Montreal & SenseLab

I cannot separate my residency with SenseLab from my experience of Montreal. Arriving by train from NYC was a slow and gracious way to transition from the huge metropolis of New York to the more intimate city of Montreal. Travelling along the Hudson River, seeing a bald headed eagle and feeling the context of the country, then upon arriving, the shift from English to French as the dominant spoken language and settling into the apartment in Outremont. The following day I met up with a beloved friend and colleague, Linda Rabin. Linda is a sage within the dance community of Canada. Respected and loved by generations of dancers, choreographers and performers, she continues to teach and perform. Walking with her through Mile End we were stopped frequently by dance artists who had been taught or influenced by Linda. A graduate of the Juilliard School, Linda worked as rehearsal director and teacher for Israel’s Batsheva Company and with Ballet Rambert in London. She taught and choreographed extensively across Canada for many of the country’s major dance companies, professional schools and university dance programs before co-founding Les ateliers de danse moderne de Montréal (LADMMI) in 1981. LADMMI is one of Canada’s leading professional schools in contemporary dance training.

Montreal is currently building a huge new complex near Place des Arts for dance alone!! Facilities for companies, professionals and amateurs, the centre will provide a fabulous venue for cultivating dance and choreography. Can we in Australia even imagine that? At the cost of $99.2 million!! Dance is not seen as a minor gesture in Montreal! Take a look here so you believe me! This is a city that takes dance seriously:

My week with the SenseLab was inspiring and full of juicy moments. I arrived each day to share a morning practice followed by lunch and an afternoon of moving research focusing on being and becoming animal. It was a great opportunity to continue what I had offered in the BMCA conference. From cellular and pre-vertebral animal form to amphibian, reptilian and mammalian we explored relational field through our embodied experiences. Whilst a small group of people joined me in the morning it gave those people an opportunity to ask questions and reflect together on our experiences of the previous day/s. For the afternoons I had requested that people be committed so that the practice and phylogenetic stages be understood. SenseLabbers come from diverse creative backgrounds and practices. At the end of each day the work evolved into an improvisation to that might involve people dancing, making, writing and sounding. The compositions delighted me with their integrity and passionate enquiry. Thanks to Erin Manning for making this event possible. The quality of care given to me by Ana Ramos and those who attend SenseLab events created a fantastic generative space.

Read more about Montreal by Ross Colliver: