Tag: Brittany Duggan

Revisiting Mountain Girl

I don’t talk about my contemporary dance life on this blog much since overwhelmingly my days are spent building my textile work, and mothering. It’s a big shift, but my interest in fibre art waxes of late and it’s not so much that my interest in dance wanes, but she’s had the front seat most of my life and it’s time for someone else to ride shotgun! So my dance commitments are fewer and farther between, but they are still precious to me. Dance is simply a part me, stitched inextricably into my fibres, a fundamental communication form.


That said, I’m happy to report  I’m working on a dance project this month! It is so lovely to spend some time in the studio. Along with my friend and collaborator Brittany Duggan, we are reviving a solo we choreographed together for the 2010 Dance 2 Danse Festival called Mountain Girl. We’ve been invited by Simcoe Contemporary Dancers to perform it on a shared program they are presenting as part of Barrie’s Winterfest in the first weekend of February.

MountainGirlPostcardBrittany is the dancer, the interpreter for Mountain Girl. I’m the costume and set designer. The original concept for the choreography was our consideration of how geography effects the development of our physical and emotional selves and influences our relationships with space and place. We’ve had fun working in Studio B, the basement studio of Toronto Dance Theatre’s soulful old church building in Cabbagetown. We’re resuscitating Mountain Girl, breathing life back into her choreographic bones and it never ceases to amaze me how kinetic memory works – our muscles remember so much with the smallest cues. Plus Brittany kept excellent notes, thank goodness.

Here’s an excerpt of Mountain Girl in our first re-mount rehearsal a couple of weeks ago. That glacial skirt is not easy to dance in!

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Reviving Mountain Girl – a choreographic remount project from Pocket Alchemy on Vimeo.

If you’re around or accessible to Barrie come enjoy Winterfest, the glorious expanses of snow we have here, and some contemporary dance at the MacLaren Art Centre on Sunday, February 2nd at 2:30pm — admission is free and it’s family friendly art! Click here for more info.

Photo credits: top: Lindsay Zier-Vogel; centre: Ömer Yükseker

Pitching our Encampment Tents

My regular dance collaborator and dear friend Brittany Duggan invited me to join her in creating two tents for The Encampment by Thomas and Guinevere. I probably didn’t need one more thing to be involved in but oh, this has been so inspiring and intoxicating. And I have to share what we’ve come up with!

Unravelling Powdered Wig, detail shot (part of the William Powell tent). Modelled by Brittany Duggan, made by Susan Kendal. Tyvec, staples and scotch tape, 2012.

The Encampment (Toronto Version 2012) has been commissioned by City of Toronto for the War of 1812 Commemoration and Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity. It’s an art installation that will stand on the grounds of Toronto’s Fort York National Historic Site during Luminato from June 8-17. The Encampment will stay up at Fort York until June 24.

For The Encampment, 200 tents are being pitched to reflect the bicentennial of the War of 1812. Inside each one is an artistic interpretation of someone who lived and breathed during that period. It’s fascinating to walk around and see the care, curiosity and creativity rendered by the collaborating artists.

Our Anne Powell tent.

Brittany signed up to participate in The Encampment a while ago and has done an enormous amount of research on our two historic figures. That’s when she invited me to come along, brainstorm and create — um, that’s my favourite!

The historic people Brittany chose for us to interpret in our tents are:

Anne Powell (born in Montreal in 1787, died at sea in 1822)

William Dummer Powell (born in Boston in 1755, died in Toronto in 1834)

Our William Dummer Powell tent (with Brittany Duggan contemplating the work).

The Toronto Public Library’s Digital Archive has a beautiful drawing by William Dummer Powell showing proposed buildings at Caer Howell (the family house) from the 1830s. It’s location is listed “n. of Queen St. W., w. of University Ave.” If you know that area of Toronto try to stop and imagine it as bucolic as this, I am amazed at how different things looked 200 years ago! the image is in the public domain so I’ll include it here along with the link above, courtesy of the TPL: