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Small Acts of Creativity with Broken Rhythms
Broken Rhythms, a local dance company who has been creating original work for almost a decade, including hit shows at the Victoria Fringe Festival, came to us with this project, and we wanted to get involved! We are thrilled to support Broken Rhythms in this creative endeavour, Small Acts of Creativity.
About the project
When Dyana Sonik-Henderson, Artistic & Executive Director of Broken Rhythms cancelled their season in the spring, it presented a complex problem for the company and its artists. How can you create work when the dancers can not touch? How can you set a schedule when a sore throat will keep dancers away? How can you pay dancers when you have no ticket sales, and no foreseeable performance date? The plethora of complications and problems can keep on going and as one problem is solved, another springs up to take its place. The complexities of this new way cannot be fully explained and it caused the company to freeze. To become unstuck, they needed to give their artists the chance to re-engage and re-imagine participation in the arts in a new creative way.
Small Acts of Creativity is a way to re-engage the Broken Rhythms company of dancers and to give them a creative outlet wether through dance or another creative outlet. The focus of these small acts of creation is to begin creating again and see if anything develops. Each artist has 5 hours to create their small act . The goal of this project is to plant small creative seeds in the and see if anything grows.
At Intrepid Theatre, we are keen to find ways to support the local community during COVID-19 and foster new ideas and ways of creating.
Stay tuned for new small acts coming through the fall!
Click through on each title to read more about the project, and see video/photos of the works.
Danced and adapted by: Carlene Forbes, and Caleigh Hunter
Original Choreography: Dyana Sonik-Henderson
Filmed by: Dyana Sonik-Henderson
Edited by: Carlene Forbes
As soon as Dyana offered us the small acts of creativity projects, I immediately knew that I wanted to do a remount of “Guilt” from our show SEVEN. Guilt has held so much meaning for me over the years, and has always been my favourite Broken Rhythms’ piece. We’ve performed it at multiple venues, in multiple cities, with a slightly different purpose and different story every time. This piece has been an ever evolving constant in my dance life, so it seemed natural that I’d be drawn back to it in this time of uncertainty. What really lit the fire for me was the prospect of getting to dance with my friend, in person, after months of being (and dancing) apart.
Severance is a reimagining of Guilt, this time exploring each of our experiences in the current global climate. The process of creating this project was a perfect demonstration of the impact of the pandemic on us as artists and performers. It started out with excitement, inspiration and a clear idea/direction. The weeks leading up to filming were a roller coaster of adapting to new restrictions, delays and eventually bringing our rehearsals to a screeching halt. There were times where we had to change our vision on a dime, and times where it seemed to make more sense to scrap the project all together. Caleigh and I really had to lean on each other to keep this project alive, and without her encouragement and reflection, I definitely could have let the pandemic swallow this one up too. By the time filming day came, we had to let go of our vision and our plan completely, and just see what came out on that day, in that moment.
Concept, Choreographer, Dancer: Candace Bruce
Reader: Kyler Rayhill
Poem: Throw Yourself like Seed – Miguel de Unamuno
When this project was started in October, it was the first creative outlet I had been afforded in months. Since the onset of the pandemic and the industry shutdowns, I lacked the motivation to dance or create.
As I searched for inspiration, I found a poem that resonated with me. Throw Yourself like Seed by Miguel de Unamuno is a beautiful message of hope. One that reminds me that during the greatest times of loss and uncertainty, comfort and stability are found in my deepest passions.
The reader, Kyler Rayhill, is an incredibly talented actor, who was equally affected by the pandemic. Kyler and I collaborated to create a recitation that spoke to the despair and eventual joy that was both shared while working on it.
Filming this piece in the forest was significant. To me, the woods have an important duality. Despite the fact that the tall trees can instill fear or loneliness, they also are comforting and rejuvenating. I feel grounded amongst the forest. Like the woods, my work has provided stability and clarity, in a year where I should feel uncertain.
During my reflection, I realize that the creation of the piece allowed me to have a deeper understanding of the poem’s theme. It showed me that I can feel grounded, even during the greatest adversity. During hardship, I must follow what makes me feel the most alive – my work.
I want to acknowledge the unceded territory of the Songhees and Esquimalt people where I am an unwelcome guest. I am grateful for the ability to create and live on this land.
Concept, Choreography and Performer: Allison Rhodes
Video and Editing : Austin Knill
In many ways, this work explores what the Small Acts of Creativity project represents: finding space for creation in the midst of shutdown and stagnation. When the COVID-19 pandemic began escalating earlier this year, halting all nonessential operations, I struggled with a sense of aimlessness. The work that I was able to continue from home felt like a rough outline of my usual routines, and my work as a dancer was essentially cancelled. Prior to that shift, I had been a part of two forthcoming Broken Rhythms productions, both of which we had started working on and one of which we had largely completed. However, with the closure of theatres, these productions had to be called off.
Although I tried to stem the feelings of self-pity, recognizing the majority of the world was feeling a similar (if not worse) strain, it was hard to escape the acknowledgment that I was losing valuable time. What unrecoverable experiences and opportunities were being lost to this global pause?
Eventfully, however, I started looking for ways that I could find purpose in the stillness. This isn’t to say that I experienced an overnight shift in attitude, but rather that I found flickers of potential. Even if I had moved to dancing in empty parks after dark instead of well-lit stages, I could nevertheless find ways to feel at peace.
Ghost light – a ghost light is a single bulb left burning whenever a theatre is dark.
Concept: Sara Peddle
As a performer, I wanted to explore the feelings that are brought about when thinking of all the theatres sitting empty as we navigate this pandemic.
The vest in this piece was a prop I wore in my first show with Broken Rhythms, Thyself. Personally, this character represented the manifestation of the dark thoughts in the corners of your mind; the anxiety and depression that can break through the surface in your daily life. This feels especially relevant in these last 8 months, where it has been easy to feel isolated and alone.
I read recently that many theatres around the world have renewed the tradition of leaving a ghost light on, as a sign that they will reopen after we can gather in person once more. The image in my mind of all of these ghost lights leaving no theatre in the dark gives me hope for a time when we can take the stage together again.
I wanted to explore the feelings of being trapped, both physically and mentally, during quarantine. I was inspired by the haunting images and music of a piece from Broken Rhythm’s show Grim entitled “The Handless Maiden”. While the execution of live motion pictures did not go completely as I had envisioned it in my head, the restriction of movement definitely captured my feelings of uncertainty and anxiety over the past several months.
Inspired by the physical and mental experience of a pandemic lockdown, The Neck Leads, explores neck movement through freedom and confinement.
Choreographed and performed by Robyn Nogue
Filmed and edited by Jeremy Nogue
Concept/Singer Heidi Fox Lange
This project began as a simple extension of one of my intentions for 2020: to focus more on spontaneous play than goal-oriented achievements. My original idea for #smallactsofcreation was to have a fun and playful photoshoot with my daughters. I was compelled to have the photoshoot in Ross Bay Cemetery as I’ve always been drawn to its peaceful atmosphere. It is particularly beautiful in the Autumn.
When Dyana Sonik-Henderson asked me to probe further into why I chose a cemetery for the location of the shoot, some pondering reconnected me with a Zen Buddhist poem titled “The Night Chant”. Its profound message resonates deep within me.
Last year, prominent Mindfulness teacher/author Michael Stone unexpectedly passed away. At that time, I intuitively created a melody for the traditionally spoken chant, perhaps a means to help process Michael’s death. My #smallactsofcreation thus became intertwined with this potent chant: 6 photos illustrate “The Night Chant”, sung by yours truly.