Dancing through 2020

 It's been a long time since my last update. A lot has changed in the last year. Here's a little recap of 2020 and current projects and plans.

Pre pandemic, January 2020 I had the amazing good fortune and good timing to participate in the Puppet and Mask Intensive at the Banff Centre for the Arts in Alberta. At times I felt challenged and out of my depths as most of the participants came from theatre and puppet backgrounds but I brought my experience as a dancer, choreographer, costume and mask maker to the Intensive. It was inspiring to connect and collaborate with so many creative and talented people. I left feeling refuelled and inspired to incorporate new insights, games and exercises into my classes and, to incorporate more elements of puppetry into my dance creations. Precious memories and the potent energy of the mountains will stay with me.

Banff Puppet Intensive video clip

Baba Yaga puppet in progress

back stage at Banff Centre

The last live group performance of 2020 was at an International Women's Day event in Courtenay  B.C.  I also taught a dance workshop at that event to a large, diverse group of women that was well received. It was a great opportunity to try out 'soul mates', a dance game that I was a part of creating at the Banff Intensive. This game works best with a big group. 

Arcana Dea dancing 'Vesna' aka Spring 

In Spring 2020 all classes, rentals and events and the Abbey were cancelled. As a way to keep dancing and stay connected with my dance sisters, I created this collaborative video project with editing help from Caresse Nadeau. 

One Big Skirt, collaborative dance video project

The Summer proved to be a challenging time personally and a time to focus on healing and family. Summer was also a time of exploring the rivers, beaches and forest trails where I live.

Trent River Falls

The Abbey Studio rearranged and freshly painted Spring 2020

With no regular classes, rentals or events happening at the Abbey Studio I took the opportunity to clean, paint and rearrange the studio. I've also had to rethink usage of the space due to the changes brought on by pandemic related health restrictions. My dance friend and collaborator Caresse Nadeau was relocating to the Comox Valley so it seemed mutually beneficial to have her stay on at the Abbey as artist in residence. Caresse is a multi talented young woman; dancer, costume maker, visual artist, musician and videographer. It's been a blessing to have her here as a friend and creative collaborator!

Caresse Nadeau, artist in residence at the Abbey Studio

Still from 'blue ladies' video project by Caresse Nadeau

Swanning it up at Comox Lake for a music video project by Caresse Nadeau

In August 2020 Katheryn Petersen, along with a small group of musicians from Vancouver, brought some well needed creative energy to the Village of Cumberland. The project focused on musical experiments involving the impressive pipe organ at the Cumberland United Church aka Weird Church. Caresse Nadeau and myself were invited to participate and add some improvised dance and theatrical elements to the project. See video clip below~

Dancing Amanitas at the First Annual Fungus Fest, Cumberland B.C. 
Fungus Fest 2020 was a mostly virtual science/arts/educational festival in support of the Cumberland Community Forest. The festival featured films, guided forest walks, educational talks and, outdoor projections animated with dancing mushrooms.

dancers Lisa Hamilton and Caresse Nadeau
Costumes Cathy Stoyko
October 2020

Wood Stove Festival 2021

Wood Stove is a live music/arts festival that happens annually in the Fall at various venues in the Village of Cumberland. Since its beginnings in 2017, the Abbey Studio has been a venue for festival workshops, song circles, intimate concerts and dance performances. I've performed and acted as dance coordinator for Wood Stove Festival by connecting organizers with dancers and presenting a dance showcase each year. This year the organizers created an alternative, virtual version of the festival featuring live recorded performances that will be released in March 2021. Artists were invited to share songs/dances making up roughly 15-20 minutes of content. 

Below are some stills from dance videos made for Virtual Wood Stove Film Festival

dancers; Namchi Bazar, Cathy Stoyko and Caresse Nadeau
choreography Cathy Stoyko

'Down to the River to Pray' or 'Baptism' is a new choreography inspired by a dream I had last Summer. It is dedicated to my friend and dance sister Sarah Kerr who passed in Oct. 2020

Down to the River to Pray
Dancers; Namchi Bazar, Cathy Stoyko and Caresses Nadeau

The Mothra fan film was inspired by a dance performance at last year's Wood Stove Festival dance showcase. This epic B movie inspired production was the work of many hands; 
direction and editing by Caresse Nadeau
concept, props and costumes; Caresse Nadeau and Cathy Stoyko, winged body suit by Ahmad Tabrizi
dancers; Cathy, Caresse and Namchi
 rigging by Shane Blacktopp, production assistant Cinder'hella
video by Caresse and Amy, photography by Selen T

The Twins summoning Mothra

Mothra aka Caresse rigged to fly

 Early into pandemic mode 'Cult Classics' a dance theatre/cabaret extravaganza in collaboration with Caresses Nadeau and special guests scheduled for April 2020 was put on hold but the project continues to brew and morph. Also, I had been invited by Arts Denman to present my dances on stage at the Denman Island Hall as part of the 2021 concert series. It is not looking likely for a live production at the Hall this May but I continue to work on dances with my tiny bubble and, I am hopeful for a post pandemic future filled with live performance and renewed appreciation for the arts.

Playing in the studio with Caresse Nadeau and my daughter Lilly Stoyko-Lang
*Mothra's egg in progress in the background
December 2020

Keeping dancing!