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. 

BONE SONGS: A Leap of Faith

We hadn’t seen Miku Tsuchiya for 3 years but after working with her for the four years before that, she is family, and we are connected as artists.  We had never met Mark Medrano but saw him perform in Calgary, in a work in progress created by Mark and Kayla Henry;  Wojtek was absolutely sure that this was someone who could embody what was his role in Bone Songs.  I agreed. It was a leap of faith– we make a lot of those.

We were in the world of Kauai which I hesitate to describe.  It is a special place.   We had discovered it in January while at a conference and searching for locations for our video,  The Neruda Projects.  Once there, we knew this had to be the place to shoot this work. Bone Songs is one of the works we are deeply connected to as an important point in our creative, collaborative relationship.  We toured it for many years and always found more depth and resonance in our performance, never tiring of exploring that world.  The beauty and purity of nature in Kauai is a perfect environment for this work.  One reviewer said that we were “lost children of paradise”.  Well, Kauai is surely that paradise.

The performers, Miku and Mark, were amazing.  Focussed, open, ready to work and ready to brave rocks, sand, sun, waves, creeks, caves, underwater shooting….and let’s don’t forget that Miku had warned Mark (based on her long experience with us) that we often forget to stop, forget to eat, forget to take breaks, forget that time is passing.  So, they were prepared with water, snacks, sun block, towels.  They rolled right with us.

Now, we are sitting with all the footage, viewing, logging, rating shots, arranging and re-arranging…missing spending all day and all evening together as a team and enjoying reliving some of those moments.

Looking forward to sharing some of the process here!




TIME May 30 – June 2, 2016

W&M PHYSICAL THEATRE will present a new work entitled “TIME”, a physical and visual exploration of the influence of time in human experience. In conventional wisdom, time is a measure in which events can be ordered from the past through the present into the future. But what is the nature of time as social currency, and how does our preoccupation with both the past and future define the present of our lives? Time integrates scenic design, video projection, movement, voice and music in an interdisciplinary investigation of temporality. MAY 30 and 31 at 7PM & JUNE 1 and 2 at 2PM

RISING April 1 & 2 2016

RISING – APRIL 1 & 2, 2016 @ 8PM
Pumphouse Theatre, 2140 Pumphouse Ave. SW
Calgary, AB

A compelling, kinetic evening of contemporary dance presented by W&M DANCE PROJECTS with performances by WM2 [DANCE CO.] and SURGE CO. Artistic Directors: Wojciech Mochniej and Melissa Monteros. This is our season-closing performance with our pre-professional and apprentice companies!


Choreographers: Tania Alvarado, Marie France Forcier, Wojciech Mochniej, Oriana Pagnotta, Serenella Sol, Linnea Swan




SURGE CO. AUDITION April 3, 2016

Sunday, April 3, 2016 – 12noon-2pm at W&M Dance Projects Bay 9 – 4005 9 St. SE

The SURGE Company provides a challenging dance experience for hard working, self-motivated young artists between the approximate ages of 19 to 25. The program focuses on training, self-exploration, and choreographic endeavours in a dance company setting to explore contemporary dance as a creative art form.

Each dancer in the SURGE Company receives personal direction, guidance, and encouragement under the Artistic Directorship of W&M Dance Projects, its artistic associates, choreographers, and rehearsal directors. SURGE Company members will train, create, and engage in creative process with some of Calgary’s leading choreographers. Informal showings and creation work provide performance opportunities to further foster the dancers’ development in this tuition-based program. The company is directed by Melissa Monteros and Wojciech Mochniej.


SURGE is for dancers 19-25 years old (approximately) with some dance experience. The program is based in contemporary dance, but dancers with a strong background in other forms are still welcome to apply.

This workshop style audition consists of basic contemporary dance technique and across the floor work, as well as some short movement sequences and group exercises. There is NO need to come with any prepared choreography.

Dancers should come ready to dance in comfortable clothes or dance attire that allows us to see their basic body alignment. Please pre-register by email, and arrive early to sign-in. The company season runs September – November 2016 and January to April 2017. Weekly rehearsals are Mondays and Wednesdays 6-9pm, and Saturdays 10am-1pm.

AUDITION DETAILS Sunday, April 3, 2016

11:30am – check-in and register | 12noon-2pm – audition

W&M Dance Projects Bay 9 – 4005 9th St. SE


Email with questions or to register.

Conference in Hawaii; paper presented and projects in progress

It has been a while since we have had even a second to post.  This month we begin a 6 month sabbatical from the University of Calgary which allows us to focus sharply on our creative work.  We have just presented a paper here in Honolulu, with Adrianna Kabza on the development of Gdansk Dance  Theatre and  its place in  post-communist Poland.   This is the first step in a book we are co-authoring on this topic.  We met some incredibly interesting and wonderful people here in beautiful Hawaii!   We are working on our new series of short dance films developing the earlier work we did which was inspired by the poetry of Pablo Neruda.  In February, we begin a  collaborative project with Montreal based musician, Nils Brown, choreographing a new approach to the compositions of Witold Lutoslawski at the Banff Centre.  April and May see us in France and Poland, meeting again with our French colleague and collaborator, Christine Fricker!

Stay tuned for more…..

BOW: post from the field #2: September 21, 2015

| from Calgary looking ahead to the Calgary performances


The Bow River runs right by Wojciech and Melissa Monteros’ home, where we three Body of Water artists are living and working together for the second week of the Calgary portion of the project. The rhythm of our workdays are determined by the weather, the perpetually shifting river, and the working schedule of the dedicated and inspiring young dancers of W&M Physical Theatre’s Surge Company. Only a few days into their season, these dancers bravely leapt into our collaboration, and into site-specific dance practices.


The other day, I waded into the river to photograph the Surge company dancing: their heads in the water, bare feet resting on the pebbles and stones, a line of still bodies drawn on the shore; an image complicated by the troubles of our world and all its’ current struggles and inequities. I noted the intense power of the dancing body (simply, eloquently, wordlessly) casting perspective for the incidental audience gathering on the bridge above us. By placing themselves in a vulnerable position, the dancers became incredibly strong. I am grateful to the Surge guest artists’ willingness to work with us on this creative process. It is a gift to us older artists to collaborate with young artists, and witness their bright light illuminating paths we may have danced before.





BOW: post from the field # 1: September 17, 2015

| from Calgary looking back to the process in Whitehorse

BOW: post from the field # 1: September 17, 2015

| from Calgary looking back to the process in Whitehorse

During a break in the rain, we drove to Long Lake in Whitehorse. We took with us the clothes and shoes and the 6-foot standard folding table around which we had constellated for a few days in the Old Fire Hall. We imagined filming a sequence on the shore of the Lake — enacting a scene of bureaucrats around a table who are in conflict with, and ineffective to protect or relate to, the wild space surrounding them — the illusion of human control maintained by sedentary paperwork, to the detriment of water and all Nature.

Instead, shortly after carrying the table down the hill to the shore, Anne and I waded it into the water, pushed the table legs into the silt, yelling and laughing from the impact of the cold water. With the immersed table, we created the brief illusion of standing (dancing, sitting, crawling) almost on the surface of the water. For the Body of Water performance in Whitehorse on Friday September 4th 2015, we immersed three tables this way, end to end with enough space to wade between them. The cold water gushed off our heavy black clothing when we stood up. The shoes may still be wet. 

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Milan Kozánek graduated of the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava (Slovakia). He works as an independent choreographer and teacher. Milan has got many experiences as a teacher in the institutions such as SEAD – Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance, Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds (UK), Tanz Quartier Wien and Konservatorium Wien University (Austria), Grotowski Institut in Wroclaw (Poland) and many others.
Together with his wife Zuna Kozankova, Milan is a co-founder of the Artyci Dance Company. The goal of the company is to combine creative and pedagogical activities. Their current aim is to develop the Art and Education Center Pangea in the Eagle Mountains (Czech Republic).

The class is focused on using the natural way of the movement of human body. Understanding the bone structure, movement and energetic centers, perceiving mutual motion relations of the body have become the basis for the whole class that includes floor work, technical exercises, variations and an important last part where one can experience the new knowledge in practice.
During the class, we will focus on listening to our inborn instincts and learn how to use them in movement, we’ll discover and develop chained reactions that our body offers and we’ll search for new movement possibilities, using the weight of the body and its parts. We will use the floor work, dynamics (as an important part of the movement), impulses, fallings, acceleration and working with the space.