The whirr of the vacuum sends me into a daze as I clean up after a busy restaurant day. Thinking ahead I go over the show order of 15 for 15. Ruth’s piece, Rebecca’s piece Sara’s, Rhonda’s Kath’s and so on.
As the others sit with a drink I’m in rehearsal pushing the vacuum back and forth. Back and forth. Particles of the busy day sucked up; the carpet clears a fresh start for tomorrow.
Each time hitting the stage feels this way. Fresh. Clear; the first step and then traces of movement are scattered over the stage.
Resilience, Mosaic, Tireless, Perseverance, Unwavering, Savage. Some of the words we submitted as part of the application process that represent our chosen career as dancers in this city. Words choreographers have used as inspiration to create exciting engaging 1 minute pieces on the ever-ready troupe of Halifax dancers before them.
Closing the door of the empty restaurant behind me I think of the word tireless. Tireless? Does this mean I don’t tire? or….maybe it reaches beyond the individual. Yes. The community is tireless. I’m sure as we work our multiple careers, some of us with new babies, some with kids just beginning school, some with puppies others with five hundred and two commitments; we tire. We flop. We burn out. But as a dance community others pick up where one left off. When one person has too much they pass it on, when one falls the others catch and we inspire each other to continue forward.
Filing into rehearsal the next day, Mocean dancers busily rehearse their remount piece “Our Unfortunate Deaths” others planking, stretching, marking. And then…. down to business. 1, 2, 5 piece 8 who’s next? 10, 12 15. Break. 15 dancers on stage for 1 minute pieces 15 fifteen times. The dance community coming together as choreographers, interpreters, administrators, directors. Everyone has convened for Mocean Dance Company’s 15th anniversary celebrating the past present and future of dance in Halifax.
As I’m lifted onto my back by almost the entire dance scene in Halifax, I think of all the sacrifices we’ve made to be here. It’s incredible. I doubt any one of us would change this. And that one concept, the moment of dance we all live for is what drives us forward together as a community. Beyond our countless commitments, our diverse upbringings and situations, beyond any differences we may have; we understand the importance of movement; the urgency of telling our stories with the emotional output found at the cellular level of our physicality.
My own experience since returning to Nova Scotia has inspired a new personal responsibility to carry on the Contemporary dance scene here at home. It was most likely this stirring that drove the founders of Mocean dance, Carolle Crooks Fernando, Sarah Rozee, Sara Harrigan, Alicia Orr MacDonald, and Lisa Phinney Langley to beat a new path for dance in Halifax; and what a path it is! Now led by co-artistic directors Susanne Chui and Sara Coffin the company is now home to these talented dancers: Jacinte Armstrong, Ruth Ellen-Kroll Jackson, Rhonda Baker, Sarah Rozee, Gillian Seaward-Boone. Alongside whom they share the scene with Maria Osende and Veronique MacKenzie. As well, the new-comers have been offered incredible opportunities by Mocean’s outreach program and we are well on our way to navigating our own dance careers in Halifax: Olivia Aubrecht, Vivika Ballard, Kathleen Doherty, Kara Friesen, Georgia Skinner, Michele Slattery.
The group in rehearsal has been coached along by Cory Bowles and Rebecca Lazier (look for their choreographies featured in 15 for 15!) along a soundtrack created instinctively by Brian Riley.
To help commemorate Mocean’s incredible journey, three pieces will be featured: 15 for 15 by fifteen choreographers, For a Quartet by Montreal’s Danièle Desnoyers performed by Sara Coffin, Jacinte Armstrong, Sarah Rozee and Elise Vanderborght and a remount of an original work by Sharon Moore for Mocean Dance performed by a new cast of dancers: Gillian Seaward-Boone, Sarah Rozee and Rhonda Baker called Our Unfortunate Deaths.
Join in this landmark show by Mocean dance featuring unflinching physicality and a number of acclaimed choreographers. It will truly be a delightful buffet of dance where you will experience samples of esthetic by Halifax choreographers and beyond. You will undoubtedly be moved by the experience of viewing the conglomeration of the ever growing and blooming dance community in your city. As for me…it’s back to work! See you there!
8PM Thurs-Sat/ 22-24 Sept/2016
Tickets: $35 Reg./ $20 Students/ $25 Seniors
Sir James Dunn Theatre, Dalhousie Arts Centre
6101 University ave. Halifax NS