I will tell you a story. I began as a Contemporary Dance Artist in Seattle, WA in 1980. The spirit of community and nature of collaboration I had with colleagues during these years was seminal. Christian Swenson and I formed a duet company and we toured throughout the US in my grandmother’s ’69 Plymouth Valiant. We had impeccable timing and an enormous zeal for life, adventure and dancing. This defined for me what it is to dance with someone and birthed my choreographic and improvisational mind.
I coupled this with becoming certified in Laban Movement Analysis in 1985. The Laban work is an inexhaustible medium that gives me a language to originally innovate form. This time was also my initial foray into the inclusion of voice, sound, song, text and set into my work. These processes initiated the path of my artistry. I am an independent artist, choreographer, improviser, performer and teacher. And, I am a constant student of a myriad of somatic practices.
And then...somewhat like Alice down the rabbit hole, I found myself living in New York City, Berlin and Amsterdam from 1988 to ‘94. This profoundly shaped me as an artist. I wrestled with cultural differences, witnessed the dismantling of the Berlin wall and was on faculty at the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam from 1991 to ‘94. Participation in the European contemporary dance milieu continues to inform my aesthetic. In 1994, I returned to Canada, the country of my birth, and completed an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies in the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University in 1996.
Clearly, I have always sought out diversity in work contexts: urban, rural, community-based populations, academia, and the professional milieu. I have traversed Canada from the Yukon to the Queen Charlotte Islands to Calgary to Regina to Québec City and Montréal, dancing. This diversity informs my aesthetic and my understanding of how my work is accessible to a public.
The accessibility is embodied presence, the recognition of our commonality, the collective unconscious.
Collaboration is pivotal to the nature of my work and has deepened in my years in Canada. A 13 year collaboration with composer James Maxwell is instrumental to my choreography. The work created is the composite of both of our imaginations. I have also performed with improvisation artists Marc Boivin, Peter Bingham, Lin Snelling and cellist Peggy Lee. Further collaborators include lighting designer James Proudfoot, sculptor John Noestheden, actors Andrew Olewine and Billy Marchenski and singer Carol Sawyer.
There are multiple meanings in any given moment, dependent upon the point of view of the experience. This is the pathos and beauty of our existence and can render any heart and mind tender.
It is this which compels me to create my work, and it is with this that I go out the door every morning to meet all of the incidents of a single day.
Everyone’s story meets, sometimes colliding and careening, in unarticulated moments as simple as being jostled on a crowded bus. This cross-referencing and layering exposes humanity and is heartbreaking and mind opening.
In this sense my work is transpersonal. My story, if you will, is everyone’s story. Through a layering and cross-referencing in my processes, there is an energetic transmission through space and time in performance and each viewer receives their own story. Their hearts and minds are touched in a way unique unto themselves, and there is the potential for a sharing of experience.