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By Anya Saugstad / Furious Grace Dance Theatre

About Paper Mountains



Paper Mountains is a work that explores how we hold memory through movement. The piece uses choreography created during many months in solitude, and translates that movement on to bodies, spaces, and paper planes, to describe a fragmented story of loneliness, celebration, and longing.

The inspiration for Paper Mountains drew from seeing videos that my collaborators and friends were posting online of themselves dancing alone during the COVID-19 lockdown. I was inspired to share these intimate and lonely moments with more people, and so I collected the videos I had taken of myself dancing over the year, re-learned the dances in these videos, and then transposed that material into a collection of choreographed ensemble scenes.

Within a swarm of over 1000 paper planes, five dancers express movement stories drenched in vigorous and urgent physicality. Paper Mountains is about time, memory, flight, and longing.

Anya and Artists

Anya Saugstad / Furious Grace Dance Theatre


Anya Allegra Saugstad (She/her) is a dancer and choreographer based in Vancouver BC, on the unceeded territory of the Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh', Stó:lō and Səlílwətaʔ/ Selilwitulh, and xwməθkwəyə̓ m First Nations. 
'Anya and Artists' 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 choreographic stories that express celebration, strength, and urgency. Anya encourages her collaborators to show rawness and vulnerability as femme presenting bodies in performance. Anya has danced with Vanessa Goodman and her company ‘Action at a Distance’ and toured through the USA, Canada, and Germany performing ‘Core/Us’ and ‘Graveyards and Gardens’. Anya has created work for ArtsUmbrella, LamonDance, Simon Fraser University, Method Dance, and Coastal City Ballet. Anya’s work has been presented through The Scotiabank Dance Center, The Rotary Center for the Arts, F-O-R-M film Festival, The San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and Vines Art Festival as well as self presented works, performances, and tours. Anya received the Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Award in 2023/24 for her work ‘Paper Mountains’. 

Performance type: Here it is was originally created for an outdoor stage venue. The work can be adapted to a variety of locations as long as there is a Marley or sprung floor.

Duration: 20 minutes 

Audience type: General Audience

General Technical Requirements: Here it is requires a Marley or sprung floor, and a sound system. The work requires there to be two small piles of soil on stage, and a door or opening at the back of the stage that the dancers can walk through (this can be a curtain, door, two walls, or a door at the back of the theatre).

Here is is can be adapted to many different locations including outdoor theatres.

Number of people on tour (including choreographer): 3

CHOREOGRAPHER: Anya Allegra Saugstad in collaboration with the performers.
DANCERS: Shana Wolfe and Nasiv Sall
MUSIC: Stefan Nazarevich
COSTUME: Julie Newton

Photo of Nasiv Sall and Shana Wolfe Photo curtosy of artist 2.png

Community Engagement  

Community workshops for young dancers and adults:​​ Workshop consists of guiding participants through an improvised warm up, teaching repertoire from the company, and skill building in collaboration and choreographic creation. Age ranges can be anywhere from 10 years and up to adults with dance experience. Also open to improvisational classes for adults not in dance but interested in somatic movement practice. Fees are based on CADA East rates at $75-$100/hr. Workshops are taught by Anya Saugstad.

Mini Mentotships:

Through touring we would love to engage with young female identifying or non binary dancers who see themselves going in to professional dance as a career. We are interested in setting up a mini mentorship type opportunity for individuals from the community to spend time in rehearsals and the theatre with us. They would be invited to shadow the work in rehearsal, or be an outside eye and give notes, help in the theatre, and be given time to connect and meet the company with time for one on one conversation. As a company of emerging femme and non binary artists, we are interested in sharing our knowledge and paving the way for femme voices in performance.

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