The Interview

A solo dance performance based on a real story of an interview with  the Canadian Security Intelligence Services

Image of Corrie and Pam standing in the studio | Photo: Corrie

Corrie and Pam in the studio | Photo: Corrie Sakaluk

Corrie Sakaluk, a graduate of the dance performance preparation program at George Brown College, and a former reporter at The Dialog, has created a political dance performance in cooperation with a renowned choreographer and GBC performing arts professor Pam Johnson.

“I think the politics of the show is pretty clear. It does touch on bill C-51,” said Sakaluk referring to Canada’s new anti-terrorism law.

The dance performance is based on when Sakaluk started working as an Air Canada flight attendant in May 2010, right before the G-20 Summit in Toronto. Having completed her training, she received a temporary security pass when all of a sudden the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) called her for a voluntary interview.

“It was, however, not voluntary in any way. If I didn’t attend, my security pass process approval would have been stopped and I would lose my job,” recalled Sakaluk.

Even though the CSIS agents had a formal book of questions, Sakaluk said they went off-book in her interview. They asked her if she ever attended meetings of anti-G20 protesters and her opinion on certain protest tactics, particularly the black bloc, which involves destroying property.

“They also had information about me that I didn’t know they had,” said Sakaluk who says it was made clear they would prefer her not to tell anyone about the interview. “I finished the interview, continued with a temporary pass and never received a permanent one. They did intimidate me and I ended up quitting,”

This is why the piece is called The Interview. “It portrays that experience in a fictionalised way. (But) all of the questions that are heard in the piece they did ask me,” explained Sakaluk.

Sakaluk’s activist resume included involvement with the Undergraduate Strike Solidarity Committee at York University, two terms on the executive of the York Federation of Students and being personally involved in resisting military recruitment on campus, as well as participation in the Dance Theatre Group. “This kind of project is a natural outgrowth of everything that I’ve been doing,” she said.

“It’s different from what you might see others in the mainstream dance community doing but to me it’s an expression of how I see the world,” said Sakaluk.

Sakaluk and Johnson started working on the show in July 2015.

“This piece was mostly a joy to create,” said Johnson. “Corrie and I had a clear idea of what we wanted to focus on and we had very exciting discussions about how to make the piece both engaging and politically relevant. We share a similar commitment to politics and particularly to workers’ struggles. This was such a fantastic thing for me because we explored content that I don’t investigate with many other artists.”

“The dance is going to be a huge challenge to me as a performer because it takes a lot of stamina.” said Sakaluk. “But I’m very interested to see who comes to the event and to hear what they have to say, artistically and politically.”

The one-night-only show premieres on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham Street and is open to public on a pay-what-you-can basis.

Old Image of dancers who organized alongside and as part of labour struggles in the 1930s

Old Image of dancers who organized alongside and as part of labour struggles in the 1930s | Photo Archive: Corrie Sakaluk

“It was, however, not voluntary in any way. If I didn’t attend, my security pass process approval would have been stopped and I would lose my job,” recalled Sakaluk.

Even though the CSIS agents had a formal book of questions, Sakaluk said they went off-book in her interview. They asked her if she ever attended meetings of anti-G20 protesters and her opinion on certain protest tactics, particularly the black bloc, which involves destroying property.

“They also had information about me that I didn’t know they had,” said Sakaluk who says it was made clear they would prefer her not to tell anyone about the interview. “I finished the interview, continued with a temporary pass and never received a permanent one. They did intimidate me and I ended up quitting,”

This is why the piece is called The Interview. “It portrays that experience in a fictionalised way. (But) all of the questions that are heard in the piece they did ask me,” explained Sakaluk.

Sakaluk’s activist resume included involvement with the Undergraduate Strike Solidarity Committee at York University, two terms on the executive of the York Federation of Students and being personally involved in resisting military recruitment on campus, as well as participation in the Dance Theatre Group. “This kind of project is a natural outgrowth of everything that I’ve been doing,” she said.

“It’s different from what you might see others in the mainstream dance community doing but to me it’s an expression of how I see the world,” said Sakaluk.

Old Image of dancers who organized alongside and as part of labour struggles in the 1930s

Old Image of dancers who organized alongside and as part of labour struggles in the 1930s | Photo Archive: Corrie Sakaluk

Sakaluk and Johnson started working on the show in July 2015.

“This piece was mostly a joy to create,” said Johnson. “Corrie and I had a clear idea of what we wanted to focus on and we had very exciting discussions about how to make the piece both engaging and politically relevant. We share a similar commitment to politics and particularly to workers’ struggles. This was such a fantastic thing for me because we explored content that I don’t investigate with many other artists.”

“The dance is going to be a huge challenge to me as a performer because it takes a lot of stamina.” said Sakaluk. “But I’m very interested to see who comes to the event and to hear what they have to say, artistically and politically.”

The one-night-only show premieres on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at Beit Zatoun, 612 Markham Street and is open to public on a pay-what-you-can basis.

 

Share

The Interview