SEVEN at the Edmonton Fringe Festival


Walterdale Theatre (10322 – 83 avenue) August 14, 15, 17, 19, 22, 23
More information:

Photo credit: Ian Sparks

Photo credit: Ian Sparks

An interview with Dyana Sonik-Henderson.

Describe your show in five words. 

Dark, beautiful, powerful, haunting and captivating

Okay, now that we’re intrigued… what’s the longer description?

SEVEN, is based on the seven stages of grief: shock/denial, disorganization, volatile reaction, guilt, loss/loneliness, relief and reestablishment. It explores the universality of grief and how it can be paralyzing, shocking and ultimately freeing.

Tell us about your company, Broken Rhythms – what’s its mandate and where did the name come from?

Broken Rhythms was created as a way for Victoria dancers to express their talents, to showcase my distinct point of view as a director/choreographer and to develop our own unique blend of dance and theatre. We use a new style called “rhythmical contemporary” which is a distinct “break” from the confinement I found challenging in the dance world. The pressure for my movement to fit a specific genre led to a break from creating for other people and pushed me to form my own company.

SEVEN takes its inspiration from the stages of grief. What process was used to create SEVEN based on this inspiration?

We actually had another show planned and in development, but emotionally I was not connecting to the work. I had recently experienced a trauma, which greatly affected me and caused me to question my future as the artistic director.

WhiIe this was going on, I was also was taking a death and dying sociology course at the University of Victoria and one of the exam questions was to name and describe the SEVEN stages of grief. Reading about the stages I was able to see parallels in my behaviors, and when I read that the last stage was “rebuilding” I felt it was saying if I go through all these steps, at the end I will be able to move on.

My talented cast was up to the heavy task of diving into their own grief and many conversations took place over interpretations of the stages. Because of the content and interactive nature of the conversation, it allowed us to solidify universal themes and allowed everyone to connect to the work.

Being inspired by the stages of grief, I was surprised to read in your press release that the show is about ‘the wide range of human passion and strength’. How does the show explore those themes and what, if anything, conclusion do you want to leave the audience with?

SEVEN explores the universality of grief. Everyone has been through this or will go through it. Sometimes getting out of bed or going outside requires a great deal of strength. Society teaches us to feel shame about some emotions or to cover up the feeling of grief, but people process these stages in their own way. Some people may close off and experience most of it internally, while I created a seven-piece show about mine.

The last number, “rebuilding,” is a hopeful but truthful look at the end of the grieving process. You have matured, you may feel better, but you have changed. We are meant to adapt and learn even if it’s painful. Letting go does not mean forgetting.

Anything else you want audiences to know about the show?

We have made it so it is an enjoyable show to watch whether you understand which stage the dancers are in or not.

There is no wrong or right way to enjoy this show.

Bonus question: Any names you want to drop who have been involved in your show (Edmonton arts people or otherwise)?

The Victoria B.C community has been very hands on in nurturing young artists. Raino Dance of Victoria, B.C. and Dance Victoria have also helped the show develop and succeed.

The 34th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is August 13 – 23. Get your tickets at starting August 4.

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