Pam Tzeng (Calgary, AB): “A Meditation on the End” by Jo-Lee
In her first performance with the Risk/Reward Festival, Calgary performance artist and choreographer Pam Tzeng introduces us to her alter-ego Jo Lee as she uses the process of grief to explore the interplay of abstract and literal.
Pam Tzeng is a Calgary-based dance artist, performer, choreographer and teacher. Her artistic journey has taken her across Canada, Europe, Taiwan and Brazil. After graduating from the University of Calgary with a B.Sc. in Biology, she went on to nurture her artistic development though freelance education and direct work experience. Tzeng’s interests lie in both solo creation and experimental collaborative projects. Abstract, non-linear narratives often become the frame for her investigations. She is drawn to illusion and discovering new ways of animating object and the body. Coloured by her identity as a Canadian-born Taiwanese woman, Tzeng’s work explores the negotiation between cultural borders and social identities, as well as the tensions between traditional and contemporary mores within the Canadian mosaic.
With death in arms, then at her feet, Jo-Lee muses on what has given her unconventionally conventional life meaning. With this new work, Tzeng leaps into fragmented memories of an imagined “other”, crafting a poetic and playful theatrical dance that embraces existential longing and mortality. It is an attempt to engage with notions of death and spirituality and to artistically mine the emotional landscape of grief. In the development of the work Tzeng has found inspiration in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, researching the Buddhist concept of ‘bardos’ – the state of existence between two lives, after death and before one’s next birth. The work also draws from a fascination with the phenomenon of life flashing before ones eyes in near death experiences. Enter into the bardos with Jo-Lee as she comes to grips with mortality, finding solace in the face of the “beckoning silence.”