As the artistic director and founder of Conteur Dance Company, Eryn Waltman’s life revolves — make that pirouettes — around dance. For a truly unique experience, check out Waltman tomorrow night in re(MIX), an exploration of choreographic movement material from re(ACT), which was notably Conteur Dance Company’s most recent show. We caught up with Waltman on the eve of the re(MIX) show at the Mod Club to find out more about her exciting career in dance.
Be sure to check out re(MIX) at the Mod Club (722 College Street) on Wednesday, December 18, at 9pm.
When did you know dancing was what you were meant to do?
I think I always knew. Dancing and choreographing feels innate. When I create, the process feels so natural. I’ve been choreographing for as long as I can remember. Even as a young girl, I would set combinations on my sister on a daily basis and then put on shows in our backyard for an audience of neighbours. Dancing has and will always be a part of my life in a large way. I can’t imagine ever fully quenching my passion for creating new art.
What inspired you to start Conteur?
Throughout my growth as a dancer, I was lucky to have extremely inspirational, talented and humble people surrounding me – whether it be the teachers who led my development with their passion or the dancers around me who carried themselves as genuine artists and worked with the utmost professionalism and maturity. As I got older, I started to notice that many of the talented Canadian dancers around me felt the need to leave for the opportunity that existed outside of the country. Slowly they left, and I remember always thinking to myself how upsetting it was that there was not enough opportunity to keep them here – to support a stable career in their home country. Back then it became my dream to do something in Canada that would provide opportunities for dancers. I wanted to create a sustainable option for dancers. We only have one life and I believe it’s important to use the time we have to do the things that we ‘re passionate about, to work to make our dreams come true. I have always been taught to believe in making the impossible possible and that you have to fight for what you believe in. It was with this mind set, and these values, that drove me to develop and launch Conteur Dance Company.
What dance performance have you watched that has impacted you the most?
I admire so many performers, choreographers and artists in the industry. One of my personal favourite choreographers is Crystal Pite. Everything she creates is refined and impactful. She is a leading force in the industry, an innovator, and I have the utmost respect for her. I also admire how she has contributed to Canada’s reputation on the international stage for modern/contemporary dance. Her accomplishments with Kidd Pivot have made a lasting impression on the industry and have provided me with constant inspiration.
What has been your greatest career moment?
Although I have had many fulfilling moments thus far in my career, I think my greatest accomplishment has been seeing the impact of Conteur. Conteur is an umbrella for a professional contemporary company, and it also has a post secondary academy, which trains pre-professional dancers and prepares them for their careers. For me, if I had to pick one special moment it would the first time that I witnessed standing ovation after Conteur’s first company show. It was in that moment that I realized that my dream had come true.
What are 3 things that you can’t live without?
My husband, my family, and dance!
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
I can always find new places to explore and things to see. There are endless opportunities, and always more to find out about the city that I didn’t know before.
What’s your favourite restaurant and why?
My soft spot is definitely for Japanese food, specifically sushi. If I had to pick just one, I would definitely pick Wabora!
What products are always in your grooming bag?
If you were to open my purse you would always find: music and headphones, a cell phone, a hair brush, perfume, Burt’s Bees wax lip balm, deodorant, a gluten-free energy bar of some sort, my journal, and maybe some unpaid parking tickets.
Let’s get social for a mo’. How can people stay up-to-date with your busy life?
You can always stay updated on what’s going on in my life by checking out any of the social media sites. I’m on all of them (and way too often!): Facebook, Twitter (@erynwaltman and @conteurdance) and Instagram (@erynwaltman and @conteurdance). You could also check out Conteur’s website, www.conteurdance.com and my YouTube page.
Check out the re(ACT) trailer below!