there’s a camel on my back at Edmonton Fringe Festival

there’s a camel on my back
Westbury Theatre (10330 – 84 avenue) August 15, 17, 20, 21, 22, 24
More information: ariolealei.com


An interview with Ariole K. Alei

Describe your show in five words. 
Captivating, mesmerizing dance for ‘non-dancers’!

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?
there’s a camel on my back (2014 production) is an enigmatic ‘arc’ of 6 solo dances.  Carrying the audience discreetly in a transformational journey of epic proportions, audiences are delivered to a place of awe, peace, wonder, hope, and transcendent beauty.  Highly charged emotionally and poetically, this production is like no other ‘dance’.  It leaves audiences consistently wowed and inspired.  It is – quite literally – “a return to innocence”.

You say that as a dancer, your role is to take audiences on an emotional journey. How does dance do that differently than other art forms?
Great question! Unlike theatre, this ‘dance’ production is essentially an epic story of transformation and redemption told ‘without words’.  Having said this, this particular production includes an intriguing, highly inspiring ‘soundtrack’ of audio voice-overs during the dancer’s costume changes.  Audiences experience a literal model of mind-over-matter healing, spiritual awakening, and transcendence into hope.  Pre-viewers of this production – including internationally acclaimed Principal dancers and Choreographers – are consistently awe-struck, recognizing that something ‘new’ is being born here . . . And yes – ‘my’ body represents ‘your’ body . . . What you experience ‘in’ me is essentially opened and awakened in you 🙂

You’ve been performing there’s a camel on my back since 1989. How has the show changed in those 25 years? How have audiences changed in that time?
Audiences have certainly changed – and yet Hamlet, Waiting for Godot, Mousetrap, and so many other ‘theater’ productions are timeless gems – as is this.  This 2014 production is remarkably ‘new’ with the addition of 2 solos not in the original, plus (more significantly) the addition of visible-to-the-audience costume changes that dissolve the ‘wall’, allowing the audience an intimate yet discreet view into the depth of the artist’s own journey – plus the fore-mentioned audio voice-overs that weave a deep and rich thread of awe-inspiring ‘story-line’ rare to experience anywhere – in any art form.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show? 
Don’t wait to see this!  There is a ‘buzz’ rising in the international dance community that my forth-coming full-evening production Ascend will tour globally in large theatres . . . This may be one of the rare last opportunities to experience these ‘dances’ in such an intimate setting.  And ah, yes – this production includes a brief ‘Audience Talk Back’ – allowing an opportunity for questions, sharing of experiences, and subtle support in integrating the profound ‘shifts’ that typically take place in people as they ‘watch’.

Bonus question: Any names you want to drop who have been involved in your show (local Edmonton arts people or otherwise)?
I have met personally with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and other world and cultural leaders to discuss my visions of “A New Model of Exemplary Global Leadership” which are directly connected to ‘the dance’ . . . Dutch Master Toer Van Schayk has agreed to create a new solo for Ascend . . . Other solos in my repertoire have been created for me by luminaries including Serge Bennathan, Igal Perry, Anna Wyman, Judith Marcuse, Sandra Neels, to name a few.

The 33rd Edmonton International Fringe is August 14 – 24. I’ll be previewing shows up until the Fringe starts. Want your show to appear on After the House Lights? Email jennamarynowski@gmail.com.

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