Freya Björg Olafson is an intermedia artist who works with video, audio, painting and performance. Her creations have been presented and exhibited internationally at venues such as SECCA - SouthEastern Center for Contemporary Art (North Carolina), OchoYmedio / Alas de la Danza (Quito, Guayaquil and Manta in Ecuador), The National Arts Center (Ottawa), High Performance Rodeo (Calgary), Tangente – Laboratoire des Movements Contemporains(Montreal), Sequences Real Time Media Arts Festival (Iceland) and Medea Electronique / Onassis Cultural Center (Athens, Greece). Freya’s solo performance AVATAR received the‘Buddies In Bad Times Vanguard Award’ at the Summerworks Theatre Festival in Toronto and toured across seven provinces in Canada, four states in the USA, three cities in Ecuador. AVATAR was also performed in Reykjavík, Iceland and various excerpts were shown across Europe. Five years after the premiere, AVATAR is still on the road, recently performed at the DISKURS' 13 Festival in Giessen, Germany in October 2013 and in Chicago at Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival in June 2014. Freya’s video work has been screened in festivals across the globe with upcoming dates in Belgium and Brazil. To develop her work Freya has benefitted from residencies: most recently through EMPAC - Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center(Troy, New York), Atlantic Center for the Arts (Florida), Medea Electronique (Greece), SÍM - Icelandic Association of Visual Artists (Reykjavík) and Studio 303 (Montréal).
As performer and creator, Freya blends 6 years classical training in the Professional Program of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet with the contemporary facility achieved through her completion of the Bachelor of Arts Honors degree in dance from Winnipeg’s School of Contemporary Dancersin affiliation with the University of Winnipeg. She combines her finesse in movement with the directness of her performance art, video and theory studies from the University of Manitoba School of Art and her subsequent completion of a Master of Fine Arts Degree in New Mediafrom the Transart Institute / Donau Universitat in Krems, Austria. Freya has maintains ongoing professional development; in 2013 she had the opportunity to work alongside / learn from senior artists such as Charles Atlas, Coco Fusco, Guillermo Gómez-Peña & Saul Gracia Lopez of La Pocha Nostra.
In addition to creating her own work and performing in the work of others Freya has been involved as a member of the curatorial committee for the núna (now) festival since 2006. Freya is active on the board of Video Pool Media Arts Center and a member of ISPA – International Society for Performing Arts through the Canada Council Legacy Program as well as new member of Projetbk / 8DAYS. Freya is a research collaborator with the newly established Canadian Consortium for Performance and Politics in the Americas led by Dr. Peter Kulchyski (University of Manitoba). In Fall 2013 Freya researched the work of Lazlo Moholy-Nagy at the Bauhaus Archiv in Berlin in order to create a new work for ‘Sensing the Future: Moholy-Nagy, Media & The Arts’ curated by Dr. Oliver I.A. Botar. The resulting work premiered in March 2014 at the Plug In ICA in Winnipeg & will show at the Bauhaus Archiv in Berlin in opening in October 2014. Her most recent solo performance HYPER_ premiered at The Asper Center for Theatre & Film in Winnipeg September 2013. In 2014 Freya was nominated for the Independent Media Arts Alliance (IMAA) - National Media Arts Prize by Video Pool Media Arts Center.
For more information, check out www.freyaolafson.com
Kana Nemoto is a Certified Mitzvah Technique and Itcush Method Teacher.
Recently, Kana organized and taught in a collaborative project entitled “Remembering Amelia” in Regina, SK. This was a 2-year project (2012-2014), which was directed by Robin Poitras and received collaboration with Susan McKenzie (Vancouver) and Ashley Johnson (Saskatoon, Mitzvah Technique teacher) and other guest teachers including Jennifer Mascall, Elaine Hansen (Vancouver) and Davida Monk (Calgary) who have been inspired in their work by Mitzvah Technique and Itcush Method.
Native to Kobe, Japan, Kana arrived in Canada in 2009 to pursue individual training with Amelia Itcush (1945-2011), an Alexander Technique, and Mitzvah Technique teacher who founded the Itcush Method. As a young ballet dancer, Kana was introduced to the Mitzvah Technique in 1996 when Amelia taught the dancers at Kobe Ballet Studio (Kobe, Japan). This stirred Kana’s interests in a holistic and practical approach to body movement and led her to complete a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences at the Tottori University in Japan while she continued training at Tottori City Ballet (Tottori, Japan). After graduation, Kana made decision to move to Canada and pursue study in the Mitzvah Technique full-time. She began teacher training with Toshie Okabe (Toronto) and Amelia Itcush. Kana was certified as a Mitzvah Teacher in 2014 and has moved to Winnipeg to start her own MT practice and is actively involved in collaborations with other Mitzvah Teachers such as Kathy Morgan (Saskatoon) and Chihiro Tsubota (Kobe, Japan).
In her academic life, outside of Mitzvah practice Kana undertook a M.Sc. study in Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan from 2010-2013. Her thesis is complimentary to the body mechanics she practices as a Mitzvah Practitioner and focused on understanding the relationship between sedentary behavior and postural alignment. Since she relocated to Canada in 2009, she actively integrates her somatic practice into both the technical training and development of new work in dance, which led to collaborations with a variety of contemporary dancers such as Maxine Heppner and Takako Segawa (Toronto), Tina Bertoncini and Erica Jacks (Saskatoon, an apprentice in MT), and Robin Poitras (Regina). Kana continues to take summer school dance/somatic classes at New Dance Horizons and Royal Winnipeg Ballet and finds ways to live and pursue a life full of movement.