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Anya Allegra Saugstad

current projects
CURRENT PROJECTS

Paper Mountains premiere

The Scotiabank Dance Centre 2024. Full length work.

guest choreographer for 

Lamondance 2023/24 season

New work for LamonDance Company. 

guest choreographer for Coastal city ballet 

World Premiere December 2023.

left of push

Showing of new work 'Here it is'. Presented by Plastic Orchid Factory. January 25th 2024. 

gravity in your eyes

A new work by Anya and Sophia Saugstad. Creation and premiere in 2024/25.

Ocean roaring tour 2023

site specific live dance and violin performance at the shores of bodies of water. Touring to BC Islands Summer 2023. 

artist with action at a distance / Vanessa goodman

Dancing and touring in 'Core/Us' and 'Over/Joy' by Action at a Distance. 

bio

Biography

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Anya Saugstad is a dancer and choreographer based in Vancouver BC, living and

working on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh' (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səlílwətaʔ/ Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xwməθkwəyə̓ m

(Musqueam) First Nations.

 

Anya trained at ArtsUmbrella, and holds a BFA in Dance from Simon Fraser University. She also trained at The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and in Gaga technique in San Francisco, Israel, and New York. Anya has toured with Action at a Distance with Vanessa Goodman through the USA and Germany performing “Graveyards and Gardens” and “Core/Us” (2021-2024). 

 

Anya started building a collective of artists in 2018 after she graduated from SFU. She continually works and creates with this group, often under the title Anya and Artists.

 

Anya and her company present and create live, digital, and site adaptive performance works that foster space for emerging femme artists to tell their stories through movement. Anya is interested in creating vigorous and physically exhausting movement to express stories that encompass rage, strength, and urgency. She uses dance to access the wild animal states of being alive, and encourages her collaborators to show rawness and vulnerability as femme presenting bodies in performance. Anya’s site specific work 'Ocean Roaring', and 'Flora Fauna' are inspired by nature, and she creates work that moves others to engage with the earth. These works both question human beings' impact on mother nature, and tell stories about the climate crisis we face. Within Anya’s creative practice it is important to her to think not only about creating work about the climate crises, but to work with a low environmental footprint. Anya is also interested in site specific, and site adaptive work as a tool to make performance art more accessible to a wider audience. 

 

In 2023, Anya and her sister Sophia Saugstad embarked on a new collaboration to build a dance theater performance about sisters, and created the beginning of a full length ensemble work with eight dancers and actors. In July 2023, Anya and Artists toured 'Ocean Roaring', a site specific dance and live violin work performed and rehearsed in the ocean and on the shore of the beach. They brought this work to BC Islands including Galiano, Vancouver Island, and Bowen Island.

 

Later in 2023 Anya will be creating new works for Coastal City Ballet, LamonDance, and Method Dance. In 2024 her full length work Paper Mountains will have its premiere at The Scotiabank Dance Centre. She will also be sharing her work through ‘Dancing on the Edge Festival’ in July 2024. 

 

Anya is grateful to have been a guest choreographer and created work for LamonDance, ArtsUmbrella, and Simon Fraser University. Anya’s work has been presented through The Rotary Center for the Arts, F-O-R-M film Festival, The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and Vines Art Festival. Anya is grateful to be the recipient of the Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Award for the 2023/24 season. 

Artist Statement 
Anyas work is often inspired by the world she dreams about; removed, intimate, empty, chaotic, or exhausting. She creates to let herself and others arrive somewhere else. Her process physically and visually tries to answer questions about who we are as complicated beings, and our relationships to others. 
works

Choreographic works 

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paper mountains (of memory)

‘Paper Mountains (of Memory) is a live dance and sound work in progress about loneliness. The project started in March 2021 with an explore and create grant, five dance artists, a composer, 600 paper planes, and a drive to experiment a post lockdown world through movement.

This work is made up of an accumulation of choreography from self taped dance videos that we had taken of ourselves dancing during the first lockdown in 2020. We are now transposing that material into a collection of choreographed ensemble scenes. My original inspiration for Paper Mountains (of Memory) drew from seeing videos that my collaborators and friends were posting online of themselves dancing alone during the COVID lockdown. All of the dances in living rooms, kitchens, parking lots, and nature, were all very different, yet they all seemed to be products of true listening. I was inspired to share these intimate and lonely moments with more people. 

The beginning stages of 'Paper Mountains' was created with the support of Canada Council for the Arts, and in support of Plastic Orchid Factory, Ziyian Kwan, and The Scotiabank Dance Centre. We hope to receive more opportunities to continue to build Paper Mountains (of Memory) into a full length work. 

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ocean roaring

‘Ocean Roaring’ is a site specific live dance and violin performance that follows the stories of six women on the shore of the ocean at dusk. ‘Ocean Roaring’ was created on the beach in Vancouver BC in 2019, was made into a film in July 2020, and then toured live to Kelowna in 2021. ‘Ocean Roaring’ has been supported by Dance West Network Dance on Tour, The Rotary Centre for the Arts, the Canada Council for the Arts, New Works, and Vines Art Festival. This no tech, environmentally conscious work, focuses on tireless and urgent movement as a means to describe distance and longing between people and the land, and directs attention to the ocean as a scarce and vital resource. It duets the power of women’s bodies dancing with the power of the water.

'Ocean Roaring' was created in Vancouver at the shore of kits beach and first performed at vines art festival in 2019. From there, the work developed into a film that was shared virtually in festivals in 2020 including Vines Art Online Festival, Made in BC, and ArtsStarts. The work was toured live to Kelowna in 2021. This piece has been supported through Canada Council for the Arts, the Rotary Centre for the Arts, Vines Art Festival, and Dance West Network. We are looking for more opportunities to share this work with other bodies of water, communities and audiences.

 Photos by: Aaron Hemens

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58 duet

'58 Duet' is a dance work in collaboration with Nasiv Sall that revolves around a story of two people keeping track of one another. The work was made during the second year of Covid and was created as a response to a yearning we had to be intertwined once again to the lives of others emotionally and physically. The piece uses 15 solos back to back in one pool of light, getting more urgent as the work progresses. As this work was premiered for a live online show, '58 duet' was composed of 15 solos all 58 seconds long, aiming to stay within the same length of an instagram video (58 seconds) and to keep the attention of an online audience. 

 

This work premiered at The Scotiabank Dance Centre is January 2021

 
Choreographer: Anya Saugstad and Nasiv Sall
Dancers: Anya Saugstad and Nasiv Sall
Sound: Liam Carsley
Photos: Pat Kitlo
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falling Still

Falling Still is an interdisciplinary performance work about the world between triumph and collapse. The piece follows a group of women who push back against all that falls on them. Light focuses on individual dancers to reveal their moments of solitude. In contrast to the group's control and stamina, these intimate moments capture the individuals numbness, longing, loneliness, and crashing. This work focuses on the pieces of our lives that are often hidden and associated with failure. It questions our assumptions about success and ideals, as it dives into a story with two sides; the war inside us, between lightness and darkness, between being lost and in control.

 

Falling Still aims to capture burnout as beautifully and as humanly as vigor. It questions our assumptions about human capability, using dance theatre and sound to shed light on the silent roaring fights within ourselves.

This work began its creation at Mascall Dance with the mentorship of Jennifer Mascall. It was then performed at BLOOM, at ArtsUmbrella through the Performance Research Project, and In a split bill performance at La Fabrique St. George 7e7 warehouse space in Vancouver BC. 

 
Choreographer: Anya Saugstad and Collaborators
Dancers: Daria Mikhaylyuk, Eowynn Enquist, Shion Skye Carter, Katarina Nesic, Maddy Gilbert, and Sabine Raskin
Sound: Stefan Nazerevich
Photos: Mika Manning and Lara Abadir