Mocean's annual choreographic lab CLEaR Forum, Photo by Kevin MacCormack

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Taking the town by STORM

Our season’s opening activity is taking place in the Annapolis Royal, where we are performing our beloved Canvas 5 x 5 (by Tedd Robinson) at the Festival of Dance Annapolis Royal(FODAR). FODAR is a new summer contemporary dance festival produced by Randy Glynn, which coincides with the town’s nine-day ARTSUnleashed summer festival, a festival that allows the region’s artisans and local and visiting performing artists to shine!

Performing in FODAR has been a delight! Randy, a seasoned figure in the Canadian Dance scene, laughs and comments how preposterous it is to organize a dance festival in a town of 450. But FODAR has taken the town by storm and is successfully proving any sceptics wrong. So far the festival has attracted two packed houses. The audience is enthusiastic, supportive, awestruck, and they are leaning in with every step that graces the stage.

The festival features Randy’s two community works Teen Angel and his wildly popular senior piece Dancing in the Third Act, Mocean Dance’s Canvas 5 x 5 and two works (A Mark and Army of Barbie) from JD Dance, a dance company from Toronto.

Not only is this the inaugural season for the Festival of Dance Annapolis Royal which is exciting to be apart of and to contribute to the success of the festival, this cycle of performances by the company are revelling a few nostalgic moments and circling of accomplishments.

Randy Glynn has been a summer resident of the Annapolis Royal for 25 years and he has been infusing the community with the joys of dance for quite some time. Initially, he ran a summer school for dance featuring an intimate training setting in an old church in Granville Ferry. Artistic Director, Susanne Chui attended this program in 2001 as a student while she was training at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre. Now Susanne returns to Annapolis Royal as Artistic Director of Mocean Dance and graces the stage with her clarity and generosity as a performer in Canvas 5 x 5.

Our bagpiper Robert Hyslop has close personal family memories tied to Annapolis Royal and he found himself in an impromptu performance while practicing on the hills of Fort Anne and paying homage to those who are close to him. 

Our opening night performance was the 10th performance of Canvas 5 x 5, and we are thrilled to re-visit our critically acclaimed piece, a piece in which our dancers Jacinte Armstrong, Rhonda Baker, Susanne Chui, and Ruth Ellen Kroll Jackson received a Dora nomination for best ensemble performance last summer in Toronto.

And finally in this cycle of performance, I, Sara Coffin am able to join the company as Artistic Associate and Rehearsal Director as my first company activity since returning home from Massachusetts after completing my MFA in dance at Smith College. I am thrilled to be re-joining the company to share my perspective and expertise with the company, to be part of the leadership team with Susanne, and to also celebrate the fruits of our seasoned performers and share in the region’s wealth in contemporary dance.

We have one more performance tonight, I know the power of a shared community will be felt on stage and in the audience tonight. It is something beautiful to witness and to be a part of.