Carlene studied at the Sports Excellence Program in Alberta, which gave her the opportunity to focus more extensively on her dance training and the freedom to travel across Canada and the U.S to work with established teachers and choreographers. She has been working professionally in the dance community as an instructor and choreographer since 2005 most recently teaching classes at Passion and Performance Studios in Victoria B.C. Carlene has been a Broken Rhythms company member since 2014 and has toured to Edmonton, Halifax, Toronto and all over Vancouver Island including many main stage Broken Rhythms productions and collaboration projects with local arts groups. Broken Rhythms has become an invaluable part of Carlene’s life, and she still finds herself in awe of the incredible training, touring and performance opportunities she continues to receive with the company.
We asked Carlene, what inspires you to dance?
Having danced most of my life, it’s really become a huge part of my identity, which means that my inspiration comes from so many places. As a performer, dancing is my outlet, my social life, my exercise, my family and my opportunity to express everything in a really cathartic way. As a teacher and choreographer, I’m inspired by my students, my colleagues, music, events of my life and of the world and the opportunity to challenge myself and my dancers in infinite ways.
Which work do you connect to the most?
Caleigh and I do a duet in the middle of the show which is loosely based around the feeling of “burning out”, which is something I’ve been struggling with over the past year or so. It’s no secret that the artistic world doesn’t always pay the bills, which means that in order to do what we love, we have to do other things to keep ourselves afloat. This is a choice that we make as artists, and for years now I’ve played a very delicate balancing act between 3-4 jobs, which has allowed me to spend my nights and weekends in the studio dancing my little heart out. However when you burn the candle at both ends for long enough, it eventually burns out, and suddenly the things you love to do become harder and harder to show up for. However, as dark as this place can seem when you’re in it, there’s almost a survival instinct that takes over that shines the brightest light on your priorities, which can inspire some important changes that you might not have come to otherwise. Usually it means letting go of some things, which can be a real hit to the ego, but ultimately allows you to re-evaluate why you do what you do, and fall in love with it all over again. Dyana does a really beautiful job of capturing her experience of this, and I think most people will be able to relate to it.
What has surprised you the most during the creative process?
Early in the process, I injured my lower back pretty severely, which has turned out to make this whole development a very different experience for me. Ever since I was a little kid in a tutu, I’ve kind of just bounced around, fearlessly taking part in the trial and error of different styles of dance. Sure, I’ve had sprained ankles, sore knees and the regular bumps and bruises that come with any sport, but this was the first time that I’ve had an injury that has actually stopped me in my tracks and forced me to take a step back. Because of this, I’ve been quite a bit more removed from the creative process than I have been with other Broken Rhythms shows, which has actually allowed me to watch it unfold from the sidelines, a new perspective as a dancer. I’ve had the chance to watch some of our new dancers step right into a full show, and I’ve been really impressed with how hard they’ve worked to not only perform steps and choreography they’ve been given, but all the while learning the unique and complex style of rhythmical contemporary. There have been a couple of other injuries within our group along the way, and as a team everyone has had to come together in a new way to support each other through the process, which I think will come through on the stage.
If you were a musical instrument, which musical instrument would you be and why?
Probably a drum, because for one, I think drums are cool, and no matter what is happening in the rest of the song, the drum is always there, strong and steady just keeping the beat (even if it likes to take a solo now and then).
Dates for Internal Rhythms
Location: Metro Theatre (1411 Quadra Street)
Tickets: $28 at Ticket Rocket