Through the vision of artistic director and founder Gerry Trentham, associate and collaborating artists, and producing team, lbs/sq” maps the human body, its desires, thoughts, languages, voices, imaginations, movements and potential. Through contemporary research, creation and production, driven by a trans-disciplinary aesthetic, deeply honed artistic craft, and inclusive cultural/environmental consciousness, lbs/sq” is dedicated to reflecting, challenging, transforming and enriching our local and global community.
for lbs/sq” productions
“…artistic risk justified by a thought – provoking experience.” – Susan Walker, The Toronto Star
“In Cathedral all humanity seems to gather…imaginative…epic…the result is uplifting…the various disciplines flow seamlessly together during the hour long piece…kaleidoscopic vision…an expert blend of actors and dancers who deliver dash, drama, humour and longing…” – Deirdre Kelly, Toronto’s Globe and Mail
“Gerry Trentham’s Fore – And – After highlights the fragile eloquence of dance…precarious dialogue is doubly communicative” – Rebecca Todd, Toronto’s Globe and Mail
“…Never mind on the verge, Gerry Trentham’s Fore – And – After makes a good rendition of a nervous breakdown in progress…” – Susan Walker, The Toronto Star
“…a thoughtful, self reflexive piece about the difficulties of making liminal art…It would be great to see it again.” – End of year review Rebecca Todd, Eye Magazine
“…artistic risk justified by a thought – provoking experience.” – Susan Walker, The Toronto Star
“…Alberta born, former Dancemakers workhorse Gerry Trentham keeps pounding the pavement with his contemporary spectaculars.” – Forecast of those to watch, Daryl Jung, Toronto NOW Magazine
Founded in 1995 and based in Toronto, pounds per square inch performance (lbs/sq”) has produced over thirty of founding Artistic Director Gerry Trentham’s original works, including:
- Cathedral (1998) – “Top Ten”(Globe & Mail);
- The Cassandra Project (2003-09) – 15 artists from across Canada investigate non-hierarchical integrated arts performance;
- Autobiography: Chapters One through Five — A cast of 6 perform a multimedia scripted dance at Premiere Dance Theatre as part of DanceWorks Mainstage Season
- Four Mad Humours (2011) – four simultaneous performances in Toronto, Buffalo, Chicago and Montreal linked with live video feed; Dora Mavor Moore Award Nomination for Outstanding Performance by Linnea Swan.
- The Art of Peace Project (2014-16), a two-year residency at Fort York National Heritage Site.
- The Apology Project (2013-17) – created with an TAF INCUBATE award and during residencies at Buffalo Studio Arts, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, Clarion University, Hub 14, Intergalactic Arts Collective, and Silo City – Premiered in Next Steps at Toronto’s Harbourfront Theatre in September, 2017
Current artistic projects include:
- Dear Elephant (2012 – 2017) – a new interdisciplinary play written and performed with Olivia Olsen in workshops in Buffalo, Toronto and London, UK;
- Trees and Bushes (Bushes and Trees) – new duet premiering in September 2018
- The Art of Peace (Part Two: Arrival) – new work created in response to Part One in collaboration with lbs/sq” associate Diane Roberts and her Arrivals Legacy Project; and
- Solos in the Dark – a curated series of remounted solos including Gravity of Decent –1995 remount commissioned by BoucharDanse, Yellow Scale from Four Mad Humours, The Street from Autobiography, and Monument from Art Of Peace Part One remounted for performer Michael Caldwell.
The company has also assisted in the development, creation and presentation of more than twenty productions by numerous independent artists including international productions; and has provided a number of arts education and outreach programs including:
- The National Voice Intensive Bursary Project, which has offered over $60,000 in scholarships to training artists;
- Fulcrum Associate Artist Project, assisting selected Ontario artists to find a balanced development, artistically and administratively; and,
- Presenting The National Voice Intensive, which isnow hosted by the Centre for Indegenous Theatre in Toronto and in hosting locations across North America
Gerry Trentham, Artistic Director
Founder and Artistic Director Gerry Trentham has successfully led lbs/sq” into its third decade by choreographing and directing over thirty works for the company, including five full-evening productions. Four Mad Humours (2011) was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore for performance, and his latest work, The Apology Project, premiered in September 2017 at Harbourfront Centre Theatre. In 2016, he premiered the performance installation, The Art of Peace Part One – Invitation, at Fort York Historical Site in Toronto. He is currently leading a second full evening collaboration of The Art of Peace Project, entitled Part Two – Arrival, and creating a new duet, Trees and Bushes. His works have been presented throughout Canada, United States, England and Australia.
An award-winning performer, he has performed throughout North America and Europe in the works of many of Canada’s most prominent contemporary choreographers, including a seven-year tenure with Serge Bennathan’s Dancemakers. He was internationally acclaimed for his performance in Bennathan’s Chronicles of a Simple Life. The New York Times dance critic Anna Kisselgoff called his performance, “remarkably lyrical”, and Clive Barnes of the New York Post wrote, “…powerfully acted by the outstanding Gerry Trentham”. He is part of the elite cast and is text director of Denise Fujiwara’s Dora nominated work EUNOIA, which premiered at WorldStage in 2014, followed by a four-city Canadian tour; and he recently performed in Fujiwara’s Moving Parts, premiering at DanceWorks 40th anniversary celebrations at Harbourfront Centre Theatre. Seven works in which he has originated roles have been nominated for and/or received Dora Awards.
Gerry has assisted in the creation of a number of other artists’ works. He recently co-directed Urban Ink’s production of Confession of the Other Women (Performance Works, Vancouver). In London, UK (October 2012) he presented in-progress Dear Elephant written and performed with actor Olivia Olsen. In Brighton, he coached Ozcabaret’s new trio that won “Best of the Fringe” at the Australian Fringe 2013. At home in Toronto he is directorial outside eye for lbs/sq” associate artists Sara Porter and Jillian Peever, and has recently been asked to coach the creation of Jessie Garon’s Vazari Dance Projects next work.
Gerry holds a BA Hon Degree in Cultural Arts Administration from the University of Alberta where he was introduced to contemporary dance, an MFA in Theatre Performance, and a Graduate Voice Diploma from York University. He has taught throughout Canada, the United States, UK, and Australia, and has been a core faculty member with Canada’s National Voice Intensive since 1998 where his expertise bridges dance deeply into voice and speech. With Denise Fujiwara, he has developed an annual Butoh Voice Workshop that integrates the two artists’ work. Through lbs/sq”, he has mentored numerous emerging artists, presented other’s works bi-nationally, provided training bursaries, and assisted in other’s productions. He has served on the Board of Directors of Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists, the steering committee of Artists Health Centre, the TAC Board of Directors, and was Chair of The Toronto Arts Council’s Dance Committee from 2008 – 2011.
Artistic Statement – Gerry Trentham
After an extensive and fortunate contemporary dance career, a major artistic influence began with my graduate work in theatre, directing, acting, voice and speech, and deep association with voice master David Smukler, authentic movement teacher Judith Koltai and the faculty of Canada’s National Voice Intensive in their honed dedication to embodied and authentic movement, voice and text.
As a result, over the last 20 years, my dances have slowly morphed to synthesize written/spoken poetic text, live sound, music, visual and media art. Always reaching out from its source in dance, I long to create riveting inter-art that surprises, pressurizes and challenges boxed spaces of discipline, culture, nation and artistry. My process includes collaborations where no one form is in service to another. Together we search into personal memory and somatic lineage, uncover individual physical and intellectual habits and imagine a collective architecture that seamlessly transits our forms. We work until an “about” is awakened then edited and refined towards a “whole” that resonates with our audience. Together we learn, collect, test presence and integrity.
During the past ten years I have been further influenced by two major associations. With renowned Butoh Artist Denise Fujiwara and lbs/sq” Associate Artist and cultural animator Diane Roberts, I began achieving a new seamless interplay of formless forms within a broader context.
In 2008/2009, as I returned to focus full-time on my artistic work, leaving behind a full-time teaching position, I asked for guidance from Denise Fujiwara. I began to study in her workshops and brought her into my creation process as an outside eye, which led to deep discussions of the nature of art and my art. She then invited me into her own work EUNOIA as voice, speech director and performer. Years of study and association with Fujiwara, has meant that my dances and means of directing the company have changed. Dance movements (forms, styles and habits) that were part of my choreographic voice were set aside while training with Fujiwara. This, in its way, played havoc with my choreography, dismantling my known process. Working with Denise and being in her work has re-invigorated my dance career and given me a new drive to dance into my senior years. I now see the performer’s presence as a life-long investigation. The years of deep study, philosophy and practice have had an instrumental impact on my work as a creator and performer. At 57, I am profoundly honoured to perform in other’s works as well as my own that transcend boundaries of poetry, dance and media and take that rich learning back into my own artistic work.
This same dismantling occurred when I reconnected with Diane Roberts, a fellow graduate student, almost 20 years after graduation. We reunited as I explored my last two major works Art of Peace and The Apology Project, both of which dealt directly with questions of race and colonial privilege. I had to find my own feet in my work and find its necessity within a larger context and to mostly realize that this learning is an unending process.
Now I am so much clearer in a renewed return. I see more clearly the implosions and explosions that this learning and these associations have asserted on my art and its impact on the community. My choreographic process has become a negotiation, a peace-inducing exchange between seemingly disparate parts of authentic human “being” – the primal, physical, ancient, and emotional; the rural, a-cultured, civilized, and intellectual; the contemporary, sexual, urban, and spiritual; resonating deeply within and in between the human body’s intelligence, aliveness, majesty, prowess and mystery tethered to its real connection to its environment and its relationships.
My body is in perhaps a final bubble of prowess – moving well after years of difficulty, aging injuries and philological challenges of the broader context of my work. My practice now uses this gift of time to enjoy a fuller range of dance vocabulary, while regaining some of the space and freedom of my early contemporary dance life to investigate and manifest necessity and meaning in new physically rich and spacious movement vocabulary within inter arts form. I push away nothing, I choreograph my world, focus the work directly on contemporary inquiry to make conscious “what is” and how my transforming selves are imprisoned by my trained relationships to “other”, nature, culture, disciplines and constructed systems, with an eye to create time and space to set myself and others free.
I am excited by a long process of succession with the company that includes dedicating time and space to mentor pounds associates and share in a nurturing community of artist that carry the performance lineage that i have been fortunate to be apart of. I relish the opportunity to transform and nurture,with my esteemed colleagues, Canada’s National Voice Intensive into its fourth decade.