I was an infrequent reader as a teen but seem to be making up for it as an adult. So much so that I have turned into a ferocious dabbler, moving between several books at the same time.
At home, I read mostly in bed or on the couch beside the fireplace. My bedside table currently holds two books that share a similar curiosity about social history: Bill Bryson’s expansive look at the world through the lens of the familiar in At Home, and Charles C. Mann’s imaginative and rigorous recasting of our understanding of the most significant moment of cross-cultural contamination in 1493.
I recently saw the General Idea exhibit at the AGO and frequently flip through its beautifully written and designed monograph. The visual fierceness of their conceptual work and their unabashed insistence on collaboration are inspiring.
I haven’t been reading a lot of novels lately, but I am a huge fan of Douglas Coupland. I made a dance years ago inspired by one of his short stories. I most recently read Player One, the 2011 CBC Massey Lectures. His Marshall McLuhan biography is on my iPad.
At Dancemakers, I either read in our open-concept office – when it’s quiet at the beginning or end of the day – or, when the office is alive with activity, on the floor on my back in the corner of one of our studios. Behind my desk are books to which I constantly refer: for its call to arms about the role of culture in our society, Max Wyman’s The Defiant Imagination; for its eclectic subject matter, Stan Persky’s Short Version: An ABC Book; for its delicious imagery, a bilingual version of Sylvia Plath’s Arbres d’hiver; and for comic relief, Anansi Press’s The Little Book of Rob Ford.
The most dog-eared book, however, is A Theory of Adaptation, by University of Toronto professor Linda Hutcheon, which has informed the conceptual framework for my latest dance piece, an adaptation of a 1974 dance by U.S. choreographer Mitchell Rose, which will play for two weeks in the Dancemakers Theatre starting April 18.
Toronto-based dance artist Michael Trent is been artistic director and resident choreographer of Dancemakers and the Centre for Creation.