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Bodies, Fields, and Strangers: A Meeting, orchestrated by K. Lewis

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$5 – $25

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Dance Artists from coast to coast were asked to perform a score: talk to a subject, a stranger or close, 4 times for 1 hour. Make a dance.

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Bodies, Fields and Strangers: A Meeting.

A Gull Cry Dance Production. Orchestrated by Kristen Lewis.

Dance Artists: Avery Smith (Vancouver), Jamie Robinson (Vancouver), Mairi Greig (Toronto), Jacinte Armstrong (Halifax) and, maybe, Benjamin Kamino (Montreal).

This hour-long zoom meeting presents the findings of a choreographic experiment launched in the late spring of 2021. The experiment involves pairing a dance artist with a non-dance artist, and asking them to engage in four, 1 hour long conversations, usually by phone or zoom--most of these collaborations are long distance. Kristen instructed the dance artists to lead questions that seek to uncover information about the gestural, kineasthetic, and feeling qualities of the fields their subjects works in. After engaging in these conversations, she asked each dance artist to create a short movement sketch (2 to 5 minutes maximum) of their “subject”—in particular, something that captures a bit of the gestural, emotional, and kinaesthetic tone of the field where the subject works. (Several of the subjects work as lawyers, and hence this experiment serves also as a very partial expose of the field of “law,” whose bodily habits carry a distinct aura, discernible, I hypothesize, if set against sketches of subjects working in other fields.)

Most of the pairs Kristen put together are near to complete strangers (except for one pair, who happen to be sisters.) Subjects were all friends of Kristen's, with two exceptions: one is her father and the other is herself.

These encounters have have generated many and interesting conversations as strangers across the distance explore approaches to the question ‘who is this’ that defy the usual patterning that govern social interaction, and seek to return mere “information about so and so” to the so-often-neglected ground of bodily experience.

In engaging this experiment, Kristen was interested to see how many of the deep skills that dance artists develop as a result of working in their field might translate into the task of getting to know a stranger in this highly artificial, contrived, and yet oddly intimate environment of encounter. These dancerly skills include, for instance: communication rooted in deeply-honed capacities for kinaesthetic resonance, an eye for gestural detail, and the ability to seek communicative commonalities across distance. This project, then, is a way of celebrating the knowledge production habits of the field of contemporary dance--of showing that dance is so much more than about making shows. Dance is a way of thinking with the world, of restoring thinking to its home in the body.

During this meeting, the dance artists to present their short sketches. This will be followed by a short discussion in which dance artists and “subjects” share something about their experience in this experiment.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Kristen Lewis, JD: engages a rigorous practice that puts dancing, thinking, and performance in conversation with various other phenomena, including, of late, law and the legal field. She is interested in how the beauty and intimacy of bodily performance can open up information-saturated Human Persons to something of the experience we lose when we forget our emotional, sensory, animal selves. She enjoys dancing outside and encouraging others to do the same. She is, incidentally, a graduate student at the Osgoode Hall law school in Toronto (though she lives on the West Coast of Turtle Island), pursuing an LLM that looks at the normative worlds where Law and Indigenous Religion meet.

www.kristenlewis.org

Avery Smith is a dance artist living and working on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tseil-Waututh First Nations of Vancouver, BC. She has danced in site specific and multimedia pieces for artists including Compagnie Vision Impure, Company 605, Farouche Collective, Emmalena Fredriksson, and others. In partnership with Company 605, Avery has created and produced community initiatives including the peer-to-peer run training initiative, Training Share, as well as the pilot choreographic sharing series, Making Conversation. Avery has developed her own choreographies and has presented work at The Suoni Per Il Popolo Music Festival, The Dance Centre’s 12 Minutes Max, Festival of Recorded Movement, and others. Avery uses her artistic practice to explore differing gradients of effort and ease. Using state-based tasks to generate material, Avery is currently researching how language and text can collaborate with movement to facilitate abstract artistic idea.

www.averymsmith.com

Mairi Greig is a dance and textile artist based in Toronto, ON. She works as a movement educator in a variety of realms. As a dancer Greig has performed in many traditional stage settings with touring companies as well as in intimate site-specific work throughout Canada and into Mongolia. Her work in textiles ranges from utilitarian leather bags to costume design for dance works presented in art galleries and outdoor stages. Her interests lie in the eclectic intersections of physical work, art and human curiosity.

http://mairigreig.blogspot.com/

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Organizer Gull Cry Dance

Organizer of Bodies, Fields, and Strangers: A Meeting, orchestrated by K. Lewis

Gull Cry Dance. Transformative Movement Education. Cutting Edge Contemporary Performance. On the Northwest Coast of Turtle Island. Classes for Children and Adults.

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