Fall arts preview: Collaboration is key for sisters Thoenn and Yeva Glover

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When Thoenn and Yeva Glover began collaborating as choreographers and dancers just over a year ago, they ran into a problem. Things got so intense that they had to sit down and talk about how they could move forward with their work—but not for reasons you might think when you put two ambitious and creative sisters together in a studio.

“You’d think maybe we’d be catty, but we were the opposite,” Thoenn says in a phone interview from the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, where the Kinesis Dance somatheatro member is in rehearsals. We were like, ‘Is this okay?’ ‘Sure, whatever you want to do.’ We were too nice.

“We learned from that, and we went into our last process having had a conversation about how we cannot be afraid to take the lead or to make a decision,” adds the 22-year-old, who’s nearly four years younger than her sibling. “It seemed to really work, and we progressed more. We’re on our way to being a fully efficient team.”

The two certainly seem to have developed a successful synergy. At the most recent Dances for a Small Stage, their duet impact winter was the standout, the pair playing with big beams of light that emanated from centre stage. The show’s producer, MovEnt’s Julie-anne Saroyan, says the piece had viewers enraptured. “They created these beautiful images,” Saroyan says. “It looked like a picture book. It was so pretty and enjoyable to watch.”

Yeva says that she and her sister share the desire to create dance that draws people in the way movies do, with lighting, music, and movement all being equal players.

“We’re both very interested in creating a full performance environment,” Yeva says in an interview at a West Broadway café. “We’re not interested in making movement just for movement’s sake.”

The Glover sisters grew up in an off-the-grid house in northern B.C. before moving to Smithers when Yeva was seven. There, they took dance classes and credit outstanding teachers for a strong start. Both trained at Arts Umbrella after graduating from high school.

Yeva returned to Vancouver last year after five years in New York dancing with Company XIV. Headed by Juilliard grad Austin McCormick, it’s known for its daring, theatrical performances inspired by the artistic grandeur of the Louis XIV era.

“He would use actors and opera singers and pop music; it was this big mishmash and it was really exciting,” Yeva says. |One day we were doing a can-can number, the next day we were en pointe, then we were doing dirty burlesque wearing phenomenal corsets and heels—and it would all be in the same show. He had a good budget for it, and it was a very privileged experience. It was very influential on me and on what I want to see.”

Thoenn, meanwhile, has been busy working with several local artists since finishing at Arts Umbrella. She will appear in a new piece by choreographer and SFU associate professor Henry Daniel in January and one by MartaMarta Productions next spring. Plus, she and her sister are creating a work for the next Dances for a Small Stage, in February, and, with the production support of MovEnt, they will present a full-length piece next summer.

“Thoenn and I are both just getting more and more excited about the fact that this is something we can keep taking forward,” Yeva says. “It feels like little doors keep opening.”

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