Sunday, February 12, 2012

FRIGID Festival Interview - Sandrine Lafond of "Little Lady"

By Byrne Harrison

Sandrine Lafond was born in France where she started dancing at five years old. She attended the prestigious Rosella Hightower Dance School in Cannes. A gypsy at heart she traveled from one country to another to study new ways of interpreting her art. Then eighteen years ago she fell in love with Montreal and its cultural scene. From that point on; the North American continent became her home, and the rest of the word her playground.

Sandrine has had the pleasure to work with Cirque du Soleil (Delirium, Kooza, Zarkana, special events), Celine Dion (A New Day), Marie Chouinard (Etude Poignante,The Right Of Spring, The cry of the world, Chopin) and Philippe Decoufle (1992 Olympic Games opening ceremony) and many other talented friends along the way.

Her desire to break new ground brought her to Japan to study with Butoh master Min Tanaka and back home to Canada to study clown with John Turner and Francine Cote and bouffon with Karen Hines.  Filled with that knowledge she felt the need to create her own work, which gave life to the character “Little Lady”. A personal reflection on the six years of her life in Las Vegas.

Sandrine won the CAFF (Fringe lottery) 2012 and will be performing all year across the North American continent to end her tour in September in Vancouver.

Show: Little Lady

How did you first get involved in theatre?

I was five years old, I saw a ballet on tv and said to my mother: this is what I want to do. So since then this is what I do…

Who are your biggest influences?

Ttsumi Hijikata, Marie Chouinard, Geoffrey Rush.

Tell me a little bit about your show.

Even if I have a long career behind me, this is the first show I created. It is a 45 min. one-woman show that I will premiere at the FRIGID Festival. Little Lady is the name of the show and the name of the character. She is half insect, half human.

What inspired you to write it?

I had the desire to create a character for many years but nothing was coming, until I lost an important job and that gave me a kick in the butt. Ideas were keeping me awake so I had to do something with them…

Who are your collaborators and how long have you been working with them?

John Turner is my director, he has also been my clown teacher since 2010. Since day one we had a great complicity. When I told him that I was going to put Little Lady on stage he proposed to direct it. John knows how to give me space to create but how to support me at the same time, he is fantastic.

I've known Paolo Santos for more than 10 years now. He and his wife Caroline are great friends of mine. Caroline and I used to dance in the Celine Dion show: A New Day. When I decided to do a piece I knew right away I wanted Paolo to be a part of it. I knew his aestheticism would be perfect for the show, he is so talented.

Yves Frulla and I met working for Celine in Vegas. He is a great musician and the only one I know who plays accordion. He created the music for the advertising video that Paolo shot. It was perfect so I asked him to create the music for the show and that was it.

Elisabeth Lehoux and I have known each other for five years now, from working at Cirque du Soleil. She does make up conception. As she is eager to create and loved the concept of my show, she proposed to create the face of little lady. Lucky me!!

Nelly Rogerson and John Stone were working with me in the Celine show in Vegas. When I explained them that I was creating my own show they were so exited for me they wanted to help. I was so grateful as my skills in sewing are far from what I needed for this show as my costumes are also props.

Marie Laure Larrieu is the last one to join the team. She is saving me by creating a very intricate part of the costume.

All my collaborators are very talented friends. I am extremely lucky to have their expertise and artistry in the show. They understand my vision and put their talented twist on it!!

What's next for you after FRIGID?

I won the CAFF lottery!! So, Orlando, London(ont), Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria and Vancouver… For a total of 60 shows this year.

And finally, if you could say anything to your potential audience, what would it be?

What I am going to do in front of you is what I always said I wouldn’t do:  Have my own company and create a show! Well, life decided differently and my dreams have changed. What is your dream?

Created by Sandra Lafond
Directed by John Turner

The Red Room
85 East 4th Street between 2nd Avenue and Bowery
Feb 23, 6:30PM
Feb 25, 2:00PM
Feb 28, 9:30PM
Mar 01, 11:00PM
Mar 03, 5:00PM
Mar 04, 12:30PM

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