Each and every day, I lose myself in the immediacy of the moment, find myself in the joy of the movement. Each and every day, I learn more and more...and, within that new knowledge, realize that I have so much farther to travel.

Shallom Johnson is a contemporary dance artist, visual artist and freelance writer based in Vancouver BC. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Contemporary Dance from Simon Fraser University, and has been active in the Vancouver dance community as a choreographer, performer, and instructor since her graduation in 2004.

Shallom is interested in art in public spaces, site-specific performance, interdisciplinary collaboration, and community involvement. Her street-based artwork, performance and photography examines and documents who gets to make art, where it gets made, and where/how the creative process and product is viewed. In the future, she hopes to explore this theme further via new media and technologies, new methods of creation, collaboration and community engagement.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Omnia Mutantur and Open Source Dance

So an old friend, Diego Maranan, is currently living in the Philippines, writing about life and movement here. We went to school together in the dance program at SFU, and he is dearly missed by myself and all of our mutual friends. Diego is currently working on a project called Omnia Mutantur. Diego is also the founder of Open Source Dance, which you can read more about below.

Anyways, I liked the idea. I am not sure if I am ready to begin such an undertaking, but the concept intrigues me. Maybe I will try to incorporate it into my life for the next few months or so, maybe longer.

This is the project (link to original post above):

Create a movement sequence. Doesn't matter how long it is, doesn't matter what style it is, how big or how small. Make sure it is repeatable... whatever that means to you.

When you think you're ready, film yourself performing it.

Then, everyday, you must rehearse this sequence once, and only once.

One day, when you think you have an excellent reason why cannot rehearse this sequence anymore, perform this piece in public. Have this performance filmed.

Notes: It doesn't matter how long it takes before you perform this in public. What matters is that you must reach the point where you decide that it would be impossible for you to rehearse this sequence any longer, and that you need to perform this publicly.

Option 1: Everytime you rehearse the sequence, film yourself.
Option 2: Source the movement sequence from any of the other processes described on this page.

Variation 1: The day you fail to rehearse your sequence, the very next day you have to perform it in public.

Variation 2: Get other people to do the same thing. Decide what exactly this instruction means.

Variation 3: By public performance, I mean at least 5,000 people need to see it. Figure out along the way how you can do this.

Variation 4: Instead of rehearsing until you have no choice but to perform the sequence, set yourself a timeline, a minimum of 9 months. I suggest around 11 years.

So...anyone up for the challenge?

And to finish my second thought: Diego's also working on a project called Open Source Dance, in which artists can license their work under the Creative Commons database, inviting other artists to browse, sample, reuse, and build upon existing choreographic works. The new works then have the option of being licenses and registered on the site, creating a geneology of works, " a historical trail that maps the influences of each work registered on OpenSourceDance.org". Sound intriguing? It is. Click here for more details.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Site Specific Performance: Wrap-Up and Review

So, I thought that I'd say a few words about the site-specific performance last weekend, before it slips my mind completely as I am quickly moving on to new things at the Dance Exchange and elsewhere. There have been tons of things that have happened without my being able to write about them, which has been disappointing - but if I'm too busy to write, it's because I'm dancing. Which in and of itself is great.

Anyways, I digress. The site-specific performance went really well. It was the first time I'd done a morning show in quite some time, and my body took a while to adjust - the first show still had a few kinks in it, and our audience was a bit smaller. The noon show went much smoother, and the audience had swelled, including some of the DX company members and staff. It was nice to have their support.

All of the performers did an amazing job! Peter was a wonderful tour guide, leading the audience around the building, helping them to interpret the performance while at the same time building a short movement phrase based on the things they were seeing and hearing. Anne's poetic voice was beautiful, and added an extra dimension to the performance. I particularly enjoyed hearing her words juxtaposed against Dorothy's solo, focusing on the deliberate qualities of her movement and the description of the permanence and strength and texture of the rough brick wall.

My favorite part of the show was Ilya and Sarah's fountain duet. Ilya is a visiting guest artist from Russia, and he is an amazingly talented and creative choreographer and performer. Sarah is a local dance artist, who is equally amazing and beautiful to watch. I have a video of this piece, and of the teens' stairway dance, but I have to edit them as the file sizes are too big to upload.

John Borstel worked with the group to create a really engaging installation/set piece in which dancers manipluated a piece of fabric over the atrium balcony while the Teen Exchange group floated pieces of vellum paper printed with words down over the fabric to the floor below. Myself and other participants were dressed in white, dancing set and improvised movements on the lower level, under the fabric and among the fallen paper. From the audience's perspective, the printed words combined randomly to create jumbled phrases, allowing them to piece together meaning wherever they could find it - or to just read the piece as a whole.

We had a fabulous team working together on this project - I have to admit that I wasn't sure we could pull it off in the time that we had, but in the end everything worked out better than we could have imagined. Every audience reaction that I heard was positive - people were really intrigued by how we pulled them into the space, leading them to view the building in different ways that they had experienced before.

My kudos to everyone involved - Matt and Cassie for givng us a great start and helping to generate and craft our movement material, Peter and Ilya for helping me to keep everything organized and running smoothly, Anne and John for their wonderful artistic contributions, and of course our amazing community and Dance Exchange participants, and the staff at the Takoma Park Community Centre, and the DC Outlaw skateboarders, and the audience, and the perfectly sunny weather, and everyone and everything else that made this performance such a success!

Photos: A step in the process of creating John's installation piece: we used a tool called 3 Column Writing to generate some text, which (after a few more steps) we arranged in places around a room in a way that had some relation to the space and the words themselves. 3 Column Writing is a really interesting and useful tool, I will do a separate post describing the process later on.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Q & A Session #3

This post is for Daina, Raina, Jessica, Neely and Branae: some answers to questions they posted waay back in September.

1. Daina - I'm not a doctor, and I have no way of actually seeing you do your side splits, so I can't really give you much advice on why your hip is "popping out" when you go into the splits. However, this doesn't sound healthy, and I would recommend that you avoid that position until you've figured out why your hip pops out and what you can do to either strengthen it or increase the flexibility to keep it properly in place. I would advise that you see a medical professional, explain your problem and get some advice from him. If you ever come to Vancouver, the Dancer Transition Resource Centre (or DTRC) runs really good injury prevention and treatment seminars that I have attended and highly recommend. They also have many other amazing services for dancers, check out their website for details.

2. To answer your other question, the worst injury I've ever had from dancing were the chronic overuse injuries that I was working with during university. Because I was dancing so much, and often not doing enough stretching to balance out all the strength training, my muscles became imbalanced and I had a lot of lower leg problems - namely, shinsplints, Plantar Fascitis, and Patellofemoral Syndrome

For Raina and Jessica:

1. One thing that I've gained as a person from my dance training is an appreciation for the process of creating art, as opposed to only focusing on the final product. Yes, it's important for me to create a work that is cohesive and has something to say, and is physically challenging and feels like a complete and cohesive work - but the journey of getting there, of exploring the concept and researching my ideas and experimenting with movement and music and text and props and costuming and set design and lighting and everything else that goes into generating and crafting the final product - that, for me, is where I learn the most about myself as an artist - about where I'm at, my strengths and weaknesses, and what I need to do to move forward and to grow as a dancer, as a choreographer, as a teacher and as a person.

2. To answer your second question - if you want to continue in the dance world, there are many ways of getting started and many paths that you can follow. Working as a choreographer or a dancer or a dance teacher are just a few of the many options. You can also find a place in the dance industry as a dance therapist, arts administrator (dealing with marketing, financing, programming, organizing tours, etc etc), technical director (working in the theatre with lighting and sound)...you can work as a visual artist or musician or storyteller or actor in collboration with a dance company...and those are just the first things that came to my head. The DTRC has a really helpful weekend conference for students and emerging artists, it's called On The Move and is held every year (usually in January) at The Dance Centre in Vancouver, and it deals with all of these questions on how to get started as a dancer. They also have yearly conferences in Montreal and Toronto. For more information, please visit their website.

3. My best experience as a dancer is probably happening right now. I feel like I'm finally being recognized and given credit for all the time and energy that I've put into developing my technique and performance skills and my choreographic voice. And, I'm finally starting to get paid for my work, which feels amazing. It's sad that I had to leave Vancouver in order to find work as a dancer, but it is definitely a reality of working as a dance artist - you will have to travel, like it or not, to find work and to get experience and exposure.

I am definitely enjoying this trip, and will find it difficult to go back to Vancouver and not be dancing every day, and working as a dancer. But, I will be so happy to see my boyfriend and my friends and family again. I miss them all sooo much! And I am also excited to bring everything I've learned here back into my next project with 30Toes, when we start rehearsals in April 2008. I am also hoping to keep working on some of the choreography that I've built here, and to premiere this solo at a venue in Vancouver, possibly Dances for a Small Stage. So I've got a lot to look forward to upon my return, as well.

For Neely and Branae:

1. I was four years old when I started dancing, although I had been in and around dance studios practically since I was born (both of my parents were dancers). I started out with four years of highland dance, and then moved on to jazz and ballet at my mom's studio when I was 8 years old. I continued exploring other styles, training in jazz, ballet, contemporary, musical theatre and character-based work until I was 17 and graduated from highschool moved to Vancouver and enrolled in Simon Fraser University's School for the Contemporary Arts.

There I trained in ballet (classical and contemporary), modern dance (mostly Graham and Cunningham, with some Limon work in the mix), Alexander release techniques, Laban movement analysis, Bartenieff fundamentals, dance history, and visual/performance arts studies. Since my graduation in 2004, I have been taking professional-level classes at a few locations in Vancouver: CADA contemporary classes at The Dance Centre, ballet, jazz, hip-hop and floor barre at Harbour Dance Centre, and contact improv at EDAM. As I continue my training, I want to focus on diversifying and strengthening my skills in each of these styles.

Photo: Contradiction Dance, on a rehearsal break. (from left, clockwise) Me, Jasmine, Kelly and Damon.

Echo Park Contemporary Ballet Company

I've started a project with the newly formed Echo Park Contemporary Ballet, working with acclaimed Artistic Director and Choreographer Cedric Tillman. The performance is for the company's opening night gala, and we will be showing five short works (three in which I will be dancing). I kind of fell into this gig - Kelly was invited to perform with them as a guest artist, and when she heard they needed another female dancer, she brought me along to rehearsal. We learned one lyrical piece yesterday and will be starting on something new tonight. I'm excited to be working on this project I think that if nothing else it will be a really good networking opportunity, and a chance to get some exposure to the wider dance community.

The event on November 17th is not just a showing of the company's first works, but also an attempt at securing financial backing and support from some of this city's big movers and shakers - the people that make dance happen, from a practical, financial standpoint. It is also an opportunity to get some press, as reviewers from all of the area's major publications will be in attendance.

The work is definitely physically challenging in a way that I'm not used to, having been in contemporary dance world for the past 7 years...I grew up dancing and loving lyrical jazz, so coming back to this style of dance feels like coming home again. But also reminds me that I need to get in better shape to perform this movement to the best of my ability. Rehearsal yesterday was definitely a challenge, after having done so many performances over the weekend. But I got a good sleep last night and now I am ready to go again (although my bruises, blisters and splits would love a few more days to heal).

There is a possibility that this gig might develop into more work in the future, however I'm not making any plans until I have a contract in my hands. Never take on freelance work without a good contract, folks, especially if you don't know the employer - that's just asking to get burned. If you don't understand your contract, ask for some time to have someone else look over it with you, and make sure there are no weird loopholes or stipulations that you don't agree with.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Very Long Week!

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Wow, I'm sorry I haven't updated in so long! This week has been intense...I just finished four shows in the past two days, and have had rehearsal until 11pm almost every night before that. So please darlings, do excuse me if my writing has been a little...sparse. I have much to share but really I don't know where to start! So I will start with tonight's show, which is fresh in my mind.

Contradiction Dance had an amazing performance of Objects of Hope: The America Project. It was a part of a benefit concert for a belly-dancer named Adriana, who needs to get knee replacement surgery but came up $5000 short in funds. Two of the dancers in the community organized a benefit concert and raised the money she needed, and sold out all 230 seats!

The program was very mixed, we were one of a few contemporary dance pieces, mixed in with a lot of belly-dancing and ethnic dance groups. The stage was teeny tiny but we gave it our all and did our best in such cramped quarters. I think that the changes we've made this time through really strengthened the message of the work, and the audience was engaged and present and really "getting it" all the way through.

At one point in the last section of the piece the other dancers pour five buckets of topsoil over my head and then wrap me in the American flag...this was the first time we had actually done a run of the piece using soil, and it got in my eyes and ears and mouth and for a while it was hard to see but I just kept going...finished strong and the audience loved it. We made people cry...and got a standing ovation at the end, which was lovely. With a politically motivated piece like this, I always tend to prepare myself for the worst (ie: a really conservative audience getting angry or offended) and hope for the best. In this case, we definitely got the best. Lots of positive feedback afterwards, which is always so great to hear.

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I should have a video of the performance at some point, but probably not for a while. If you want to see the first draft version of this piece, click through to Kelly's blog (performed at the DC Improv Festival a while back). This version featured Meghan Bowden, getting drenched with buckets of water (the soil was a substitute, because cleanup was supposedly easier than mopping up water...). I actually think that in this space, the soil was probably more visually effective than using water. But it was hard to tell from the inside of the piece. The next version will have us falling and rolling in red white and blue paint on stage, and then the paint being washed away by splashing buckets of water.

Messy work, but fun...I am excited to finally show the work on a real stage, in a theatre, with lighting and sound technicians and lots of space and the full prop requirements. We will be doing a residency at St Mary's College in December, performing on their stage every night and possibly teaching classes during the day.

I feel like I am all over the place lately, in a good way...our show on Friday was Broadway Jazz at the Ritz Carlton (oh, such funny backstage pictures!) and the two shows this morning were site-specific performances at the Takoma Park Community Center with the Dance Exchange. Next week I will be assisting Peter Dimuro in remounting Gumdrops and Funny Uncles, a Dance Exchange project celebrating families of all kinds. More on all of this to come soon. Believe it or not I am actually getting some of my evenings off this week, so I will have more time to write!

Sometimes I am amazed at the ability of my brain and body to multitask as much as I need them to...

Photos from the DC Improv Festival version of Objects of Hope: The America Project, courtesy of Anthony Hytt.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Video Post: Solo, Work in Progress

This is one of two solos that I am creating right now. This one is an assignment by the Dance Exchange's Associate Artistic Director, Elizabeth Johnson: creating a solo to be performed as a part of the site-specific performance next Sunday, October 20th.

This work is inspired by writings of Takoma Park's Poet Laureate Anne Becker, whose work is often tied to ideas of place and physical presence, examining the effect of the earth and the environment on the people who inhabit it, and our effect on the physicality of the world. While I was generating this movement phrase, I was working with the concrete structure of moving between round and crescent shapes in my body - and more abstractly, examining through movement the cyclical nature of stabilization and adaptation that occurs in the earth and in human beings. There is another section of the work that was initially generated by using Build-a-Phrase, collecting movements as Anne was speaking about her poem Berry Hollow, stylizing and shaping those gestures into a short phrase. I don't have a video of that part yet.

The next step for the section shown in the video is to find the places where the free flow can be stopped, changed, or broken - to explore using sharpness, bound flow and stillness to break up the rhythm.

Next week Anne and I have decided to meet up and chat about poetry - she has graciously agreed to read some of my work and give me some advice...very excited and also nervous, this will be the first time I've had an accomplished poet read my writing and give me feedback.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Site Specific Institute: Progress Report (Day 1)

I thought that some of you may be interested in hearing a bit more about the site specific process, the tools we've used during our institute, and what we've managed to build so far. We've already done three sessions so I am a little behind in my documentation, but better late than never, I always say.

Day 1: We began the day with an exercise very similar to "Follow the Leader". In groups of three, we explored the outer periphery of the Takoma Park Community Center, experiencing different ways of moving in and interacting with this environment. An interesting observation was the effect of the physicality of the space on the dancer's choices: in places (like the railings) where the feature was big enough to accomodate more than one person, the movement ended up being done in unison...if the object of focus was small (like tracing a sign) then dancers were forced to choose between waiting for the leader to finish and move on before repeating the action (thereby creating a canon effect) or performing the action in unison, but in a different relationship to the space.

Our next exercise was a tool called Detail. This tool is widely used at the Dance Exchange, and is a great way to create movement based on our observations of the physical environment. Click the link for more information about Detail. At the community centre, we looked at the space on three different planes: floor level, horizon or eye level, and ceiling level. We picked one detail about each level of the space, and put the shape or texture or other characteristics of that physical detail into our body somehow, in movement. At the end of this exercise, we had generated a short phrase of three movements. (When working with this and other tools, keep in mind that each "movement" can be as long as you want, but needs to have a clear beginning, middle and end.)

After Detail, we generated another short movement phrase using an exercise that I call Build-a-Phrase: Questions. This is a variant of the Build-a-Phrase tool in which the group leader asks questions and the participants answer the questions and create movement based on the answers given. The questions we worked with all had to do with the idea of a person leaving an imprint on a place, or a place leaving an imprint on a person.

The exercise goes like this: everyone walks around the room, finding a partner. The leader poses a question. Each partner answers the question, then turns away from each other and creates a movement. You can create your movement based on your own answer or your partners' answer, or the question itself. Repeat with a new partner and a new question, as many times as you like. Each time a new movement is generated, take a few moments to link it with the previous movements, to create a phrase.

These question phrases were cut and pasted together in partners to create a duet phrase in a space of your choice indoors. Our assignment for the day was to take these phrases and perform them in two places outside of the community centre, working with the idea of public/private space and it's effect on movement. We were asked to do the phrase in the shower/bathtub and in a public space of our choosing. I chose the top of a jungle gym on a kids' playground. I would show you the video, but for some reason it's not working properly.

We were allowed to let the movement change in whatever ways were necessary (ie if you were really shy about doing your phrase in, say, the supermarket - then it may become a very small contained phrase using only your fingers). In my case, my shower is tiny so that changed a lot of the limb extensions and made it more about the torso. Also, the playground had lots of cool things to use when shifting my weight, so the movement became very off-centre. The challenge was to recreate those changes when we got back into the community centre the next day.

But more on that later....

Photos: images from around the Takoma Park Community Center.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Site Specific Institute: Skateboard Dances

Elizabeth Johnson and I have been working on a skateboarding section for the Dance Exchange's site specific institute. The skaters we are working with are slalom skateboarders, and they are really really good at what they do. We are throwing some dancers into the mix, who will be acting as cones for the skaters to go around.

Our first session was today - we set a sequence of passes for the skaters to do, a sequence of movements for the dancers to do, and are still trying to figure out how it will all work together. Timing will be key.

We are putting this on at the Takoma Park Community Center - in the lower parking lot, which is mainly used by the police cars (the police station is on the lower level of the building). We talked with some of the cops today and they were just about as accommodating as possible, even offering to shut down the lot for us to use on the day of the show. I never thought I would see the day when the cops would give up their space to some skateboarders....the power of dance, people! It brings communities together.

Here are some pictures from our rehearsal today. The skaters are Mike and Earl, from the DC Outlaws. They just returned from the World Championships and we feel very lucky to have them participating in this performance! We will have two more skaters and six dancers working together for this section.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Video Post: Chair Dances

I'm creating a solo for a performance on October 20th. It will be shown as a section of Objects of Hope: The America Project, by Contradiction Dance. If you look down one post, you'll see another work-in-progress section, a duet between me and Kelly Mayfield.

The movement phrases seen in these video clips are improvisations, generating movement that will soon be crafted into something that hopefully makes sense within the larger concept of the work.

I was working with the idea of my home as my object of hope, and with the chair as representative of that home. I was also trying to see how many different ways I could fit my body into and around the chair, and how that would inform the movement possibilities.

Kelly's concept is "reclaiming her patriotism" by asking questions about the state of America as a political, cultural and social entity. Where are our priorities, and why? Coming into this process as an outsider - a Canadian, with some pretty negative views on the current state of America - I am trying to see how I fit into this structure, and how my perspective can be integrated into the work.

Part of my thought process is "yes, I'm an American by birth (I have dual citizenship) but don't identify with that part of me. Partially because I grew up in Canada, partially because I don't agree with a lot of what goes on here, don't see "The Great American Dream" as having anything to do with me or my goals or my lifestyle. But I think that a lot of peopl that live here feel the same way, and are looking for a way to find some sense of pride in their country - either returning to a feeling they have since lost, or finding something in the concept of America to believe in for the first time.

I personally think that if you don't believe in what your country stands for - if you can't find pride in that - then you have to question how things can change, how you can personally effect that change to make your country a place in which you feel proud to live. And that goes for any country, anywhere - not just the US of A.

I also feel that we as artists have a responsibility to use our voices to effect change - and that change happens first and foremost in the mindset of individuals. Yes, it can be daunting and overwhelming to try and change the whole system starting from scratch - but not impossible. At least that's what I'd like to think, in my idealistic state of today (while my cynical side is shaking its head in disbelief).

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Video Post: Me and Kelly's Duet

A first draft version of a duet between myself and Kelly Mayfield. This was the product of about an hour's work, and will be incorporated into a larger work, Objects of Hope: The America Project, for a performance with Contradiction Dance on October 20th.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Video Post: Footsie

I've been fiddling around in the studio coming up with some movement ideas for a solo work. I'm choreographing a solo that will end up being a part of Contradiction Dance's Objects of Hope: The America Project, to be performed on October 20th at a benefit concert. After about an hour of playing around with the chair (while filming the improv, some of which I'll post later), I decided to stick the camera on the ground and see what might come of that. This is what happened.

I'm thinking of turning this little kernel of an idea into a short film. Matt Mahaney and Cassie Meador just finished working a film for the DC Improv Festival, and I'm thinking of getting some help/advice from them on this project. It may not be something that I can fully realize while I'm here, but I at least want to get started.

If you'd like to view their film, you can see it here.

Offsite and Insight

"One site holds the view and possibilities of another site. A body identifies itself and its dwelling place counting the years, its history, in the remembered lines of a smile or furrowed brow, layers of strata, rings of growth, and turning pages. They all have a story to tell."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Q & A Period #2

Alrighty, I'm back! This Q&A Post is for Eva, Jordi and Cori. You can see their questions here.

1. I am definitely enjoying teaching at the Dance Exchange! It is a departure from the classes that I normally teach, and I feel like I am growing as an instructor, learning new methods, exercises and ways of explaining basic concepts. Last year, I was teaching about 25 classes a week, with no days off - preschool dance, pre-ballet, beginner ballet, jazz and hip-hop - and after a while I felt overworked and under-inspired. I felt like I was doing the same things over and over again, and that I was losing interest. I knew that I was a good teacher, but that I wasn't always giving my students the best I could - I was mentally and physically exhausted.

Right now I am teaching about 8 classes every week - to preschoolers, youths, teens and adults. The variety of ages really excites me, as does the subject matter and the experience of teaching alongside other instructors. Co-teaching is amazing, it is so helpful to have someone else in the room with ideas and exercies I've never tried, or new ways of teaching concepts that I already know. I am not teaching as much technique as usual, I am more focused on leading choreography/composition classes. It's a nice, refreshing change, and presents a whole set of new challenges, adapting to these new parameters.

2. My favorite kind of dance is contemporary. Funny side note - seems like the label "contemporary dance" may be a Canadian thing? Everybody here uses the term "modern dance", something I never hear at home, except when referring to a very specific period of dance history.

3/4. Hmm, another question about inspiration. This one I'll tackle at a slightly different angle. I grew up in a family of artists, with two parents who were dancers. As far as I can remember, I always loved dancing, loved moving to music. When I was a kid, my mom opened up her studio - Burns Lake Ballet-Jazz, which was initially called KidzUp Dance - and I studied there until I was 18. Once I had started, there was no question of quitting. For more on inspiration and motivation to keep dancing, please click here.

5. I can't think of anyone whom I would consider my idol. I feel like everyone has something unique to offer, that we all stand apart from the crowd in some way. One person who has always been a huge support to my dance career is my mom, and I will always appreciate the help she's given me.

6. My favorite dancer? Hmm...again, every dancer has something special to offer. I guess if I was going to choose someone, it would be Margie Gillis. She is such a beautiful, amazing mover, with an astounding solo career as a performer and choreographer. She can be sitting on stage - just sitting - and it's absolutely captivating. I took a workshop with her a couple of years ago and was a bit starstruck...she has a very eccentric, unusual personality, to say the least.

Photo: Tony Olivares' The Traveller, at the DC Improv Festival. Tony is a fellow Canadian :)

October is Here!

Wow, my first post of October. Already a month has gone by in my apprenticeship, two more to go before I head home to continue dancing in Vancouver (and maybe Europe this spring)...

I just wanted to quickly say how much I enjoyed this weekend's performances - Friday with Contradiction Dance, and Monday's show at U. of Maryland, my first performance with The Dance Exchange. In both instances I really felt included in the group - I feel like I fit in so well here, that everyone has accepted me into their world and that it's really a place where I can be myself and grow as an artist and as a person. Making so many new friends is wonderful.

It's also really nice to work with such a large cast (on The Farthest Earth From Thee). Vancouver companies tend to limit their casts (mostly due to budget concerns) to a maximum of four or five dancers. Working with a group of 10 or 12 people was a great experience.

Tonight Kelly's rehearsal process starts up again, in preparation for an October 20th performance. I am going to be creating a solo for myself that will be included in the work, and possibly developing a duet with Kelly...

Tonight is also the first session of a site-specific intensive, that will culminate on October 20th with a matinee performance at Takoma Park Community Centre. Yes, I have two shows in one day - one daytime, and one evening. That is going to be a looong day.

Photo: Miss Madeleine, watching rehearsals. She had a cameo appearance in FEFT as Cupid, and did a wonderful job.