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Man Within

Choreography: Karen Jamieson
Performance: Catherine Lubinsky
and Hiromoto Ida
Music composition: Jeff Corness
Costume: Catherine Lubinsky

The Man Within premiered May 1989 at the Canadian Festival of Modern Dance in Winnipeg. The work investigates the weight of the body as a metaphor for the spirit. It has been hailed by critics as a “brave and unforgettable dance, danced with total commitment” (Winnipeg Free Press).

I was interested in the fact that one person carrying another has great emotional resonance. I wondered what would happen if a woman carried a man, what would the resonance and impact be? I discovered that it was a huge impact and resonated in a way that was different from anything I had done before or seen before. I was startled by this work.

This is a dancer’s piece. It is an interpretive vehicle. The first research process and inspiration was with Byron Chief Moon and Hiromoto Ida. I saw Byron carrying something in his physical demeanor. After the initial research period, Byron left the company to pursue a movie career. Catherine Lubinsky and Hiromoto brought the work to completion with me and it premiered at the Vancouver Playhouse in 1991. Through the work with these dancers the piece grew to become a work of great power and toured extensively. Re-created in 2004 for the students of School for Toronto Dance Theatre, I was unprepared for the power of the work, and again astonished by how deeply felt it was for these student dancers and how well it served as a vehicle for the development of dancers as interpretive artists.

February 1 & 2, 1990 production at the Playhouse theatre in Vancouver as part of the Dance Centre’s Discover Dance Series included: Man Within. The performance publicity photo of the work caused a uproar amongst a group called Media Watch – National Watch on Images of Women in the Media Inc. – who viewed the photo as a menacing power of men over women.

Since that time the roles have been realized by Kathleen McDonough and Yannick Matthon, Monica Strehlke and Yannick Matthon, Byron Chief Moon and Brian Solomon and most recently Caroline Farquhar and Brian Solomon. Each of these casts has created vastly different interpretations evoking completely different resonance and emotional impact. Yet the piece has not changed in its choreographic vocabulary or structure.