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

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. 


Monday, 16 February 2015

The Tunes - Georgia

We all wanted music, sound to accompany the movement we had created. The main challenge we faced was creating sound that fit the movement already in place.

We started with brainstorms of tunes and soundscapes that we felt captured each moment in the piece, and after many agreements and disagreements, we started to compose.

Finding the right sound for walking, for the monster, for twinkling, chugging, for flocking, for stopping and starting. The process in itself a new discovery.

We started creating with the desire to have smooth blend between thoughts, a seamless transition from one world to the next. However, we found it washed out the movement. Having already created several drastically different emotions in the dancing, these seamless transitions blended the feelings together, when what we wanted was possibly a little more drama, some more drastic changes.

With this in mind we endeavoured to find the "transitions." We wanted coherency, but less sameness. Doing and undoing, switching, alternating, playing and placing with more precision now.

Now finally having the order and world changes that we felt alive dancing to, time to play with timing. Finding the right amount of each thought before we moved on. Also the new challenge of knowing when to stop altering the timing of the music, and start tailoring our movement.

And now having found the sound, the only thing left is to run with it.

EMERGE Week 3 Reflection - Sarah

The main challenge of this past week was creating a music score for the piece that was functional and met everyone's expectations. By Friday we had done it! We now have a complete work of choreography paired with a finished music track. So what's next?

When starting out in this creative process we wanted to create a world in which a story could live. We wanted to create something that invites the audience in, and relates to the human experience. We started from the place of movement, and now in this final week of meeting and rehearsing, we will be able to step back and look at what we have created. This will allow us to then dive into those moments that create the world and look at how we can make them stronger.   Asking "why"? is an important part in this next step. Why does this action happen? What is my intention? How does this intention relate back to the piece as a whole?

Another fun element for this final week is strengthening our cardio!! We need to just keep running the piece to get used to the expenditure of energy. It's a good tool to look at the piece on a scale of energy used as well as the story line, as it helps to know where you should conserve energy so that you can really give er' in the sections that it is most necessary in order to carry the story.

Another element that is left is the costumes. We began playing around in the wardrobe of Halifax Dance (costumes constructed/designed by Rachael Grant) to get some ideas of what we may want to use. We still haven't completely come to a conclusion here. After watching the piece back at the end of Friday with the finalized music, our ideas for costuming changed. We were originally thinking something fairly uniform that connected us all, but now we are leaning towards something more everyday and human. The connection between us in the choreography is clear enough without making it visually obvious in the costuming. So with this new idea we will move forward with costume ideas this week.

Getting excited for show time!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

My Pants Were See-Through, I Wasn't Ashamed.

At first we didn’t know what was going on. There was confusion and lack of instrumental down beat. As time passed our energy collided from four different spectrums. My pants were see-through, I wasn’t ashamed. Our atmospheres were see-through too. 

I felt comfortable as karate chop liv,
Power and speed came naturally to me,
It seemed as though my hands moved faster than my feet,
But my legs induced the heat.

 I met S in a jumping ripple
With a quick handshake,
Before you knew it
Our souls began to mate.
Saw G & V were passing by,
I thought it be the perfect time to do that thing we do,
“Reach for the sky!”

 We were one unit!

One simple string!
Holding on for dear life,
Our breath began to sing. 

Focusing inwards as I search for love,
The boundaries are quiet,
Like a Heart.

I heard the chimes and I knew the time was near,

I circled my hands and tried to gather my peers,
We Circled
We Clouded
The four of us inter-mounded. 

What an experience
Where did I go
I met my psyche
Amongst the flow.


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Land Ahoy! Navigating the Process to the End

Monday marked the opening of the third week in the studio creating as part of the Emerge project. Susanne Chui dropped in to view what we’d put together. Hers were the first and freshest eyeballs to view the piece so far! It was exciting to hear what she had taken from our embryonic kinetic draft. She said the movement was interesting! And that the piece evolved at a nice pace. She shared with us the moments she felt were more emotionally telling and encouraged us to pursue finding this emotion or intention in other phrases of movement. This is always the challenge in creating; how to get across what you wish to say or how to uncover what the creation is trying to say. Often it’s the latter as the creative process, especially a collaborative one, is often a compromise between ego and the creative inertia. Where is the balance of channeling, searching and letting be? This balance has come pretty natural for the four of us I think in part due to us having worked together before. Sara believed our process to be fruitful and well on time which is always a bonus. Some vital but often lingering ‘to-dos’ on the creation list are: costumes, in this case music, and a title. I’m excited to see how these finishing elements will ultimately define the dance and hopefully help portray something cohesive and alluring.

Before we began this process we talked about creating a world and an element of ‘storyness’. We emphasized that this through line is important in contemporary dance to offer anchors in a conceptual or interpretive world. I think this is true of any good art. A clear intention, a bold vibe, symbolism, repetition perhaps, unique and often simple pathways or an element of surprise are some of these visual story telling tools. As we do the final tune-ups on our piece by refining movement I notice the importance of these ‘anchors’ and finding ways to carry these shapes and qualities through the dance. They will ultimately tell the story for you and the fun part is knowing when to let tension build and when to let the audience have the pleasure of coming back to these familiar places.

Susanne also mentioned the challenge of creating movement and also dancing it because there is a special layer that a dancer/choreographer/collaborator may not get to until later and that is their very deep, intuitive responses to the creation. Like I said, a collaboration is obviously somewhat of a compromise and so you are always shared in the process. However, once the dance is deemed complete, and oh this day will come.. your role in it is truly yours. It is this personal release that is always so liberating. Once everyone agrees on what it is, then it’s time to find in you what you bring to the whole.

I think the four of us bring a palate of personalities that will compliment this dance. I think we’re all bold enough in our own tastes but open and constructive with each other. It feels like a very nurturing creation environment really, very natural. I think we work well together as collaborators and performers and we’ve shared these roles before. Susanne noted that it was nice to see a collaboration because no one style rubbed off on all the movement, that it really was a blend. In conversation we also pondered the success of the intention of ‘creating with no transitions,’ in hopes that there wouldn’t be any really obvious or bad transitions made, only one effortlessly evolving story. I’m finding being in this headspace of letting the material fill the gaps as oppose to our logic brains really allows the piece to sprout. Quite literally sprout new movement and layers and underneath, a story. If you just tune your intuition to what the creative energy is bringing forth you can navigate from there. 

Sara brought this word navigate into class the other day as a prompt for a solo improv composition. It’s really a lovely word because it implies that nothing need be born of nothing, only found. It implies that we only need to sift through in order to create. Like a sculptor, the work exists in the stone it only need be revealed.

By: Vivika Ballard

Sunday, 8 February 2015

EMERGE Reflection Week 2 - Sarah

This week we took many leaps in the creative process. We started fresh on Monday with new ideas and created a phrase that got our cardio going! After looking at the video of what we had finished with on the previous Friday, we set to work creating contrasting movement and then combining it with the work from week 1. By the end of the week we had created a rough order of events. The peice is starting to show its form, which is an exciting part of the process.

Sara led us through an improvisation that used the vocabulary of the choreography we had so far. This was a very informative experience as it helped us to explore the world we had created. Afterwards we wrote about the experience. Here is some of what emerged for me:

Grasping, collitions, suspention. I can float and fly, or dive and collaps. Catch and release of your energy sends me spinning off into my own world. I want to splash the room and all of you in bight paint.
Cracking open; an idea, your body, your boundries, your heart.
Explore and find magic in the secret orchard of our moving minds.

And that's a wrap for week 2!
Looking forward to our last week of creation!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Spiraling from the Spine of the Group

Today a world started to form, we poured and folded together the material. 

 A recipe list was created and discarded
We built, we did 100 things, we came as we were
The piece breathed, it became a thing. 

Pushing the membrane, cracking the egg 
Working in our comfort zone and just beyond it. 
A close reach to a place we do not know. 

Trapped in thought, circling, flocking, breaking through
A conveyor belt of actions.
Repetition with development. 

Milk that reach! The arms twist - spiraling from the back, spiraling from the spine of the group.

 ...and yes we ask, what are we reaching for?

Enough water to keep hydrated, a safe trip on the road home
the moment you feel your contents pouring into the next fold of an idea. 

If you nest an egg, heat it with a yellow light... something will happen
The journey is the process, the ending is just a removal of layers that is ongoing. 

The depth of our edges is unknown. 

four desires for the order of material,
cross-referencing similarities and difference on the play board
~ Sara C.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

EMERGE Week 2 Free Writing - Georgia Skinner

On the train of thought on psychosis... 

Sometimes I have trouble seeing. It's as if my eyes view the world in pixels that grow, and I can tell the migraine is coming.
I decided to jump inside the house, but I will become distracted.
The telephone rings, but I
don't answer