The first event I’ve decided to cover is Montreal’s annual dance festival Bouge D’ici, which kicked off its 2012 edition this past Friday at Mainline Theatre. The inaugural event was a dance themed edition of Confabulation aptly entitled Just Dance!
I’ve known about Confabulation for a little while now thanks to Montreal filmmaker/producer/adorable know it all Paul Aflalo. Along with being a producer for Bouge D’ici, Paul was on hand recording the evening for both posterity and his weekly radio show Edge of the City on CJLO 1690AM.
What is Confabulation you ask? Created and hosted by Uncalled For’s Matt Goldberg, it’s a monthly event (inspired by New York City’s The Moth) in which storytellers share true life stories without the help of any props. Even with Matt off in Toronto and a snow storm raging outside, folks gathered at the Mainline to hear stories from an all female lineup that included former tango dancer Lucianna Gravotta, Dance Animal founder/choreographer Robin Henderson and Montreal Fringe Festival director Amy Blackmore.
Standing up and telling stories… simple, right? Sure, with a few drinks in them most people can easily ramble on about events we find make us seem engaging, but being a truly gifted storyteller is in fact a difficult task. This is the second Confabulation event I’ve attended, and while the producers have always snagged interesting people, it’s fascinating for me to ponder what makes some people better storytellers than others.
Everyone has an interesting story to tell, but to be a truly engaging storyteller, you need that crucial combination of confidence, elegance and wit. With some of the storytellers, for instance, nervousness clearly gets the better of them. For others, their confidence and witty anecdotes makes it impossible not to cheer at the end of their stories. It’s perhaps not terribly surprising but Amy Blackmore was the most confident speaker of the night, recounting her amusing stories working as a dance choreographer with children.
My personal favourite storyteller for the Bouge D’ici edition of Confabulation, though, was Stephanie Roberts, an Ontario native who despite having a glass eye went on to be a successful artist and dancer who spent her high school years touring with a musical dance troupe. Roberts had that perfect combination of wit and confidence, and has intrigued this writer to see what she does next.
If you’re interested in checking out Bouge D’ici, I’m happy to report that the festival goes until January 21st and is filled with tons more interesting workshops and events. And, of course, don’t forget to read Forget the Box over the next week to see my report on what I checked out during the rest of the festival.