From March 3-11, LINES Ballet heads on tour to Canada, visiting Vancouver and Victoria and participating in the Vancouver International International Dance Festival. Dance Victoria’s publication Footnotes, talked to LINES Ballet company dancer and Canadian, Robb Beresford, on his experience with the company and the upcoming tour. Read more below! And buy tickets to join us on tour.
Before joining Lines in 2013, you danced with BV. How did this experience provide you with a foundation, eventually leading you to audition for Alonzo King Lines Ballet?
At BV I had the chance to dance many of the roles from classical ballet that I’d measured myself against throughout my training, while at the same time identifying a passion for interpreting contemporary work and the creative process. I was beginning to understand what kind of artist I wanted to be and what kind of work I wanted to be doing. By the time the opportunity to dance with LINES came along, I’d been given a lot of time on stage, exposure to varied choreographic processes, and a sense of direction artistically.
Why did you want to dance with Alonzo King LINES Ballet?
I saw LINES for the first time when Dance Victoria brought the company to Victoria in 2012. The show made a massive impression on me. For one thing, the tabla playing of Zakir Hussein had me grooving in my seat, but I was also fascinated by how the dancers seemed to represent a single choreographic idea and, at the same time, their individualities. There was something magical about it all and I knew quickly that I wanted a closer look.
What is it like being a dancer in LINES? How does King like to work with his dancers?
Mr. King’s process strikes me as being as much about helping each dancer develop their voice as it is about making ballets.
In the studio we are asked to learn choreography accurately and, at the same time, to be true to our own ideas and feelings. In our work, we get to think of ourselves as more than the choreographer’s medium and ask: what is it that I want to say?
Tell us what it is like to perform in the two works coming to Victoria: Shostakovich and Sand?
I was lucky enough to be involved in the creation of these two works so there is something about performing them that feels more personal than dancing inherited repertoire. In a sense, the roles continue to get built with each performance, and as I was there for their beginnings, I’m fully invested. Both ballets are an opportunity to dance to some incredible, yet totally different, music. Jason Moran and Charles Lloyd’s music for Sand generates a very poignant landscape to move through, while Shostakovich’s string quartets in Shostakovich invoke something daring in me.
Where do you find inspiration?
Music is my first source of inspiration. It was the reason I began dancing and the reason I dance still.
I’m also very lucky to work with some incredibly talented and hard working people who show me on a daily basis how far and how deep we can go as artists. Observing my colleagues absorbed in their own artistic journeys is always a very powerful source of inspiration.
What are you most looking forward to being back in Victoria?
When I moved to Victoria in 2008, I quickly fell in love with life in the city and when it was time to go, saying goodbye to Trounce Alley, Cook Street Village, Dallas road and the many, many people I’d come to love wasn’t easy. The chance to reconnect with these special people and places is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.
Robb Beresford was born and raised in Elmira, Ontario. He trained at Canada’s National Ballet School, is a graduate of The Quinte Ballet School of Canada, and has taken part in Festival Dance at the Banff Centre for four summers. Beresford has danced professionally with Ballet Kelowna, Vancouver’s Joe Ink, and Ballet Victoria. He joined LINES Ballet in 2013.