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

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?