"I see dance as music, with myself as the physical instrument."
Heather Ware, avid mountain climber, skier and music lover, was fascinated by the physicality, the emotions and the meaning of dance from an early age. "It started from my love of music. I see dance as a sort of physical music, and I love exploring what my body can do," she says, years later, in the middle of building her successful dance career. Heather spent her youth in the town of Banff, Canada, in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. She describes her first dance lessons and the understanding of dance that she picked up from her former teacher and choreographer, Stephanie Christensen, who ran a ballet school.
"Dance is not just about being beautiful."
"What I love about dance is the illusiveness of it. It is a physical experience that you cannot express in words. It's an experience that happens real time, in the present moment. Stephanie Christensen made me realize that dance could also play an important part in the world, that it is not just about being beautiful. If that would have been the case, I would have lost interest very quickly. But Stephanie gave me the feeling that by dancing we could be a part of bigger issues in this world. When I was a child, I didn't realize how unique this was. In her vision, there is always a story behind dance. She had quite intense topics, that she would base her performances on, and she connected those topics to each performance. It could be about bullying or environmental destruction, and there was always a way to acceptance and peace through staying true to yourself at the end of the story. She wrote much of the music herself, and made all of the costumes, and she also did the choreography and the training. .They were fantastic shows."
"As a young girl, I usede to pretend that Beethoven was my friend."'
Music and the joy of experimenting with movement, have always played an important role in Heather's fantasy. "When I was a kid I used to pretend that Beethoven was my friend. I would spend hours listening to his 7th Symphony, one of the most uplifting pieces of music I know. I had quite a rich imagination, I don't think there were many girls who had Beethoven as their imaginary friend. I had a little photo of Beethoven on the piano with his wild hair. I had wild hair too and I used to make up stories about our friendship. I had a wonderful series of tapes, a children's series about great composers. One of these stories was: "Beethoven lives upstairs", and another one was called "Mister Bach comes to call." I still know most of the stories by heart, they were fantastic stories which stimulated my imagination."
"I listen to music with my heart, my hands, my feet and my head."
"I listen to music in a quite specific way, with my whole heart, but also with my hands and my feet, and my head. When I studied the piano, I played the Suzuki method, so I didn't read the music, but I actually learned to play through listening, which I think also trained a different ear. I think this also trained the musicality in me." Heather continues: "The exploration of the physicality in dance intrigues me. It is literally figuring out what your body can do. When I was young I trained a lot, I like hard work and have always been very determined. I like to think of myself as persistent, although some people can call it stubborn."
"I have always wanted to combine movement with creativity."
"I have danced since a very young age. I was lucky enough to grow up in a spectacular mountain town, which is home to theBanff Centre for the Arts, an internationally renowned cultural institution. My parents took me to many performances and concerts there, wich was also where I had my first dance classes at the age of 4. At the age of 10 I attended a summer programme at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, which was when I started to become more serious about dance. I continued to dance locally and also started travelling to Calgary to attend classes at the Alberta Ballet School, which was a 2 hour drive from Banff. My parents were sceptical about dance as a profession but saw that I was passionate and they were determined to support my passion. Both of my parents are avid outdoor people, I definitely got my determination and love of movement and music from them."
At the age of 13 Heather auditioned for the year round intensive training programme at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School. "I actually didn't tell my parents that I was auditioning, so they were rather surprised when they received an acceptance letter in the mail. I moved to Winnipeg to study full time at the ballet school, where I lived as a boarder and also completed my high school education." Heather still loves classical ballet, which she insists is a very well-organised, logical way of traning a dancer's mind and body. "Ballet is a fantastic basis for any form of dance," she says. "I recognised even then the enormous potential a strong classical ballet background could give me. By the time I graduated, I realized that I didn't quite fit the mould of a classical dancer. I didn't see myself as a prima ballerina, nor did the school. But I still had a passion and love for dance that I felt there must be other avenues for. So I moved to Toronto and started training at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, which is a Graham-based contemporary dance school. I was there for 3 years, from 17 to 20, and had a lot of supportive and inspiring teachers along the way."
When Heather was in her final year at school in Toronto she met Samuel Weursten, cdirector of the Rotterdamse Dansacademie, and followed him to Holland to finish a post graduate year and explore the European dance field. "The work happening in the Dutch dance scene has an excellent reputation for innovation abroad, I was curios to see where I could find new inspiration. In 2003 I auditioned for an apprenticeship with LeineRoebana, and have worked with the company ever since. From the moment I first experienced their way of moving, it fascinated me with its physical complexity and unusual coordination. LeineRoebana are not easily satisfied, if something happens too easily fopr the dancers they add another layer to keep us challenged. This feeling of constantly thinking, constantly being present and alert, is exciting and satisfying to me, both in body and mind. The work with live music means that every perfromance brings new challenges and areas to explore."
"Most impressive dance performance of 2010."
|Heather Ware accepts the prestigious Swan award for the most impressive dance performance of 2010.|
The highly artistic Heather Ware, who is both determined and self-conscious, has been one of the star performers of the LeineRoebana Dance Company since 2003. Together with dancers like Tim Persent and Uri Eugenio she represents the face of this celebrated Dutch dance group, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
25 years of LeineRoebana - idiosyncratic, quirky and innovative
It is 25 years since choreographers Andrea Leine and Harijono Roebana began their joint career. Their idiosyncratic work, characterized by explosive, stark dance movements, made a huge impact right from the start. Their collaboration with leading musicians helped to establish their reputation. LeineRoebana is known for its unusual combination of dance and live music, its unique choreographic idiom and its top dancers.
The Canadian dancer Heather Ware has become a respected performer in the Dutch dance world, and has been a permanent member of LeineRoebana's team since 2003. In October 2010 she received "De Zwaan" ("the Swan") award for the "most impressive performance of 2010", for her role in "172 suggestions to a body", choreographed by LeineRoebana (see video clip below and photo right). "I was overwhelmed to receive the award," Heather says. "It is a huge honour. In this work we don't think about awards or prizes as we are working, but to be recognized by colleagues and people I have great respect for in such a way is a deep honour. "172 suggestions to a body was a very intense and emotional piece to perform, so knowing that I had touched people was very rewarding." De Zwaan has been awarded annually since 2003 by the Association of Dutch Theatre and Concert Hall Managements (VSCD) for the most impressive dance performance of the year. The winner receives a bronze statuette, made by the Dutch choreographer and sculptor Toer van Schayk.
172 suggestions to a body: Choreografphy Andrea Leine, Harijono Roebana; Dance: Tim Persent, Swantje Schäuble, Heather Ware, Reut Gez-Wang, Ederson Rodrigues Xavier, Erik Bos. Music: Siegfried Rössert, Ulrich Müller (48nord). Kostuums: Marjon Leek, Mariëtte Buiting. Styling: Ascon de Nijs. Lighting: Paul van Laak. Photography: Deen van Meer
Independent projects with Swedish cellist Jakob Koranyi and other musicians
In recent years Heather has started to further develop her own creative voice as choreaographer, in collaboration with various musicians, such as Swedish cellist Jakob Koranyi, baritone Mattijs van de Woerd, violist Oene Van Geel, and Dutch cellist Jan Bastiaan Neven. Since June 2015 Heather is following a "new makers trajectory" with support of LeineRoebana to further develop her voice as an independent maker.
Heather's first performance with Jakob Koranyi was "Bach: a play in motion", commissioned by the Delft Chamber Music Festival and supported by the Banff Arts Centre in Canada, which they toured to Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands in 2014. In 2017 they will premiere "Reapproaching Bach" (see video clip below), which explores the meaning of music and dance both for the performers and for the audience. A third joint project with Jakob Koranyi, "Battle Abbey", is scheduled to be premiered in Breda (the Netherlands) on 16 March 2017. "We have been researching and exploring new ideas for this project," Heather comments, "I have just returned from a 3 week residency at the Banff Centre in Canada together with Jakob. It is very exciting to be branching out on this new path, and to be able to do some of the research in my hometown, where this all started, feels like a dream come full circle."
"Battle Abbey" is a new work for 3 dancers and 3 musicians, including both Heather and Jakob as performers. The main theme of Battle Abbey is the investigation of the meaning of risk; and how perceptions and necessity of risk differs for everyone. Battle Abbey also refers to a backcountry ski hut in Canada. "An abbey is a monastery, a place of peace, silence and reflection, whereas battle refers to a fight. There is a contradiction in those words that I find compelling. And the place has a personal significance to me."
Ghost Track combines dance and live music from various cultures in an unforced, innovative way. Five dancers who were trained in Europe and three others who have received a training in traditional Indonesian dance share the stage with composer Iwan Gunawan and his Javanese gamelan ensemble Kyai Fatahillah. Gunawan blends traditional performance styles on gamelan and Sudanese instruments with contemporary composition techniques, with a subtle admixture of modern electronic music. A fascinating encounter, revealing the synergy that can arise at the interface of different cultures.
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