I had the honour of attending Hillside Music Festival in Guelph this summer in order to document Brenda McMorrow’s show. This is a track from Brenda’s recently released album, devoted to AnandaMayi Ma. The video is accompanied by shots from around the festival. My sister Shannon Kingsbury is singing next to Brenda. The energy surrounding the festival was amazing and this was one of the highlights of my year. I was happy to put together this montage, attempting to share some of that pervasive Guelph glow.
Last year Amanda Paixao asked me to collaborate with her on a performance for a Canadian/Brazilian intercultural celebration. It took place at the Great Hall. I was honoured to be invited into this generous and celebratory process. I had a blast meeting Amanda’s friends and spending nights dancing and singing til the wee hours of the morning. They encouraged me to wear traditional head dress and partake in Brazilian culture, which I was very moved by! I learned that Brazilian culture is made up of so many different peoples and the warm sense of inclusion through rhythm, dance and music sets an amazing tone for shared experience. I believe this is a great model for Canadians, who negotiate multiculturalism without a dominant cultural base. The score for our performance focused on primal animal states, engagement through the audience’s space, interrelationship in contact and the mystery of mask. The party was a blast and people were struck by the intensity that we explored together. We worked with live overhead projection as a textural element. Looking forward to further collaboration!
I caught up with Brenda McMorrow, Canada Kirtan Diva, whilst in snowy Berlin. We decided spontaneously to shoot this video with acro yogaers for one of Brenda s old tunes.
an experimental video I created for a song by Jenikz Rego, documenting some of the strange environmental phenomena I`ve been witnessing in the past few years.. Spring flowers under snowstorms, a goose nesting in a tiny plot of grass within a parking lot.. voices of mother earth that we are no longer tuned to hear.. we can remain so entrenched in a ‘concrete’ yet metaphysical relationship with our environment. Ironically, these states of being are influenced by the very urban spaces we have ourselves created. If we take off our shoes, cultivate plants and witness the balancing act of nature, we begin to hear and feel….
A video I shot and edited for Brenda Mcmorrow, in this spirited performance of her kirtan performance of the Hanuman Chalisa.
A stirring live-looping solo by musician Hans Christian. I shot this as part of the GuruGanesha Band’s tour.
My (other) sister Shannon Kingsbury is a singer songwriter based in Guelph, Ontario (Canada). She plays the harp and her music often contains undertones of world music, a sense of theatricality and of esoteric spirituality. I shot this video in Andrew McPherson’s studio in Guelph. My neice Harmony is mentioned in the lyrics of the song. Though just 7 years old now, her existential musings have had a big influence on Shannon’s writing.
A music video that I did with Simon Rabyniuk for Lisa Conway, featuring Julia Male & myself.
My sister Christina Kingsbury is an installation artist who works with a lot of natural materials, surrounding ecological consciousness. She created this tree (no, it’s not real), which has paper bark made from invasive plant species. We collaborated on an audio component coming from the tree. It tells the story, in Guelph founder John Galt’s words of the felling of the first tree to mark the city. Christina wrote a text from the perspective of the land that interweaves with her reading of Galt’s perspective. I’ve made the audio component available to listen to here:
I was very lucky to collaborate with visual artist Janet Morton on several video installations for her exhibit The Ravelled Sleeve in Guelph. I shot and edited the videos with Colin Couch and Andrea Nann and am featured in a 60min steadicam video installation. I won’t spoil anything about the works here.
This summer I met Kassi Scott in an improvised dance at Somewhere There in Toronto. Based on the kinds of things that happened over the course of the 40 minute interaction, it’s surprising that we hadn’t met or talked previous to the event. There’s a bathroom just next to where the audience sits and I tried to go, with the door open (no one but Kassi could see). I was unable to release my bladder but we did get up to some release dance together and talked to the audience and each other at certain points. It turned out to be a very stimulating negotiation of intimate space, performative boundaries and personal expression.
Three videos that I shot & edited for the GuruGanesha Band. They perform devotional chant in the form of call and response kirtan. I was blessed to meet this band of awesome musicians and see them perform 4 times this summer. Watch in HD at high resolution.
In the past month I have had 3 lovely opportunities to meet myself, mirrored, in dancing with one other woman at a time (not including myself). It’s funny to see patterns like this unfold, but then again, it’s only practical to co-collaborate with another dancer/choreographer when we can’t afford to be outside of our own work. Also, although I know men in dance, I know a lot more women. I could also consider the feminine archetype and whether these dances were an opportunity to go deeper into that, or be polarized into the masculine.
I applied for my first choreographic research grant from the Canada Council this spring and although I didn’t get it, I did get tons of great feedback. The depth at which notes are taken (if you call in to get them) left me with a feeling of mutual respect. It was a good learning experience writing the grant, although I’m not sure I have the energy or spirit to keep applying.
Needless to say, without funding, a different approach emerges. I worked with 3 women who all choreograph but also often perform in their own work. Each encounter was improvisation or score based, featuring some props or interactive media. All of the works developed through conversation that continued up until the moment of ‘performance’. Each collaboration had a party, event or video to justify our dances and bring context to them.
Tanya Williams wanted to write our revised score out, as we rehearsed in her low-ceiling basement the morning of the show. She used dry erase marker on a piece of glass. As we were leaving for the theater, she wanted to take the score with us for reference. She tried taking a picture of it, but it didn’t show up. She then stuffed white pillows behind the glass so that it would become apparent. The absurdity and yet obvious quality of the situation struck me as wonderfully improvisational, as well as a performance in itself.
We also decided to spend the time between tech and the show re-working the score again and developing a more choreographed flow. I think I miss and am hungry for the process. This brings a new definition to the term starving artist..
Sometimes you meet other dancers by going on dates.. Amanda Paixao was friends with a man I went on a few dates with years ago. It`s incredible how we would run into each other on the subway in Toronto, throughout the time that I lived in Guelph. In May I finally danced with her at a Brazilian-Canadian intercultural celebration party. I feel that I was asked to participate in the event partly as a cultural gesture. Amanda and I met intermittently when I was in the city, but mostly ended up talking or ‘partying’. I have rarely felt so welcomed as by her friends, as we danced to Brazilian music on a tiny apartment patio til the wee hours of the morning. I am a shameless public dancer, but I almost felt meek in the presence of this unabashed celebration. Part of the plan for our dance was to wear traditional Brazilian headdresses. As a Canadian I felt a little bit sensitive to appropriation and was again totally moved by this invitation to try the headdress on at the party. Nothing and everything is sacred.
We worked with another woman who played with water on a slide projector to texture our performance. We got permission to climb down from the balcony of the great hall so that we could take a real journey through the space. We also planned a section where we would interact with the audience offstage (cue strobe light). Although fun-times dancing was the original idea, it became a negotiation of our alienating, almost sexual quality as animals moving freely throughout the space. I recall the feeling of being in a ritual where we embodied the spirits of animals. I ended up dancing to wonderful live samba until 3 in the morning.
I have also been blessed to move with Andrea Nann recently. A director asked us to get together and test out some ideas related to a dance film she wants to create. One of the characters in the script is a pianist composer, so Andrea thought of me. We had quite an encounter and there should be some footage to share soon. I came away with a visceral sensation of magnetic energy that I felt Andrea had communicated to me. There is hope for the body of the artist..
I am an intern at an organic farm this summer. The farmer asked me to document the farm crawl to help promote the next event. Needless to say I have been ‘training’ physically for 9 hours a day out here and am feeling strong, limber and curiously thoughtful. Readier to dance than ever.