hamilton Fringe, the concept simple and inviting: it is BIG ideas in SHORT shows in SMALL spaces. Three galleries on James St. North are hosting a wide variety of shows over 2 weekends. On the first weekend, Lucy Rupert , founder and Artistic Director of Blue Ceiling Dance, brings Frankenstein Fragments to the James North Studio.
Over the phone, Rupert tells me she has danced in some unusual places: a hospital, a museum, staircases, window wells; she likes to take advantage of every aspect of the architecture with her choreography. We talked about life, motherhood, her turning forty – and being at the top of her game; we talked, at length, about Frankenstein Fragments.
“This is a nice piece for people who haven’t seen a lot of contemporary dance. You don’t have to worry it’s going to be too abstract. In Frankenstein Fragments I’ve literally stitched together choreography from my early years to more recent works and I reinterpret them. I am literally sewing myself up.”
Rupert often juxtaposes the ‘dark’ with the ‘shimmery’. “I like the idea of Frankenstein – he’s accessible, he’s gangly, he can’t quite cope with life. He’s a clumsy monster. So it’s a little sad, too. We all know Frankenstein in some way, as campy, as a part of pop culture. The story is like a modern day Prometheus. I am definitely making fun of my former self a little bit, the angsty teen thing, but the shimmering aspect to me is always about trying to find the beauty in things. ”
Rupert says her teen years were pretty unhappy. She was bullied and teased a lot. She lost both parents at a young age. “So I’ve had a lot of darkness in the earlier parts of my life and the only thing that would get me through it and not be really morose and sad – as an artist and as a human being – was to try and illuminate the dark parts, illuminate the sadness. By putting myself on stage, in terms of Frankenstein Fragments, as a bit of a clumsy monster, illuminating that through art, I can maybe make a little bit of beauty for the world and maybe provoke a little bit of empathy.”
Born with one leg longer than the other, she was dancing by age four as a way to avert potential postural issues. She loved it. She fell in love with the piano as well, and completed the first and only Joint Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance and Music at the University of Waterloo, training as a classical pianist and singer as well as ballet and modern dance. She completed her Masters in History in 2003, “Just for the joy of learning!” the same year she founded Blue Ceiling Dance.
Described as, “one of Toronto’s dance intellectuals” by the Globe and Mail, Edmonton VUE magazine goes on to say, “Lucy Rupert offers a supple spine and liquid arms crowned by an unwavering focus; she’s a truly gifted performer who draws you in.”
A member of Dance Ontario, the DTRC, and co-chair of the Board of the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists, Ontario Chapter, she is also a Haroldee (irreverent awards for independent theatre and dance in Toronto), and a 2010 Chalmers Fellowship recipient. And she has a toddler.
She has worked with many award-winning theatre companies. Last year she got to revisit her high school days, this time as Artist in Education, through the Ontario Arts Council. The schools wanted her to teach her process, “…which is a really hands-on way to create and dance in their own environment. I like the teenage years because they’re really angsty. I was a really angsty teen, so it seems to be my place for teaching.”
Rupert has performed Frankenstein Fragments twice before, both times bringing the audience to laughter. Eager to perform in Hamilton for the first time, she says, “I’ve heard such great things about Hamilton, and the art scene there. The revitalization. And meeting new people, getting fresh eyes and feedback. I am really looking forward to it.”
So, there’s elements of fragmentation, some grappling with identity. This is enough, yes? Not for Rupert. “Usually there’s some reference to theoretical physics.” She laughs. “I’m really interested in what I can absorb from theoretical physics… the relationship between what happens to the cells in our body and what happens in the universe. How we’re all made of the same basic building blocks and how it can create a solar storm AND a human body. It’s fascinating to me. So there’s always an element of that in my work. But I am also trying to go for the humanity inside those things. I really try to look for the poetry inside.” In the perfect setting, some poetry in motion. See you there.
Tickets for Frankenstein Fragments are $8. Test your knowledge of Hamilton to win two free tickets! Where The Heck was this taken? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your answer and your contact information. Have fun! **Contest closed – We have a winner! Jan Delsey correctly guessed the Bank of Montreal/Gowlings Building and wins two tickets to Frankenstein Fragments – Congratulations Jan!
On The Fringe is written by Denyse Terry
Denyse is a local freelance writer.
A Fringe volunteer for the past 5 years, she has served as a member of the Board of Directors since 2011.
Her short story ‘Boom’ has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize: