New Choreography by Michael Du Maresq
Dancing Barefoot with Patti
featuring Leanne Dixon
based on Patti Smith's poetry
April 15-18, 1998

The poetry of rocker Patti Smith was the motivating force behind a new physicality in the work of Michael Du Maresq. The result, Dancing Barefoot with Patti, danced by Leanne Dixon, was premiered in an evening of Du Maresq's choreography at Artword Theatre, 81 Portland Street, running four nights: April 15 to 18 at 8 pm.

Du Maresq came upon a recently-released collection of poems that the rock poet and performer had written from 1970-1979. "Immediately, I was struck by the visceral beauty of her language, and her evocative images. Her street-smart sensibility is crude, but at the same time she is not afraid to show her vulnerability. I love the stream-of-consciousness voyage she embarks on, opening so many doors, and leaving predictability way behind."

Capturing the spontaneity and primal energy of the poems demanded a raw physicality that was new and scary. He began to explore a much more visceral approach in improvisational exercises, generating movement through a body-centering use of images.

"Leanne Dixon is the first and only dancer that sprang to mind when I began to conceive of this dance," Du Maresq says. "Leanne has a powerful, unaffected presence and an awesome facility for improvisation, always searching for new ways to move. Since work began on the Patti Smith piece, Dixon has had a child. Now she has started triathlon training, and has already run her first marathon. Both these experiences will unquestionably support the physical nature of the work."

The evening includes a second new work, Blue Button, an exploration of memory, inspired by photographic childhood memories. Du Maresq is also revisiting Parenthetical Pillows, a sextet for three dancers and three pillows, acclaimed as "clever" and "a popular favourite" by the Toronto Star.

Michael Du Maresq has appeared at Artword Theatre in Echo and Narcissus, a collaboration with Artword's artistic director Ronald Weihs and dancer/choreographer Hedy Minten. Michael likes appearing at Artword because its cross-disciplinary focus encourages people who do not generally go to dance events to come and see what contemporary dance has to offer.

Michael Du Maresq is a Toronto-based dancer/choreographer. His work has been presented at Dances for a Small Stage, fFida, the Vancouver Fringe Festival and the 8:08 Series. Most recently his work Treading Light was premiered at fFida '96 and acclaimed by Dance International as "a powerful trio… performed with intense commitment…" As a dancer Michael has worked with choreographers Kim Frank, Sarah Chase, Michelle Silagy and Judith Miller. Currently he is in preproduction for his first dance film, Hollow.

Leanne Dixon, trained at the School of the Toronto Dance Theatre, has worked with various choreographers and created many of her own works. Most recently she has been attending the University of Hard Knocks. Continually curious about physicality in all forms, Leanne is pursuing triathalon racing and marathons, inspired by the body's raw ability to push beyond its boundaries. Always coming back to dance, Leanne is most alive in this image-ful and essential physical form that she believes to be inherent in all living things. She is currently residing in Toronto with her spouse David and her three-year-old daughter Geneviève Dixie.