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EXCLUSIVE: Mark Segal Dances on Windows and Walls… Literally

Meet Mark Segal- Toronto dancer and circus performer starring in ‘Divergent Dances for Windows and Walls’.

By: Ashley Baylen
Published: July 26th, 2012 in Culture » Art » Interviews
Mark Segal on the exterior wall of Bata Shoe MuseumPic: Brandy Leary

If you have walked by Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum on Bloor St over the past few weeks, you have most likely been awe-struck by Anandam Dancetheatre’s rehearsal of ‘Divergent Dances for Windows an Walls.’ The new choreographic installation, under the direction of Brandy Leary, combines aerial arts and dance showcasing performers on the exterior walls of the museum.

The innovative performance engages audiences and passersby into Leary’s unique world of malleable environmental sculptures, choreography, and exploration of human relationships “through the lens of public space, urban architecture, participatory arts practices, and gravity, using post modern dance techniques and contemporary rope-based aerial work”, according to a press release.

Shalom Life had the opportunity to speak with one of ‘Divergent Dances for Windows and Walls’ performers, Mark Segal, about his involvement in the project and his interest in circus performing.

‘Divergent Dances for Windows and Walls’ runs until July 28th, and is the second of three installments in ‘The Precipice Project’.

For more information, visit www.anandam.ca

Ashley Baylen (AB): Your new art installation at the Bata Shoe Museum looks incredible! Can you tell us a little about the inspiration behind this project ‘Divergent Dances for Windows and Walls’?

Mark Segal (MS): It is my understanding that the inspiration behind this piece comes from the idea of installing the human body into the space in the same way that art / sculpture etc. is installed into museums and galleries. Also to break down the disconnect between audience and performer. We are not performers and you are not observers in the traditional sense. We are creating an experience or choreography together. Us you and the architecture.

AB:You trained at the Toronto School for Circus Arts. Why did you decide to pursue circus training initially?

MS: I dunno...I was so intrigued when I heard there was a school in Toronto, and then when I saw it...I didn't really have a choice.


AB: Why did you decide to use the Bata Show Museum as the location for this art installation?

MS: The head choreographer and creator of the show, Brandy Leary, has a relationship with Bata and her and her company Anandam have staged performances here before. I believe this is a continuation of a series that was started last year. I am new working with Anandam and that's as much as I know about that!

AB: What makes ‘Divergent Dances for Windows and Walls’ unique?

MS: I believe the approach this show is taking to the relationship between audience and performer is very unique. We are all sharing an immediate experience with each other and therefore all caring directly for each others comfort enjoyment safety and well being within that experience.

AB: What other projects are you working on?

MS: I am working in a puppet play this summer with the theatre company Frolic. I will be shooting a short film at the end of aug and I have three other circus gigs coming up in Aug.

AB: What kind of reactions have you been getting from passersby during rehearsals?

MS:Very positive reactions overall. Its always something I guess, to be walking down the street and all of a sudden see a bunch of people hanging from their ankles 30 feet up or rolling around on the sidewalk....the usual reactions I suppose!

AB: Do you plan on touring this installation or will the 4-day run at the Bata Shoe Museum be the only chance for people to see it?

MS: It is my understanding that this 4 day run is the only opportunity that people will have to see this particular show..... but I could be wrong!

Related articles: Divergent Dances on Windows and Walls, Brandy Leary, Mark Segal, Bata Show Museum, Toronto, Aerial Dancing, Circus, Dance, Art Installation, Toronto, Anandam Dancetheatre, Unique
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