The new year brings another world premiere the stage as Vancouver’s own internationally celebrated choreographer, Joshua Beamish, and his MOVETHECOMPANY present its latest choreographic work, Source Amnesia, at Vancouver Playhouse January 13 & 14.
Source Amnesia is a timely exploration of false memory and the fragility of truth born out of choreographer Joshua Beamish’s fascination with memory confusion and manipulation, this 70-minute work will explore pertinent and critical themes of misinformation, fake news, memory loss, and truth in a production perfectly poised for this moment in history.
“I am thrilled to bring together such a talented group of dance artists from Vancouver to collaborate on this production, which closely reflects the current issues we’re all grappling with,” says Beamish.
The term “source amnesia” is the inability to remember where, when, or how previously learned information was acquired, which can lead to untrue memories created when a real memory is overlaid with false suggestions. If one cannot recall the source of an act or event, it is possible to believe false prompts as fact, rather than fiction. Beamish places his five dance artists into this ever-shifting reality to expose the fragility of truth, and how easy it is for memory or truth to be altered.
In developing this full-length dance work, Beamish draws upon two sources: his own family’s experiences with dementia and amnesia, which impacted his relationships with both of his grandmothers, as well as research conducted on two historical examples of episodic memory distortion and memory distrust syndrome.
“I grew up very close to one of my grandmothers and she was a major supporter of my training and early career,” adds Beamish. “And yet, for much of my adult life, she didn’t know who I was anymore. I often wondered if she knew herself. Who did she see when she looked in the mirror?”
In addition to reflecting on his own personal experiences while preparing for Source Amnesia, Beamish became fascinated with the story of the Icelandic Six, a homicide case from the 1970s where six people confessed to a double homicide they had nothing to do with but were sure they had committed. The production also reflects a study where participants were given false facts about their lives, which they later believed to be true.
Source Amnesia examines these memory manipulations and false memories through Beamish’s kinetic choreography. Beamish uses the narratives from these cases to create tension, tactics, scenes, and characters for the dancers to embody.
Among the Vancouver-based ensemble are Renee Sigouin (currently with Out Innerspace Dance Theatre and Kidd Pivot); Juan Duarte (formerly with Ballet BC); Calder White (performed with Toronto’s Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre); Evan Rapaport (formerly with Ballet BC); and Marisa Christogeorge (formerly of Sidra Bell Dance). These five dance powerhouses are joined by two apprentices, Julian Beairsto and Emma Galvin.
MOVETHECOMPANY’s world premiere of Source Amnesia takes place at Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton Street, January 13 & 14, 2023. Find information and tickets from $35 (Student tickets: $19.75) at joshuabeamish.com