Thea Patterson

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  • Delegated production since 2024

Thea Patterson is a Tiohti:áke/Montreal based choreographer, performer, and dance dramaturg. Her performance practice revolves around an acute set of questions regarding the body, objects, perception, vitality, and time. Her early choreographic works include Rhyming Couplets (2008), and A Soft Place to Fall (2006) (which was made into a BravoFACT film) and the dance I cannot do (2013). An interest in collaborative models led to the co-founding of the collective The Choreographers (20072011) who went on to make several works together including Man and Mouse (2008) and OH! Canada (2011).

From 2007 to 2015 she was dramaturg, and co-artistic director with Peter Trosztmer and Jeremy Gordaneer on seven acclaimed works, including Eesti: Myths and Machines (2011) and #Boxtape (2014). She has provided dramaturgical counsel for many independent choreographers including Andrew Turner, Nate Yaffe, Sasha Kleinplatz, Lois Brown and Katie Ward. From 2014 – 2016 she completed a Research Creation Master’s degree at DAS Choreography in Amsterdam which explored emergent choreographic forms, and other methods for altering aspects of spectatorship. Thea has several ongoing collaborations, as a dramaturg, and collaborator, choreographer and performer in Montreal, Portugal, Edmonton, and Newfoundland. Her work Silvering (2020) was presented at Mile Zero Dance in Edmonton and her latest work Un-nevering (2023) was presented at the Festival OFFTA in Montreal.

As well, she is a SSHRC funded PhD candidate in Performance Studies at the University of Alberta and from 2019 – 2021 was co-editor-in-chief of Intonations, an online Graduate run journal.

Artistic intent

My practice is defined by a desire to create work that questions the parameters of the form, and the lines that divide the disciplines. I am often found in the company of objects, whose dramaturgical agency and collaboration allows me to decentre the human in the frame, allowing for the liveliness of other entities and forces to inform the work. As I move the dance out from my centralized subjectivity and into other things, the space, the air, the sound, each with their own subjectivity and desires, I open to the possibility that there is a larger intelligence at work than just my own.

This allows for the emergence of meaning, and in movement that expands definitions of dancing. My focus is not in the achievement of virtuosic feats of physicality but in the way the bodies and objects can potentially carry and express multiplicity and where virtuosity is found in the tiniest of gestures and in the potential of failure.

And sometimes… The best possible solution might be to fail… To fall in love with the uncertainty, to love the stretch, the confusion… To love the demand of it, and the expression of it. To love the desire… To love its drops and slides to conversation and back again… To love being suspended in a space of waiting and delayed gratification as a space of conviviality and discovery. To love the difficulty, the doubt, the hesitation. To love the push against the conceptual boundaries of where the thing is or what it is. To love the paradox and the refusal to yield to demands for clarity. To love the hesitation. To love the possibility in it all. To love the dance that appears and disappears or is found in the exchange of words or the air that passes… And to love it hard.