Dance Work / Work Dance

From January to June 2015, choreographer Emmalena Fredriksson explored dance as an exhibition based practice in collaboration with ten Vancouver dancers: Sarah Fdili-Alaoui, Isabelle Kirouac, Alexa Mardon, Erika Misuhashi, Layla Marcelle, Deanna Peters, Daisy Thompson, Lexi Vajda and Ashley Whitehead. We developed and presented four solos in one public studio showing at 611 Alexander street, a critical dance series residency at Unit/ Pitt projects called An Exact Vertigo, Dress Code In Effect a group exhibition at Access Gallery and in Therapeutic Drawings a Haunt exhibition at the Interurban gallery. The final solo show Dance Work / Work Dance was presented at the Audain Gallery.

“Experimenting with modes of visual art as an entry-point for dance making and presenting, Dance Work / Work Dance engages alternative perspectives on dance and the exhibition space. Working with improvisational looping scores, ten performers on rotational shifts create distinct dances of varying durations throughout the gallery. The interplay between works, the proximity between dancer and spectator, and the blurring of these roles extends the boundaries of each dance; drawing focus around and beyond the exhibition space. The durational aspect and simultaneity of the exhibited dances—the awareness of performances unseen—contributes to a sense of infinite potential viewing experiences. To dance like no one is watching and everything is seen, to watch like no one is dancing and everything is dance.”

-Emmalena Fredriksson


“As a working method we appropriated the language of visual arts practices, its styles and viewing structures*, to undo dance, as we know it. This ‘undoing’ created starting points for discourse and discovery by inviting alternative perspectives on what dance could be, the act of performing itself and what the exhibition space could mean for both dancers and viewers. Inevitably these perceptions called into question conventional notions of dancer/spectator relationship.


By problematizing the relationship between dancer and spectator, my wish was to create more possibilities for how dance could rather than should be seen. As a dance maker I believe that there are as many ways to see a work of dance as there are viewers and that each one of them can and will make their own meaning out of what they see.”

*We worked with terminology and approaches specific to practices of drawing, sculpture, ready-mades, exhibitions and visual art studio critiques.

-Emmalena Fredriksson

Audian Gallery, Vancouver 2015 / Photo credits: Adam Campkin

Audian Gallery, Vancouver 2015 / Photo credits: Adam Campkin, Uwe Homm, Ashley Whithead and Angela Yan

Unit Pitt/ An Exact Vertigo 2015

Audain Gallery 2015

Copyright 2021 Layla Marcelle