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A danced conversation.

Life Cycle of a Malignant Debate

"We are curious about the other, suspicious about the other, we converse with the other, attempt to convert the other. Differences get in the way of collaboration. We grow apart, carve out our territories. We mirror behaviour from opposite sides of the battle. Frustration and conviction heighten and we can no longer even look at each other."

This choreography is the result of an ORez residency project generously offered by the Ottawa Dance Directive. The first creation phase in the summer of 2019 resulted in an 8-minute duet which was presented as a work-in-progress the following December​. The second creation phase took place in the fall of 2021 and resulted in a 20-minute group piece with a cast of 5 dancers. The extension was completed thanks to funding by the City of Ottawa and the contributions of Allison EB Dance patrons. The piece, ever-living, is seeking a creation-production residency and performance opportunity.


Project Instigator & Choreographer: Allison Elizabeth Burns

Original Collaborating Performers (2019): Sarah Hopkin and Geoffrey Dollar 

Collaborating Performers (2021): Myrielle Bernier-Acuna, Geoffrey Dollar, Shania Leblanc, Elissa Minich, and Tiera Joly Pavelich

Composer and Musician: Tristan Henry

Rehearsal Director (2021): Elizabeth Emond-Stevenson

Life Cycle of a Malignant Debate: About Me

Motifs become conversations and conversations become motifs.

Life Cycle of a Malignant Debate: Quote

Video Teaser

Life Cycle of a Malignant Debate

Life Cycle of a Malignant Debate: Video Clips

Reconstructed Score: Life Cycle of a Malignant Debate

Our bodies meet for a brief, excited whirlwind.

Postures filled with pride and tension. Elongated limbs slash through the air evoking needle pricks and sword blows. Elegant lines, and confident gestures.

Gravitating towards each other, we meander, watch, and search each other. Misunderstand. Reaching for one another. Push, pull, and hold. Painting a relationship of conflict.

We multitask our complex work and find incompatibility and contradiction between us. These chores destabilize.

Drop to the ground, rocking. Revving engines, animal instincts. Twitching feet and cutting extended limbs on right angles. We both lose.

Recover. Meandering suspiciously as we circle, carving territory and standing ground. Both of us shadow and echo unfinished movements borrowed from one another. Repeat.

Each, in devotion to their idea(s), reverse and reflect the other and further polarize. Repeat. There is willingness, but incompetence rules and we lack recognition and empathy.

Past Performances

A first draft of Life Cycle of a Malignant Debate was presented following the presentation of where the wings grow by TAKE UP SPACE. December 6 & 7, 2019 at 7:30 pm at Academic Hall of uOttawa (135 Séraphin-Marion Private, Ottawa).

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Life Cycle of a Malignant Debate: Welcome
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