How to Say Goodbye

by Amber Funk Barton/ the response.

The creation of How to Say Goodbye began in the fall of 2019.  Since the pandemic of COVID-19, the themes of absence, the passing of time, memory and the inability to leave a space and/or relationship has taken on a whole new urgency.

During the early summer of 2020, the company decided to conduct their next rehearsal process over 5 weeks via Zoom with support of the City of Vancouver.  This led to the creation of a solo series presented by the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, showcasing the work of three haunting solos.

the response. returns to the Shadbolt in spring 2021 to revisit these solos, stringing them together in chronological order as they were originally shown in.  In addition, a final section will see all the dancers together in the space, socially distanced, masked and dancing together.  This final chapter of the work will also mark the last creation Amber Funk Barton makes for the company as she prepares to step down from her role as Artistic Director.  Barton will also perform in The Final Chapter of How to Say Goodbye.

Bittersweet dreams, muscle memory and the continued longing to be together in the same space remain the driving force behind The Final Chapter of How to Say Goodbye.

How to Say Goodbye (The Solo Series) was presented at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts’ Live (Streaming) at the ‘Bolt! Oct 29- Nov. 19, 2020

Choreography and Direction: Amber Funk Barton

Solo #1 (October 29): Isak Enquist
Solo #2 (November 5): Katie Cassady
Solo #3 (November 19): Josh Martin


Created by Amber Funk Barton/the response.
Composition and Sound Design by Marc Stewart
Dramaturgy by Heidi Taylor

Amber received her training with Goh Ballet Academy, Arts Umbrella, The Banff Centre Dance Training and Ballet British Columbia’s Mentor Program.  Over the past 20 years, Amber has worked as a professional contemporary dancer, working with such choreographers and companies such as Joe Laughlin (Joe INK), Gail Lotenberg (LINK dance), Judith Marcuse (Judith Marcuse Projects), Lola MacLaughlin (Lola Dance), Martha Carter (Marta Marta Productions), Jennifer Mascall (Mascall Dance), Day Helesic (MovEnt), Lee su-feh (battery opera), Karen Jamieson (Karen Jamieson) Dance Company), Josh Beamish (MOVE: the company), Dana Gingras (Animals of Distinction) , Ruckus Company Productions, Adam Shankman, Mark Godden, Marla Eist, Jennifer Clarke, Emily Molnar, Wen Wei Wang, Cori Caulfield, Lina Fitzner and Heather Laura Gray.  She has also been featured as a guest artist with Company 605 and performed in Neworld Theatre’s King Arthur’s Night.

In 2008, Amber established her own Vancouver based contemporary dance company, the response.  As a choreographer, her work has been presented in various venues in Vancouver, across Canada, and internationally at the Chapter Arts Centre (Wales), the NW New Works Festival in (Seattle), and the BAAD!ASS Women Festival (Bronx, New York). Her work has also extended into theatre choreographing for Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, collaborating with theatre director Mindy Parfitt of Search Party Productions, Studio 58 and Alley Theatre.

As a guest teacher, she has taught contemporary dance throughout the lower mainland and currently teaches on staff at Luminesque Dance and Eleve Training Centre.

Amber continues to do the majority of her work, learning, playing and living on the unceded and ancestral lands of the Musqueum, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

Marc is a composer, sound designer, musician and songwriter making music for theatre, contemporary dance, and film. Productions of which have been performed or screened throughout Canada, Europe, Asia and Mexico. He has worked with Neworld Theatre, Tara Cheyenne Performance, Amber Funk Barton / the response, Peter Bingham / EDAM, The Contingency Plan, Allison Beda/A Muse Productions Inc., Brenda Leadlay/Presentation House Theatre, Donna Spencer/Firehall Arts Centre, Alvin Tolentino / Co. Erasga. Marc is also a podcast producer and creator. He lives, works and plays with his family on the unceded and traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səlil̓wətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation)/East Vancouver.

Heidi Taylor is a dramaturg, director and performer, and Artistic & Executive Director at PTC, based on the traditional unceded, occupied territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. She makes sited, devised, and interdisciplinary work, developing performances from first idea through production. She recently dramaturged the world premieres of Carmen Aguirre’s Anywhere But Here, Tetsuro Shigetmatsu’s Kuroko, Chicken Girl by Derek Chan, and Public and Private by Ziyian Kwan. She is currently dramaturg for Derek Chan’s yellow objects, Zahida Rahemtulla’s The Wrong Bashir, Amber Funk Barton’s How to Say Goodbye, and Mermaid Spring, created by Barbara Adler and Kyla Gardiner, for which she is learning to crochet. Heidi served as Board Treasurer of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and was the founding president of LMDA Canada. She was a co-founder and co-artistic director of Proximity Lab/Arts from 2003-2016.

Isak Enquist is a dance artist living on the unceded and occupied traditional, ancestral territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh Nations. Raised in the Kootenays/Ktunaxa of Canada, Isak began formal training in Shotokan Karate-Do before being introduced to dance as a structured form. He moved to Vancouver at age sixteen to explore contemporary dance and further training, searching to use a kinetic understanding of martial arts in alternative forms of movement. He began his post-secondary dance education with the Simon Fraser School for Contemporary Arts, before continuing his studies with the Modus Operandi contemporary dance program. Isak has also taken part in summer intensives with The Ailey School in Italy and New York City, as well as taking part in Dance Victoria’s choreographic workshop 2017-2020. As an emerging dance artist, Isak has performed with Out Innerspace Dance Theatre, Compagnie Vision Impure, Mahaila Patterson-O’Brien, Amber Funk Barton / the response., Mascall Dance and Shay Kuebler Radical System Art. He is also a founding member of CAMP, contributing as a dancer and choreographer on various projects. Touring with these companies have included performances across Canada, USA, Europe and Israel.

Katie Cassady is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer based in Vancouver, BC, the unceded territories of the Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Katie completed her dance training at Simon Fraser University and the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, and currently performs with Kokoro Dance, Amber Funk Barton/the response., and TWObigsteps Collective. As an independent creator, her work has been presented locally at the Contemporary Art Gallery’s Dance Week 2019, the Shooting Gallery Performance Series, and Vines Art Festival. Katie holds a BA in Art History from the University of British Columbia.

Originally from Alberta, Josh Martin is dance maker/performer who now lives and works in Vancouver, on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territories of the Coast Salish Peoples. Inspired by the merging of urban and contemporary forms, he received his diverse training across North America and Europe, studying in many genres. In his ongoing career as an interpreter and collaborator, he has worked with many dance companies and independent choreographers such as: Justine A. Chambers, Dana Gingras (Animals of Distinction), Wen Wei Wang (Wen Wei Dance), Tiffany Tregarthen and David Raymond (Out Innerspace Dance Theatre), Amber Funk Barton (the response.), Serge Bennathan (Les Productions Figlio), Vanessa Goodman (Action at a Distance), Karen Jamieson, Helen Walkley, and as a past company member of Le Groupe Dance Lab in Ottawa under the direction of Peter Boneham. In his own choreographic practice, Josh’s independent work has been presented all across Canada as well as in the USA, Costa Rica, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Hungary, and throughout Germany. He has created multiple commissioned works for other companies and artists, and post-secondary schools. For over 10 years, Josh has been an Artistic Co-Director of Company 605, a Vancouver-based arts organization creating and producing new works through a collaborative process, regularly touring its expanding repertoire throughout Canada and Internationally. Off the stage, he has served as Vice-Chair of The Dance Centre’s Board of Directors and as Past Chair of Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists. Josh is an Emerging Artist recipient of the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Awards.

Amanda Testini (she/her) is a performer, choreographer and director based on the unceded and ancestral territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. She has worked for the Arts Club, Bard on the Beach, the Cultch, Theatre Replacement, the Firehall, Vancouver Opera, the Belfry, Opera Kelowna, the Gateway, Savage Society, VACT, Carousel Theatre, shameless hussy productions, Electric Theatre Company and Axis Theatre. As the pandemic hit, Amanda was the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artist Stage Director at Vancouver Opera. Most recently, she choreographed the live-streamed do you want what i’ve got: a craigslist cantata with the Cultch, and Panto Come Home! for Theatre Replacement and the Cultch. She is grateful to have this opportunity to learn from Amber and the rest of the artists on this show. Amanda is a Jessie award nominee and a graduate of Studio 58.