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

Sunday, 16 April 2017

How Sensitive Are We?

How sensitive are we to the ways we move each day? This week in the studio with Emerge 2017, we dancers have been challenged by our choreographer to look intensely into the movement that we are making and the purpose behind it. Hands and eyes have seem to be drawn into the forefront of the main tools of expression and communication that I draw from throughout the work. I've noticed through this exploration how often we let the details and purpose of our articulation in space slide. 

Throughout these past two weeks there has been seven phrases of movement generated. Here is a look into the states and qualities that I have found myself in over this past week. 


My eyes are focused looking up to the body suspended above me. My peripheral vision is aware of the limbs in my sight line, moving to lower the body between our nestled bodies. My hands are soft and gooey awaiting for the gentle press of weight. My hands now strong and soft, creating a paradox as the body safely makes it to the floor.  

My eyes are flitting from point to point along the floor. My blinds are up as I'm in total concentration of figuring out the paths I must take. My hands are stiff as they firmly connect the destinations I am currently unaware of.  

My arms and hands are gnarled and twisted, much like old trees and branches sticking out every which way. I am stiff and tense standing tall as my eyes stare at the horizon.  

I am finding the similar patterns that I coast through daily, often boring and monotonous. My hands are finding the familiar routines. My eyes are easily distracted as my mind wanders to the next item on my to do list. 

My focus is wide as I am acutely aware with the people I am sharing the space with. I am waiting and ready as their actions propel my body into a responsive action.  

I am standing, fist point towards the sky, strong and triumphant as my gaze finds the eyes in front of me.   

My focus is lost as my body races the one's beside me. Bouncing from place to place as my body rolls and twists along the floor. My hands are quick and nimble as they maneuver my body and limbs through space

-Jessica Lowe
Emerge 2017 Dancer

Saturday, 15 April 2017


Gravity finds it’s way in.

My bones slide through spatial planes gaining momentum as they go. 

Like a tumbleweed in an old western movie I gather similar limbs to roll with me.

My focus contextualizes the space, seeking new initiation points to draw parallels between imagination and reality.

Wringing you in with the obvious point of a finger, I create a retraceable path.

My lungs listen to the pulse of the room. 

Expanding and deflating dynamics splash the suspension in between.  

My rhythm palpitates from the soles of my feet right through the roof of my mouth.


Shaking hands search my exterior to gather a better understanding of what’s happening inside.

My innards reminds me I am human, a collecting device of memories and moments.

My heart opens, 
connecting me to all the other life

I share this

-Olivia Aubrecht 
Emerge Participant 2017

Friday, 7 April 2017

Creating a dance is like making Craft Beer. We Nova Scotians love Craft Beer.

Like a fine craft beer the process of creating a dance takes time, patience, expertise and a love of the art form. To me, it is a craft honed by many years of trial and tribulation; and when you know it's good, you just know. The Emerge program has offered me the unique opportunity to take this time to learn new skills and experiment with various tools while a mentor guides myself and the chosen dancers through an exciting three weeks of crafting choreography.

First. Mashing
The barley is mashed to release the sugars which will turn into alcohol.
In my case the barley is some old habits I hang on to. From the top of the week I've been mashing out my common tendencies to derive movement that can become the base ingredient of the piece.

Second. Sparging
Rinse the barley to really sift out the sugar.
I know this is not always the most exciting part of creating dance, but sometimes that last bit of sweetness can make all the difference, so I sort through the material diligently; searching for the gold nuggets in all of the chaos of going on creative tangents to create movement.

Third. Boil
Boil the Wort (The liquid created from the first two steps) to kill any remaining micro-organisms. Hops can be added for a unique characteristic.
Is there any trace of my old habits? Is there any material I can let go of? Is there a phrase that contains traces that don't belong? I've hopefully fine tuned my eye and gut instinct so I can extract the unnecessary from the effective. Once I've determined the purity of the material I can now begin to mold it around my stylistic preference, eyeing the aesthetic to really hone in on the piece. In my case a thematic taste will be implemented into the mixture to add its unique flavour.

Fourth. Cool the Wort.
The wort needs to cool so it doesn't kill the yeast when added.
Let the dancers work through phrases so they can grasp them physically. It often takes a few runs through the same phrase for the physicality to settle into the movers' bodies. The dancers are after all, the piece and to care for the dancers so they too can connect to the material is of upmost importance to me.

Josh Moore, Jessica Lowe and Olivia Aubrecht in the studio Friday
during the first week of Emerge.
Fifth. Fermentation.
Add the yeast to release the carbon dioxide and turn the mixture into alcohol.
This is a lengthy process which is particularly important where the structure of the piece is created. Parts are assembled, material starts to make sense and becomes something more recognizable, where you can see that, in fact it will serve a purpose of communication through movement.

Sixth. Carbonation.
This is a very important part of the process where the flat beer is given bubbly life and taste.
This is my favourite part, where once a theme has revealed itself in the material I will breathe life into the material with minute details and compliment it with props, set design and make some final design choices, adding buoyancy to the piece in its entirety.

Seventh. Packaging.
Once the beer is finished it's ready to be packaged and shipped.
The piece becomes a show and the technicalities are put in order, marketing is done to draw an audience and tickets are sold. Time to sit back and simply enjoy.

-Kara Friesen. Emerge 2017 Choreographer
Personal Reflection from Emerge Participant: Kara Friesen

Thanks to: Home Brew Academy "How Beer is Made"