This week’s Dancer/Choreographer feature goes to Aviva Fleising. Simultaneously pursuing her love of dance and arts management, Aviva is the Programs and Services Manager with the Canadian Dance Assembly and an independent artist. An avid traveler, Aviva has trained and performed in Cuba, Italy and throughout North America. She began choreographing in 2004 with a full-length interdisciplinary show for the Montreal Fringe Festival, and since then has created for festivals in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. Most recently Aviva has been collaborating with the Calgary based company Tangy Lime Dance Projects to choreograph dance on stilts. In 2012 she formed her company Tziporah Productions and has collaborated with playwright Jason Rothery to produce the evening length work – ‘the space between us’, which premiered in Toronto June 19-22, 2013 “During the Toronto Jazz Festival, tucked away in the Distillery District on the third floor of the Dancemakers Centre for Creation was a wonderfuL evening created by Tziporah Productions filled with wine tasting, wonderful food, friendly people, and a silent auction.” – Ontario Arts Review.. Aviva is also a member of the collective Wolara Drum and Dance
Bio provided by Aviva
Check out what Aviva had to say in this week’s feature…
Nikki: Do you remember the first time you started dancing?
Aviva: Ballet class at the Lindsey Walsh school in Calgary when I was five. I also was front and centre for a Chanukah concert and was the best dreidel out there, that’s when I knew I was meant for the stage.
Nikki: What made you decide to move from Calgary to Toronto?
Aviva: There were 2 reasons, family and the arts. I was curious to live in a big city that was buzzing with artistic activity having recently obtained a certificate in Arts & Cultural Management. I thought there could be interesting opportunities in the city to find work that would blend my passion for dance and administration. Also, my family is originally from Montreal and so I have a lot of relatives out East, additionally my husband’s family had slowly moved here over the years so it felt like we were naturally being led here.
Nikki: Do you remember the first song you choreographed to? (Or your earliest memory)
Aviva: Hard to pin point exactly but there are two that come to mind. A cabaret I did in 2004 where I tried my hands at a mime/vaudeville piece, song by Scott Joplin. Then right around that time I also did a contemporary dance collaboration with a couple of audio-visual artists, song by Portishead. I think that is so reflective of me, I love it all and love exploring various avenues of artistic expression. I’ll be wearing jazz shoes one minute and then tearing them off the next.
Nikki: Your personal advice for dancers when it comes to free styling?
Aviva: I admit that free styling isn’t my area of expertise, and actually most of my free styling experience has been through West African dance circles. You just have to live in the moment and connect yourself to the music; you need to move as one instrument. The most powerful free styling I’ve seen hasn’t involve tricks, its involved groove, pizazz and immaculate rhythm.
Nikki: Getting in the zone to choreograph, what does it take for you?
Aviva: My head phones, water, notebook and an isolated quiet space with no distractions. I need a place where I can leave the present world and get inside my head, that’s when the dancing bodies come to life.
Nikki: Who are some of your biggest influences in the Dance industry?
Aviva: There are always so many people that have subtle influences on your work as you see shows, attend class or take a workshop. I’d say my biggest influences and mentors though have been Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and Jump Rhythm Jazz Projects. Although the work I currently do is not ‘jazzy’ per say, it forms the basis of my groove.
Nikki: Name a Toronto Choreographer you enjoy working with and why?
Aviva: I haven’t really had the opportunity to work with another choreographer in the city yet as I’ve been focusing on the upcoming production of ‘the space between us’ for the past couple of years. Still planting my feet in the Toronto dance scene, so look forward to what the future holds.
Nikki: Name one of your favorite artists to work with and why? (It does not have to be a pop star. Any type of artist that a Dancer would work with i.e.; another Dancer, Choreographer, Musician etc.)
Aviva: I’d have to say my current collaborator Jason Rothery. He’s a brilliant actor and playwright that isn’t afraid to get sweaty and try his hands at dancing, or ‘movement choreography’ as we’ve been calling it. It’s so refreshing to see dance through his eyes and inflect choreography with subtle yet profound theatrical staging and imagery.
Nikki: Qualities you believe Toronto Dancers possess?
Aviva: Toronto dancers are fierce and have amazing technique. I was blown away when I first moved here 4 years ago.
Nikki: Any advice for emerging dancers and choreographers working/training in Toronto?
Aviva: Take class, get connected to your networks, and join the various arts service organizations. There are so many resources at your fingertips. Get out and see shows and if there is somebody’s work that you love, go and tell them…or volunteer for them. Build your community and know that you’re not alone. This is a great city to be an artist.
THANK YOU AVIVA FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE AND PASSION WITH T.D.O.T. XO
CHECK OUT THE PROMO VIDEO FOR “THE SPACE BETWEEN US”