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emBODYment: Aerial & Dance
March 5 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
March 5 @ 7:30pm
Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for students/seniors (plus applicable fees) and there are 10 Pay-What-You-Can tickets available. Get your tickets here!
Festival passes available now. Get 3 shows, 5 shows or an All Access Pass!
emBODYment is back with an array of awe-inspiring movement pieces from floor to ceiling – all in one evening of impactful moments in motion.
Aerial Violin & Contemporary Dance
Melanie Smith-Doderai is an active member of the Alberta Registered Music Teachers Association and holds an Advanced Specialist Certification from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Canada. Melanie’s passion for aerial arts began in 2006. Since then, she has completed a wide array of teacher certification programs and instructs at various dance studios in Edmonton. In 2018, Melanie combined her passion for music and aerial arts into a unique and innovative art form that is both inspiring and visually compelling. Audiences can expect to be compelled by Melanie’s playing while suspended in the air using aerial fabric, an aerial hoop, a lollipop lyra or a two-point hip harness. Melanie is proud to have the title of being Canada’s first aerial silk violinist and was recently featured on Canada’s Got Talent. You can find out more about her at www.silkandstrings.ca
Aerial & Dance
We are always moving. Always leaving and arriving. Walking, dancing, traveling. We move from one room to the next one, from a philosophy or an idea that no longer defines us to a new one that better describes who we have become. From a place that is no longer home, to a land that promises a better future. From childhood to adulthood to old age, we are always on the move, changing, evolving, growing, until our final curtain call.
A combination of aerial circus arts, contemporary dance, and theatre, “Fragmented Journeys” presents a series of glimpses into the everyday journey of life. The small interval of time the artists share with us is but a fragment of their personal journey.
Deviani Andrea is a dance artist based in Amiskwaciwâskahikan / Edmonton. Deviani has worked as Movement Instructor for the Citadel Theatre, and as a guest teacher with Azimuth Theatre. She has performed for SkirtsAfire, Mile Zero Dance, Fringe Festival, Found Festival and Orchesis Dance Society and has choreographed for the Alberta Musical Theater Company. Her independent work has been kindly supported by the Edmonton Arts Council and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. She likes biking in the summer and skiing in the winter, brewing kombucha, and consuming content in different languages.
Philip Hackborn is an emerging performance artist and poet situated in Amiskwaciwâskahikan. They exist and make art at the intersections of race, gender identity, and madness. Over the years, they have assisted theatre productions in abandoned warehouses, improvised live with the players of escape rooms as voice-over characters, and performed in more Shakespeare than they thought they would have by this point in their life. Selected Credits include- Hamlet in Isolation (Thou Art Here), Krampus: a Christmas Escape Adventure (Canscare), Henry V (The Malachites), and Devour Content Here (Cowgirl Opera).
Caitlin Mader is a versatile aerialist whose performances pack a serious punch. Her use of the rope is energetic and dynamic, and she uses her foundations in contortion and dance to create beautiful images in between moments of weightlessness. She’s been doing aerial arts around Edmonton for over 10 years; in chilly warehouses, under bridges, dark sticky-floored bars, and flowery outdoor summertime weddings. She can make a borscht almost as good as your grandma and do more chin-ups than your boyfriend.
Sandra Olarte is a Mexican-Canadian aerial artist who has performed in Canada and abroad. In Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton) she has performed in many theatre productions, arts festivals, and public and private events for over 10 years. As a performer, she strives to create a deep and meaningful connection with her audience, highlight the relevance of diversity, inclusion, and representation in the arts, educate, and create social change. She is addicted to coffee and besotted with her two cats, Huitzilopochtli & Quetzalcóatl (Huitzi and Quetza if you struggle with Náhuatl).
Rayel Komant, Anna Lubchenko, Kendra Lywood, Charece Pearman, Alana Sawyer, Kennedy Tkach, is a corde lisse collective that comes together through a shared love of aerial arts, starting their journeys in many places. From Kyiv, Ukraine, learning classical violin then experiencing the upheaval of Chernobyl and becoming a refugee. From Edmonton, Winnipeg, or Tofield with an introduction to art through piano lessons or dance class. They have birthed babies and watched them grow, and have also struggled with reproductive health and chronic pain. They have lost friends and family through unexpected death, experienced severe depression, and also felt the joy of seeing penguins swim in Antarctica. Marriage, divorce, births and deaths. Their pathways have shared experiences as well as differing ones, helping them weave a rich tapestry together.
With special thanks to Scott Rutledge, for his technical & creative support and providing the space that sparked the magic to happen.
Artists Sponsored by
Traditional Indian Dance
Artists Supported by Bernadette Gasslein
Hemali Boorada, Choreographer/Curator/
Hemali Boorada is an alumnus of the Shivamanohari School of Performing Art, based in Canada. She has been the lead dancer in the SSDM Ensemble for over 8 years. Hemali has been training under her mother Smt.Gomathi Boorada for over 18 years. She has been further groomed in the nuances of Kuchipudi by Natya Ratna Sri Pasumarthy Venkateswara Sarma, Mrs. Padmavani Mosalikanti, Surendranadh Muramalla, Bijina Balakrishnan; as well seeking academic guidance from Dr. Yashoda Thakore. Hemali has had the opportunity to train under Mrs. Swathi Gudepuneedi-Atluri and Mr. Hari Rama Murthy during a month-long intensive in New York. She regularly travels both nationally and internationally presenting the Kuchipudi repertoire in places such as Canada, the United States, Europe, India and Indonesia. Hemali is now stepping into her choreographic journey; her first project ‘Bhujangam’ with the renowned Bala Boys (of the Grammy Nominated Berklee Indian Ensemble) was a success, amassing over 25,000 views. Hemali is currently pursuing her Masters in Fine Arts – Kuchipudi alongside her post-graduate degree in Law. With over 7 years of experience under her belt, she is teaching under the branch of Shivamonhari School of Performing Arts, a world class Kuchipudi Dance Institute.
Marla Palakkamanil, Choreographer/
Marla Palakkamanil Gill is an Edmonton born and raised professional dancer with extensive training in the classical Indian dance form of Kathak. She began her training in Kathak and Bharatanatyam with Usha Gupta and has continued her Kathak training with Guru Sudeshna Maulik. Marla has reached a point in her artistic practice and career development that has placed her at the forefront of a tradition that she has worked most diligently to achieve.Throughout her dance career, Marla’s strong foundation in dance has enabled her to train with renowned artists including Pandit Birju Maharaj, Sandhya Desai, Maulik Shah, Nirupama and Rajendra, Anuj Mishra, and Uma Dogra. Marla has performed in various festivals in Canada and the United States over the years. Marla has embarked on a number of tours across both Canada and India, under the Usha Gupta Dance Entourage and the Brian Webb Dance Company. Apart from her contributions to dance, Marla is a clinical pharmacist with advanced prescribing authorization and injection certification. Marla is currently completing her PhD in Epidemiology at the University of Alberta.
Shakthi Ganesh, Choreographer/Performer
Shakthi Ganesh is a student at the University of Calgary and has been learning Bharatanatyam since the tender age of three at the Shakthi Shethralaya Dance school under Dr. Karthika Devi Ganesh. She has trained in the Pandanallur style of Bharatanatyam for the past 17 years. Her Bharatanatyam skills have impressed many, and have won multiple awards, such as the Youth of distinction award 2019 and a place in the Guiness Book of World records for dancing over 3 hours with dancers across the globe. Shakthi has been teaching young children Bharatanatyam across Calgary, Alberta, in hopes of sharing the love she has for the art form. She is now the Dance director of Shakthi Shethralaya Dance school. Shakthi hopes to earn a Ph.D. in Bharatanatyam while pursuing a career in the mental health field.
This trio is composed of 2nd generation Traditional Indian artists, hailing from 3 different classical art forms: Kuchipudi (Hemali), Kathak (Marla) and Bharathnatyam (Shakthi). Working on a choreography, known in India as a “Jugalbandi” meaning ‘entwined’, the artists will highlight each art form under one song. The work will exhibit the beautiful intricacies and movements of each form concluding with a merging of the three styles together. This piece is a confluence of the individuality and similarity of our dance forms, hence the name ‘Trikōn’: meaning 3 points.
Growing up in Canada, we all struggled to find a balance in our identities. Dance has been a big grounding feature for all of us. We share very similar stories; growing up we started to notice how in India there are vast differences in tradition and customs by state. This applies to our art as well. As we grew, we were able to see the beauty in the similarities and cohesion of Indian art. With this piece we want to show the unity in art throughout India. We will each be presenting our unique art form, ending with a confluence of all 3 styles (Kuchipudi, Kathak and Bharathnatyam). This performance will be a pure and uncolonized version of Indian dance and tradition. Though raised in Canada, we are proud to continue presenting our art in its true and authentic form.
Artists Supported by Bernadette Gasslein
Audrey Boccara is a pluri-disciplinary artist who constantly expands her artistry by exploring exciting forms of movement and incorporating new skills into her practice. Her creativity and passion led her to dive into the circus world. She combines the grace and fluidity of ballet with the incredible strength and uniqueness of aerial dance.
Audrey’s artistic vision is driven by her desire to create a performance that is both visually stunning and emotionally impactful. For this performance, she takes on the role of Carmen, a flirtatious and free-spirited woman who embraces her sensuality and uses it as a source of power and attraction. Audrey will take the audience on a journey of liberation, showcasing the beauty and strength of a woman who is unapologetically herself.
Originally from France, Audrey Boccara started her professional training in 2007 at the Paris Opera Ballet School. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Classical Dance from Paris’ National Superior Conservatory for Music & Dance.
In 2014, Audrey arrived in Canada, dancing with Ballet Eddy Toussaint de Montréal, Atlantic Ballet, and Ballet Edmonton—dancing and participating in the creation of the world premieres of numerous pieces, including works by Wen Wei Wang, Shay Kuebler, Alyssa Pires, Rachel Meyer, and Gioconda Barbuto.
In 2020, she joined Ukrainian Shumka Dancers, where she has had the amazing opportunity to be a soloist in the Nutcracker, perform in Mosquito’s Wedding, as well as the world premieres of Echoes of Hopak and My Yeh.
In 2021, Audrey received the support of the Edmonton Arts Council to combine the disciplines of ballet and aerial dance, creating three cross-disciplinary acts: “White Swan”, “Soul Awakening” and “Carmen”.
While dancing remains Audrey’s first passion, she loves to create new works: through Ballet Edmonton, she was invited to participate in the Banff Center for the Arts’ emerging choreographer program, and was thrilled to present ‘’Holiday in Red’’ in December 2019. Audrey also presented a new work—“A Zakarpattian Cypher”—as a choreographer and film director for Shumka’s 2022 Emerging Artist project in July 2022, her first film and first Ukrainian dance piece she had ever choreographed.