Aria Evans is a Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist working in film, dance creation and performance. She draws on her experiences as a woman of mixed race (Mi'kmaq/Black/settler heritage) as well as her BFA (2012) to capture meaningful social and cultural themes through her interactive art. Aria is artistic director of the Go To Company where collaboration is the departure point to the work that she creates. She is co-artistic director of hub14, co-founder of The Research Exchange and a collective member of us. The Toronto, Ontario and Canada Council for the arts have supported Aria’s endeavours as well as Jumblies Theatre, Native Earth Performing Arts and b current.
Aria has presented her own choreographic work with SummerWorks, the Toronto Fringe, Nightwood Theatre, the University of Toronto, HarbourKIDS, Native Earth Performing Arts, the University of Toronto Scarborough, FRESH BLOOD, the Gardiner Museum, the Harbourfront Centre’s Next Step Series, Series 808 and Dance Ontario, Long Winter, Labspace Studio, Intergalactic Arts Collective, Rivoli Dances 4 and many more. Her works have been presented in both North America and Europe. She has toured with company Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, created work commissioned by the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance, performed for the Indspire awards, participated and performed in works by Michael Greyeyes, Penny Chouchie, Julia Sasso, Peggy Baker, The Banff Centre, A Tribe Called Red, Susan Lee, Constance Cooke and Expect Theatre, to name a few.
Aria has sat on Canada Council and Dora Award juries, been an Invited Guest Contributor to the 20th anniversary Canadian Arts Summit and talked on interdisciplinary panels for TAPA’s INDIEX. Aria’s work in dance film has led her to being Kaeja d’Dance’s resident videographer and editor for the past five years. Independently, through film, she has collaborated with many of Toronto’s leading dance artists and organizations. Aria has done videography and editing for Dreamwalker Dance Company, Julia Sasso Dances, Ryerson University, The Banff Centre, Dance Matters, Ella Cooper Creates, CDA-ADC, YMI, Tziporah Productions and the Pulse Ontario Dance Conference, to name a few.
NEWS AND UPDATES
SummerWorks is just one month away, to celebrate we released our second trailer! To find show info and to purchase tickets visit: www.summerworks.ca/artists/paths
Aria is creation for a new trio with Syreeta Hector and Raelyn Metcalfe that has been commissioned by the Toronto Concert Orchestra. The piece is to Stravinsky's Pulcinella Suite and she is drawing inspiration from the trickster.
Aria will be performing in Bearing which premiers at Luminato Festival and runs June 22-24th at the Imperial Oil Opera Theatre in Toronto! Check out some of the press for the show:
Some quotes from last nights conversation with Dark Nights at The Gladstone Hotel, Room #214
Dark Nights is a salon-style conversation series where local creators are invited to share their philosophies on life in the arts. Each month, Dark Nights invites a young creative voice to stimulate a conversation with everyone in attendance. With an emphasis on demystifying the creative life, this series challenges our success driven culture head on by establishing space for real conversations.
May 16th 2017
The SummerWorks Festival Announcement is finally here! The Go To Company will be presenting a new immersive work; PATHS at this years festival. Stay connected for updates and details coming this June! www.summerworks.ca
Over the weekend Aria attended the 20th Annual Canadian Arts Summit, CultureNEXT at the Confederation Centre of the Arts in Charlottetown, PEI as an Invited Guest Contributor.
"CultureNEXT brought together 150 extraordinary arts leaders from across the country to imagine the future of Canada’s creative life. As Canada looks forward to the next 50 years, issues around cultural diversity and inclusion, evolving digital technologies, cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary intersections, and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples are emerging as major drivers of cultural transformation."
Aria Evans joined Aisha Bentham and Deanna Choi alongside Moderator Claire Burns to talk on TAPA's Indie X pannel "Interdisciplinary: Get FANCY!" - A practical panel on interdisciplinary engagement models and making ART ... answering the questions: How can you and your company work to collaborate and engage multi disciplinary artists?
This past week we have been back in the studio exploring the elements to develop PATHS with Ana Groppler, Jasmyn Fyffe, Jolyane Langlois and Mateo Torres. Stay tuned for programming announcements coming in May! PATHS will be an immersive, site-specific maze that audiences get to explore while encountering movement vignettes along the way.
This past month Aria has been continuing to develop link, a now solo work that will premiere at Native Earths Performing Arts Weesageechak Begins To Dance Festival in November. She has been working with Jesse Dell as an artistic collaborator and Peggy Baker as an outside eye.
Aria performed In The Abyss for Nightwood Theatre's Fempocalypse: A Cabaret for International Women's Day.
This past week Aria has been working with Michael Greyeye's of Signal Theatre developing the third act of Bearing with actors Sophie Merasty and Brandon Oakes. The work is set to premiere in Toronto this June.
January 26th 2017
On Thursday February 2nd Aria will be sharing a short new work In The Abyss for the New Music Festival. In The Abyss will be performed by Jesse Dell and has been created in collaboration with composer Babak Taghinia.
Walter Hall - University of Toronto
Admission is free
Event details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1382615271769659/
Over the next week and a half Aria will be workshopping a new play by Samaqani Cocahq called Finding Wolastoq Voice. As dancer/choreographer she will be collaborating with writer Natalie Sappier, designer Andy Moro and Director Thom Morgan Jones of Theatre New Brunswick. Stay connected for show updates!
We shot a dance film with Jesse Dell and Mateo Galindo Torres today! It will be premiering on December 7th at Ryerson University.
Thank you to everyone who made it out to Native Earth Performing Arts festival: Weesageechak Begins To Dance! We were so thrilled to be able to present two works; RElaps and an excerpt of link, a solo currently in development.
Solo rehearsals for our work in progress showing of link are underway! Come see an excerpt of the work on November 5th at 730pm for Weesageechak Begins to Dance 29 in the Aki Studio for the ANIMIKIIG TRAINING PROGRAM evening.
This past week Aria has been working with ARTICLE 11 facilitating Humber College's Community Week - a performance installation creation project with 1st, 2nd and 3rd year performance and production students. Artists involved in irising included Tara Beagan, Audrey Dwyer, Aria Evans, Donna Michelle St Bernard, Andy Moro and Laird McDonald.
The Go To Company is back in the studio working on a new piece called link. We are in deep research mode with a group of amazing collaborators; Naishi Wang, Joshua DePerry and Pulga Muchochoma!
Aria has been working in North Bay this week on Nipising First Nation developing a new duet project 'Adopting In'. This work is a commission of choreographer and KM Hunter award recipient Penny Couchie. Penny is leading a creative process with both Aria and Nimikii Couchie thanks to the support of the Ontario Arts Council's Theatre Creators' Reserve Grants from Native Earth Performing Arts and Jumblies Theatre.
August 15th 2016
DANCE FORE LIFE! NEW DOCUMENTARY DANCE FILM SERIES SHINES THE SPOTLIGHT ON TORONTO!
DANCE FOR LIFE is a new dynamic five episode documentary dance film series, featuring some of the city’s talented contemporary dancers who share their stories of immigration, identity, sexuality, self acceptance and struggle as they moved to Toronto to pursue their dreams to ‘dance for life.’
Featuring acclaimed Canadian contemporary dancers:
Aria Evans, Pulga Cesar Muchochoma, Ofilio Sinbadinho, Apolonia Velasquez, Sze-Yang Ade-Lam & Yvonne NG Peck Wan
Directed & Filmed by Ella Cooper
The series can now be viewed On Demand on Bell Fibe TV1.
Filmed in the streets, alleyways, green spaces, suburbs, landmarks and concrete jungle of the Greater Toronto Area, ‘Dance for Life’, features a unique story set against Toronto’s sprawling creative city landscape.
Photo by: Jalani Morgan
July 10th 2016
A sincere thank you to everyone who made it out to RATED R and to those that made it possible for this show to happen! The drop-dead amazing cast who went to those dark places in our world with me with dignity, thoughtfulness and passion. Jesse Dell Irvin Chow Mateo Galindo Torres Pulga Cesar Muchochoma Peter Kelly Kassi Scott Kathia Wittenborn and Jasmyn Fyffe.
To Andy Moro and Michael Murray who’s design work elevated the original vision. To A.J. Morra for taking on an insane amount of work to get us ready for the stage! To sue balint who has a way with words that I am so grateful for! To Julia Sasso for continuing to challenge me while believing in me and the work. To Francesca Chudnoff for designing the most beautiful program cover (If you came, you can unfold the program into a poster!) To Joshua Classic Roots DePerry for going above and beyond with the music for RANKED.
This was the first time I produced a show with only my artistic work on the program. It was terrifying and exhausting but I genuinely couldn’t feel more supported!
Thank you to The Chimera Project for giving me the first space to create RANKED as a duet for FRESHBLOOD. Thank you Dai Kai Norman for being a part of RANKED in its early stages and Charles C Smith for programming it! Thank you to the countless volunteers and staff at The Toronto Fringe who believe in art and work so hard!
Thank you to the Indigenous Arts Councils at the Toronto Arts Council Ontario Arts Council - Conseil des arts de l'Ontario and Canada Council for the Arts | Conseil des Arts du Canada for the funding to put together a team I dreamed of working with.
I can’t wait to bring these works to life again!
Check out what people have been saying about RATED R!
JOIN US FOR OUR PRIDE SHOW! July 3rd 845pm at the Randolph Theatre.
Our second review for RATED R is in from Ted Fox of evidance!
"This double bill features two new works from Choreographer Aria Evans.
RElaps, the first piece, explores an abusive relationship. Takes place in an apartment. The set design consists of semi-abstract white blocks representing the furniture. Gives a feeling of glacial emptiness, of not being lived in. Reflects the couple's state of mind.
The dancers flirt with each other, waltz together and fall backwards trusting the other to catch them. Moments of tenderness and closeness like these are jarringly broken. Suddenly they are brutally shoving, hitting, throttling or torturing each other mentally and physically. Hand-held lights become torture instruments. We can feel the heat of a light on a face.
This cyclic behaviour of tenderness relapsing into violence continues throughout. Dancers Jesse Dell and Irvin Chow eloquently express their pain and suffering in both body language and facial expressions. A few times one supports the other in a way suggestive of a soldier wounded in combat.
This couple is a product of the society they live in. This multicultural society is vividly depicted in Ranked, the second piece. Here, lonely outsiders clash for dominance, control and human connections. There is speed prevalent in this piece for six dancers. Dancers rush madly in and out, oblivious to each other; and when they connect, it is brief and violent.
Ranked convincingly and metaphorically depicts race and gender interactions in today's multicultural melting pot society. As in RElaps, all seem unable to get out of behavioural patterns ingrained in their bodies and minds.
A powerful show."
Our first rave-review for RATED R is in from Mooney On Theatre!
"Aria Evans, the founder and Artistic Director of the Go To Company presents a visceral performance of Rated R to the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival at the Randolph Theatre.
The first half of the one hour performance had various lightbulbs strewn across the stage to form a large circle. From the first second the single light bulb lit up I knew I was in for a immersive theatre experience.
RElapse, the first show, showcased the talents of Irvin Chow and Jesse Dell, a couple trapped in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship. At one moment Chow and Dell would be tenderly embracing, and in the next violently throwing each other to the floor. Evans brilliantly captured the equal partnership in their dynamic–both were vulnerable and powerful.
At times it was difficult to watch the violence each person was inflicting, but the movement portrayed the couple’s relationship realistically, making me feel deeply sympathetic for the inescapable, cyclical nature of this hurtful partnership. There were only 3 instances of dialogue, which I thought were unnecessary. Evans did all the vital character work with the movement, which was enough to fully portray the meaning she was searching for in this relationship. The dialogue slowed down the fluidity of the piece.
The second show, RANKED, featured six dancers, exploring the daily struggles that those disenfranchised by race and gender experience on a day-to-day basis. The piece delved into power dynamics, asking the question; who has power and privilege in society?
Evan’s demanded a high level of commitment and strength from her dancers and they delivered a powerful, gripping, suspenseful performance. The performers pushed the physicality of dance to its limits, showcasing the athleticism and full potential of the human body.
At various moments the dancers were climbing, pushing, supporting and lifting each other, constantly challenging one another to reach the top of the social hierarchy. At one moment, the dancers faced the audience in a straight line, and Jasmyne Fyffe slowly began to climb and walk across each of their backs. This was just one instance where I held my breath waiting to see if the dancers could push their bodies’ boundaries even further.
Evans is an emerging interdisciplinary artist focusing on important and relevant cultural issues. If this is the work she is producing at the beginning of her artistic journey then it will be exciting to witness what Evans will produce throughout the rest of her career.
Evans created an engaging performance through movement, which is a testament to her vision and the talent of the performers. I would highly recommend this piece of theatre which is excitedly exploring new terrain."
RATED R has made two must-see Toronto Fringe lists!
The Toronto Star's Here’s everything you need to see at Fringe - For the socially conscious Fringe-goer
Narcity's 10 Toronto Fringe Festival Shows You Must See
RATED R made Barreworks "Toronto Fringe Festival: Our Top 6 Picks!"
In May Aria Evans joined the Signal Theatre team with Michael Greyeyes for a 2 week workshop of their new dance-opera Bearing where VICE stopped in for an interview ...
Artistic Director, Aria Evans, spent the day with Jumblies Theatre for their Talking Treaties workshop series where she facilitated the movement portion of their Oral History discussion! Over the next year the project will evolve and lead to a site-based installation at Fort York.
Our postcards for RATED R at The Toronto Fringe have been printed and we took the card thing seriously this year! A big shout out to the multitalented Jesse Dell for the brainstorming and design!
A moment captured in time by Kevin A. Ormsby while Artistic Director, Aria Evans, danced through intersections at Dundas Square for a mini documentary by Ella Cooper! Stay tuned for Fibe TV 1 programming announcements!
We are mid-way through our week-long intensive revisiting RElaps ... part of double bill RATED R at the Toronto Fringe Festival! The piece is taking form and I can't wait for June to continue developing the piece!
Working with these human beings is everything. Rehearsals are underway for RANKED ... part of double bill RATED R at the Toronto Fringe Festival! We have 7 shows happening between July 1st-10th at the Randolph Theatre!
April 29th 2016
HAPPY INTERNATIONAL DANCE DAY!
April 20th 2016
Music video "Sisters" ft Northern Voice by A Tribe Called Red where Aria Evans is one of three featured dancers has just hit over 1,000,000 views on Youtube!
April 12th 2016
The Go To Company is back in rehearsals for RElaps with Irvin Chow and Jesse Dell gearing up to our Toronto Fringe show RATED R. The festival runs from June 29th - July 10th and we will be sharing two new works with local audiences!
ISOLATION · DESIRE · POWER · CAPTIVITY · PRIVILEGE.
RATED R presents two new works investigating our cyclical behaviours and social perceptions. Take a voyeuristic look into a couple’s intimate relationship and confront the assumptions we make about privilege and power. Where are you RANKED and have you ever RElaps-ed?
8 Dancers · 2 Works · 1 Show.
Choreographer: Aria Evans
Cast: RElaps: Irvin Chow, Jesse Dell. RANKED: Jasmyn Fyffe, Peter Kelly, Pulga Muchochoma, Kassi Scott, Mateo Galindo Torres, Kathia Wittenborn.
Running Time: 60min.
Genres: Dance, Physical Theatre, Contemporary
April 1st 2016
Aria Evans is featured in this music video by Amanda Rheaume, featuring Chantal Kreviazuk. It is the first song off Amanda's new album, Red Dress.
This song is meant to honour the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls in Canada #MMIWG. Proceeds from the song will be donated to the Native Women's Association of Canada. The song and video were inspired by Jaime Black's The REDress Project.
PLEASE BUY THIS SONG and PLEASE SHARE THIS VIDEO!
BUY THE SONG: https://itunes.apple.com/…/red-dress-feat.-cha…/id1092210002
Artistic Director; Aria Evans has been invited to show a workshopped version of her new dance work RANKED at the University Of Toronto Scarborough during their Snider Lecture Series on March 22nd. The performance is co-sponsored by the Equity and Diversity office at the University. The event is open to faculty, students and the public as part of the University's commemoration of the Sharpeville Massacre's and the United Nations declared International Day for the Elimination of all forms of Racial Discrimination. The performance will be held in HW 305 with a duration of approximately 15 minutes and dancer/collaborators; Aria Evans, Damian Norman, Kassi Scott and Mateo Torres.
Artistic Director; Aria Evans has been in Vancouver, BC this past week working with Choreographer Sarain Carson-Fox and dancers Brian Solomon and Michael Demski to create a performance to open the 2016 Indspire Awards. Performing and collaborating alongside traditional Squamish dancers/singers and drummers; Spakwus Slulum. The group will be representing contemporary Indigenous dance.
Here are some photo's from the opening reception of Gaia and a video from one of the performance of Desiccated at the Galerie Amarrage in Paris, France.
December 28th 2015
The second exhibition for Gaïa; jette l'encre à La Basse Cour begins January 7th and runs until February 13th at the Galerie Amarrage in Paris, France. On January 9th and 10th Aria has been invited to perform an excerpt of Desiccated for gallery guests!
The Go To Company is a lottery winner for the 2016 Toronto Fringe! The festival runs July 29th - June 10th this summer and we can't wait to present two new works that are in development! Updates to come!
Artistic Director; Aria Evans has been commissioned to create a short dance work on herself around the topic of Indigenous language for this years Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance's 2015 Intertribal Gathering. The showcase is curated by Rhéanne Chartrand and directed by Alejandro Ronceria and explores how Indigenous artists across the Americas are reclaiming, re-engaging and revitalizing Indigenous languages in performance in unique and provocative ways that resonate with and reflect Pan-American Indigenous worldviews. The Intertribal Gathering closes Aluna Theatre's Caminos 2015 and kicks off Native Earth Performing Arts' Weesageechak Begins To Dance. The showcase will feature: Rosary Spence, Aqua~Nibii Waawaaskone, Rene Meshake, Lena Recollet, Rene Meshake, Joel Chief Moon, Ziibiwan, Adriana Alarcon, Jeremy Dutcher, Lido Pimienta and Aria Evans.
October 24th 2015
We are proud to announce that Desiccated has been curated to be a part of « Gaïa », an international exhibition during the Cop21 in Paris.
Here is a note from the curator www.juliartcurating.com:
" « Gaïa » explores the link between women and the 1 environment’s protection. « Gaïa » is an eco-exhibition, multicultural and interactive. The selection is international, gathering 24 artists from 11 countries. We are also exploring more sustainable ways of curating, by minimizing our ecological impact throughout the all organization process. Finally, we are keen on mixing different kinds of medium together, and showing traditional art medium next to more modern ones like interdisciplinary forms. In this context, we have been deeply interested by Aria Evans’ artistic approach. By exploring the crucial ecological question of water and it’s link to our identity, this deeply esthetic work will indeed bring its deep meaning to our selection. Thus, we have programmed a short film version of Desiccated to be showed during all the length of the exhibition. Cop21: UN International conference on climate change that will be held from November 30th to 1 December 11th 2015."
« Gaïa »
November 18th to Dec 10th: La maison bleue - Porte de Montmartre
January 7th to 21st: Galerie Amarrage
October 15th 2015
Here is a short trailer from the work in progress showing of ranked at FRESH BLOOD during the Harbourfront Centre's Next Steps series.
ranked (work in progress)
Some thoughts from the audience on ranked for closing night ...
Opening night for FRESH BLOOD was fantastic! We have one more performance tonight amongst 11 other talented emerging choreographers! Here are some photo's from the performance.
Fresh blood is just around the corner! Here is a blog post from The Harbourfront Centre about ranked: http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com
Here are some photo's from rehearsals for ranked ... Our performances with FRESH BLOOD are just around the corner. Join us October 6th and 7th at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre! We are performing among 14 other emerging artists, it will be a great show.
Exciting news! Aria Evans and The Go To Company have been curated to be a part of The Chimera Project's FRESH BLOOD in association with Harbourfront Centre. We will be showing a short 5 minute excerpt of a Work In Progress on October 6th and 7th 2015 at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre. The work is titled ranked, it explores the differing amounts of effort two people have to put in to get to the same place. The dancers are Kassi Scott and Damian Norman.
Our first review is in for Desiccated by Mooney On Theatre!
"Desiccated is a thoughtful and provocative multi-disciplinary work that examines the misuse and mistreatment of the world’s oceans.
The name of the play is also quite an appropriate choice, literally meaning ‘to dry up’. This theme is supported by the imagery and the movement choices that drew strong parallels to how fluid yet fragile our oceans really are.
The talented trio of Jesse Dell, Ana Groppler and Mateo Torres weave a mesmerizing narrative with each and every movement, brought to life by the eerily beautiful vocal accompaniment of Amir Brandon. The choreography is so fluid that it almost seems like they were legitimately moving underwater. Crisp lines and seamless interpersonal interaction perfectly set the scene for an emotional tale of tragedy and loss.
The set itself is almost entirely comprised of plastic water bottles, which not only create a stunning semi-transparent lighting effect, but also play an important part of the narrative structure. In one moment, the dancers become entangled in a chain of the plastic bottles. It is during this time that they give a compelling pantomime of struggling to their demise, much like the same way that many aquatic lifeforms are unnecessarily being harmed by ocean-wide pollution.
I really loved Desiccated for its powerful message and flawless execution, and have no hesitation placing it amongst my all-time favourite SummerWorks dance productions."
Desiccated opened at The Theatre Centre tonight! We close tomorrow at 645pm, here are some more photo's from the show.
Photo's from our tech rehearsal at The Theatre Centre for Desiccated! We open Saturday August 8th at 430pm and close Sunday August 9th at 645pm.
On Saturday I had the pleasure of visiting CIUT for their radio show Evi-Dance hosted by Ted Fox, we talked about Desiccated, SummerWorks and the double bill with LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL 2.0 ... here is an excerpt from the interview:
The SummerWorks Program Guides are here! Desiccated is listed under the Dance Series on page: 77
Here are some photo's from an abstracted excerpt of Desiccated presented for the SummerWorks Launch party at the Gardiner Museum as part of DOORS AT 6PM!
bellow photography by: Dahlia Katz - www.dahliakatz.com
Our Double Bill post-cards are ready for print!
On the road to Wasaga Beach to take some outdoor photo's for our show with SummerWorks August 8th and 9th at the Theatre Centre Mainspace!
We are loving being back in rehearsals this month gearing up for SummerWorks! New ideas and old ideas are merging together and the piece is starting to take form!
The dance cast of Desiccated headed uptown for an underwater photo shoot to capture some promotional images for their SummerWorks show in August! Stay tuned!
Exciting news! Yesterday was the official launch of the SummerWorks line up for their 25th Anniversary Season. Desiccated has been commissioned to be a part the festival which runs in Toronto from August 6th-16th. Desiccated will have two performances, one on August 8th and one on August 9th as part of a double bill in the festivals very first Dance Series. Stay connected for updates as the dates drawn nearer!