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Former Richmond dancer honours father in amnesia-focused production

Dance performance titled Source Amnesia to play at the Vancouver Playhouse next week.
Marisa Christogeorge is a former Richmond Academy of Dance trainee.

“Dance was not a distraction, but something to help me move forward or release me from whatever was happening at home.”

Marisa Christogeorge, a former trainee at the Richmond Academy of Dance, is honouring her late father by taking part in a contemporary dance production titled Source Amensia by choreographer Joshua Beamish at the Vancouver Playhouse on Jan. 13 and 14.

The 26-year-old’s dad was diagnosed with a rare form of dementia when she was in first grade and the theme of the production “connected with (her) more than ever.”

“By the time I was in high school … my dad had completely forgot who I was, he had no vocabulary, and it was like his body was there, but his soul and his mind were somewhere else,” she said.

“I get to apply my own personal experience within the work in (the production).”

Despite her dad being a “deeply personal” and sensitive topic, Christogeorge said Beamish was open and understanding of her situation during his process of creating the show. This opened a “new experience” for her.

“I’m seeing a lot of parallels to how I experience some of the movements and how something can deteriorate so far,” she explained.

“It’s nice to bring a very deep and personal part of my childhood and life into this practice and this movement.”

Source Amnesia explores the concept of false memory, as the title suggests, and the “fragility of truth” where often many people stop thinking about “factual accuracy of the sources” they are consuming from social media.

Christogeorge told the Richmond News that the production looks at moving patterns and how one motion can create a rippling effect on others.

“The overall message of the piece is that there’s always something there, whether it’s just the shadow or the shell of something or someone, but the idea never completely disappears.

“I think everyone kind of has a personal relationship to the themes of the show.”

While she moved to Vancouver in her early school years, Christogeorge continued to commute to the Richmond Academy of Dance every day for training up until she graduated and continued to the U.S. to further her dance career.

She recently returned from New York after dancing with Sidra Bell Dance.

“Pleasantly, when I came back to Vancouver, I’m really happy to be part of and see so much talent that Vancouver has to offer.”

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