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

Monday, 14 December 2015

Winning over the tough crowd

I invited a tough crowd into the studio today to witness the creative process of making a dance piece. 

Students from Dartmouth High School's (DHS) Dance 11 program got to take a field trip across the bridge and join Gillan, Brian and I in the studio today to witness us work and watch a run of the piece.

Throughout this fall, I have been working with the DHS Dance 11 students teaching movement and composition classes at their school, and I also had the pleasure of sharing some partnering skills to the school's improv team. Getting to know the group over time has been rewarding and it has been lovely to witness the group try new things and begin to believe in their creative potential.

Today the tables turned, and I put myself (and my collaborator Gillian Seaward-Boone) to the test by trying a completely new section, "testing the waters so to speak" in front of a room full of (sometimes unenthusiastic) viewing eyes. Gillian and I had the job of remaining present to the work and trying completely new things, while trying not to get distracted by the set of twenty eyes on us. We juggled the  job of remaining welcoming so that we could share our strange and wonderful world called "the unknowns in creative process" yet remain efficient and plough through our day's to do list despite the full house. 

After witnessing us work for an hour, we did a run of the piece for the students. Although there are still a lot of gaps in the work and many details to work out, the skeleton of the piece is getting stronger with each run. 

Below is the commentary and thoughts from my toughest critics yet:
Dartmouth High  Studio Visit Day with Mocean Dance

What skill sets / personality qualities, and communication tools do you see at work in the studio?
  • Lots of enthusiasm, you could tell the dancers love what they do.
  • It wasn’t as serious as I thought it would be, but more fun and energetic. They laughed but were very professional.
  • A lot of communication and they are very creative.
  • They worked together as a team and while they were brainstorming one is listening to someone who’s talking. Each gave their ideas and did their part.
  • A lot of effort.
  • Agreeing upon things. Open to new things, learn to do things you don’t like a whole lot.
  • You guys like figuring things out together, instead of one person figuring it out and teaching the other person.
  • Laptops, mirrors, microphones and a lot of physics.
  • The fact that they are positive and straightforward to the point and they’re very focused.

What images, themes, and associations do you see in the piece or does it remind you of?
  • Makes me think of  a battle within their own head that is being played out so that an audience can see what one deals with in their minds. Trying to trust one another.
  • I see someone wanting to love someone but the other person does not want to love them.
  • I see a lot of mirror and push.
  • Helping someone when they need it.
  • People telling you what to do and it getting stuck in your head.
  • Human growth, inner voice, survival, growing up, circle of life, sadness, inner demons, restarting.
  • It reminds me of sadness, nature, your inner self.
  • This piece reminds me of the struggles in life with all the people in the world that try to bring you down.

What section is the most interesting to you and why?
  • While one was talking and the other was continually doing the routine.
  • The whole thing is very interesting.
  • The final part was very intense.
  • When you guys said “this section is going to hurt.”
  • All of it.
  • When the girl was climbing on the other person’s back, cause it was not normal but interesting. 

This education mentorship partnership with Dartmouth High is supported by the generous funding received from:

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Cultivating Compassion and Community at the Library

Mocean Dance has recently initiated a partnership with the Halifax Central Library to offer free movement classes for adults in the Paul O’Regan Performance Hall.

Click to see large photo
Moving with Mocean is an open inclusive class designed to support all levels of movement comfort and ability. The class offers the chance for adults to engage creatively and actively in the beautiful setting of our new library; a space where the light cascading through the large windows will lift your spirits and the open skeleton of the room encourages deeper breathing. So far, we have offered the class three times this season, September 25, November 25 and December 2, and we are thrilled to see the benefits of supporting such an opportunity for mindful community connections, while engaging in an active and creative form that is both safe and extremely playful.

When teaching the class the feedback of smiles that I receive is infectious and I can’t help but smile back and send my heart-centre to the whole room. I know that such an act is my job as the facilitator for this class, but the interweaving of our group energy supported by the live music provided by local musician Andrew Dahms certainly makes it easy for me. I can’t tell who enjoys the class more the participants or me!

Reflecting on what is happening at a deeper and physiological level and why such exchange of energy through movement as a community is so important I share my layman’s version of the Polyvagal theory.

In moving, breath can access and regulate the vagus nerve, a nerve that runs along the face-heart connection on the side of the neck. This is why in so many mindful practices slow deep breathing is encouraged; as naturally we calm down and our stress reflexes begin to turn off. Through breath and the mirror neurons of sharing an energetic (and playful) experience together will activate the vagas nerve in such a way that helps us respond to other people with empathetic compassion and impacts our viscera at the neuroceptive level. Creating a supportive viscera homeostasis essentially means we are using a physiological (physical) state in which we can use another person in a dyadic interactive situation to help regulate your emotional state.

By down regulating the nervous system, or calming the nervous system in a pleasing physiological method our body can find a safe state of being that leads to more empathetic socially engaging responses, creativity, and the desire for developing bold and new ideas…. Like acknowledging skipping in public as an adult leads to at the very least positivity but potentially can later shape bold new ideas post public skipping!

The science in the simplistic act of breath, creativity, community, and physical interaction is profound and very rewarding beyond the few calories that we also burn!

Keep an eye out for more classes to come so you can share in the science of compassion and reap the benefits as well. Class info is posted on our face book page and on our website.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Carving out Just Enough

I am in the studio this month creating a new work for Mocean’s upcoming mainstage production Ordinary Rebels

I am vulnerable, excited, scared and pumped all at once. 

The new work I am creating is a new duet for Mocean dance artist Gillian Seaward-Boone and myself. I am also embarking on new collaborative relationship with composer and fantastic artist in general Brian Riley. Brian is in the studio with us crafting the soundscape for the piece and we are also toying with modular set design ideas together. 

This creative dialogue and new collaborative relationship is fueling me and is very important for the piece and for my own creative practice in general. When I left Vancouver, I left a very special pool of collaborators that I had developed over the fifteen-year stretch that I was out west. Honestly, I still sometimes feel the void of these back pocket resources and important colleagues who have helped develop and support my aesthetic. 

I am also missing the code dialogue that we have generated in working together over the years.. Yet at the same time, it is important for me to create similar ties, develop new conversations and creative new exchanges with potential colleagues and collaborators here in Halifax, the city I have chosen to root in. So I am excited, this new alchemy feels good and is a challenge at the same time.Reasserting what I know and what I value, yet placing the opportunity in front of myself to go down new roads and open new doors. This playground is rich. 

It is a simple gesture to ask colleagues to embark on a new creative project with you, but the nuance of the outcome is profound and detailed in such a way that it is hard to track. 

The dance of many voices forming into one is perhaps one of my favourite aspects of the creative process. 

Curating the show, Susanne and I decided to book Neptune for the intimate nature of this theatre and in doing so we are excited to share the solo, duet, and trio - 1, 2, 3 that we are programming.

Tasked with the job to create the duet, a new work for the production,  I entered the studio curious about the equation of two. I wondered what would happened if I treated the duet as solo and instead create a duet that is not about two people but about the internal and external self. This was my leaping off point. 

Now nine days into the process, I realize I am crafting a physical reality and the mirror of who we want to be. Perhaps I am entertaining a physical interpretation of my present state of mind, a sate of mind that we all experience. Swimming among the questions of; Is this enough? Am I enough?


I wondered if I could extract myself from my own body, what would I tell my present day self? In this play of research, and with the help of my colleague Gillian Seaward-Boone, we are allowing the opportunity for our inner life coach to come alive. ‘Ballet Bob’ from Toronto would coin this as your inner drill Sargent. The relentless nature of the ‘idealistic coach’ is being supported by our super fun loop machine; a dangerous but very entertaining toy to have in the studio with us. 

After nine days, I have the skeleton of a dance piece in front of me and the richness of its potentiality for further crafting is super exciting. I can’t wait to get in the studio again! 


Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Olivia's Self-Help Tips For Struggling Dancers

Everything that happened during the 2015 CLEaR Forum at Ross Creek reassured me that I am meant to do what I love,
Inside of me blooms, discovers and rejoices the internal love I have for myself and others.

1. To be curious is where intelligence stems from, so always be curious.

2. Be courageous and persistant when discovering yourself- life is continuously shifting.

3. Hypersensitivity keeps the creative soul awake, BE AWARE.

4. Don't doubt yourself or your first instinct. Every choice you make is your own and everyone is on some bizarre and unique path.

5. Eat really good food.

6. Take care of your body you only get one a life time (seriously, there is only one of you).

7. Be gentle, sincere and compassionate with others.

7.5. Listen to their heart beat because you never know...
You might share the same rhythm.

(Watch my Video about Ross Creek!!)

Monday, 18 May 2015

CLEaR 2015 Offering Affordances to Nova Scotian Dancers

   How often is an artist afforded the opportunity to immerse themselves completely in their art-form while enjoying the company of equally passionate others? 
                CLEaR 2015 offered many "affordances" for which I am eternally grateful. A morning to evening practice in movement, movement discovery, movement analysis and movement reflection offered us, 6 local dance artists the inspiration and knowledge to move forward in our stage of career and share contemporary dance choreography with our community. With a new sense of bravery and support network I feel the urge to face the elements of the tumultuous dance career within Nova Scotia. A survivor much like the ones that have come before me, I relish the obstacles that may or may not stand in my way and I can see the opportunity laid out before me as if standing on a high peak and peering down over the lush landscape.

               Afforded by the generosity of Sara Coffin, Larry Lavender, Susanne Chui, Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, and my fellow participants the momentum the Halifax Dance community is currently experiencing will continue to build with even greater pace. Coffin and Lavender leading exercises and conversation about dance have offered invaluable information and perspective on dance making that I'll continue to use as tools throughout my career. Tracking the creative process, explorations in finding deeper layers within movement and movement phrases, questions about dance and it's making and the art of "Critical Evaluations" were some of the topics we delved into daily. 
             Ross Creek centre allowed us to isolate our delicate selves from the outside riff raff
of the city and truly focus on the task at hand. Invaluable to the process of art making was the structure we were able to follow of warm-up, morning creative exploration, afternoon creative exploration, exploration showing and sharing and evening group discussion. Amazing healthy meals were served up in between these activities which provided the purest form of fuel for our bodies and minds to perform at their best.

              Chui offered an incredible exploration in listening which is not always an innate trait among our society. These moments helped me realize that though I may think I listen, there are definitely clues and senses that are being missed by my web of experience and that I would benefit from breathing a little deeper and sitting a little quieter.

            I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to work with Candice Pike on her intuitive sensitive choreographic exploration. Her process was continually engaging and  offered new ways for her dancers, Olivia Aubrecht and I to make choices within the clearly constructed framework of layers and parameters. The research we explored on matters of the heart were both exciting and healing over the 5 day residency.

           Jalianne Li was the other choreographer in residence whom worked with Georgia Skinner and Michele Kuppens Slattery on her explorations of dancing with the face. Their work together opened up new possibilities within contemporary dance including the relationship of body and face interaction while moving.

        The experience of exploration, support, investigation and total immersion will stay with me throughout my dance career. I come away from it with a new and louder artistic voice and am excited to continue communicating through art the way I know best; dancing freely, openly, and limitlessly.

Posted by: Kara Friesen, CLEaR Forum 2015 Participant

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Are you the same person now as when you are moving?

When you pause to think and create the time and space to question one's reflexes in dance making.... many questions can arise. This list of questions was generated during our CLEaR Forum evening discussions and as a group we attempted to tackle the endless possibilities that each of these questions generate.

Can we start over from the beginning?
When is a project finished?

Does the choreographer need a plan?

Is narrative always a bad thing? 
How do you create atmosphere without being too literal?

Are there aspects of dance that ‘don’t belong’ on stage?

What role do emotions play in creation/dance work?

Some strategies for creating 3‐D space on stage?

How do you balance elements of choreography (eg. Focus, 

movement, music, technology?)

Is it immoral to make political/social commentary through dance?

Does anyone struggle to dance some days?


Is there ever moments when you are uncomfortable dancing? 
If so, how does it relate to our social structures?
If it’s a struggle, should I change course?

Dance ‘dance’ emancipate or suppress movement?

What difference does the movement make?

When you perform are you yourself or someone else?

When does one thing stop and another begin?

Where does choreography stop and another art form (songwriting, painting, acting) begin?

Do you think dance is closer to visual art, music, theatre, poetry or other 

art practice?

Is dance about spirituality/ritual or performance?

Does art need to say something?

What is natural?

What is the role of ‘community’ in creation?

How does art help the community?

Is the way you make a piece part of the meaning of the piece?

Are you the same person now as when you are moving (for yourself)?

Why is education for the arts important? Why not self‐taught?

Dance for you or the audience?

If there is no audience is it still a performance?

What is a way to connect with the audience without telling them what 

a piece is about or for?
Does dance performance actually impact people who are not 

dancers/involved in dance? 

What do we do when most of the audience are dancers? 

Should this concern us?
How concerned should we be in directing the audience’s

attention to what is important, to what ‘thingness’ we are trying
to create?
What excites you most in a performance as a viewer vs. what excites you in the process of making?

How clearly should we need to convey our message/idea?

What do you like to see as dance on stage?
Is the legibility of the internal logic important for the viewer to see/understand?
What is the balance of logic supportive or dominating?
As a viewer is it the task or the difficulty of the task do you enjoy taking in?
What is the role of artist in society?
What is dance?


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Hello From Alderney Landing

Hello from Alderney Landing! 

It seems incredibly appropriate that today is International Dance Day, as I spend my day in a dark theatre, making diagrams about blocking, listening to notes for the dancers, and imagining myself in the space. As I write this post, the dancers are literally running in circles around the stage, getting a feel for the space, the costumes, and testing their chosen hair styles. I thought I might just keep adding in quotes and activities that are happening around me, to give you a little inside scoop of our big tech day. 

“Conserve your energy, it’s a long day.”
A thoughtful line that just came from Mocean’s star stage manager, Marcel. 

It’s all becoming real, with opening night only one day away. As I watch and look forward to the next few days, I can’t help but already be sad about not heading to the studio everyday next week. For the past 5 weeks we have been in the studio everyday, and all too soon it will be over. Post show blues are a thing, even for the understudy as it turns out. 

5 hungry dancers flocked to my side to grab a quick bite of some delicious croissants, generously supplied by Serge. 

“Ladies come back to where you first start crazy hands, please”- Marcel

Tech day is always one of my favourites. It feels good to settle into the theatre, find your mirror backstage in the dressing rooms, get your station set up, hang up your costume, and nice outfit for the opening night reception, and settle in for the next few days. 

Shadows begin to take over the sides of the stage, varying in size as the dancers move through the choreography. 

Murmured conservations can be heard throughout the room: on stage between the dancers, from the back of the theatre as Serge & Stephane discuss lighting, Marcel on the headset, and rehearsal director Sara Harrigan speaking with myself and the dancers on stage. It’s an interesting soundscape, as I catch bits and pieces of each of these murmurs. 

“Are you watching her, or is she watching you?”- Gillian

As I’ve said in my past couple of posts, be sure to come out and see this show. Witness the inspiring work of Mocean Dance to bring you two brilliantly exciting pieces, “Live From The Flash Pan” by Cory Bowles, and “Sable Island”  by Serge Bennathan. 

“There’s the dinosaur.”- Jacinte 

It’s been a pleasure sharing my thoughts with you, until next time. 

xx Kathleen 

Saturday, 25 April 2015

At A Moment's Notice

Hello again, 

It’s your trusty understudy here. If you read my blog post from last week, you may remember me talking about being ready to jump in at a moment’s notice. Well, that situation happened big time just a few days ago. 

It was Thursday, and the big run of the piece for the day was just barely underway when I heard Serge yell my name. I was preoccupied with my dancing, so I didn’t immediately notice when one of the dancers had to suddenly step out because of an injury. I ran from my back corner to take her place within the group, and settled in for the next 35-40 minutes. 

Thoughts going through my head included but are not limited to: 
-Is this where I am supposed to be? Where should I stand? And other such thoughts related to blocking. 
-You know the choreography, trust
-Ahh crap, I never had a chance to practice (insert part here) with the group. Here goes nothing…

As I was in the piece I just kept telling myself to give it everything I had, this was my opportunity, my performance, even if was only in the studio with a couple of people watching, this was it. 40 minutes later we arrived at the end of the piece, and I was overwhelmed with the support and love from my dance partners. The whole room applauded, with hugs from my fellow dancers, and even a thumbs up from Serge. Everyone was quite impressed with how well I knew the material, and one of the dancers commented that she didn’t even notice a difference with me in the mix instead of the regular casting (pretty stellar compliment if I do say so myself!). All of my work for the past number of weeks, dancing in the crammed corners and with the ballet barres had paid off. 

The next day I was on video duty for the run, with all of the dancers happy and healthy. It’s quite a flip to go from jumping into the piece one day, to watching and being in charge of the video camera the next. Such is the life of an understudy, never glamorous, and always changing. 

I am grateful for the opportunity I had to get thrown into the piece, and watching the next day gave me a feeling of pride and excitement. As I watched my colleagues dance I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride, to know the amount of work they have put into this work, and the strength they give to the community. Rhonda, Jacinte, Susanne, Sara & Gillian, I am proud to call these 5 women my co-workers, mentors, and friends. Nova Scotia, you will be sorry to miss this show. Do yourself a favour and get your tickets right now, so that you can witness the talent of these women that I get to share in every day. 

xx Kathleen 

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Notes from the sable studio by Kathleen Doherty

Hello blog world, 

I am the understudy for Serge Bennathan’s new work, “Sable Island”, and I’m writing to share a little bit about my experience so far. Understudying is a bit of an odd job, you are trying to learn everyone’s role in the very back corner of the studio. Then at a moment’s notice you can be thrown into the piece. Suddenly I find myself surrounded by people, instead of a ballet barre and yellow coloured walls. After weeks of dancing alone in the back, it’s quite a change to your senses (and adrenaline!) to be in the middle of it all. I can sense the rush and excitement when I observe the dancers in rehearsal, but being right in the middle of it is a completely different experience. It’s a satisfying experience, mixed with some stress. As I’m in the middle of the work, I’m suddenly realizing I don’t exactly know the blocking of this dancer, or the traveling pattern of another. Luckily, dancer instincts take over and the ability to sense the space and energy is a big tool I am able to use. I haven’t caused any traffic jams or crashes to this point, I’m working to keep that record nice and clean! 

I have been learning so much watching the 5 dancers of Sable Island work with Serge. Watching these skilled dancers everyday, and having the ability to learn from them and speak with them about the work is such a fantastic experience. Watching Serge work and create is another unforgettable experience, and I will always be grateful for these weeks in the studio with so many talented, driven, and passionate artists. 

A little list of my duties as the apprentice:
-Learn the piece (all 5 dancer’s spacing and solo moments, of course!)
-Stay out of the way…but be ready to jump in at a moment’s notice
-Get some rehearsal photos
-Post those photos 
-Video runs of the piece
-Reorganize the space (move CD player, speakers, flats, etc)
-Write blog posts
-Be present and engaged each day 

No one has instructed me to carry out that last one, but it seems like the best way to approach each day. I am learning so much, and am so thankful for this experience with Mocean Dance. I will continue to update you on my experiences in the coming weeks as we prepare for Close Reach, which is only 2 short weeks away!   

Love & gratitude,


Friday, 17 April 2015



Choreographer Cory Bowles is back in Halifax, working with Mocean Dance on the remount of his critically praised Live from the Flash Pan, which had its world premiere in 2010.  Recently he stepped away from the studio to answer a few questions about the production and how he builds a dance work.

“Live from the Flash Pan is a bit of a satire on dance in pop culture. The pace of pop culture has sped up and there is a barrage of new influences,” Cory explains. “In this work we are exploring how that culture constantly changes and relentlessly forces the same for artists. There is a huge exodus with the shifts, but there's always a pocket of artists who just don’t, can't or just won't fit. They're a ‘flash in the pan’ because they are hot, but not mutating.  They are forced out.

Rhonda Baker in rehearsal with Cory Bowles and Mocean Dance

1 - Your career in the performing arts spans multiple creative roles in multiple genres – film, music, theatre, dance.  As a choreographer how does this background and experience influence your creative process as you build a dance piece?

I don’t have one set way of working, it always adapts and changes. Elements of one discipline creep into the other disciplines at different times; different elements for different moments. I'm fortunate to have a pretty big toolbox. It’s a constant tinkering and exploration, and of course a lot of trial and error.  At the end of the day we just try to tell a concise and interesting story. 

Rhonda Baker in rehearsal with Cory Bowles and Mocean Dance

2 - Live from the Flash Pan was originally set on Carolle Crooks in 2010 and will be performed in 2015 by Rhonda Baker for the Close Reach program. When you create a new piece or remount a dance work, how much are you influenced by the dancer/dancers with whom you work?  Are you influenced by personality? Technique? Physical type?

I’m influenced by the fact that we build a piece together.  For Flash Pan we created the character and story. We're influenced by a general idea or general themes, but it's a jump off point.  No two people are the same, and they don't or shouldn't interpret the same. When I work with someone new I should hope to get them to own it the role as soon as possible. It becomes something of a new piece, from a new perspective. There's definitely influence at the beginning from the original casting, but it's more like having an unseen partner in the beginning stages and then the piece eventually becomes someone else's story to tell.

Rhonda Baker in rehearsal with Cory Bowles and Mocean Dance

3 - Do you have a fixed choreographic process? Do you start with a theme?  An image? A movement? The music?

Again, always different. Most of the time it starts with an idea. Sometimes specific from start to finish, other times something smaller –like a quotation or an incident. Then go with the instinct as much as possible.  I ask myself “What am I trying to say and is it worth saying?” “What are the necessary steps?”  then I try my best to trust that instinct. If i can't...well..

4 - How do you get to the life of the work?

I don’t believe that you can force a theme, even if you think you know the theme, a new one will arise. I try to get to the life of something by nurturing it. Something doesn't flower unless it gets water, sunlight, nutrients, etc. If work is fed, it something fresh emerges.  You can analyze what it is and what it wants to say.

A lot of times the work will steer me in a new direction. Or a person’s interpretation of the work will steer me in a new direction. Sometimes the essence in someone’s movement will prompt me to change direction. I follow it so that the artist can approach the movement from their most honest perspective. I'm there to help the approach with an honest conviction. They need to understand the work more than me. Eventually I just provide an outside perspective.

Rhonda Baker in rehearsal with Cory Bowles and Mocean Dance

5 - How much do you engage the dancers in your creative process as you build the piece?

Collaboration, artistry, ability, safety and trust.  There are times when I'm really specific in what I want the artists or artists to do --  other times when we are completely collaborative. I try to never leave an artist abandoned. Time to themselves, sure. But never alone.

For the collaborative, I engage in a joint exploration. I don't believe in the choreographer, or the dancer having one set way of working. It is a constant dialogue all the way through, even when I know exactly what I want. We have to inspire each other and inspire the room. I have to be driven to not only make them look good, but eventually, as a choreographer, I aim to be invisible. I want to empower the people I am working with and give them the framework to deliver that empowerment. I am there to always work for the dancer who is working in the piece, for the piece, and in turn for the initial idea and my direction.

Rhonda Baker in rehearsal with Cory Bowles and Mocean Dance

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

I am.

Mocean Dance is back in the studio with Serge Bennathan, getting ready for our spring home season production of CLOSE REACH and the world premiere of Sable Island.

We push through the day and break down the walls of our preconceived pictures. Our stamina increases. The deeper we fall, the stronger we become.

(a collection of insightful words of wisdom gathered from the studi0)

Winter Words
A constant reaction to a situation. Where am I…
Keep the truth of how you move but take out the dancer self.

Finish each accident/event, find the fullness and not just forcefulness.
Follow the sensation.

How can you linger in each moment and arrive in the consequence of each accident?

What ghosts surround you?

A Spring Thaw
Letting go of what you thought it was to allow something else to open up.

The difference between tension and power.

Can you feel the group? Turning problems into an investigation or a question to follow. 

Open your windows and allow the light in.

Grounding in the legs - released to the earth and the upper body flies, available for full openness. This is the tension; the contrast of the two is the beauty within the conflict.

I am here, the artifacts beneath me; the whispers of past cries are carried through the wind.

Do not move through space, the space moves through you. 

Wolverine to Spring Warriors.

Photos by Michelle Doucette


Monday, 23 February 2015

Creating Balance, Patience and Respect

And that’s a wrap folks.

The theatre lights came up and the show came to a close. I stood backstage for a minute and felt a sense of accomplishment splash over me. What a wonderful experience, I have grown- whatever that means I'm not sure.

Kinetic Studio Performance, Feb 21-22
Dancing as a professional versus dancing for my BFA are two totally different experiences. I was expected during my time in school to work myself physically to death to achieve some sort of recognition. This is not the case. It is important to listen to your body and take it easy when it needs it- mindfulness and creativity are much more powerful. I learned some extremely beneficial movement therapies/teachings with Sara Coffin & Kelly Keenan that will endure my dance career (I know I’m only 22, but better sooner than later). I also learned practical tips about surviving as an artist - grant proposals and taxes, yay!

The final product of our performance was a distant cousin of our first draft. The changes that happened the last week of rehearsal made a tremendous impact on our finished product. Figuring out the music, costuming and lighting really helped bring everything together, but I think it was our tech dress that we found the true, underlying, authentic intention of the piece.  The first performance on stage is always interesting and a bit shakier, but as the shows continue the nerves pass and something magical starts to happen.

I have never felt more comfortable sharing the stage than I did with Georgia, Vivika and Sarah. We have created balance, patience and respect for one another that I look forward too playing with again in the future.

Olivia Aubrecht

The Emerge Program is supported by: 
the Province of Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture & Heritage,
RBC Emerging Artist Foundation and Kinetic Studio.