MAHAILA PATTERSON-O’BRIEN is an emerging choreographer in Vancouver, BC, located on the unceded, ancestral, and occupied, traditional lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Nations of the Coast Salish peoples.
She holds a BFA (Hons.) in Dance from SFU School for the Contemporary Arts where she studied with Judith Garay, Henry Daniel, Rob Kitsos, Cheryl Prophet and Marla Eist. She has also studied at The School for Contemporary Dancers in Winnipeg, MB, and at The University of Winnipeg. Other influential mentors have included Maiko Yamamoto, Justine A. Chambers, Susan Elliot, Wen Wei Wang, Jennifer Mascall (MascallDance), and Constance Cooke.
As a choreographer her work has been presented at multiple venues, including Dancing on the Edge 2018+2019, Victoria Dance Days 2018+2019, Dance in Vancouver 2019+2017, Project CPR (Choreographic Practice and Research), 12 Minutes Max (The Dance Centre), Dance Allsorts (New Works), ROMP! Festival of Dance 2015 + 2017 (Victoria). In Fall 2019 she was commissioned to set a new work on the SFU School for the Contemporary Arts Dance students.
She was selected to participate in the inaugural Dance Victoria Choreographic Lab in 2017 mentored by Wen Wei Wang and returned in 2019 under the mentorship of Justine A. Chambers and Susan Elliott.
In 2016 she came together with fellow artists Felicia Lau and Erika Mitsuhashi to form the collective Farouche. They made their debut with a self produced show at the Gold Saucer. They have gone on to participate in the Simon Fraser University’s SCA Alumni Dance Lab (2017), were artists and residence at the Anvil Centre (2017), facilitated a workshop with the first year students of the SFU Dance program (2017), and premiered their first full length work, We Talk Disco One Day, at the Gold Saucer (2018).
This story takes place a long time ago in a future that has not yet arrived. It begins with two beings in a mid-light world. One asks “Will you show me who you really are?” The other peels the skin back and says, “ .”
Some things are best left unexplained.
Mid-Light is a multi-disciplinary work involving movement, projection, sound, and text.
Each section is a moment. A moment is not the full picture. One is a beginning, another a middle, and then an end. They do not come from the same picture. They are not a journey from start to finish. Each moment is a window, an opportunity to peer into an existence that is not your own. Or maybe, they are a moment to recognize something that has so far remained intangible. They are not held by the rules of time. They exist in a vacuum of space. They are simple and distant, and it is hard to tell if the characters are human or something else entirely. They are worlds of fiction and gesture.
MID-LIGHT is the third project to be commissioned for T/R’s COLLIDER Residency, a program built around PushOFF to foster artistic practice among Vancouver performance-makers. Future development is scheduled throughout 2019 & 2020.
Photos by Sepehr Samimi
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