The five members of the Vancouver dance troupe CAMP have gotten to know one another exceptionally well over the past year and a half.
One of them, Ted Littlemore, quipped in a phone interview with the Straight that they just might know each other “a little too well”.
Why is that? Because they not only work together but they all live in the same house in Kitsilano.
“Getting through good times is easy,” Littlemore said. “Getting through hard times is what puts us to the test. The pandemic has been hard times with a capital H.”
At 30 years of age, Littlemore is the oldest member of CAMP, which formed in December 2019 with no specific leader or choreographer. The other members—Brenna Metzmeier, Eowynn Enquist, Isak Enquist, and Sarah Formosa—are still in their 20s.
Littlemore is not only a dance artist who has performed with some of the city’s top choreographers but also a musician and drag performer. He said that the sense of overkill from drag and taking something to its extreme—to the point where it becomes silly—is something that CAMP embraces to retain a sense of fun.
According to Littlemore, CAMP is committed to being showy, with elements of Fosse and old-school jazz and a keen interest in lip-sync.
“There’s always space to be silly,” he said. “That really lives—and has its birth—in the drag culture, where stupid is as successful as smart. That drag is good drag.
“And I think that sometimes a little moment of bad dance in a show of great dance is an awesome ingredient to add.”
At the Dancing on the Edge festival, CAMP will present the world premiere of PAM, which Littlemore described as abstract with a trancey and euphoric mood, and very performative.
Each member brings unique strengths. Littlemore praised Metzmeier for her technique, which was honed at the Victoria Academy of Ballet, as well as for having an incredible work ethic.
He added that Formosa, an experienced TV and film actor who trained at Alonzo King LINES Ballet, has “a completely different vocabulary in terms of moving and street dancing”.
As for Eowynn Enquist, Littlemore said she does everything from the heart, emphasizing that “her thematic practice is phenomenal”.
Littlemore credited Isak Enquist for being excellent at floor work and lifting and for his keen understanding of soundscape design.
“It’s been great to return to the creative process to test our capacity for mirroring and morphing into each other as we take on everyone’s individual movement vocabularies,” Littlemore declared.
When asked where he would like to see CAMP in three to five years, he replied that it would be nice to incorporate a teaching component. That might even include a summer camp.
Littlemore studied piano from a young age and switched to jazz in high school, which introduced him to harmonic structure. He has also played the accordion, further enhancing his understanding of harmonics.
"There's so much musicality in dance," he said. "We've worked with sound designers before who also have extremely classical backgrounds.
"I'm not doing a full orchestral piece for CAMP at the moment," Littlemore added with a laugh. "Stay tuned. Jazz choir."