She/her; Between Tkaronto/Toronto and St. John’s, NL/K’taqmkuk; inde dance artist-scholar; aka Nin; research area: a dancer led approach to archiving and embodied archive curation; thinking about: issues of care in dance/performance studies + mom as a concept of time.
What is a dancer
My life as a dancer is tangled up in the lives of other dancers. When we train, we learn from the other moving bodies in the room, from our teachers, and from the music or musician(s), who, if we are lucky, are also in the room. From this space, other dancers become our collaborators, our teachers, our colleagues, and our peers on funding juries. We are entangled with each other as we become dancers throughout a career in dance making. I am always a dancer. A dancer who teaches contemporary dance forms, a dancer-choreographer, a dancer-writer, a dancer who teaches dance history, a dancing mom, an aging dancer, a dancer-archivist…
My early education began in St. John’s, NL, a place where cross disciplinarity in art making thrives as play within island life. At a young age I knew I wanted to be a dancer and I studied ballet, jazz, and modern at a few schools. In its inaugural year I joined the Newfoundland Dance Theatre’s Young Dancers Company where I learned mime, acting, and performance skills that propelled my pre-professional training. Conservatory training includes The School of Dance (Ottawa), and the School of Toronto Dance Theatre (Toronto) where I met and was mentored by Anne Ditchburn who was a bridge between school and professional dance life. I apprenticed with Desrosiers Dance Theatre for their 20th anniversary performances. Afterwards I joined the company for the next decade creating roles in new works and performing internationally.
During the early 2000’s I focused on motherhood, teaching, advocacy, and social justice. Performance and collaboration opportunities continued with Claudia Moore, Hope Terry, Tom Brouillette, and Michelle Silagy with our signature work Home. In 2016 I received my MA in Dance from York University which focused on two lines of inquiry asking: 1) “what are the ephemeral artifacts of a dead dance company?”; and, 2) “what is the embodied archive of a dancer?” Currently, the search for creative methodologies that consider the complexities of authorship and the dancer’s contribution to a choreography fuels my dance research and writing.
Who Dance? You Dance! The dance of the everyday
The way that I view dance, is that if you have a body and you breathe, you are moving and dancing. Perhaps, you get up in the morning and do the same thing you do everyday: shuffle to the bathroom, reach for a toothbrush, look closely at your face in the mirror, sit, stand, bend over to put your socks on, turn, take a deep breath, walk and swing your arms, scoop up the cat or a dirty dish. This is a score for the dance of the everyday. We each have one.
Photo credit: This is a photo from a choreography titled ‘HOME’
It was a co-choreo project between myself and Michelle Silagy. Michael Winters let us use some of his writing to develop a sound scape. I told stories about my family and growing up in NL while laying down a movement landscape for the audience to connect with and remember their own stories with me.