Performance Lab

Weekly, drop-in, pay-what-you-can, performance training and professional practice sessions.

Azimuth Theatre, in partnership with The Citadel Theatre and Foote Theatre School, is offering a new professional ongoing performance training laboratory for artists who are interested in a long-term, exploratory, physical practice to enhance, supplement, and complement their performative and creative capacities. A blend of methodologies led primarily by Dave Horak and Amber Borotsik, with guest facilitators throughout the year, these sessions are for artists who are committed to technique, discipline, curiosity, and play.

The sessions are set at a professional training level; however the only prerequisite for the class is a commitment to the rigours of the work. For actors, directors, creators, stage managers, playwrights, dancers, performance artists, teachers, technicians, visiting artists, emerging artists, as-yet-undefined artists, administrators, engaged and active community members.

The drop-in sessions will run weekly, Sundays 11 am-12:30 pm, Sept 23-Aug 25 (no classes Dec 16, 23, 30) at the Foote Theatre School at the Citadel Theatre.

Fees are pay-what-you-will ($10+ recommendation)

We are open to and excited for feedback and requests. If there is someone you would like to have come in and lead a session, or a methodology you are interested in, or something you would like to share, let us know. Fees raised beyond the class’ operational cost will be pooled to bring in a special guest that may otherwise be inaccessible. This guest will be decided in dialogue with Lab participants. Contact Vanessa Sabourin to share your feedback and requests.


Session Descriptions

Amber Borotsik
Moving into the Moment. 

In this highly physical class we will explore movement improvisation as a way to practice
moment to moment awareness.   In my personal acting practice, a deep experience of the
body is equal to script analysis in terms of its direct impact on my ability to bring myself
into a scene.  For years I experienced real struggle trying to connect emotionally to
scripted work but then I did a bunch of yoga, a bunch of dancing and discovered that, for
me, the answer is physical. I’m now very interested in how movement and the body can activate, not only honest emotion, but also new ideas, imaginings and writing.   Please feel free to bring a journal/sketch book/cool phone app so that after class you may capture any ideas that have bubbled up.  Artists from many disciplines are welcomed and encouraged.

You can expect:

  • Major moving.
  • Sometimes sweating.
  • Sometimes partner work.
  • Some exploration of weight sharing.
  • Some speaking and/or sounding.

We will move the body, open to the moment, and see what happens.

Please work in bare feet and clothes that you can move in.  The floor is slippery so no socks please. Strange cut up sock contraptions so you don’t freeze are totally welcome – whatever works. This work will also open and strengthen the body, as well as addressing pattern breaking.

The work will be rigorous but I encourage everyone to bring themselves to the work in the way that feels most natural for their body. Haven’t moved for a while? Perfect.  Dance professionally?  Perfect.  Need to miss a class?  Perfect.   Need to modify movement in order to rebuild after injury/illness? Perfect.

Like Dave, I am looking forward to challenging my own methods and pedagogy within this context as well.  Intentional experiments may happen.



Dave Horak

I’m excited to teach these sessions in the newly formed Performance Lab!

I am designing each class so that someone can drop-in and feel like you won’ be missing something from class to class. This is a different way for me to teach and I’m excited by the possibilities. Over the past 15 years or so, I’ve been searching for actor training that is a daily practice and this laboratory is a place where I can exercise those muscles alongside the participants. This won’t be about developing a product that will be performed, it’s not a scene study or audition class but rather a physically-based training that will build strength in your body and creativity. I’m hoping that not only performers will find something useful in the class but also writers, directors, dancers and all other artists will as well.

I will be borrowing from such techniques as Viewpoints and Suzuki Actor Training to base much of the work on. Dress to be able to move and often we will be in bare feet. Occasionally we will wear socks and if you have athletic-type cotton socks or Japanese Tabi (cotton, split-toe socks) bring those. But don’t worry if you don’t, I’ll bring some extra! Sometimes we’ll speak so if you have a piece of text, monologue or a song you are working on, bring that as well. Sometimes we will improvise and sometimes we will work in a rigorous structure, so all you really need to be is open and willing to try something new. Repetition is important to develop a practice so expect to do some exercises from class to class.

I’m looking forward to challenging my own methods and pedagogy within this context as well.  I will be experimenting with techniques and looking to blend and mash up methodologies in the search for a on-going performance practice.



Instructor Bios

Amber Borotsik
Amber Borotsik is an Edmonton based creator and performer keenly interested in the intersection between theatre and contemporary dance practices. To date, Amber has created three full length works (Scythe, Backwater, The Moon at Midnight) and numerous shorter works (Here. Like this.) in collaboration with her husband Jesse Gervais. The Moon at Midnight premiered in Edmonton then toured to Winnipeg (Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers), Calgary (The Fluid Festival) and Regina (New Dance Horizons) as a part of the Prairie Dance Circuit.

Amber has performed in both theatre and dance across Canada, the United States and in Japan; and has received three Sterling Awards (Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role – Little One, Choreography/Fight Direction and Independent Production – Scythe) and the TELUS Courage to Innovate award at the Mayor’s Evening for the Arts. This fall she will be remixing choreography with Studio 303 in Montreal and Neighbourhood Dance Works in St. John’s Newfoundland as a part of the REMIX Exchange.


Dave Horak
Dave Horak is a director, actor, and teacher who has worked throughout Canada and the United States and is Artistic Director of the award-winning Edmonton Actors Theatre that has produced Stupid F##king Bird, A sort of adaptation of The Seagull, Burning Bluebeard, Fatboy, and The Waste Land. Other directing credits include Going, Going, Gone and The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe (Teatro La Quindicina), Footloose, Curtains, and Company (MacEwan University) A Few Good Men (Keyano Theatre), Measures; The Musical, The Inspector General, Cloud Nine (Citadel Theatre Young Company), Sartre’s Shorts, Act Without Words (Surreal SoReal Theatre), and Eurydice (U of A Studio Theatre). Dave has taught at MacEwan University’s Theatre Arts Program, The Citadel Foote Theatre School, The University of Alberta and at Red Deer College. Dave holds BFA (Acting) and MFA (Directing) degrees from the University of Alberta and was a participant in the 2015-16 Citadel/ Banff Professional Theatre Program.