|Josh Beamish is bringing a Move: the company performance to Kelowna on Jan. 6.|
David Cooper photo
From Bangkok to Banff, China to Chilliwack and Portugal to the Prairies, this contemporary dance company has been making waves around the globe. Now, they're on the move to Kelowna, to perform on Jan. 6 at the Mary Irwin Theatre.
Now, at the ripe old age of 25, Beamish himself is on the move.
"I'm based out of New York now," he said in a recent phone
interview from Vancouver, where he was back visiting and teaching some classes.
Although Kelowna is his 'official' residence, he's mostly been in New York since February.
"I was very lucky and received a Jerome Robins Foundation Award to choreograph a pas de deux on two principal dancers from the New York City Ballet," he said.
One of the dancers was principal dancer Wendy Whelan.
After working together, Whelan was so impressed, she asked him to work on another project with her. That's when he decided to base himself out of New York.
"Wendy is also producing a solo tour for herself and she commissioned me to choreograph the show with her, and to dance with her in a duet as well," said Beamish.
Admittedly, Beamish hadn't done a lot of dancing over the past few years with Move: the company.
"With Move, it was getting to the point where I was only able to do solos or very small roles onstage, because I had so many other responsibilities, to make sure everything else was going," he said.
This new opportunity to choreograph and dance alongside the New York City Ballet principal dancer has him back in the studio dancing.
And he couldn't be happier.
"It's great to have the opportunity to dance and do class every day again, and not be so worried about fundraising," he said.
"I realized that, at the age of 25, if I wanted to dance more, this was the time to do it."
As such, Move: the company has moved from being a full-time dance company to being a more project-based company.
"That's more in line with what the rest of the contemporary companies are doing," said Beamish.
He's also established a secondary board for Move: the company, located in New York.
For Beamish, dancing with someone as elite as Whelan might have been intimidating, but he's confident because they're doing contemporary work, not ballet.
"I feel pretty comfortable in my body and she's actually the one out of her comfort zone, learning to dance like me, so I feel good about myself as a dancer in the piece and can be a supportive figure to help her find this new movement for herself."
The first piece he choreographed for Whelan and her partner gets its world premiere at the Guggenheim Museum in New York in April 2013.
The show that's coming to Kelowna is a spinoff from a similar show he's putting together for Vancouver. The Vancouver show features students who have worked with Beamish or who have been part of Move: the company in the past.
"The idea was so they could all come together and show their works," he said.
Because he'd been coming to Kelowna to create dance pieces here as well, he decided to do a second similar show.
"But because there aren't as many students here, we invited some other studios to contribute something to it as well," he said.
"It's kind of the complete opposite of the last time we were in town (November, 2011), when we brought 24 dancers. This is a lot more about showing the development of my work from students to professionals," he said.
Participating schools include the Canadian School of Ballet, Lake Country School of Dance, Reflections, Dance City Academy and Armstrong Dance Academy.
Also on the program for the night will be a new solo Beamish created for local dancer Angel Jutzi (a former Ballet Kelowna dancer) as well as a solo by Heather Dotto and a 10-minute solo by Beamish himself.
On the morning of the Kelowna show, there will be an all-day workshop, taught by Beamish along with Jutzi and Dotto. "We'll divide it into three different levels and everyone will get a chance to work with all three of us," he said.
The workshop will be held at the Robb Card Dance Studio and cost is $75 for the full day or $25 for drop in single classes.
A link to the registration form can be found online at movethecompany.com under the performance tab.
After the show, Beamish will be back on the move again. His tour with Whelan will see him touring Canada, the U.S. and Europe in 2013 and 2014.
What: Move: the company's Gala performance
Where: Mary Irwin Theatre
When: Sunday, Jan. 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $25 at the Rotary Centre for the Arts box office