Welcome to e-mocean newsletter, Fall 2013.
It's a brand new season...
Be sure to mark your calendar for these upcoming events:

Nov. 1
Atlantic Dance Festival

Moncton, NB
Atlantic Dance Festival presents Mocean Dance performing A leash for two hounds by Lesandra Dodson on a shared evening with Halifax dance artist Jacinte Armstrong.

Nov. 25 - Dec. 3
New creation with Sara Coffin, Northampton, MA
Mocean travels to Northampton, MA for a technical residency at Smith College for the second creation period of a new trio by Sara Coffin.

Jan. 16-23
Rehearsals with Sara Coffin, Halifax, NS

Final creation period in Halifax with Sara Coffin.  Stay tuned for classes with Sara!

Feb. 6-8
Mocean Dance performs at Smith College, Theatre 14

A Mocean Dance and Smith College venture, Mocean's new work by Sara Coffin will premiere at Smith College in Theatre 14 as part of the MFA thesis concert presentations. A merging of professional dance and academia not to be missed!

April 24-26
Live Art Dance presents: Mocean Dance and Friends

Mocean's new trio, choreographed by Sara Coffin presented by
Live Art Dance Productions, in a triple bill with Sharon Moore/Rhonda Baker and The Woods.
Sir James Dunn Theatre, Dalhousie Arts Centre, Halifax, NS, 8:00 PM
Tickets: $30 Adult, $25 Senior, $20 Student
Box Office: (902) 494-3820 or 1-800-874-1669
Group Rates: (902) 420-0003
Go to the event page on Live Art's website

May 8-10
Mocean Dance performs My Mother's Kitchen at: Mind into Matter Conference

Recent past glories

Burnwater, performed twice each day on September 14th and 15th, was a major collaborative project that exceeded our already high expectations.  In partnership with sound artist Erin Donovan of Hear/Here Productions, and Chris Little and Theo Pitsiavas of lohifi Productions, we created an outdoor, site-specific work that offered up percussion by way of such instruments as old oil drums and the dissected innards of a piano; puppeteers working wildly innovative puppets created from discarded metal parts, and amazing costumes by designer Andrea Ritchie.  The production offered a deep and thoughtful look into the lives of  blacksmith/sculptor John Little and his longtime partner/wife Nancy, and the beautiful land where they have made their home for the past 40 years.  The performances took place throughout various spots on the Littles' dazzlingly scenic property in East Dover, featuring his monumental sound sculptures which provided a visual and audio backdrop for dancers Rhonda Baker and Jacinte Armstrong, who wove their magic on top of rocks, inside a moving boat, and more. 

To watch a short video by Rohan Fernando of Burnwater, click here.

Scene from Burnwater, photo by Holly Crooks

Dancers Flock to the Halifax Common

Mocean Dance recently helped mark the 250th anniversary of the gift of Halifax Common by King George III (1763-2013) on October 5th the best way we know how...through dance.  The call went out for anyone interested, dancer or not, of any age or movement ability, be a part of The Common Flock, a large-scale performance piece which was repeated four times on a criss-cross tour of the Common.  Drawing on the historical use of the Halifax Common as an area for farmers to pasture their livestock, and using the concept of flock as a metaphor for the coming together of a community of people, the intention was to focus on the breadth of space and importance the Common has in our own community -- the bonus was, it turned out to be a whole lot of fun.  Project manager was Ruth-Ellen Kroll Jackson; dance artists Rhonda Baker, Susan Cook, Kathleen Doherty and Veronique MacKenzie helped keep us moving along.  Starting with around 40 community members, each "performance" added more and more participants, especially children.  By the end, we had about 55, including a baby in a backpack (plus a very large dog).  Thanks to  Friends of the Halifax Common for inviting us to take part.

Did you know that the largest expense incurred here at Mocean Dance, by far, is paying dancers to dance?  We are proud to say that it is!  We also contract other artists, such as choreographers, composers, musicians, lighting designers and technicians, costume designers, and more. But we can't do it without you.  Please donate today by clicking the CanadaHelps button above.  Any amount is appreciated, and we are happy to provide you with a charitable receipt.

This season, consider becoming a part of our brand new Choreographer's Circle, and support this season’s new creation with award-winning Nova Scotian born choreographer Sara Coffin.
For a minimum donation of $100, you can be a member of ‘the Circle’ and enjoy firsthand experience of the creative process through:
· Invitations to attend in-studio showings of new work as it is being created, along with opportunities to meet and talk with the dancers and choreographers;
· Recognition as a Choreographer’s Circle member on our website, creation blog, and at the première of the new work in the show program;
· Discounts on company classes and workshops offered throughout the year.

For more information, call Susan at 425.4908.

Photo credits for this e-mocean newsletter: Header (dancer Rhonda Baker), and Burnwater stills by Holly Crooks; photo of Darryl Tracy by Jeremy Mimnaugh; photo of Claire French courtesy Restless Productions.  All others by Mocean Dance staff & friends.

Atlantic Dance Festival
Mocean is excited to announce our participation in this year's Atlantic Dance Festival in Moncton, NB, where we'll be presenting Lesandra Dodson's "innovative and energetic" A leash for two hounds on November 1st.  The piece, described by the Chronicle-Herald as possessing a "playful sophistication" and "full of witty repartee" when it premiered last year, will be performed by the original cast, dance artist and master teacher Darryl Tracy of Toronto, along with our own Susanne Chui.    Susanne will also be featured in the other piece sharing the bill with us, the captivating Falling Off the Page, a duet based on the art of Japanese calligraphy with the work's choreographer, Halifax-based Jacinte Armstrong.   To learn more about the festival, visit their website, ADFDA, or visit the ADF Facebook page.

Company Classes with special guest: master teacher Darryl Tracy
Tuesday, Oct. 29th & Wednesday, Oct. 30th
Join us as we prepare for the Atlantic Dance Festival!
9:30-11:00 AM

Halifax Dance
Level: Intermediate +
Cost: $10/per class
info: call Halifax Dance, 902.422.2066

My Mother's Kitchen Project
Mocean has been working hard the past two weeks on a new collaboration with Sarah Bonnemaison, a Master Architect and Dalhousie University Professor who is currently investigating the intersection of architecture and the performing arts. The work entitled My Mother’s Kitchen, delves into the history of the modernist kitchen and incorporates architecture, dance, theatre, plus responsive multi-media elements. We are pleased to be working with guest choreographer, Vancouver-based Claire French and multi-media designer Lukas Pierce on the new work that will premiere as an installation/performance at Bonnemaison’s Mind into Matter: Bodies and Responsive Space Conference in May 2014.  We look forward to sharing this exciting work with you in the spring. 

(l-r): Susanne Chui, Sarah Rozee and Jacinte Armstrong, working in the studio on My Mother's Kitchen

Meet the Choreographer: Claire French
Last week Claire French, our choreographer for My Mother's Kitchen (mentioned above) generously took some time from an extremely busy schedule here in Halifax to chat with us.

Q&A with Claire:
1.     What inspired you to become an artist?

I am not sure that I can pinpoint a particular instance. I know that in my younger years I was always encouraged (by my mother and my teachers) to pursue my interests, and in the process of rigorously pursuing my interests I became an artist. Perhaps studying at university was the biggest eye-opener. The university training I received in the UK allowed me to expand my perceptions of what dance could be. I am very lucky to have received a broad and inclusive education. 
2.     What inspires your work now?
First and foremost the people I work with- not just in dance but across the arts. And then ideas, more specifically how an idea or concept might be translated into the physical realm. I am obsessed with movement, with watching it, with analysing it, with identifying my relationship to it from moment to moment, and with discovering how others interpret the ideas I bring. What keeps me inspired is ongoing communication of ideas, the energy to keep discovering, the joy in finding appropriate physical solutions, and the finesse in balancing imagination and expression with technical awareness.       

3.     What advice would you give a young dance artist at the start of their career?
 I want to give advice but I am loathe to give general advice. Increasingly I find that it is important to consider the individual's track and personality in giving advice. So having said that, I will say this... Passion is crucial but it is only a small percentage of what it takes to make a career. I would encourage any young dancer to research what is out there,  to consider learning about all aspects of the dance industry. This could lead to developing new skills and finding an expression of love for dance in a different way. Also consider training in other disciplines. This can offer a unique perspective that could establish a dance artist's distinctive path in the dance world. Be patient. Be active. Keep training with the goal of improving. Set goals and share them with someone who you think could help you reach them. Ask for advice. Let people know about you and your interests. Teach only if you love to teach. Help others. Show support for your colleagues. Work hard and work smart.  Seek out opportunities. Even better, create your own.  

4.     What are you reading right now?
Right now I am reading lots of articles and watching lots of video footage on architecture, motion studies, history of kitchen design, ergonomics and efficiency - all as research for the project called My Mother's Kitchen that I am working on in Halifax with Mocean Dance and Sarah Bonnemaison of Dalhousie's School of Architecture. Outside of work related research I do tend to have several books on the go at once. Currently Haunted Weather: Music, Silence and Memory by David Toop. He has another book called Sinister Resonance which is wonderful, and Salman Rushdie's Shalimar the Clown. I am saving the rest of this one for my flight back to Vancouver. 

5.     What music do you listen to when you’re not working?

Regina Spektor, The Streets, Kings of Leon, (old school) Prince, Eurythmics and Annie Lennox, Christina Aguilera, Kate Nash, Mahler, Stravinsky, Tiger Lillies, Ojos de Brujo, Laura Izabor, I tend to buy single tracks of the new artists I like through iTunes now, rather than collecting full albums. I see a lot of live new music and classical music concerts, and I usually listen to the radio when driving.  

6.  What else, besides dance, are you passionate about?

Many, many things...
- Creative writing- I do National Novel Writing Month every November. (  I write poetry too.
- Fashion- Couture, though I cannot possibly afford it. I love the vision of the designers and the spectacle of those runway shows.
- Shopping- I love texture, colour, gadgets, design, sparkles and scents
- Travel
- Family
- Live Performance of any kind including theatre, music, musicals, opera, circus...
- Collaborating (is that cheating?)
- Good food
- Conversation
- Reality TV ( there, I said it -- it's out!) 
- Arts and Culture
- Fitness

Claire French is Vancouver-based, UK-born. She is co-artistic director of the dance and music company Restless Productions (alongside composer James Maxwell),


More photos from Burnwater (story at left):

Dance artist Rhonda Baker

John & Nancy Little

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Our mailing address is:
PO Box 783 CRO
Halifax, NS B3J 2V2