Performance Scholar
Dancer & Improvisor
Movement Facilitator
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RESEARCH

Formerly a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Theatre and Performance Studies at York University (2016-19), I am Sessional Faculty at the University of the Fraser Valley and a guest instructor at Simon Fraser University. My current research brings academic and artistic methodologies together to examine flash mobs, social choreography, and the politics of moving together.

 

Trudeau Scholar alumni, Mellon Dance Studies Summer Seminar alumni, Queen's Fellow, and SSHRC recipient, I hold a PhD from Simon Fraser University with a specialization in dance and performance studies. My dissertation, the foundation for my current book project, explores the social and spatial politics of site-based dances set in public spaces throughout Vancouver, BC.

 

I present my research both nationally and internationally, and was recently recognized with Canadian Association for Theatre Research's Robert Lawrence Prize for emerging scholars (2019). I have just co-edited the first peer-reviewed journal issue on dance studies in Canada (Performance Matters 2019), and I recently co-edited an issue of Canadian Theatre Review on "Choreographies of Assembly" (2018). My research has been published in Performance Research, Dance Research Journal, Canadian Theatre Review, The Dance Current, and Renegade Bodies (DCD, 2012). I was featured as part of the 2016-17 Performance Studies (Canada) Speaker Series, SFU Public Square Speaker Series, and I have an article forthcoming in Susan Manning, Janice Ross, and Rebecca Schneider's co-edited anthology, Futures of Dance Studies (Wisconsin 2020).

CREATION

A dance-maker and dance facilitator, I explore the relationships of moving bodies to their sites, to gravity, ground, and one another. Recently, I co-facilitated a praxis-based session with Noémie Lafrance leading up to her site-based Bentway performance, Dérives (Toronto, 2019). I have collaborated with Justine A. Chambers on a series of choreography walks; together, we published a choreographic score in a recent issue of Canadian Theatre Review (2018), elements of which we explored kinaesthetically with Arts Assembly and Dance Troupe Practice (2016-17).

 

During my postdoctoral fellowship, I co-developed performance scores with undergraduate students at York University, SFU, the University of the Fraser Valley -- where I also served as a choreographic consultant for the student Devised Theatre showcase. I have presented my choreography and structured improvisations at various venues throughout Canada, including: Unit Pitt Gallery, the CEREV space at Concordia in Montreal, Mascall Dance's Bloom choreographic series, The Firehall Arts Centre's BC Buds, Battery Opera's Bob's Lounge, among others.

During my residency at Unit Pitt Gallery’s An Exact Vertigo series (2016), I brought my academic and artistic research together to explore the contours of my body as site-specific amalgam: a receptacle of spaces. I offered a public showing of my work-in-progress, Bone Song.

I was a founding member of Behind Open Doors Arts Collective, a group of Vancouver-based performers, dancers, and thinkers who explored public space and the urban environments through danced and improvised movement (2004-2013). Together, we facilitated movement workshops for the public, and presented site-based work with Althea Thauberger (Artspeak 2008), Barbara Adler, and independently.

Moving Otherwise Workshop
Carrall Street Project
Behind Open Doors hop
Moving Differently
Bone Song
Moving Differently
 
 

TEACHING

I teach across practice and theory. In the classroom, I can teach: critical dance studies, performance studies, theatre and dance history and studies, introduction to dramatic literature and literary studies, text and performance, and introduction to university writing and research courses. In the studio, I can teach: contemporary dance technique, improvisation, composition, partnering, movement for actors, and movement for everyday life courses. There is a praxis component to all of my teaching.

 

In my approach to the social function of performance, I introduce undergraduates to performance analysis, close-reading, contextual analysis, and composition skills. I move between theory and embodied practice to help tune students to how art shapes social spaces. With a praxis-based approach, I facilitate movement workshops in public spaces, co-curate exhibits at the intersection arts and academic methodologies, and teach dance technique, improvisation, and creative movement to movers of all ages.

 

I have taught across disciplines to students at Simon Fraser University, York University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of the Fraser Valley. In addition to working with undergraduates, I have mentored young writers apprenticing with Canada's dance magazine of note, The Dance Current (2015-16). I have also guest taught, informally mentored, and formally overseen graduate students in the development of an international academic conference. In recent years, I been invited to present and teach in a range of venues, ranging from studios, to galleries, to theatres, to conferences, to festivals.

 

PERFORMANCE

I have performed professionally for over a decade. Both federal and provincial arts councils have supported my dance career. I have danced on theatre stages and in studios, as well as in public spaces and immersive, intimate performance settings.

I launched my professional dance career as a company member with EDAM Dance (2006-13). I have danced with numerous dance makers, including Justine A. Chambers, David McIntosh and Su-Feh Lee (Battery Opera), Martin Chaput and Martial Chazallon (Project In Situ), Gail Lotenberg (LINK Dance), Jennifer Clarke, Melanie Kuxdorf, Aretha Aoki, and Deanna Peters. Highlights include EDAM's City of Crows (VIDF 2013), Life Sentences (VIDF 2011), and The Vargas Project (VIDF 2008); Battery Opera's M/Hotel (2011, 2015); and Projet In Situ's Do You See What I Mean? (PuSh Festival 2013).

My early training as a competitive gymnast and dancer -- and as a theatre and musical theatre performer -- was honed at Etobicoke School of the Arts, and then in the Dance program at Simon Fraser University, in daily company classes with Peter Bingham, in regular yoga and pilates classes, and in "hops" hosted by Behind Open Doors. Among numerous others, I have also trained with Helen Walkley, taisha paggett, Angélique Willkie, Andrew Harwood, Marc Boivin, Su-Feh Lee, Susan Elliott, and at various training intensives including ImPulsTanz (Vienna).

Slingshot
The Gentle Awkward and the Observer
M/Hotel
Life Sentences
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Everyday Choreographies
Site-Based Dance workshop
Site-based Dance workshop
Everyday Choreographies curated walk

© 2016 Alana Gerecke

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Slingshot

Alana Gerecke and James Gnam in performance of EDAM's Slingshot (2009).