YYZ is pleased to present “Precarious Rest” by David Norsworthy
A series of performances taking place Saturday, September 26th, 2020


My first job was assembling and delivering the local newspaper in my hometown of Mississauga. My mother and I worked together; layering the flyers, wrapping an elastic around the whole bundle and then going from house to house dragging a wagon of newspapers along behind us. We would both sweat from the labor, joking that it was a kind of aerobic exercise. 

A couple months after graduating from college, amidst the fluster of a burgeoning freelance life, my boyfriend broke up with me partly because he felt that I didn’t take care of myself well enough. My hair was a shaggy mess, and in all honesty, I probably only brushed my teeth once every other day. He had cheated on me.

A couple years later I initiated a project exploring identity, specifically to reclaim my Japanese-ness. A mentor offered a question about pleasure, suggesting that it might be a key factor in understanding myself: What brings you pleasure? It felt like a dirty question to me. I realized that I didn’t have any hobbies. 

My partner and I were biking along the Don River trail (on my way to the YYZ Artists’ Outlet to work on this project) and he was leading the way. I noticed how quickly his legs were moving to keep up speed on a lower gear. I was still zooming forward with idle legs; recovering from a laborious earlier moment of acceleration. My choice was to work harder, then recuperate; his was to work less hard, but more constantly. My personal hygiene is better now.

Precarious Rest is an ongoing work-in-progress that aims to re-choreograph my relationship with labour and rest, without trying too hard. It is a choreographic response to a video installation by Galia Eibenschutz titled Observatorio that has been commissioned by the gallery YYZ Artists’ Outlet. A central element of the process is a collaboration with textile artist Mairi Greig, and the work is supported by Noah Malcolm’s sounds. Kendra Epik will be documenting the project and creating a mini film that will be available for public viewing online in the coming months.

My invitation to audience members is to join me in a one-on-one performance experiment. We’ll both show up with the messiness of history and the uncertainty of the future in and on our bodies. Somewhere in the present moment, we’ll endeavour to meet, to take care of ourselves and offer sporadic gifts of attention to each other.

1. How can we create the conditions for rest when circumstances are precarious (i.e. pandemic, social uprising, political instability)? How must I reconfigure my relationship with myself to be able to rest restfully right now?

2. How might we resist the binary of work vs. rest and instead ask; Can I rest and work at the same time, so that, at the end of my workday I have an abundance of energy remaining for life?

3. Can two strangers rest together, without knowing each other intimately? Can we find ease together despite possible different world views and different priorities/values?

Throughout the performance experiment I’ll provide some vague instructions, and you can decide to what extent you’d like to engage. You may want to bring a pillow, and/or a blanket.

If you’d like to experience this work, please send an RSVP email to yyz@yyzartistsoutlet.org with a first, second and/or third choice for a time slot (all slots are PM). Additionally, please let us know if you have a favourite kind of herbal tea (liquorice/fennel, for me), and/or if there’s a specific musical artist/album that is your go-to for promoting a relaxed state of enjoyment within yourself (Joni Mitchell would be my choice).

Notes regarding COVID-19: Of course, please stay home if you have any symptoms. Please wear a face mask for the entire time you’re in the 401 Richmond Building. We’ll stay at least 6-feet apart for the entire experience and all touchable surfaces will be thoroughly sanitized between audience members.

Friday, Sept 25th

Private “dress rehearsals” with/for invited guests

8:00-8:30 round 1

8:30-9:00 reset

9:00-9:30 round 2

Saturday, Sept 26th 

Open to the public via RSVP

2:15-2:45 round 1

2:45-3:00 reset

3:00-3:30 round 2

3:30-3:45 reset 

3:45-4:15 round 3

4:15-4:30 reset 

4:30-5:00 round 4


6:00-6:15 reset

6:15-6:45 round 5

6:45-7:00 reset

7:00-7:30 round 6

7:30-7:45 reset 

7:45-8:15 round 7

8:15-8:30 reset 

8:30-9:00 round 8

Sunday, Sept 27th 

Private for filming with invited guests

3:30-4:00 round 1

4:00-4:15 reset

4:15-4:45 round 2

4:45-5:00 reset

5:00-5:30 round 3

5:30 Strike

David Norsworthy is a Toronto-based dance artist who is “an exceptionally lucid performer, impressive and articulate” (The Globe and Mail). David has presented choreographic works at CanAsian KickStart (Toronto), Dixon Place (New York), Our Voices (Stockholm), OnSite/InSight (Winston Salem) and Kinetic Studio (Halifax) among other festivals and series. His recent choreographic project “Possibilities of Dialogue”, was co-produced by North York Arts with funding from the Toronto Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts.  Commissions have included Lamondance (Vancouver), Point Park University (Pittsburgh) and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s HSPro (Chicago). David has performed and toured with Peggy Baker Dance Projects (Toronto), Toronto Dance Theatre (Toronto), Dancenorth (Melbourne), ZviDance (New York), Brian Brooks (New York), Skånes Dansteater (Malmö) and Helena Franzén (Stockholm). Recent performances include the national tour of “who we are in the dark” by Peggy Baker with live music by Sarah Neufeld/Jeremy Gara of Arcade Fire, and the Merce Cunningham Centennial “Night of 100 Solos” at Brooklyn Academy of Music in NYC. A graduate of The Juilliard School (New York), David is the grateful recipient of the Living Arts Centre’s 2016 Ron Lenyk Award and was one of three finalists for the Toronto Arts Foundation’s 2018 Emerging Artist Award. He is the Co-Director of TOES FOR DANCE, a non-profit organization that produces workshops and performances across Canada. www.davidnorsworthy.com