Alysa Pires: In Between
September 22, 2020
This week, the final Expansive Dances film, Choreographic Associate Alysa Pires' In Between, is released. The work features Second Soloist Christopher Gerty and adapts an earlier piece of the same name that she created for the National Ballet’s Choreographic Workshop. Here, Alysa shares her thoughts about her creation.
Whom did you create your solo for and how would you describe the process?
The solo for our Expansive Dances film is an adaptation of my first work for the company, In Between, which was made as part of the Choreographic Workshop from 2016 to 2018. In Between was originally performed by and created with First Soloists Alexandra MacDonald, Spencer Hack and Emma Hawes and Second Soloist Christopher Gerty. For the film version, we have reimagined three of the solos to be danced by Christopher, including Alexandra's solo that was originally on pointe.
Christopher and I were able to meet in a park near where we both live and rehearse outdoors at a distance. There were many challenges in terms of uneven ground and extreme heat or rain but I was so thrilled to be rehearsing again regardless. Christopher and I worked together to adapt the original material to be performed not only in sneakers but also in new spaces of varying sizes.
How does your solo relate to the ongoing pandemic or global unrest of recent months?
In Between was originally inspired by a pull between two places. Having grown up in B.C. and now living in Toronto for more than a decade, I feel at home in both places but always a bit homesick for the other. These themes of feeling unsettled and longing for comfort and familiarity certainly relate to our experience throughout the pandemic. There's also a sense of agitation and restlessness in the piece that feels especially relevant as we have been confined to our homes.
One of my favourite parts of remounting and revisiting older works is the opportunity to see how their meaning evolves when presented in a new context.