If you walked by the Sacred Heart Parish Hall last week and thought you heard the hootin’ and hollerin’ of a circus, you were right — the circus came through town.
Members of Ontario’s Motus O Dance Theatre and Kat Single-Dain from Vancouver’s artist collective, Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret, travelled to Golden last week to share their circus and dance expertise with select groups from the community.
On Friday night, everyone’s hard work paid off as elementary students, high school students, and the Amuse Troupe kicked off Motus O’s LIVE Kicks performance, Circus Terrifico.
Single-Dain, who was in charge of the Amuse Troupe’s workshops, said she was impressed with the group’s capabilities and willingness to learn.
“Everyone has so much potential to develop,” she said. “I know they’ll benefit from more workshops and feedback from outside eyes.”
Single-Dain has a degree in dance from Berkeley and attended Vancouver’s Fantastic Space Enterprises in “clownology”.
She believes that now, more than ever, the clown culture is coming back.
“Clowning is about connecting in a real and honest way. I think over time circuses have become more about spectacle and entertainment.”
Single-Dain believes that people in this day and age yearn for the honest connection a clown or circus has the potential to deliver.
“A clown looks audience members in the eyes. They respond to everything that’s happening in the room. The audience and performers are mutual discoveries, and that’s so beautiful.”
Four and a half years ago, Single-Dain and a core group of artists started The Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret — an artist collective of professional and emerging artists based in East Vancouver.
“We’re built on the idea of collaboration and community building,” said Single Dain. “We’re doing it for the love of it. Even if we are moving in a more professional way, out focus is still skill-building and inclusivity.”
Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret’s latest production, Hard Times Hit Parade, which Single-Dain wrote, directed and choreographed, included 35 cast and crew and 100 volunteers working on the project. The show sold out its last seven nights in Vancouver.
And here’s the good news: The production is coming to Golden next winter.
Hard Times Hit Parade is set at the world’s longest dance marathon, an event that lasted 157 days in the early 30s. Dancing for their livelihoods, enthusiastic couples are worn down by the tribulations of the marathon, dropping off as time progresses to leave the resilient, star couples.
The story, explained Single-Dain, is shown through various mediums: dance, clowning, acrobatics, life-sized puppets, film and more.
Single-Dain is hoping to offer swing dance workshops before the show so that the whole town can get involved in the dance marathon. So although we’ll have to wait until early next year to see Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret’s latest production, it’s never too early to dust off the dancing shoes and practise.