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Martha Carter delves into scoliosis in her multi-media performance Twisted:Solo

Martha Carter of mmHoP, tells the story of her spine using monologues, music, and movement.

Martha Carter's latest piece Twisted:Solo is a visual, visceral, medical memoir.

The multi-media work is based on the journey the artistic director of Marta Marta House of Pride (MMHoP) has gone through as a dancer with scoliosis. She attributes the connection people feel when seeing the work to this: “Everybody has a body, everyone has a spine therefore this story relates to everybody."

Starting ballet training at nine, she was diagnosed with scoliosis, a side to side curving of the spine, at the age of 14.

“It stopped me in my tracks," said Carter, who is now close to 50, shared of her realization that she might never dance again. “ It was pretty brutal.”

Surgery that fused her spine left her turning to music, a passion initiated by her mother, who was a pianist. While attaining a B.A. in Music from Stanford University in California, she discovered modern dance, a dance form less demanding than ballet on her spine. “Modern dance took me on the path of becoming an artist. I didn’t want to exclude myself. I didn’t want to listen to these authoritative voices telling me that I would never dance again."

Deeply in denial, she tried to hide her scoliosis, which surprisingly was only noticed by very few teachers or colleagues. “I would never tell anyone about my scoliosis and having my spine fused," she said. "I wasn’t honest with my teachers or fellow dancers or with my artistic spirit. You can’t really be an artist if you’re not expressing yourself truly and being authentic."

Finally, at the age of 35, Carter got the surgery to take the metal out of her spine. Determined to not only move but to dance, years of physical therapy and psychological therapy, dealing with the emotional upheaval of her scoliosis diagnosis and subsequent surgeries, ensued.

Twisted started as a group piece in 2009 at the Vancouver International Dance Festival, and the director on the project, artistic director of Battery Opera, Lee Su-Feh, suggested to Carter that the piece could work as a solo as it was her story.

"I feel that now I have the confidence to do this as a solo, " affirmed Carter.

Ticket and show 

Dates:November 17,19 (8:00 p.m.) and Nov 23, 25 (5:00 p.m.)

Venue: The hopbopshop, 150 McLean Drive @ Powell St, 2nd floor

Length: Show time : 50 minutes

Price: $20.00

Please visit their website for tickets and other classes and events.

Additional performances:

Tuesday Nov 29th and Thursday, Dec 1st at the Museum of Anthropology at 10:30 a.m.

For tickets contact [email protected] or call 604-822-3825

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