Art of Stealing

When Amber Funk Barton, one of Vancouver’s hottest dance choreographers, began creating a new contemporary dance piece, she had no idea that the project would morph into a lululemon clothing line. After three years of incubation, Barton’s unique post-apocalyptic vision for her dance piece The Art of Stealing is close to being realized, as is the collaborative clothing line produced by lululemon lab’s Capsule Collection and Barton’s company, the response. The Art of Stealing will make its world premiere on May 28 at Firehall Arts Centre with a lululemon line launch on May 16.

Barton’s most complex creation yet draws on an array of collaborators, including the lululemon lab team, credited as costume designer for The Art of Stealing. The series of dark, austere clothing pieces for men and women was inspired by Barton’s explosively physical athletic hybrid movement and the ideas behind The Art of Stealing. The team at lululemon lab, including Team Director Jean Okada, worked with Barton and her dancers from the initial concept design through to fittings and final adjustments.
Barton says many of the elements in The Art of Stealing are straight from her ‘creative bucket list’. This exploration of transformation, survival, and death visually references her love of dark cinematic styles, live animation and graphic novels, casting her ensemble of six talented dancers (Heather Laura Gray, Maiko Miyauchi, Manuel Sorge, Kevin Tookey, Lexi Vajda, and Barton) as survivors in a mysterious, dark vision of a post-apocalyptic future.

Art of Stealing

Barton’s visceral, high energy choreography delves into the idea of stealing – what we take from each other, both physically and emotionally. In the struggle for survival, the group is constantly striving to cooperate while simultaneously finding themselves in conflict.
Amber Funk Barton is the Artistic Director of the response., formed in 2008 to produce her works. The National Arts Centre recently announced Barton as part of their new dance season with Hero & Heroine (a duet with Josh Martin). The Art of Stealing is the response.’s third full length work, following RISK (2008) and Portraits and Scenes of Female Creatures (2011), both of which premiered at the Firehall. For information about the response., visit the website.

The Art of Stealing

Dates: May 28 to 31, 8 pm; post-show talkback, May 29
Venue: Firehall Arts Centre, 280 East Cordova Street, Vancouver
Tickets: $20 to $30; available online or via phoning 604.689.0926

Photos by Chris Barton.

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