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Navigating Home: The NL Dance Project

Neighbourhood Dance Works proudly announced the launch off the Newfoundland and Labrador Dance Project in August,2017. This unprecedented three-year project unites several generations of artists born and raised in Newfoundland and Labrador together in St. John's to work with nationally-celebrated choreographers Anne Troake and Christopher House. Other collaborators consisted of: Tedd Robinson - choreographic consultant, Lois Brown - Dramaturge and Animateur, Amy Bowring - Writer and Researcher, Colleen Quigley - Researcher and Archivist, Ross Murry (Sound – Troake), Pierre Lavoie (Lighting House and Troake), Matt Smith (Sound – House), Jennifer Dallas (Costume – House), Kelly Bruton (Costume – Troake) Tedi Tafle (Consultant – Troake).

While many Newfoundlanders and Labradorians choose to study and pursue careers in the performing arts, this province's tumultuous economic history, small population, and remote geography has forced many artists to leave the province to sustain their careers. Others have remained in Newfoundland and Labrador but continually face challenges of working in isolation. The NL Dance Project unites artists who left the province with ones who stayed. A team of 21 dynamic dance, theatre and visual artists, each born and raised in NL, unite under the creative guidance of a core team of dance professionals who have their own deep roots in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Phase One of this project saw performing arts professionals descend on St. John's in August 2017, collectively reflecting on the themes of heritage and belonging and the way these ideas stretch across time and geography.

In 2018 we hosted two, three-week Creation Phases with the ensemble divided into two working groups – one group per choreographer. Anne and Christopher continued their artistic journeys drawing from the previous year’s research and honing choreographic structures and design elements for lighting, costume and sound. This phase enabled both facilitators to deepen their practice and refine artistic frameworks. (July 9 – Aug 3, 2018)

In Fall 2019 both choreographers had a 3-day TechnicalResidency at the LSPU Hall in St John’s; with full access to venue staff and inventory. On the third day of each residency there were public showings followed by an animated discussion facilitated by Lois Brown and Amy Bowring. The project then traveled to Toronto where the works were shared with audiences at The Winchester Theatre (Sept 28 – Oct 6, 2019).


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