Commission of New Dance Work

The Cause

Good Women Dance Collective (GWDC) will commission local emerging choreographer, Diego Ramalho, to create a new full length work over a 5 week rehearsal period as part of our 23/24 season. This project is a chance to bridge the gap between artists from different genres and to support both emerging and professional dance artists at a time in the season when dance work is extremely limited.

Diego Ramalho is a permanent company member of Ballet Edmonton (BE); a contemporary ballet company that has recently seen huge success across Canada. Diego’s involvement with BE focuses on performing company works, but in the past couple of years he has developed an interest in choreography. We became familiar with Diego’s first choreographic work last summer (2022) during Mile Zero Dance’s The Magpie Collection Dance Festival. His piece, Valei Me, captivated our attention due to its soft and dynamic physicality, strong musicality, and because of the ways in which his Brazilian background influenced and nourished the piece. Diego is an extremely accomplished dancer whose emerging choreographic practice has been shaped by his artistic experiences performing in Canada and internationally. Commissioning him for this project will foster a connection between the ballet and contemporary communities in Edmonton, which continue to be isolated from each other despite the vast learning opportunities that could be achieved through collaboration. Bridging this gap will lead to more artists being supported to explore beyond their comfort zones, the sharing of physical practices and artistic approaches to creation between artists, and a more dynamic arts community in general.

GWDC and Diego’s combined vision for the rehearsal process is for it to provide Diego with a creative freedom that is not accessible in a hierarchical company setting, while also challenging the dancers to work and move outside of their comfort zones.

At the end of the rehearsal process, there will be a public showing/sharing to receive feedback from our peers and generate interest from local presenters. This sharing will be documented so that we could have footage to use as support material for production grants/touring opportunities.

Who Will it Benefit?

The main motivation of this project is to support an emerging choreographer while bridging the gap between the ballet and contemporary communities. In turn, supporting Diego challenges and develops the artistry of those involved. Moreover, summer is also a 'down time' for companies and dancers have a hard time finding income when they are contracted for only certain months of the year. Artists go from full time dancing to no work and it can be a scramble to find a job that fills in the blanks; we see there’s a strong need for both BE and GWDC artists to find work at the same time and this project is a step towards alleviating that need. Additionally, GWDC aims to support Diego, who immigrated to Canada from Brazil, as he branches out from performing and explores choreographing outside of a traditional company structure.

Specifically, 5 dance artists, a choreographer, a composer, 2 deaf consultants and 3 ASL interpreters will benefit from an exciting, collaborative rehearsal process. The Edmonton arts community as a whole will benefit from seeing new work emerge from this unique collaboration. Both the ballet and contemporary dance communities will benefit from an opportunity to connect and share ideas. It is an opportunity for growth and to learn outside of our regular practice and comfort zone. We also expect that this cross-pollination will expand our audience bases and hopefully draw more interest in live dance in our city.