Season 35 
DANCE CRUSH

monolith

A dance film by Tia Ashley Kushniruk

Streaming live on:

  • April 16 — 7PM MST
  • April 17 — 2PM MST

Made possible by The Canada Council for the Arts, monolith illustrates how women are exploited by powerful figures, oftentimes under the guise of good intentions. The main character, Subject 71 is confined to an existence where she must meet the expectations and cater to the demands of The Monitor: a narcissistic and malicious being whose masked face continues to glare with manipulative expression. The Monitor’s commands may be delivered with grace but are in fact insane and inhumane. Subject 71 has no choice but to smile and appease. Her own existence, purpose, and dreams are directly tied to The Monitor’s whims and can be taken away at any moment.

The themes in monolith speak to the experience of many female artists who are placed in situations where they are expected to obey those in higher positions without asking “why?” or even “is this appropriate?” Danced by Kushniruk herself, the sentiment is drawn from her own experiences as a professional dancer.

The character of The Monitor, a face-mirroring animation, was created by animator Kristen Innes Stambolic and is heavily inspired by the character Hexadecimal, known for her villainous facial expressions, from the Canadian computer-animated TV series Reboot. The production’s writer and director, Rizwan Mohuiddin, also voices the character.

Additional collaborators on this project include Susannah Haight (Costume Consultant); Emmett Verhoog (Original Score); Ileanna Cheladyn (Rehearsal Director/Movement Director); Jake Tkaczyk (Production Manager); Nicholas Lehmann (Cinematographer/Editor); Alexander Boldt (Videographer); and Kenzie Bowes (Lighting Designer).

This film touches on serious topics and comes with a trigger warning for those sensitive to topics such as sexual assault.

Tickets are ‘pay what you can’ with a suggested price of $15 to support programming. Those unable to purchase a ticket at this time are welcome to a free ticket.

   

About Tia Ashley Kushniruk

Tia Ashley Kushniruk graduated from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre (STDT) in 2017 and received the Kathryn Ash Scholarship in 2016. She has performed works of Antony Hamilton, Paul Andre-Fortier, Peggy Baker, Aria Evans, Christopher House, Shay Kuebler (SK/RSA), Christianne Ullmark, and Jasmyn Fyffe – touring Nationally in Canada and Internationally to Israel, The U.S.A, Colombia, China, and France.

Collaborators

Susannah Haight (Costume Consultant)
Susannah Haight is a Multidisciplinary artist based out of Montreal & Toronto. With her root’s in Dance, Susannah grew up performing on stage, focusing her attention on expression through movement. She attended high school at Etobicoke School of the Arts, graduating as a recipient of “The Edward Lam Memorial Scholarship”, presented by internationally acclaimed Canadian design firm Moss & Lam. Susannah Completed her post secondary education at École de danse contemporaine de Montréal in 2017.

Emmett Verhoog (Original Score)
“Verhoog” ( A.K.A Emmett Verhoog ) is a Canadian Producer, Songwriter, and Musician, who is best known as a soulful crooner, specializing in alternative R&B. With over 1,500 followers and subscribers on Spotify and Apple Music, his content has over 1.5 million total plays since 2016. Through original score Verhoog has collaborated and performed with several other canadian artists such as: The Kount, WahWahJames, Susannah Haight, Max Bishop and Sara Linares Arbelaez, and international artist Khudosoul. He has released several singles and one EP, amassing a decent 1.5 million plays, amongst 1.65 thousand followers and active listeners. He has a burning passion for music — which started as a child — having an older brother who played guitar, but not much else influenced him musically. Since 2002, when he first picked up a bass guitar, he has never given up on his passion for music.
In May 2016, His first independent single release ‘Forget Her’ was featured on Spotify’s algorithmic ‘ Fresh Finds’ playlist, starting his budding fanbase and steady growth. Following this minor success, Verhoog filmed and released a video for ‘Forget Her’, being picked up by music blog Music Crowns , and even retweeted by Blog TO. Verhoog has been taking a backseat lately in terms of personal music endeavours as “Verhoog”, and is currently focused on broadening his reach as a composer, producer, and songwriter.

Ileanna Cheladyn (Rehearsal Director/Movement Director)
Ileanna Sophia Cheladyn is a dance artist and anthropologist who practices and lives with deep solidarity to the Coast Salish lands that host her and her collaborators. Her work is critical of prescriptive mind/body dualisms and canonical approaches to kinesthetic experience. She makes movement and text based art in discrete, devoted, and rigorous ways. Awkward from a young age, Ileanna enjoys working disciplinarily in an undisciplined way. Currently, Ileanna is playing in a framework of embodied agency and legibility to sense through that magical moment of choice-making and decision-taking in dance improvisation.

Andrea Handal Rivera (Admin)
Andrea (she/her) is a stage manager and arts coordinator based in Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton), and holds a degree from the University of Alberta’s BFA Stage Management Program. Select theatre and festival credits include: The Garneau Block (Citadel Theatre), Crave (StoneMarrow Theatre), The Roommate (Shadow Theatre), Les Feluettes (Edmonton Opera), Edmonton International Fringe™ Theatre Festival (Fringe Theatre Adventures: 2016-2020).

Jake Tkaczyk (Production Manager)
Jake is an Edmonton-based theatre artist with a passion for creating new and engaging work collaboratively. He graduated from the BFA Acting at the University of Alberta and is currently in the midst of his PhD in Creative Practice from the Transart Institute and Liverpool John Moores’ University. Also a graduate of Red Deer College’s Theatre Performance and Creation program, Jake has worked as an actor, director, creator, and educator in central Alberta. His selected acting credits include: MR. BURNS, A POST-ELECTRIC PLAY (Blarney Productions/You are Here), MERK DEUX SOLEIL (Dammit Tammy), HOPE SOUP (Snowflake Productions), LUNGS (Shadow Theatre) KALDRSAGA (Cardiac Theatre), THAT’S DANGER! (Alberta Workers’ Health Centre), WITH BELLS ON, DON’T FROWN AT THE GOWN (Guys in Disguise), DEAD CENTRE OF TOWN CURIO SHOPPE, X, XI (Catch the Keys Productions), URINETOWN (Grindstone Theatre), YOU’RE A GOOD MAN CHARLIE BROWN! (Opera Nuova). Directing and creating credits include: POST, LIKE, SHARE – BEWARE!, THE BIG FAT SURPRISE, ALL PROCEEDS GO TO, and PRIDE AND PRE-JEU-DICE (innocent operations), THE LAND THAT ART FORGOT (Mile Zero Dance), and DEVOUR CONTENT HERE (Kristine Nutting.) Jake had the extreme pleasure of working as an Artist Intern at Northern Light Theatre for a few years and is currently the Program Coordinator at Theatre Alberta. Jake recently received the AFA Young Artist Prize.

Rizwan Mohiuddin (Director/Co-writer)
Rizwan Mohiuddin is a stand up comedian from Edmonton, Alberta. His performance research includes parkour, boxing, dance, and voice.

Nicholas Lehmann (Cinematographer/Editor)
Nicholas studied business at the U of A (2018). He has worked in video editing and video production at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (2018-2020), and moved to Toronto last summer to work as a freelance video editor.

Alexander Boldt (Videographer)
Alex Boldt is a videographer and editor from Edmonton, Alberta. He graduated from Red Deer College’s Theatre Production Program in 2013 and Motion Picture Arts program in 2015 and has done various video, sound and projections work on theatre productions including Hagar (at Edmonton Fringe Festival), The Water Show (at the Timms Center, UofA) and others. His film credits include Refraction, Storyhive’s Ugly Girl, and Damned Rites. Currently, he is working as an editor on Spearphishing, a feature length crime drama to be released in 2021, as well as a 2D animator on an upcoming independent short film. He is proficient with various types of cameras, lighting equipment and editing software and looks forward to exploring new ways to tell stories!

Kristen-Innes Stambolic (Arts Animator)
Kristen-Innes Stambolic is a Toronto born and based interdisciplinary artist. Her work involves dance, video, animation, projection and editing to create visuals that explore the possibilities of what dance on film can be. Her process is very collaborative in nature working with dancers, musicians and videographers. Stambolic is a 2018 graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and the 2018 recipient of The Winchester Prize for choreographic distinction. Stambolic is a long time collaborator of Tia Kushniruk and is excited to be working with her again in 2020/21 on a new creation.

Kenzie Bowes (Lighting Designer)
Kenzie is currently attending the University of Alberta for Theatre Production. Now in her third year, she has done a variety of lighting design and technical work. Previously, she has worked as a technician for the Calgary Fringe Festival and collaborated with Tia Kushniruk and Jenna Mazur at Left of Main (Vancouver) for ‘Deep Sea Research in Progress’. Kenzie’s previous design credits include The New Works Festival (UofA Drama Department) and Welcome to Thebes (UofA Drama Department).

Dedra McDermott (Talkback Moderator)
Dedra McDermott is a new generation artist of colour, working as a professional dancer, emerging choreographer, producer, and movement dramaturg based in Tkaronto (Toronto). The scope of her performance career includes the diverse worlds of theatre, film and television. Currently, her artistic practice utilizes autoethnographic methodology to weave both movement and literary choreographies to create live and filmed works. Her work focuses on identity, memory, and exploring what it means to reconstitute the voice and bodily presence as a way of decolonizing the self. Dedra McDermott is a recipient of the Metcalf Foundation Performing Arts Internship, focussing on Artistic Production (Curation and Dramaturgy) at Canadian Stage and adelheid for 2021-22.

Show Credits

Concept/Dancer – Tia Ashley Kushniruk

Director/Co-writer – Rizwan Mohiuddin

Cinematographer/Editor – Nicholas Lehmann

Lighting Designer – Kenzie Bowes

Music – Emmett Verhoog

Rehearsal Director/Movement Director – Ileanna Cheladyn

Arts Animator – Kristen-Innes Stambolic

Videographer – Alexander Boldt

Production Manager – Jake Tkaczyk

Admin – Andrea Handal Rivera

Talk Back Moderators

– Dedra McDermott April 16

-Ileanna Cheladyn April 17

MZD Support for Live Stream

Technical Director – Trent Crosby

Front of House/ Chat Moderator – Elise Jason