Returning Soldier Duet (from Souls 2001)

This exquisite duet is the beating heart of the Small/Oswald epic Souls.   Created by Holly Small for superb dance artists Lisa Otto and Robert Glumbek, it has been remounted for dancers at the Stratford Festival and for Glumbek and Laurence Lemieux who performed it at Dance Theatre Workshop in New York.

Radiant (excerpt)

Soloist — Michael Caldwell with Jessica Runge & Louis Laberge Coté 

Apparadiant (2014)

Choreography: Holly Small
Music: John Oswald
Lighting: William Mackwood
Costume: Katharine Mallinson
Dancers: Jessica Runge, Michael Caldwell

something stupid (fabulous) (2010)  

(aka Fabulous Stupid, aka Runaway Heart)

A rhythmic trio with comedic undertones. Commissioned for Art School Dismissed, a festival to celebrate the opening of ArtScape Young Place, Toronto in May 2010 (Artistic Director, Heather Nicol). Seen here the following October at the X Avant new music festival at the Music Gallery, Toronto (Artistic Director, Gregory Oh) featuring the same three stellar dancers (including a very pregnant Johanna Bergfelt) performing to a vintage plunderphonics work by John Oswald.

Choreographer: Holly Small
Composer: John Oswald
Dancers: Johanna Bergfelt, Jessie Dell, Graham McKelvie

a drowning (2010)
a meditation on death by drowning

Radiant — Next Generation

Several smaller-scale works grew out of the complex structure of the original full-length Radiant.  These include a drowning, developed from a solo section for Johanna Bergfelt; and Apparadiant, developed from a brief duet for Jessica Runge and Michael Caldwell.

Choreographer's note:  The impulse to create a drowning comes from my lifelong fear of open water that began on Christmas Eve 1955 when I was two years old. We were in a horse drawn sleigh on a routine crossing of the frozen St. Lawrence River.  The evening became suddenly mild; the ice broke; we all plunged into the dark frigid water. My father saved me; my mother saved my father and sister.  No one drowned except the horse, pulled to the river bottom by the heavy sleigh before anyone could unhitch him.  This is my earliest childhood memory.

Choreography: Holly Small
Music: excerpt from Quartet No. 8 by Dmitri Shostakovich performed by Kronos Quartet
Lighting: William Mackwood
Costume: Katharine Mallinson
Dancer: Johanna Bergfelt

Note: a revised version of a drowning is in the works for emerging dancer Oriah Wiersma. 

Radiant (variant) (2009)

In this ambitious work, Holly Small is drawn to investigate notions of death and speculate on a possible afterlife. Presented in partnership with Quebec City's Recto Verso and Méduse and Toronto's princess productions, dance: made in canada/fait au canada festival, Radiant is a compelling and unusual inter-disciplinary work featuring powerful performances by a cast of Toronto's finest dancers and musicians along with inter-active sound and images created by a collaborative team of seasoned innovators from Ontario and Quebec. Radiant was nominated for Dora Awards in all four categories — outstanding choreography, music, performance and production. 

“The supreme craftsmanship of Small's mesmerizing Radiant shows the full weight of her wisdom and experience."  (Paula Citron, Globe & Mail).

Concept, Choreography, Artistic Direction: Holly Small
Music and Images: John Oswald
Scenography: Emile Morin
Lighting: Pierre Lavoie

Videographer: Lionel Arnould

Sonographer: Philip Strong                                                                     
Costumes: Katharine Mallinson, Sashar Zarif
Dancers: Johanna Bergfelt, Keiko Kitano, Rebecca Mendoza, Jessica Runge, Michael Caldwell, Louis Laberge Coté
Musicians: Lina Allemano (trumpet), Nicolas Buligan (trumpet & flügelhorn), Jim Lewis (trumpet & flügelhorn), Nicole Rampersaud (trumpet),  Heather Segger née Saumer(trombone), Scott Thomson (trombone), Doug Tielli(trombone) & Steve Ward (trombone).

Souls (2001)

Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike for the beauty of its choreography and the power of its anti-war statement, Souls featured a cast of 45 performers ranging in age from 10 to 71.  Four years in the making, it was produced in partnership with Canadian Children's Dance Theatre with support along the way from Older & Reckless, Dusk Dances, Spring Rites and Series 8:08.  Souls was named “one of the year’s 10 best” dance productions in both The Globe and Mail and NOW Magazine.

“Takes dance into a new dimension.” (Susan Walker, Toronto Star)
“A cast of superbly seasoned performers.” (Michael Crabb, National Post)
“Stunning choreography, beautifully danced.  A reason to forsake nihilism” (Jeff Stickney, critic-at-large)

Choreography & Artistic Direction: Holly Small
Composer/Music Director: John Oswald
Lighting Design: Roelof Snippe
Costume Design: Katharine Mallinson

Performers: Carol Anderson, Tom Brouillette, Darcey Callison, Susan Cash, Robert Glumbek, Sharon Harvey, Donald Himes, Allen Kaeja, Karen kaeja, Jean-Aimé Lalonde, Susan Lee, Laurel McDonald, Learie McNicolls, Rebecca Mendoza, Stefanie Mendoza, Viv Moore, Matjash Mrozewski, Lisa Otto, Ronald Taylor, Darryl Tracy, Stephanie Thompson, Eryn Dace Trudell
Members of Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre: Ryan Atkins, Cassidy Bankson, Britton Darby, Danielle Denichaud, Belinda McGuire, Brian Lawson, Liz Kinoshita, Meredith Kinoshita, Simi Rowen, Aliz Rutsey, Gillian Tinsley, Marina usher, Nevada Zabol

le cadavre exquis / Frankenstein (1998)

This remarkable work was the brainchild of composer John Oswald who commissioned 22 choreographers of national and international note to create choreographic miniatures to excerpts of music composed especially for each of them. Holly Small served as what Oswald termed “executive choreographer," collecting the miniatures and weaving them into a complex quilt of choreography. It premiered in 1995 in a critically acclaimed program of Oswald/Small collaborations called WX, produced at the DuMaurier Theatre, Harbourfront by Autumn Leaf Performance (Artistic Director, Thom Sokolowski). It was remounted in 1998 for the Canada Dance Festival at the NAC, Ottawa (Artistic Director, Cathy Levy).

Concept and Music: John Oswald
Executive Choreographer: Holly Small
Choreographers: Conrad Alexandrowicz, Anna Blewchamp, Darcey Callison, Bill Coleman, Sean Curran, William Douglas, Karen Duplisea, Denise Fujiwara, Margie Gillis, Johanna Householder, Pam Johnson, Bill T. Jones, James Kudelka, Pascal Landry, Laurence Lemieux, Jennifer Mascall, Joan Phillips, Paula Ravitz, Alan Risdill, Lin Snelling, Tom Stroud, Savannah Tennessee Walling
Lighting Design: Bonnie Beecher
Stage Design: Vicky Anderson
Costume Design: Katharine Mallinson
Dancers: Peter Chin, Bill Coleman, Karen Duplisea, Susan Lee, Laurence Lemieux, Michael Sean Marye, Andrea Nann
WXtras: Danielle Baskerville, Darren Bonin, Dawn Breda, Elijah Brown, Dawne Carlton, Paul DeAdder, Day Helesic, Rochelle Hum, Heather Low, Rachael Lutes, Robin McPhail, Miko Sobreira, Oliver Southern, Heidi Strauss, Shelley-ann Walker, Laura West, Lorraine White

The Headless Woman (work in progress)

This video-in-progress is part of Small's creative research for Museum of Missing Things, a new collaboration with renowned Irish poet Doireann Ni Ghriofa and composer/media artist John Oswald.  Shot in Toronto on the shores of Lake Ontario, it is conceived and directed by Holly Small, shot and edited by John Oswald and features the fearless, beautiful dancer Rebecca Mendoza.