August 28, 2012

Spotlight on Faculty: Michael Greyeyes

Michael Greyeyes Michael Greyeyes

Movement professor Michael Greyeyes returned from sabbatical in 2011. After a year off from teaching, we caught up to find out what he’s been up to… a choreographer, director, film maker, teacher and actor, Michael has certainly been busy.

What projects did you take on over your sabbatical?

In 2010, I was awarded the 2010 imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival/ LIFT (Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto) mentorship, in which an artist is allowed to create a short film, with production assistance of imagineNATIVE and LIFT, and to premiere the work the festival in October.  As part of the mentorship, I attended numerous film production workshops at LIFT throughout the spring term.  It was like film school in 4 months!  Then in the summer, I made the film.  We shot it on super 16 mm, with the amazing John Price as cinematographer.  Nancy Latoszewski choreographed and created the story, while I wrote the screenplay, directed and edited the film–which is called “Seven Seconds.” The film recently was programmed at the Dawson City International Short Film Festival this past April.

Apart from your film work, did you get to work in theatre?

from thine eyes from thine eyes

In the fall, when all my friends and colleagues headed back to work, I headed into rehearsal to re-mount “Almighty Voice and His Wife,” a seminal work by Daniel David Moses for a national tour.  The play received glowing reviews, including “NNNN” from Now Magazine for its premiere at Theatre Passe Muraille in 2009 and was performed in Halifax at the Prizmatic Festival, in Montreal, Kingston, Toronto for a limited run, Winnipeg, Brandon and Edmonton in the fall of 2010.  At the beginning of this year, I began development for a new theatre company, I founded, called Signal Theatre.  Our first project is “from thine eyes,” which is a co-production with Native Earth Performing Arts and co-presented with DanceWorks, Toronto's most established independent dance producer.  This work is for 6 performers, written by Yvette Nolan and directed and choreographed by me and was chosen by my colleagues at York, Peter McKinnon and James McKernan, as the pilot project for a SSHRC Insight grant on sustainable production practices. We will premiere the work at Enwave Theatre in September.

Did you get to travel as part of your sabbatical?

The River The River

In the spring, I travelled to Whitehorse in the Yukon to direct a new play, “The River,” written by my colleague at York, Judith Rudakoff, David Skelton and Joseph Tisiga for Nakai Theatre.  This work was created in Whitehorse and was workshopped there as well as in Toronto in November of 2010.  The reviews for the project were strong and the experience for making the work was exhilarating.  I'd never been to the Yukon before and it was mind-blowing to be so far north!
I just finished two weeks in the studio at York University, where we continued to develop the dance vocabulary for “from thine eyes.”  It has been a busy year “off,” but then again–as anyone who knows me can attest–I am a workaholic and love to make theatre.

This summer, I continue to teach for the Banff Centre for the Arts and the Opera as Theatre program, as I have done for the last 3 summers, as well as teaching Viewpoints and Suzuki for Volcano Theatre's Summer Conservatory.  I will also be teaching for Lata Pada's Dance Intense training program at York University in August for a workshop introducing South Asian dance artists to Viewpoints improvisation.

What was the best part of your sabbatical?

The best part was the creation of my theatre company Signal and for the chance to recharge my batteries and spend time being Mr. Mom to my daughters, while my wife began her MFA studies at York's Dance Department.  In my spare time, I also am installing hardwood floors in my house for my summer “fun” project.  I guess the fun part will be walking on it when I'm done.