Back when I worked in Vancouver’s dance community, contemporary dance artist and choreographer Amber Funk Barton was everywhere. Whether she was creating her own productions, or dancing for other top notch dance companies, Amber was sought after for her dynamic mastery, discipline and mega-watt talent. A decade later, Amber still commands the attention of dance veterans, and inspires a younger generation of dance performers to follow her lead. Of course, it’s easy to be under her dancing magic: not only can Amber narrate an insidious and apocalyptic story through dance, she’s one of those artists who looks for inspirations, challenges and growth outside of her dance medium. In this episode of MsRepresent: Behind the Face, a Fierce Woman, Amber reflects—with energetic clarity and humility—her dance career, turning 30, recovering from burnout, Zombie movies, writing novels, supporting younger dancers, and climbing mountains. Also, enjoy the ambient background music! Every dancer needs a soundtrack.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Amber received her training with Goh Ballet Academy, Arts Umbrella, The Banff Centre Dance Training and Ballet British Columbia’s Mentor Program. Upon completion of her training, she established herself as a professional dance artist in Vancouver and has danced for various companies and choreographers, such as Joe INK, LINK dance, Judith Marcuse Projects, Lola Dance, Marta Marta House of Pride, Mascall Dance, MovEnt, Battery Opera, Karen Jamieson Dance Company, MOVE: the company, Ruckus Company Productions, Mark Godden, Dana Gingras (Animals of Distinction, Marla Eist, Jennifer Clarke, Emily Molnar, Wen Wei Wang, Cori Caulfield and Lina Fitzner. She has also performed as a guest artist with the 605 Collective.
As a choreographer, Amber’s work has been presented in various venues and festivals in Vancouver, throughout the province of British Columbia, across Canada and even internationally at the NW New Works Festival in Seattle, WA (USA) and Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff (Wales). She is also the inaugural recipient of the Iris Garland Emerging Choreography Award (2005). Recently, she collaborated with and choreographed for the theatre company Horseshoes and Hand Grenades’ production of This Stays in the Room. In 2008, Amber established her own Vancouver based contemporary dance company, The Response.