I’m just back from a three-week creation and teaching residency in Yorkton, Saskatchewan with dancer/choreographer Shannon Litzenberger (who was born and raised out in Rider-land). It was an intense, and wonderful three weeks, where we focused on the idea of “home” for her upcoming show, HOMEbody.
A fascinating thing, home…
I spent a lot of time wandering around abandoned farm houses, and sitting around the kitchen table at Shannon’s family farm, interviewing her dad about the history of their home, and chatting with Shannon about what made up (and makes up) her home. From there, I wrote and wrote in her voice, (which is a strange and wonderful exercise!) and ended up with 50+ poems (!!) for the HOMEbody project.
It was interesting thinking about my home, when I was 2547 km away from it…
And layered onto all of that, we were teaching high school drama students a creative process that mirrored our own — integrating writing and movement and sound and dance. Man alive, I love teaching. Especially high school students!!
Home, as defined by 16 and 17-year-olds, is more fascinating than I ever would’ve thought. They dove into the work, even though much of what we were doing was pretty unfamiliar. (You can see glimpses of our work, and hear what the students thought of the project here!)
And then, they got up on stage and performed their work. They took to the stage with such confidence and presence. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
More highlights of my prairie adventures:
– the endless skies (and skies and skies…)
– wandering about in -48 degree cold
– chatting weather with the old-timers at the pool
– realizing when the students kept saying they liked “quading” they meant ATV-ing, not doing squats with their families
– spinning Billy Joel records at a gem of a coffee shop — it’s an old house, complete with cozy couch-filled reading rooms, and a music room!
– daily 2pm dance parties on stage. Is there anything better than dancing with dancers??