Common People was formed by Andrew Hartley and Emma Kerson to commission duets from choreographers with honest and unique voices who utilize an integrated sense of movement in their endeavour to speak sincerely to matters of the heart and humanity. In 2014, with the support of the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, Videofag, and Dancemakers, Common People commissioned a piece from emerging choreographer, Simon Renaud, titled l’inanité des bibelots / love would only slow me down. An informal showing of the work was presented at Dancemakers in Toronto, with much positive feedback from the invited audience. With creation funding from the Ontario Arts Council, Common People will travel to Centre Q: A Centre for Questioning in December 2015, where Tedd Robinson will develop a piece in response to the first commissioned duet by Simon.
With our choice in choreographers for commissions, we are not seeking the next big thing, or what might be considered fashionable in dance. We are looking for honesty, for expressions that are deeply personal to the artist. We believe that artists who create with openness and vulnerability, allowing their work to reflect their inner essence, are new and relevant, as each artist’s channel of expression, if left clear and open, is unique.
As our name, Common People, suggests, we are inspired by the common in terms of the ordinary people of the world, but also the collective sense of the word: what we all share within our humanity. We want our work to affect people, to resonate. We are not trying to be pedestrian or mundane, but to find the sublime within the overlooked. As Virginia Woolf phrased it, “One wanted… to be on a level with ordinary experience, to feel simply that’s a chair, that’s a table, and yet at the same time, It’s a miracle, it’s an ecstasy.”