Dyana Sonik-Henderson, left, artistic director of Broken Rhythms and Jenny Ambrose of The Makehouse, are two of the artists and creative professionals involved in Ambiguous Arts’ The Alchemy of Chance.

Tailors, chefs, musicians collide for Ambiguous Arts Festival

Alchemy of Chance brings out creativity in community

Three of the key creatives behind Metro Studio Theatre’s latest performances have no idea what they’ll bring to the stage, but that’s how The Alchemy of Chance is supposed to work.

Chandler McMurray-Ives, the founder of Ambiguous Arts Festivals Society contacted six professional artists and six professionals in a creative field.

Each artist was then matched in six unique pairings, andtogether the pairs must create a 10-minute collaborative performance, revealed at the Metro next Friday.

Dyana Sonik-Henderson, choreographer and artistic director of Broken Rhythms and Jenny Ambrose, fashion designer/tailor and owner of The Makehouse, may not be matched to collaborate directly, but on April 4 together will attack the event goals of breaking down boundaries between artists and community while generating funds for the society, one largely focused on strengthening the arts community through professional development opportunities for arts administrators and artists alike.

“For a clothing designer, there’s a certain image that I have and then I walk into (The Makehouse) and there are so many different things I could be connected to,” Sonik-Henderson says, flanked by shelves packed with patterns, dress forms and textile creations of all kinds within the studio. “You try not to get too tied down to one specific idea, because that could really prevent you from what this is all about, which is learning from another perspective.”

While less-versed in performance than her choreographing counterpart, Ambrose is no stranger to delivering under pressure.

A Petcha Kutcha presenter and one of the forces behind Theatre SKAM’s Fashion Machine (which saw kids trained on sewing machines to recreate adult fashions before a live audience at Open Space), Ambrose is living by the motto: “Feel the fear and do it anyway.”

“I’m always happy when I’ve said yes because of the feeling afterwards, the adrenaline,” she says. “It always feels amazing, even though it can be traumatizing at the time.”

The event springs from McMurray-Ives’ personal experience speaking with a realtor friend accomplished in interior design, who had never viewed herself as a creative individual.

When the realtor viewed her work through that lens, she discovered an untapped connection to the arts, a sentiment at the core of the society’s mandate.

“Creativity runs through every person, but lot of people don’t feel creative or acknowledge their creativity or feel like they could perform,” McMurray-Ives says.

It’s not about perfectionism, McMurray-Ives says: it’s about creativity.

“I’m feeling a little bit nervous, but more for the excitement aspect of it,” Sonik-Henderson says.

Since we checked in with Sonik-Henderson and Ambrose at The Makehouse, the matches were revealed. Sonik-Henderson is now working with Syd Woodward, videographer; Ambrose will share the stage with Patrick Boyle, musician; spoken word poet Missie Peters teams up with chef Justin Grenda; puppeteer Tim Gosley creates with chemist Tom Fyles; author Madeline Sonik and carpenter Dan Wise collaborate; and sound artist David Parfit and hair stylist Jen Li pool their creativity for The Alchemy of Chance.

“All of the artists shine in their genre and almost all of them are known to do things quite differently than anyone else within the community,” McMurray-Ives says. The April 4 performance begins at 7:15 p.m. at The Metro Studio Theatre (1411 Quadra), hosted by the CBC’s Jo-Ann Roberts and featuring music from Quinn Bachand and live art creation from Nick Gregson.

To purchase tickets, on a sliding scale from $15 to $50, go to ticketrocket.org.

Learn more about Ambiguous Arts, now in its ninth year, at ambigarts.com.

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