Into Intimacy: DA Hoskins’ Paris1994/Gallery at World Stage 2012

The utterly sublime Canadian dance artist Danielle Baskerville agreed to sit down with me and talk about DA Hoskins’ Paris1994/Gallery in which she stars, presented as a part of World Stage 2012 from April 25 – 28. Performing alongside heart throb male counterpart Tyler Gledhill, this dynamic and luscious duo will attack the second incarnation of Hoskins’ work, thrust forward by a love story, ruminating on the flux of time, and getting hot and heavy throughout.

As a visual artist working in dance, Hoskins’ treatment of bodies in space is both inherently visual and inherently artistic. His profound attention to the element of design, and the extent to which this attention frames the motivating thematics in his work is extraordinary, and Paris1994/Gallery is no exception; when I ask Danielle to choose one word that the audience might walk away with, she lands on ‘intimacy’. Taken at face value, this word means so much that it struggles to mean anything at all, but in Hoskins’ work one can be certain that the ways in which intimacy is explored–not only kinesthetically or emotionally, but also aurally, spatially, visually, tonally–ultimately contribute to the dense multidimensionality that bathes each experiential foray into Hoskins’ creative genius.

Having worked with Hoskins for almost two decades, Danielle knows of what she speaks, and when I ask her if she indeed speaks in the work, she tells me that she yells a little bit, but that Tyler speaks, in French, the poetry composed for the work by Jill Batson. When I ask about the evolution of the work, she tells me that on the first of an eight day creative process in which DA made the first iteration of Paris1994/Gallery, he stopped her and Tyler half-way through the rehearsal, exclaiming that he knew exactly what would come next; “you two will enter from either side of the stage, you’ll collide, sink the ground, and make out for five minutes while a film segment plays.” As obedient dance artists who had met only a couple hours before, they smiled with wide eyes and nodded slowly. Tyler then turned to Danielle and said, “What was your name again?”

…And thus the intimacy began.

Sky Fairchild-Waller is a Toronto-based performance and video artist whose work has been presented across Canada, the US, Italy, and Switzerland. He currently serves as the Artistic Director Intern for Performing Arts at Harbourfront Centre.