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Integration, a modern dance that shows connection

Choreographer Tara Schaufele's show performs at The Point Artist-Run Centre
Highs and lows Integration, a new dance piece by choreographer Tara Schaufele, is getting its world premiere at the Point. Photo submitted

Artistic talent can pop up in the unlikeliest of places.

Consider how Stephen Vogler, the executive director of the Point Artist-Run Centre, met dancer and choreographer Tara Schaufele.

"I met her for the first time during the summer. She was doing some work for the municipality, she was (at the Point on Alta Lake) checking the water quality," he laughs.

"We started talking and she said that she really wanted to create a dance piece, she told me she studied it in Alberta, and I said (the Point) would be a great place to do it. She also got involved with Crossing Lines (a modern dance performance in August), and I was blown away by what an incredible dancer she is.

"She pulled everything together for this, the dancers and the music."

Schaufele says she talked to Vogler for several minutes while carrying out her water assessment before she realized he could help her organize her dreamed-of show.

"I had this idea that I wanted to do this dance performance and I started asking him about the Point. I told him that I always thought it would be neat to do it there. And then he said, 'Actually... I'm involved with it.'"

The result is Integration, a new dance that Schaufele says shows how different styles of dance depend on each other. The performance takes place at The Point on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 7 p.m.

"It's a combination of different types of dances. It doesn't compete with itself in the sense of a dance-off, but is more about different styles — as in when people say 'jazz is my style' or 'ballet is my style.' As the piece goes on, the dancers slowly learn that maybe they can all do their own styles, but together," says Schaufele, who has lived in Whistler for six years.

Integration's music includes jazz, hip hop, world music, folk and classical.

"To be a good dancer, you can't just do jazz or just do ballet. They all depend on each other. When I go to a performance I find it's just a ballet performance, or just hip hop... but the reality with most dancers is that they do it all," Schaufele says.

Adds Vogler: "There are boundaries that don't get crossed that often (in different types of dance), and she is trying to explore that. What is the hard line between them all, or does one even exist?"

Schaufele studied dance and choreography at MacEwan University in Edmonton, and says she has taught classes at Meadow Park, and worked with LB Productions and the Vibe Dance Centre. She has also choreographed theatre productions in Vancouver.

Schaufele brought in five dancers for Integration — Jackie Bristow, Carly Naesgaard, Courtney Davis, Magdalena Regdos, and Susie Douglas — to accompany her.

The dancers are both amateur and professional; some are former students and others were recommended to her.

"As soon as word got out about the show I'd be contacted by people who would tell me they used to be a contemporary dancer. It is so surprising how many people there are, and they had no idea that I was even offering classes, let alone that any other dance community here existed," she says.

She added that Integration is a moving dance piece, which means that the audience will shift positions as the dancers use the entire floor space at the Point.

Modern dance has found an interesting home at The Point, with Integration, she says.

"There is an interesting gap and I think a lot of people like to see dance," she says.

Vogler agrees that there are many talented, artistic people drawn to Whistler who are not performing their art full time, but who can bring their talent to the Point to create something new.

"In my mind, I see dance as a rich art form. It's at the level we try to do stuff at, the level of art at the highest form we can manage. It is great to run into people like Tara, who are working at that level," he says.

"It underscores why we need a hub like the Point. Different things like Integration can crop up naturally, out of the creative community."

Following the performance Vogler and Mike Faiella, who perform together in the band Some Assembly Required, will play a set.

Tickets are $23 and can be purchased at Armchair Books in the Village or at