Joshua Beamish/MOVETHECOMPANY presents the world premiere of Source Amnesia, a timely exploration of false memory and the fragility of truth, January 13 & 14, 2023 at 8pm at the Vancouver Playhouse. Born out of choreographer Joshua Beamish‘s fascination with memory confusion and manipulation, this 70-minute work will explore pertinent and critical themes of misinformation, fake news, memory loss, and truth in a production perfectly poised for this moment in history.
“I am thrilled to bring together such a talented group of dance artists from Vancouver to collaborate on this production, which closely reflects the current issues we’re all grappling with,” says Beamish. “Misinformation is something that has become personal to us all. With social media, news has the ability to spread like wildfire, in real time. While we’re quick to share and comment, we often don’t stop to think about factual accuracy. Source Amnesia is a thoughtful physical exploration of memory distrust and how we parse and absorb source information before turning it into something else, be it untruths, a manipulated truth – or even fake news.”
The term “source amnesia” is the inability to remember where, when, or how previously learned information was acquired, which can lead to untrue memories created when a real memory is overlaid with false suggestions. If one cannot recall the source of an act or event, it is possible to believe false prompts as fact, rather than fiction. Beamish places his five dance artists into this ever-shifting reality to expose the fragility of truth, and how easy it is for memory or truth to be altered.
In developing this full-length dance work, Beamish draws upon two sources: his own family’s experiences with dementia and amnesia, which impacted his relationships with both of his grandmothers, as well as research conducted on two historical examples of episodic memory distortion and memory distrust syndrome.
“I grew up very close to one of my grandmothers and she was a major supporter of my training and early career,” adds Beamish. “And yet, for much of my adult life, she didn’t know who I was anymore. I often wondered if she knew herself. Who did she see when she looked in the mirror?”
In addition to reflecting on his own personal experiences while preparing for Source Amnesia, Beamish became fascinated with the story of the Icelandic Six, a homicide case from the 1970s where six people confessed to a double homicide they had nothing to do with, but were sure they had committed. The production also reflects a study where participants were given false facts about their lives, which they later believed to be true.
Source Amnesia examines these memory manipulations and false memories through Beamish’s kinetic choreography. Beamish uses the narratives from these cases to create tension, tactics, scenes, and characters for the dancers to embody.
Among the Vancouver-based ensemble are Renee Sigouin (currently with Out Innerspace Dance Theatre and Kidd Pivot); Juan Duarte (formerly with Ballet BC); Calder White (performed with Toronto’s Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre); Evan Rapaport (formerly with Ballet BC); and Marisa Christogeorge (formerly of Sidra Bell Dance). These five dance powerhouses are joined by two apprentices, Julian Beairsto and Emma Galvin.
Source Amnesia features lighting design by James Proudfoot and music by British electronic musician Rival Consoles, who is known for making synthesizers sound human and atmospheric.
Beamish founded Joshua Beamish/MOVETHECOMPANY in 2005 and his works have extensively toured throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Outside of the company, he has created in collaboration with The Royal Ballet, The National Ballet of Canada, and Dutch National/Het Nationale Ballet Junior Company, among others. Beamish choreographed for the CBC Radio Canada reality series Ils Dansent with Nico Archambault, the Opening Ceremonies of the 2011 International Children’s Winter Games, the Cultural Olympiads for both the 2010 and the 2012 Olympics, and with Cirque du Soleil for World EXPO Shanghai. He is an alumnus of the New York Choreographic Institute – an affiliate organization of New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet, and a Jerome Robbins Foundation grantee. Notable recent presentations include BAM Next Wave Festival, The Joyce Theater in New York, The Royal Opera House in London, Princeton University, London’s The Place, and New York’s Guggenheim Museum.
Source Amnesia tickets available from $35. Student tickets are $19.75. Tickets and information: joshuabeamish.com
There will also be a pre-show talk featuring Joshua Beamish and Vancouver-based dancer and choreographer Vanessa Goodman at 7pm on Friday, January 13 in the Vancouver Playhouse Upper Lobby.
Joshua Beamish/MOVETHECOMPANY is a non-profit charitable dance organization registered in Canada and America. The primary mandate of the society is to further the awareness of, and appreciation for, contemporary dance at the local, provincial, national and international levels. The company places equal focus on educational programming, primarily targeting youth, and the creation and professional theatrical productions.
Founded in Vancouver in 2005 by current Artistic Director Beamish, Joshua Beamish/MOVETHECOMPANY quickly emerged as one of Western Canada’s most prolific dance companies. The company has performed at venues like London’s The Place, Cape Town’s Baxter Dance Festival, Montreal’s Tangente, Usine C and Studio 303, the American Dance Institute in DC, Singapore’s Odyssey Dance Theatre, the International Ballet Festival in Miami, and the Quinzena de Danca Festival in Portugal.
At home, the company has been presented by the Made in BC: Dance On Tour Program, The Dance Centre, the Vancouver International Dance Festival, Dancing on the Edge, the Chutzpah Festival and others.
Joshua Beamish/MOVETHECOMPANY received the distinction of a commission from the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC, as well as the only choreographic residency ever awarded to a Western Canadian company by the Djerassi Program in San Francisco. The company was selected by curators Cirque du Soleil for presentation at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, performed the Closing Gala of the Canadian Cultural Pavilion and toured an ensemble of 24 Vancouver-based artists for a commissioned presentation at Bangkok International Festival for Dance & Music/Bangkok Opera House.
The company also toured as the Canadian representatives at World Event Young Artist, a satellite of the 2012 London Cultural Olympiad. Joshua Beamish/MOVETHECOMPANY made its The Joyce Theatre debut in New York as the opening event of the 2015 Ballet Festival and returned in 2018 for the world premiere of The Masque of the Red Death, commissioned by the venue. In 2019, the company presented the world premiere of @giselle (a modernized and technology driven interpretation of the beloved ballet Giselle), in Vancouver.
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