Month: January 2017

Journal

THIS WEEKEND!

SPONTANEOUS COMPOSITION.
VIBRATING TOGETHERNESS. MAKING EVERYDAY.
with Sasha Kleinplatz (MONTREAL)
January 28 & 29 | 10:00am – 2:30pm
$120 regular | $96 pre-registered before January 12th
To register visit: https://www.pamtzeng.com/msdp-2017

This workshop will offer us time to consider the challenges we face as contemporary performance creators and interpreters. Through a combination of conversation, moving, and choreography, we will directly confront our expectations of performance practice and creation. The workshop will lead participants through different types of doing and not-doing, destabilizing personal ideas of “good” and “bad” in the hope of provoking new interests. The re-think comes out of our desire to:

1. Practice choreography.
2. Engage in criticality and feedback.
3. Share creative tools and strategies with other artists everyday.
4. Move simply and savagely.

Through these daily practices, we will create an environment where previously un-imagined ways of working and thinking about performance can appear.

ABOUT SASHA

In her decade of work as a professional contemporary dance choreographer, performance curator, and teacher, Sasha Kleinplatz has focused on exploring the meanings and applications of community, care, and ethics within performative practices.

As co artistic director of the company Wants&Needs danse Sasha works to generate contexts that allow artists to take creative risks while developing new, heterogeneous dance publics. Sasha is the co-creator and curator of three performance initiatives (Short&Sweet, Piss In the Pool, and Involved), which have had multiple iterations at festivals throughout Canada, and satellite editions of these events have been presented in Oakland, California, London, and Paris. Sasha’s choreographic works have been presented at venues throughout Canada and the United States, including Performance Mix festival in NYC, and as part of the Danse Danse series at Place des Arts in Montreal. In 2015 she was an invited faculty member at Université du Québec at Montréal, where she taught the course Spectacle dirigé which culminated in the full-length choreography L’Échauffement. Sasha is currently pursuing an MFA in Contemporary Art at Simon Fraser University.

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Thank you to W&M Dance Projects and community volunteers for supporting MSDP 2017 winter workshop season.

Journal

January Activities

Usually a quieter month, there is a lot of activity going on at W&M.  We were happy to share our space with the Moving Series from Canada’s National Voice Institute; teachers Gerry Trentham (a guest artist in the Dance Division at the U of C), Drama faculty Dawn Marie McCaugherty, and David Smukler shared their remarkable skills in a full day workshop. Heard that it was a great success.  The Artists in Residence are hard at work and making good use of the studios.  Wojtek and I are working away with Calvin on season plans, grant writing, and in planning for the arrival of dancer Anna Krysiak (February) and the production of our March show.  Keep your eye out for Anna’s workshop, March 4th; she is a force!  As well, we have our heads down,  buried in the editing process, as continued work on our films gets some priority time.  As you might have noticed, we are also revamping our website.  Not an easy task but one that Mochniej and I try to enjoy.  The end of this month (January 28th) our space will host a meeting of the dance community with an aim to identify strengths, weaknesses, and needs in our community, to allow us to develop an effective plan for the future.

Journal

BOW: post from the field #6: October 26, 2015

BOW: post from the field #6: October 26, 2015

| from St. John’s, unraveling after the performance

Rolling down the hill to the harbour became a meditation for me. One task in our performance score was to roll along the sidewalk of Prescott Street, while holding a wine glass filled with water. This was the option I solely focussed upon for the one and a half hours it took us to travel from hilltop to harbour fence. Through three intersections of increasingly heavy traffic, past little girls in windows, passersby, horn honkers, an old man painting his stoop, and an amazed, emotional audience I listened for the waters of the past. I saw in constant rotation: sky, wineglass, fellow dancers, cement, sky, wineglass, fellow dancers, cement, repeat.

Other options in the score included: rolling vertically along the buildings, drawing with sidewalk chalk, balancing a wineglass on your head, dancing in any way you wish, sitting out/observing, carrying a jug to refill the wine glasses. A cast of St. John’s dancers and actors joined us as well as: Lois who brought her ongoing String Art practice, the St. John’s Vocal Exploration Choir who gargle-sang, protected our actions and uttered experimentally, nine-year old Benjamin who traced our bodies with sidewalk chalk and dancers Elaine and Tracy who lead the way with blue lengths of silk rising and falling in the wind. I can’t think of a better mob with whom to roll along a river’s ghost to the ocean. Thank-you to the St. John’s crew; we could not done this without you.

Journal

BOW: post from the field #5: October 14, 2015

BOW: post from the field #5: October 14, 2015

| from St. John’s, discovering the ghost of rivers

Here in Newfoundland, we ask ourselves, “what comment can we effectively make about water and people’s relationship to water on a island where people have lived relied so closely on water for survival and culture for generations?”. Anne has the idea to investigate hidden and historic waters of St. John’s after learning that some of the steeply hilled downtown streets were originally rivers flowing into the harbour. Discussion with residents and research at the provincial archives showed us that Prescott Street used to Keen’s Brook. Early settlers in St. John’s built their homes along Keen’s Brook (and the other rivers), threw their waste into the river, and eventually transformed the river into a sewer housed beneath stone and pavement. Standing at the top of Prescott at Rawling’s Cross, I can easily imagine the fast waters of the brook; I can almost hear her silenced gushing sound.

Prescott Street is compelling for other reasons. The new fence surrounding the harbour skirt is visible from almost all points along the street. Built for “security and safety” reasons a few years ago in spite of much protest from St. John’s residents, this tall black fence cuts off the working harbour from the people who have enjoyed accessing its’ activities for centuries. We begin to imagine making a physical statement against the fence. We begin to imagine rolling down the steep hill of Prescott to meet the barrier fence between the ghost of Keen’s Brook, us, and the ocean beyond it.

Journal

BOW: post from the field #4: September 25, 2015

BOW: post from the field #4: September 25, 2015

| from Calgary, developing the performance score

We hauled a heavy wooden table and four chairs over and down the retaining rocks that skirt Prince’s Island, through the water and onto the small, pebbled island visible from the Peace Bridge. The Surge Co. dancers’ performance score is simultaneous to ours; they begin in duos and trios across the entire length of the bridge and ultimately join us by wading through the water to the island, which marks the end of the performance score.

Calgary dance artist Oriana Pagnotta dances with us on the small island. Seated at the table armed with a stapler, pens, a stamp, a stack of manila file folders, a jug of water and four wineglasses, Oriana becomes the representation of the blind mechanisms of bureaucracy. Mostly seated on chairs, Anne, Wojciech, and I present Oriana’s character with pebbles or stones and wait with trepidation to see if she will file or reject the object. She holds the stone a loft, feels the weight of it, examines its’ texture and other properties before either: vigorously stamping it, labeling it, and stapling it into a file folder; or throwing it far away. If Oriana’s character is particularly displeased with the object offered, she slowly pours water into a wineglass, and then flings it into our face (or other parts of our bodies). When we are doused with water, we must fall from our chairs onto the stones, and stay put until we have the gumption to collect and offer another object. Nothing we do goes unnoticed by Oriana’s character: our dance is monitored by her. We are thrilled by Oriana’s willingness to play such an unlikable character. We are also delighted by the questions our actions provoked in incidental audiences during our rehearsals.

Journal

BOW: post from the field #3: September 22, 2015

BOW: post from the field #3: September 22, 2015

| from Calgary, thinking about rules

It’s easy to break the rules, especially when they are invisible. Conflict has surfaced in Calgary because we broke unseen rules regarding where we are permitted to create art. During the first stage of the process in Calgary, we rehearsed and taught freely on the pebbled shore of the Bow River near Edworthy Park. We felt part of the community; people were curious about, and welcoming to, our site-specific research. During this second stage, we are adapting the work to a site on and near the Peace Bridge. Though permits and insurance have been issued for the second site, of the two places, it’s much more dangerous. Last night Anne, Wojciech, Melissa and I sat on the rocky shore there, watching the river claim the bit of safe beach where we hoped to dance.

The intersection of bureaucracy and dance reminds me of a story dancer/farmer Min Tanaka told me about the time he was arrested in France for, “moving too slowly in a public place”. It’s permissible to walk, ride a bike, run, or jog across the Peace Bridge, but if one wishes to dance there (and invite people to witness this) we’ve been told one must apply for a permit 30 days in advance. Meanwhile, most of contemporary human culture has forgotten the agreements with the Bow River, with water and the rest of the Nature. But the river has not forgotten. She continues to welcome people and tries to provide for us and all other life forms, even when people have so horribly broken the agreements we had with her.