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.
Brittany 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
May has been epically busy, and in addition to my usual exploits, I got inked! Yes, tattooed, me. I always wanted one when I was a teen. However, being a practical creature and an obedient dance student, I thought I might regret it and also piss a bunch of teachers and choreographers off. But actually, I regret not doing it. And since there’s no time like the present, I researched artists last year, found Angie Fey at Archive Tattoo in Toronto and fell in love with her work. You should check it out. Extraordinary. Whimsical. Colourful. Charming. I wanted 4 Matryoshka dolls; I love them, their secret stacking, their folk-arty-ness, all the symbolism potential.
And it has been started, my left forearm is officially hardcore. The outline is done and June brings colour. I am in love with my little dolls, representative of family, carrying images of things precious to me. Wearable art — and a great conversation piece I’m discovering already! Does the moustache not charm your pants right off?! And the flowers. And the variation in grey. The little cheeks. The pleats in the scarf knots. Sigh of contentment.
Other adventures this month included a bunch of dance work with Simcoe Contemporary Dancers for their show Departure. And, you know, I managed to choreographed a work, costumed a few pieces, do lighting design and assistant stage manage some shows. I love love love me a dance show, but honestly! Over-commitment is my middle name me thinks. Truly soul filling work though.
I’m also getting prepped for sewing commissions, which include: costuming the New Actors’ Colony Theatre company in Bala, ON this summer, a couple of dance shows in Toronto, and 2 wedding dresses! Plus my own sewing work (ha ha). And the usual mothering. Ahem. Working from home with an one-and-a-half-year-old is insane. I constantly over-estimate how much I can get done, but this period shall pass, I know. So I mostly put aside my own work and just hang and nap and do things that don’t involve pointy objects during the daytime! My shop can happen any time, the little man will grow past needing me like this very soon, never to return to this magical/overwhelming time.
A month ago I got moving again. It was about 16 months post-baby and I was suddenly so ready to move, stretch, find my body again beyond the cozy curl of nursing and snuggling and nurturing my wee boy. Funnily enough, it was the same trajectory with my first son, 16 months curved around him and his wee yet all-encompassing world, which was all I wanted to do, but then it was time, and now again, it is time. I’ve been taking classes with the lovely Sarah Lochhead and her Barrie dance company Simcoe Contemporary Dancers, remembering that I love to dance, simply and truly, it is my first and longest lasting passion.
I’ve also been taking Moksha Yoga, hot yoga. Which, if you know me, is pretty amusing. Because til now I’ve liked yoga but never gone way out of my way for it, and I h-a-t-e heat. Being overheated is just about my worst nightmare. But I thought I’d give it the old college try for the introductory month and (in my face) I love it. Absolutely. It’s been a revelation to find myself so fully and quickly, strength and flexibility roaring back into my limbs and core. It’s also resulting in some mental serenity here and there, a good balance with the mothering all day and the sewing in stolen moments.
So I’ve been threading the needle on my machine and also “threading the needle” (a tangled-leg hip-opening stretch!) a lot of late and feeling good for it on both fronts. Stay tuned, the needle threading is resulting in some lovely burping pads for my Etsy store, due to open next week!