February 13, 2018 5:10 pm

New ballet production debuting in Edmonton explores mental illness

WATCH ABOVE: In a collaboration that is the first of its kind in Canada, two art forms are coming together on an Edmonton stage. The latest work from Citie Ballet called "See Me" explores mental illness and works to remove some of the stigma. Jennifer Crosby sits down with choreographer Kiera Keglowitsch to learn more.

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In a collaboration that is being called the first of its kind in Canada, two art forms are coming together on an Edmonton stage with the goal of opening up the conversation around mental health.

The work from Edmonton’s Citie Ballet is called See Me. Choreographed by Kiera Keglowitsch, the production explores mental illness and works to remove some of the stigma.

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“I’ve struggled with anxiety since I was a child,” Keglowitsch said on Tuesday. She says dance as well as family and friends have provided an excellent support system but she knows others do not have the same supports.

“I’m quite comfortable talking about it and I still sometimes feel the stigma,” she said.

“So I can only imagine for people that haven’t been as fortunate as me, and had the support and a means to express themselves, that it can be really challenging. And so I felt it was a really important topic to bring up through dance and my choreography.”

The performance will feature large original canvasses painted by members of the artist’s collective at the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts.  The centre supports artists with developmental disabilities.

“It has been amazing,” Keglowitsch said of collaborating with artists at Nina Haggerty.

“The perspective that they have to offer is so beautiful.

“I’m hoping to portray, through my piece, that through different walks of life, different perspectives, different physical abilities, we can come together through supporting each other.”

She hopes the piece will get people talking about mental health, and maybe take action.

“I just hope to start a conversation about it and to get people thinking about their own mental health, perhaps reflecting on people they’ve encountered in their life, their loved ones, maybe even people they work with, to just try and take a more sympathetic approach and to try and be more thoughtful.”

See Me debuts as part of the Citie Ballet performance Intersect.  It runs from Feb. 23 to Feb. 25 at the Timms Centre for the Arts.

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