The Fine Line ~ twisted angels

The Fine Line ~ twisted angels, choreographed by Judith Garay, premiered on May 23 - 26, 2012 at Goldcorp Centre for the Arts at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. It was a co-production between Dancers Dancing and the SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs and part of the SCA Faculty Series. The work incorporates video design by Flick Harrison, music by Patrick Pennefather, lighting by John Macfarlane costumes by Margaret Jenkins and is performed by three Dancers Dancing company members.


The Fine Line ~ twisted angels is a full-length multi-media dance performance grounded in personal experience, perception and other research. It explores in movement, sound and image how we live in, perceive, relate to and react to our internal and external worlds and our sometimes fragile or wavering grasp of our own reality. Ephemeral, sometimes transformative, the moments between perceiving, sensing and cognition are a rich tapestry of somatic images. Some moments are routine. Some moments are heart stopping. The work engages with the fragility of our existence and risks the deep and dark journey necessary to project the internal experience directly onto the stage.

The creation of The Fine Line ~ twisted angels received funding support from The BC Gaming Commission and The British Columbia Arts Council through Project Grants and Innovations Grants. The original cast of dancers was Vanessa Goodman, Bevin Poole, and Cai Glover. The work was restaged with Antonio Somera performing Cai Glover’s original role for the 2014 Vancouver International Dance Festival and again in 2015 at the Evergreen Cultural Center, Coquitlam.

a black and white image of Judith, the art director of Dancers Dancing


Judith Garay, native of British Columbia, has been the Artistic Director of Dancers Dancing since its formation in 1999. She is a graduate of the London School of Contemporary Dance, a former Principal Dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company and has been a faculty member at SFU in Contemporary Arts since 1992.

Judith began choreographing regularly in 1979 and has created more than fifty dances that have been presented across Canada and the USA, and in England, Holland and Bermuda. Her choreography has toured in BC with Dancers Dancing to many communities that had not professional dance in more than a decade as well as to Alberta and the North West Territories.

She has created or reconstructed her choreography for Dancers Dancing including "Entangled Extensions", "Place of Dreams", "Interface", "Quicksilver", "Ice", "Frost", "TWO", "Whirlpools", "Trio of Duets", "ONE, The Catwalk", "TWO, The Late Edition", "Happiness", "Extra Extra", " The Fine Line ~ twisted angels" and most recently "20.20.20". Three levels of government, foundations and corporations have supported her work. In addition to choreographing and teaching Judith has served on many grant and scholarship juries and continues to serve on boards for arts organizations.

Judith's Perspective.

The Fine Line ~ twisted angels was inspired by the moments between perception and cognition, waking and sleeping, breathing in and breathing out and examinations of both internal and external thoughts, visions, sensations and activities. Some of the areas that were investigated during the research included, in no particular order: perception, hypnagogia, synesthesia, migraine auras, entoptic phenomena and surrealism. During the research process I became interested in how addiction changes perception. Because of the vastness of each of these fields the research could not be exhaustive, but these areas were mined for images and information that could be translated into movement and images.

My personal explorations included my own perceptions of my tactile and visual environment, both real and perceived and observations of the people and structures inhabiting my external world. Making the work was sometimes a terrifying journey but also a pathway to discovering places and perceptions that I had previously been hesitant to explore. There were times when I thought I was losing my grip on reality while at the same time I was questioning what reality I was losing. Forcing myself to stay with my migraine auras; staying in the fine line between asleep and awake; watching my floaters as they took over my field of vision were all part of the explorations.

I was also inspired by external research sources, including both digital online sources and print material. 5-11.

Revisiting The Fine Line ~ twisted angels from an archival viewpoint and focusing on highlighting and exposing the dancers’ perspective has provided me with new ways of perceiving the work. Frequently a new piece I create is a reaction to or a continuation of the preceding piece. In creating The Fine Line ~ twisted angels I was seeking to make a personal work that could be understood intellectually or somatically by the audience. This is in complete contrast to my previous series of works that were far from personal, sourced from mass print media and seeking to understand our media-saturated world. For The Fine Line ~ twisted angels my research preparations for the creative phases took me in multiple divergent, though related, directions. In retrospect the processes of both researching and creating this multi-media dance were so rich, both inside and outside the studio, that given resources and time a second work could have been created from the content and movement material.

image of three dancers on their hands and knees

Audience and Media Perspectives.

“Reality or Illusion? That’s the question that Judith Garay asks us to consider in her latest work “The Fine Line is a spooky and mind-bending addition to an oeuvre of more than 40 dances.” -Deborah Meyers, The Vancouver Sun, 2012

“There’s no better setting than a contemporary-dance performance to support Garay’s assertion about varying viewpoints: show 50 people the same work and chances are that each and every one of them will have a different take on it. That’s something that Garay fully embraces and is even hoping for with The Fine Line.”-Gail Johnson, The Georgia Straight, 2012

“You know when a friend tells you about the dream he or she had last night, but something gets lost in the translation? That’s kind of like the sensation of watching The Fine Line ~ twisted angels” -Janet Smith The Georgia Straight, 2012

"We are carried along a maze of thoughts as we work to interpret the scene unfolding in front of us… We are asked to heighten our sense of awareness of the world around us” -Nancie Ottem review vancouver, 2012

"I have been fortunate to watch rehearsals of A Fine Line ~twisted angels and witness the dancers explore Judith’s surreal choreography that contorts, distorts, and twists one's conception or perhaps misconception of reality. In this remount of the work the dancers, with Judith’s guidance, delve into new depths as they investigate the boundaries of control, helplessness, belonging, alienation, strength and fragility both within themselves and between one another. The dancers' intentions are richly developed, allowing for new layers of meaning to be continuously discovered." -Shannon Cuykendall, 2015

“Profound and Meaningful.” –Tessa Perkins, Press + 1, 2012

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