Get to know one of the HATCH residents, Amelia Ehrhardt

HATCH is a situation where new performance and new audiences encounter one another in the spirit of inquiry. This week, dance artist and choreographer Amelia Ehrhardt starts her work at the Studio Theatre. HATCH 11 Curator Evan Webber talked to her about preparation.

You’ve been performing a lot as well as teaching – peripatetic, right? I often wonder whether a wide range of activities can clarify one’s central concerns instead of just diffusing one’s attention. How does all your recent work relate to your HATCH project?

What is that saying about there being a lot of rain and it all coming at the same time? And this saying being basically an allegory for opportunity coming in giant chunks. This is me right now. I worked with the dancers on this project for the first time this past week. It’s a crazy thing to watch a work that I had personally developed on myself over six months be picked up so quickly by three other bodies – I can sort of not believe that it takes so long to make and then so little time to learn!

I taught a class at Dancemakers a couple weeks ago working on long-form dances. Every day we did a drone with our bodies, trying to dance in a way that looks to an audience the way a drone sounds – so, free of accents, all changes being cumulative, etc. It was pointed out to me that there are sort of two ways of approaching a drone with the body, that one would be an interior experience (ie. an energetic drone; maintaining a constant energy state for a long period in time) and the other would be an aesthetic experience (ie. does the audience see something that looks drone-like in quality?). I’ve been doing so much work in this piece for HATCH on the visual experience for someone watching dance that to have it pointed out to me that I was also working on approaching work from an aesthetic experience first in a totally separate context was funny to me – I guess I’m really interested in my interests.

Today we start in the theatre for HATCH – coming face to face with all the logistical questions I’ve been thinking about for so long, artistic curiosities, dreams of light grey marley and pulling a bunch of different schedules together. Right now I’m watching two techs on ladders putting in a gobo; it’s sort of comical how little it takes for me to feel like “it’s all coming together!”

Amelia Ehrhardt and her collaborators are in residency at Harbourfront Centre’s Studio Theatre April 20 to 26. Join them at the presentation of Traditional Dance or This Dance is in Commemoration of the 102nd Anniversary of the Rite of Spring, April 25 at 8pm. Tickets are available here.