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

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Ice Hot Nordic Dance Platform

Susanne and I just returned from Reykjavik attending the Ice Hot Nordic Dance Platform.

It is so invigorating to be on the road together to see new work, take in new dance communities, and let our ideas flow about our own context, both for the company and the Halifax dance community that we are a part of.

Iceland had lots to offer us.  Her beauty is outstanding, even despite only having sunlight from 11am-3pm!  I definitely want to go back in the summer months to experience the landscape in the daylight and 24hrs of sun.  

The Nordic Dance Platform is a four day festival featuring artists and companies from Iceland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway.  Iceland sits at the 65' parallel.. Nova Scotia sits at 45' parallel. Strangely enough, we were traveling during a winter heat wave and it was colder back in Halifax than in Iceland.
During the festival we met many new artists, producers, and presenters, eyeing new ways to open our networks in new ways and create new conversations for exchange and artistic development.  We also ran into old friends Paul Caskey and Andrew Tay from CCOV (Centre de Création O Vertigo) with Elise Vanderborght! Elise and I were star Canadian students and took part in every dance class that was offered over the festival.
Paul Caskey hiding in the Lave Fields of Iceland
Also in our traveling Canadian pack was Heidi Strauss (Adelheid) and Michelle Olsen (Raven Spirit Dance). The three of us were hosted by Canadian arts consultants Judy Harquail and Jim Smith. At the festival, with their help, we were able to do an informal presentation about our work and the company with four Nordic artists and a mix of Canadian and Nordic platform presenters. Later in the week we also took part in the official Meet the Canadians Party... which was a jammed pack house, complete with all the wine we could carry from every duty free location as we made our way north. It was a group Canadian effort to supply 25 bottles of wine for free flow schmoozing and networking.  

Diorama by Ingrid Fiksdal of Norway 

Time, Humour and Darkness....
The work we experienced really related to the sense of time and space that the Nordic landscape offers. Most of the work took place in a suspended time flow space, required patience from the audience and had a slow unfolding. Humour was also a strong influence in many of the works that we saw. In this context the humour was very cerebral, dry, or academic. Another common theme was how the rich history of  the 'dark and twisted Sagas from Iceland' embeds it's influences into the artistic psyches and art making practices of Iceland.

It is interesting to view new works outside of our own context to see what is the driving nature of making from this place and where our work sits in reference to this. On a whole it was a rich experience, however we were slightly disappointed in the lack of deep embodiment or that the physical self/body knowledge wasn't at the same level as the cerebral pulse driving most of the works.

Before I returned home I escaped to the wilderness and hiked the glacier mountain Esja. Here the land moved me. The sight of the mountains and the flow of the glacier waterfalls continually feed me artistically and as a humble human. Thank you Iceland.