Video: Shadow Play (ft. choreography by Lesandra Dodson)

Category: stage 302

Manitoba-based cellist Leanne Zacharias shares new video featuring work by Fredericton choreographer Lesandra Dodson.

Matt Carter

In support of her latest single, Shadow Play, Manitoba-based cellist Leanne Zacharias teamed up with long-time friend and Fredericton-based dancer/choreographer Lesandra Dodson to help translate the track’s motion into video. Together with a team of local performers and artists that include dancers Dustyn Forbes, Sydney Hallett and Naomi McGowen and videographer Chris Gilles with additional shadow help from UNB Technical Director Trent Logan, Dodson created a world movement that compliments Shadow Play’s pizzicato framework with unbridled beauty and freedom.

“Leanne Zacharias is a good pal whom I have known for many years, spanning back to my Winnipeg days,” said Dodson, who graduated from the University of Winniped with a BFA in theatre and dance. “We worked together on many dance pieces with Christine Fellows who is one of my main collaborative partners. Leanne got some Canada Council funding to commission various artists to choose something from her album repertoire and respond to it. She invited me to participate in the project. I wanted to make it a real learning opportunity and decided to work with some of our local emerging artists.”

Dodson’s work as a choreographer has always been rooted in collaboration, drawing inspiration from each individual artist she works with. Her work on Shadow Play features current and past students and members of Solo Chicken productions’ the coop, the Fredericton-based physical theatre/dance creative incubator she helped found in 2015.

“I worked on this little project in December 2019 with a few of my then dance students through St. Thomas University and the coop,” said Dodson. “We did a few days at Theatre New Brunswick making some phrases, and then moved to the Playhouse to experiment with filming.

“It’s really an exploratory process and project where we focused on a movement phrase repetition and manipulation. How many times can you do the same phrase different ways? Within this framework we also worked with breath, impulse and improvisation. The focus was on process, with no pressure to make a completed piece. So, what you see [in the video] is moments, experimentation, and play. The music is really non-stop, driving and repetitive and a perfect background for us to play within,” she said.

About the Album

Shadow Play is the second offering from Zacharias’ upcoming debut album, Music For Spaces. For more than 15 years, Zacharias has undertaken a performance project of the same name, exploring unique environments and architecture with sound. That spirit extends to the forthcoming record, which captures five solo cello works recorded at temporary recording sites by engineer Paul Aucoin. To record these pieces, the two friends and collaborators hiked, boated, and drove miles of dirt road to access four off-grid acoustic structures – a log cabin, a strawbale observatory and two historic churches – in rural Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Ontario.

Music For Spaces presents five distinctive modern works that Zacharias has championed over the years by composers John Cage, Emily Doolittle, Andrew Norman, Michael Oesterle, and Eugene Friesen in encounters with sonic depictions of light, northern star charts, plucked grooves and an array of timbres and technical complexity, all intermingled with bird song, crickets and squirrel chatter.

The album is slated for release on June 25 via Redshift Records.

With notes from Trevor Murphy Communications

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