This is the first in a series of blog posts through the Fall where I will share my creative experiences in Vancouver (September) and Winnipeg (November). It is so vital to our community to stay connected with artists across the country, and I look forward to sharing my discoveries with you, and to my very first blogging experience.

I arrived in Vancouver on Sunday and am spending the week in creative process as an outside eye and choreographic mentor with Yvonne Chartrand of Compaigni V’ni Dansi, exploring a hybrid of contemporary and Métis dance.

You may recall that Fringe Forms is part of DSW’s CreativiTEA Informal Series, where an artist starts to develop a new work on the cusp of the contemporary dance form and another form of dance. Our time in the studio is invigorating for both of us. I’m looking forward to the week ahead with this Vancouver version of Fringe Forms at the Scotiabank Dance Centre.

Along the way, Yvonne and I are finding ways to understand each other in a language that helps to move the work forward.

What do Davida Monk and Yvonne Chartrand have in common?

Yvonne Chartrand: They both have a love of asking questions, especially during the choreographic process.  And my favorite question is, Davida what do I do now?

Davida Monk: First you have to ask what you saw and what interested you. You need practice developing a way of mining your own responses that are in fact the source of your aesthetic preferences.  For example, can you name three things that you would like to dig into?

YC:   Do you mean responding quickly, trusting in your own vision and your own voice?

DM:  Exactly, don’t second-guess yourself.  Try to get to the point as directly as possible. Take a risk to commit to what you think it should be.

Day 1 Summary

On the first day, Monday September 16th, we began with a few specific movement explorations.

The first idea Yvonne called ‘the dream’.   We worked to identify the themes in detailed movement terms.  How does the base idea of  “the dream” move?  At what speed, in what space, concentrating on what body parts or co-ordination of body parts, what kind of tension and flow, with what focus and what sequence of action? How does the central image evolve within this base idea?

The second idea Yvonne called ‘letting go’.   The starting image of this base idea was Julia picking up and carrying Eloi from where he lay in a fetal position on the floor.   After several different attempts by each of us this proved too difficult to do.   The solution we then tried was to ask Eloi to establish the same base fetal position standing, replicating as much as possible the sensation and form of lying on the floor.  Julia was then able to partially drag and partially swing Eloi while travelling through out the space.  The dancers improvised a series of leanings, lifts and carryings.

I will return with another update later in the week.

– Davida Monk