6 days until #DanceWeekend21! Meet Alysa Pires

Apr. 23, 2021

6 days until #DanceWeekend21! Meet Alysa Pires: choreographer who has created works for The National Ballet of Canada, Ballet Kelowna, Ballet Edmonton, Canada’s Ballet Jorgen, and more. She began working with The National Ballet of Canada as part of their Choreographic Workshop (2016-2018) and her first commission for the company premiered at the 13th International Competition for the Erik Bruhn Prize in 2019. Premiering at DanceWeekend’21 is the Dance Ontario film, Come Dance With Us, choreographed by Alysa. “I was thrilled to have the opportunity to choreograph a collaborative dance film where members were able to submit videos of themselves dancing from their homes across the province.”

Catch the film on Sat May 1! Get your ticket to DanceWeekend'21: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/danceweekend21-tickets-149965399547?aff= #ComeDanceWithUs

Follow @alysapiresdanceprojects for more information upcoming projects including the world premiere of in a state of vanishing as part of The National Ballet of Canada’s Spotlight Series debuting on Apr 27.

Can you tell us little bit about yourself/your company/collective/school?
Choreographer Alysa Pires has created works for The National Ballet of Canada, Ballet Kelowna, Ballet Edmonton, Canada’s Ballet Jörgen, and more. Pires began working with The National Ballet of Canada as part of their Choreographic Workshop (2016-2018). Her first commission for the company premiered at the 13th International Competition for the Erik Bruhn Prize in 2019, and she was subsequently appointed Choreographic Associate. Her first commission for Ballet Kelowna, MAMBO, was presented as part of the 2018 Fall for Dance North Festival in Toronto and the China International Performing Arts Expo in Beijing. Alysa has twice participated in New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute (Spring and Fall 2019) and was one of the 2017 winners of Northwest Dance Project’s International Choreographic Competition. Her company, Alysa Pires Dance Projects made its critically acclaimed full-length debut with Exterminating Angel at the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival. Pires is an Honours BFA graduate from the Ryerson School of Performance. Upcoming projects include the world premiere of Macbeth for Ballet Kelowna. For more information, visit www.alysapires.com or follow Alysa on social media @alysapiresdanceprojects.

What will you be sharing at DanceWeekend’21?
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to choreograph a collaborative dance film where members were able to submit videos of themselves dancing from their homes across the province.
What interests about film as a medium and how does if differ from a live performance?
Film offers the choreographer a bit more control in one sense because we can choose exactly how the audience sees the work; we can do multiple takes from different angles and decide which version to present to the viewer. The flip side of that is that we lose the immediacy and the magic of live performance. The energy exchange between performer and audience and the inherent sense of risk that comes with a work happening live are impossible to replicate over film. Dance is an ephemeral art form. As a creator it can be tough to grapple with the fact that all of your work disappears the moment the performance ends. Film offers us a permanence that doesn’t exist with live performance.

How has the pandemic shifted your work as a professional dance artist?
I treated the beginning of the pandemic as a sort of forced sabbatical. I was very fortunate to have been working a lot in the couple of years leading up to the pandemic so by the time everything shut down I was honestly really burnt out. This time away has given me the opportunity to reevaluate and reprioritize both in terms of my career and my life outside the studio.
Please share what you are most looking forward to at Dance Ontario’s first virtual DanceWeekend?
Other than seeing all of the video submissions for the collaborative film that I choreographed, I am most looking forward to watching the work of my friends and colleagues in the community who I have so missed over the last year.

Do you have any up-coming performances/workshops/events you would like to share?
Ballet Kelowna’s Livestream No.1 performance features my work In Between. The performance airs at 10:30pm EST on April 17th and is available on-demand until April 24th. Tickets are by donation: www.balletkelowna.ca
The National Ballet of Canada’s Spotlight Series includes a world premiere of my new work in a state of vanishing alongside new works by Kevin A. Ormsby and Jera Wolfe. “New Voices” premieres on April 27th and will be available for 30 days. national.ballet.ca

In 1 or 2 sentences, what does dance mean to you?
Movement is my first language.