After Tara Luz Danse’s first weeks with the Grandmothers at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, I (Amelia Griffin) am tickled to report on our progress. I went back over our interview post for Art Place, and found that our sessions together are already meeting the hopes we had expressed for this unique project. We mentioned our desire for connection, joy, and allowing improvised movements inform and reflect who and how we are from moment to moment.
Before the holidays, Anik Bouvrette (Artistic Director of Tara Luz Danse), and myself as the project leader, decided it would be best if we attended Wabano’s existing Senior’s Program’s movement classes in order to start being comfortable in each others presence, as well as learning what type of movements are already comfortable for the group. We are so encouraged to see that the movement class offered, promotes health and well-being in body and mind, and listening and adapting to one’s natural range of motion. These are two things that are very important to us at Tara Luz Danse. We knew we would be able to build from such a considered and authentic approach to movement!
So far, we have explored two of six improvisational dance techniques that we will be sharing with the group; word-image, and the line. In word-image, we create a theme (we started with animals) to work within, and then do a round-circle. Each participant must think of a word that matches the theme, and create a movement or shape on the spot that is either a literal or abstract representation of that word. After the person says their word out loud and shows their movement, the group then repeats it back. This game brought out such a burst of creativity and subsequent giggles from each of us. Imagine us rubbing our backs against the chair like a bear, for instance! In the next concept, the line, each participant stands next to each other to form a straight line and keeps their eyes looking forward. In this concept, you must employ your peripheral vision, sense of trust in the group, and ability to adjust to the group as you walk from one side of the room to the other. It sounds easy but it takes a lot of concentration and quick decision-making when the people next to you walk at different rates. It is a great way to practice compromise!
All in all our beginnings at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health have been extremely positive and feel blessed to work with such a vibrant and funny group of ladies. We look forward to reporting back with more of our improvisational dance concepts and more positive experiences!
Founded in 2006 by choreographer Anik Bouvrette, Tara Luz Danse is a contemporary dance company in residence at the Shenkman Arts Centre. The company’s work is twofold: we create and present dances for audiences of all ages, and we work in schools and in the community, fostering the discovery of contemporary dance.