For two decades I have been engaged with performance. First as an actress, then as a creator and performer of experimental theatre, and since my MA in Durational Performance I have focused on the moving body in relationship to time (Durational Performance) and place (Site-specific Performance).
With performance I have studied the experience of the body. I feel the body in relation to the larger earth-body and in relation to the seasonal cycles. I have come to think of the body as a conduit, and performance as a state of communion.
Theatre making and art practice have allowed me to explore a range of mythology and to understand the individual journey within the context of greater cultural movements. It is my belief that the body holds the stories of our ancestors and the present holds the tests of individuation.
I lead workshops in Body Mythology, an exploration of personal mythology; and workshops in Body & Land -- the Body in relationship to place and nature, seasons and cycles.
For the last 10 years I have been leading workshops in Canada, the UK, and Europe. Typically workshops range from 3 days to 7 days in duration, and workshops are for anyone who is interested in developing creative expression, movement, transformation and embodied leadership. Workshops are designed for the individual / group needs.
Highlights include workshops in Yellowknife CAN (Northern Arts Cultural Centre), Montreal CAN (Studio 303), London UK (Chisenhale Dance Space), Kent UK (Wow Festival & Tamalpa UK), Folleterre FR (Folleterre), Halifax CAN (Kinetic Dance & Mocean Dance)
Banner image credit: drawing by Lyne Pelletier.
The root of my work is based in listening to the wisdom of the body, and trusting in the body’s infinite potential to heal itself and grow. Alchemy is the ancient art of transformation of base metals into gold, and so all of our life experience can be used towards greater expression and knowing of our whole self and our true nature. Performance is an art practice, and it is also a tool that can be used to open dimensions of body mythology.
In this process we work with the body’s own impetus towards healing and change. First we “identify” material to work with – shadow material, material that is not yet fully conscious and needs to be expressed and integrated. Then we “confront” that material, engage with it, develop a relationship with it through movement. This leads to the natural impulse to “release”, and by using rhythm and pulse to help this process along we make space for the new to come in. This opening of new space activates “change” to happen, and step by step new “growth” can take hold.
I take inspiration from my training in the Life/Art Process at Tamalpa Institute in California, founded by Anna Halprin and Daria Halprin. This methodology grew out of a necessity to make conscious the symbiotic relationship that exists between Life and Art. This process grew from a need in our culture to engage art in a more radical and conscious way towards evolution and healing. I am a certified Tamalpa Practitioner.
I would also like to acknowledge the artists and somatic practitioners whom I have worked with in the UK: Helen Poynor & Simon Whitehead. And I would like to thank Miranda Tufnell for her inspiring writing with Chris Crickmay “A Widening Field: Journeys in Body and Imagination."
A Self Portrait is a mirror through which to view and explore personal story. Body Mythology is part of the Life/Art Process developed by Anna Halprin & Daria Halprin of Tamalpa Institute in California that explores the wisdom of the body expressed through movement and imagination. It uses artistic processes and media to explore and deepen the relationship to psychological life, to social issues, and to creativity itself. Participants will explore Body Mythology by activating three levels of awareness: physical, emotional, mental – to study specific body parts until a whole body portrait is created. Each body part holds information related to its function and symbolism. By alternating between artforms, this unique process engages creative flexibility, which in turn provides opportunity for change and growth. By using clear intention and meditation techniques, we will journey inwards to listen, then express and explore through movement. We will create an aesthetic response through drawing and writing. Participants will work solo and in partners. This process provides foundational information for ongoing creative exploration, performance material, transformation and healing.
To be in nature can bring a sense of belonging and peace.
When we connect to the landscape around us, to a landscape that we love – we are reconnecting with ourselves.
Different aspects of mother nature remind us of aspects in our own human nature. To lean against a tree may bring a sense of rootedness. Trees root down and reach up at the same time, so within this amazing duality one direction exists for the other to be possible.
Spending time on the coast of the sea we are reminded of the movement of tides and seasons, about release and play, about the liminal space between water and land, unconscious and the conscious. If we can open ourselves to it, the sea provides us with visceral resonance that can awaken fluidity and open the world of dream.
We can also connect to green spaces within the urban environment. Sites can be chosen in wild places or busy cityscapes. Through a series of movement meditations, drawing, dance, and contact exchange with specific sites participants will develop an awareness of the responsive inter-relationship between body, earth, self and environment.
These workshops combine somatic practice with non-stylized dance. They are open to everyone that loves to move and be out of doors.
Halifax July 28-30, 2017: Workshop with Helen Poynor (UK) with Curation by Misha Horacek
Learn more about Helen Poyner on her website.
Image credits in flyer: Helen Poyner and Annie Pfingst
The Wheel of the Year derived from Celtic and Pagan sources follows the cycle of 8 festivals. The original Celts followed 4 Fire Festivals spaced evenly through the year to mark the movements of the sun: Imbolc (Feb 1), Beltane (May 1), Lughnasadh (Aug 1) and Samhain (Nov 1). There are also 4 Quarter Festivals that celebrate the Solstices (longest and shortest days) and the Equinoxes (equal duration of day and night); Yule / Midwinter or Winter Solstice (Dec 21), Ostara or Spring Equinox (March 21), Litha/Midsummer or Summer Solstice (June 21) and Mabon or Autumn Equinox (Sept 21).
These festivals were important to the Celts in terms of agricultural rhythms, so they would know when to plough, sow, harvest and rest. Symbolically the wheel shows the continual cyclical repetition of Birth, Death, and Rebirth. We can align and re-align ourselves with the quality of each season to reconnect to our own personal rhythms.
Participants are guided to identify the qualities particular to each season and use this as thematic material for correlations to personal life journey. By identifying specific intentions for each season, passage from one season to another is made consciously. Through drawing, dancing and writing participants engage artfully with their own cycles and ongoing transformation.