Before we announce the winners of the 2017 MyEntWorld Critics’ Pick Awards, we’re proud to present our annual Nominee Interview Series.

Adjusted Surrender was a part of the ProArteDanza’s 2017 season, a masterful offering from seasoned dancers Johanna Bergfelt and Robert Glumbek. Johanna has been a veteran of the Toronto dance scene since 2000 when she arrived from her home country of Sweden. Her artistry lent itself to the raw intimacy of the Outstanding Contemporary Dance/Cirque Production-nominated piece, invoking both sorrow and comfortable companionship through intimate and emotional movement. Adjusted Surrender can be read as a reckoning of time lost or a coming to terms with past lives lived. The beauty of this piece is in the way it exposes the raw edges of emotional wants and needs.

What is your earliest memory of dance?
My best friend’s mom owned the dance school where I grew up so my earliest memory is always hanging out at the studio either dancing or playing. One other strong memory is seeing Swan Lake with The Royal Swedish Ballet (I must have been around 6-7 years old). I think that’s when I fell in love with the magic of ballet.

What is your favourite dance memory?
Oh, there are so many wonderful memories. As I get older I truly cherish any moment that I get to dance, whether it’s on stage or just taking class.

Adjusted Surrender struck me as being very bittersweet, where did you draw inspiration/influence from for your character?
I tend to not start with a character, but have the choreography, music, relationship with the people I dance with, and the stage (light, set) to influence me. I didn’t have a storyline for the duet, and that was never something we discussed, and I believe that leaves lots of room for an audience to read their own thoughts and story into what they are watching. I have my own idea of what our relationship went through during the duet, but even that changed a bit each night depending on our energy, how Robert would look at me, how our dynamic was in the different sections. 

Lets talk about that dress, it was a whole character in and of itself on stage, can you tell us about how it was developed and what it was like to work with it?
The dress was a product of Kevin [O’Day]’s and Krista Dowson’s collaboration and vision. It was such an amazing piece of art to wear, and it was intriguing to see what Krista could do with fabric and chicken wire!!! It took a bit of getting to know her (I couldn’t call the dress “it”, it was clearly a “she”). She had a mind of her own and as the process went on we learnt how to deal with all the chicken wire to get her to stand up without falling down.

What is one piece of advice you would give to early career dancers?
Dancing is about the journey, and not the destination. It’s such a cliché, but I believe in it.

Do you have a favourite dish/recipe?
I make a mean African peanut butter and yam soup! From a recipe book from Victoria, BC

Is there anything else you would like to say or share with us?
I am deeply thankful for the nomination.