Get to know the dancers! Our weekly Q&A series continues with one of the company’s most senior dancers, Robb Beresford. Read on to learn how this Canadian taps into his ‘original’ self, both inside and outside of the dance studio.
What is dance?
Dance is the art of movement and forms in space that express ideas and thought.
Why did you choose dance?
I chose to dance because I want to contribute. My greatest contribution is to let love loose inside me. So, I dance because I’m me.
There are endless ways that one can contribute to. Why did you choose dance as opposed to other ways of contributing. How does letting love loose inside of you contribute?
I don’t feel like the contribution I want to make needs to be a dancing one. The urge to contribute would still be there if I had never had exposure to dance. Dance sort of happened into my life and became the way of contributing all on its own, and it happened further back than memories go so I can’t honestly recall my early impressions of it, or how I made decisions. The earliest memory I have of knowing that I liked to dance comes well after it must have been established as a fact. So in a sense, I woke up loving dance and not knowing why. Why I love to dance is unanswerable. Why I chose it originally? No idea. Why have I kept it up and why am I doing it still?
I choose to honor the things about myself that go back before memory and to continue to love the things I’ve loved for so long that they are beyond explaining. “Letting love loose inside me” means fighting against my own internal repression to bring more of my original self, the self I did not construct, to the world. The more original I can be, the more effective communication and sharing can be, and the more I will gain and give.
When I say “I dance because I’m me”, the ‘me’ I mean is the original me. The ‘me’ that can get repressed. In my struggle to know and to revive this former self, dance is one of my few tethers to him, something we had in common. I’m more ‘me’ when I dance.
What are the processes that bring you close to the original you, and what are the impediments that create distance from that you? Also, how have you overcome the impediments?
Dancing is the main thing that brings me close to my original self. Going into a studio and doing a class or working on choreography has been a constant part of my life since a very young age and so I think that’s why I am able to rely on it as a practice that reminds me of who I am. Being in a dance studio, I can sort of return to myself.
In life outside of dance studios, I think big chunks of time to myself can help me remember the original self. Reading, sketching, doing independent research, following my curiosity wherever it takes me – these things can make me feel deeply connected to an original part of myself.
What gets in the way is usually fear. Fear of failure, or fear of rejection. It can take other forms too.
The example of others can be helpful. Seeing an artist or person fully embody their unmistakable originality in their work or in their life is exciting. I think that kind of excitement or inspiration can embolden me and help me defeat the fear that impedes my own originality.
Is there a goal in your dancing that you are striving for?
The goal in my dancing is to remain interested and to explore further.
Is there an invaluable discovery that you can share?
I’ve discovered that I can create the most change by being consistent. Sometimes I’ve done a little less each day but gone a little further overall and learned that a consistent, measured effort is more powerful than drawing on all my might at once.
BIO: 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.
Photos: © RJ Muna