Good Women Dance Collective + FEMME Vocal Quartet were set to launch the world premiere of The Beginning of Happiness by Jane Berry on March 26-28th. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic we have chosen to postpone our three nights of performances in order to prioritize the health and safety of our patrons, volunteers, and artists. As the global situation continues to unfold, we are not certain when we will be able to reschedule the performances at this point in time but we have every intention of doing so.
That being said, in postponing these shows, we want to acknowledge how this affects our artists, behind the scenes crew, and the staff of both GWDC and FEMME. Many of us are self-employed, freelancers, or workers in the “gig economy.” As such, we are often exempt from safetynet resources that are available to folks in the “9 to 5” world.
While we realize that this is a precarious and uncertain time for all of us, we ask for you to consider making a donation to The Beginning of Happiness to help us ensure that we can make these performances happen once societal circumstances allow.
Donations will be used to help offset lost wages for artists and crew, pay for additional rehearsal hours to review our work after months away from each other, pay for rentals of studio space, cover funds lost to venue bookings, and cover the cost of updating marketing materials.
Thank you in advance for your generosity. We hope you are all taking good care of yourselves and each other!
Good Women Dance Collective + FEMME Vocal Quartet
FEMME, an all-female vocal quartet, and Good Women Dance Collective (GWDC), an all-female contemporary dance collective have collaborated to explore and reflect upon violence against women in the world premiere of The Beginning of Happiness by Edmonton Composer, Jane Berry, choreographed by GWDC, and performed by FEMME and GWDC.
In the age of #MeToo, we are reminded that domestic violence continues to be a widespread reality, and both FEMME and GWDC feel it is vitally important that they use their skills and privilege as artists to bring awareness to this issue.
This show features a new 60 minute choral work by Berry that gives voice to the issue of violence against women. Berry developed original text and music for this project which features four musicians and four dancers working together to create a multidisciplinary experience, with live ASL interpretation provided by Nicole Sanders. While the composition draws on Berry’s experience with domestic violence, the work encourages performers to bring their own thoughts into the work so that their own personal experiences are included in the show.
This isn’t the first time that GWDC has incorporated choral music into their work. In April 2016, Good Women Dance Collective, New Music Edmonton, and Pro Coro Canada collaborated for a run of David Lang’s Love Fail. Love Fail and The Beginning of Happiness alike draw upon an inherent power that comes from unifying voices and bodies through the modalities of a cappella choral singing and contemporary dance to share stories of female experience. Both collectives are thrilled to be working with this strong and talented group of women on this innovative performance.
The Beginning of Happiness is presented in partnership with WIN House, an organization whose purpose is to give victims the hope and help they need to overcome domestic abuse. WIN House representatives will be available after all performances, including the talk back, to engage in a dialogue with the audience about the work and the issues surrounding this topic.
In sharing these stories, FEMME and GWDC aim to reduce stigma and increase dialogue surrounding domestic abuse and sexual assault.
FEMME is a female vocal quartet comprised of Dawn Bailey, Jane Berry, Sable Chan, and Amy Voyer. Their mandate is to amplify the voices of women by performing work written by women. FEMME wishes to create a performance space for females singing at a professional level and give voice to underrepresented female perspectives in the world of classical repertoire.
Good Women Dance Collective (GWDC) is a creation-based movement company comprised of Ainsley Hillyard, Alison Kause, Alida Kendell and Kate Stashko. GWDC is committed to supporting a vibrant and sustainable contemporary dance community in Edmonton by creating, commissioning and producing innovative new works.