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Hyper Local Super Now

re-integrating instinct and impulse

I have a friend who says “your instincts are not wrong.” So then, why is it so hard to follow them? To let that instinct become the impulse that one acts upon.

A lot of the work I do in teaching improvisation is to get people to reconnect to their impulses, to recognize what they want to do in a given moment (in the studio). And then to get them to do it. At the beginning of my clown training, John Turner (of Mump and Smoot) would often point out that it looked like any one of us had experienced three or so impulses to do something before we did it. The trick is to recognize and follow that impulse. To relearn what was so natural to us in the beginning. To unlearn some of our impulse control. Some impulse control is necessary in life. Some we have been taught is necessary, but is born out of dominant cultural norms. Some is totally unnecessary. Sometimes this is hard to separate and navigate.


I am interested in the exploration of this in visceral, physical, somatic ways. In dance we have two distinct types of training around this. If we grew up learning a set technique, we had to create new neural pathways so that our bodies would recognize and adapt to and work within certain shapes. Our bodies then know how to express through a specific and aesthetically stylized way.


Then we have post-modern dance that rebels against the tyranny of shape and form. We explore the possibilities and extoll the virtues of following our impulses. We train ourselves to bypass first impulse and move with our second impulse, or even our third. To such a degree that sometimes I can’t separate which of those first three is first.


I have been developing a workshop that looks at the re-integration of instinct and impulse. I’m quite excited about this research. It will be a part of Dream Another Day ~ reaching into the future, a retrospect on the mess we’re in now.


Dream Another Day gets its next development period now and next month. Right now I am in Marrakesh as a resident artist at Queens Collective. (more on that later) and next month I’ll be in Dublin working with dancers and designers there. 

I am reaching out to you to help with this project.

Delving beneath the norms to discover something new is a long process. The creative process had to begin with the surface layer, looking at the tropes of Action Hero, Spy and Womanizer though a feminist lens. (Obvious). Then I had to flip them, imagine a woman as these things. (Opposite). Then flip to subvert again and maybe again to get to the Oblique, the third impulse, to discover something new. Creating each layer of the onion as I peel it away to come to the point where I am ready to bring the ideas into action with dancers and designers.

I’ll be working with dancers and designers in Dublin in December. We’re developing these sections:

  • What is the power that is not parkour
  • Breaking code breaking secret codes
  • Releasing and transforming the energy stored in the body from trauma, re-integration of instinct and impulse
  • Let’s talk about sex baby; female desire and pleasure
  • Applying a Futuring process to each set of discoveries to evolve the ideas and dream another, better, day.
On Tuesday November 27th, join the #GivingTuesday movement by supporting Stand Up Dance and Dream Another Day ~ reaching into the future, a retrospect of the mess we’re in now. Your contribution enables us to reach our fundraising goal and develop this important new performance work.




Emotional Landscapes

hub14 is closing.

All good things must come to an end. 
So they say. I am more of the “Rage against the dying of the light” persuasion and as such, am grieving. 

Although I have lived in many, many places, I am a compulsive mover, I feel like I am losing my home. The home I created. The W.H. Auden poem comes to mind. Hub14 was “my North, my South, my East, my West, My working week, my Sunday rest.” 


Space - it seems less important to me that I have a home that conforms to traditional standards of nestedness. It seems that to have a studio to work in, a place to go and be in my body in space is important, to dance and sing and sit and write, and scream and dream. To contemplate empty or open space. To have access to the constant possibility of creating something out of nothing.

But not nothing of course.


I am in Marrakech in Morocco right now. I was just cleaning a dance floor on a rooftop terrace, like I do every day here. Washing the grit of the air and sun and rain off of it and thinking about floors and my relationship to them. 


About our feet on the ground, connecting us to the earth, that I travel upon. All the feet, all over the world that walk the earth. The different ways we relate to the ground, the floor. The dancefloor that offers respite from an upright world. A new configuration of body in space from which any kind of magic might emerge from the creative body. The creative body that is my home.


So home and space. And how those relate. I find myself in a new situation, a new continent. And a collective that brings something of the hippie and something of the squatter together in a generous and amazing conflation with the Moroccan. And we find ourselves in the Medina, in the middle of the Medina. Where when I turn the corner to go round the last few bends to get to Queens Collective, the local boys loitering at the corner whisper that the square is the other way. (Well, behind you, they say, because there is no one ‘other way’. There are so many.) And I smile slyly under my ball cap through my mirrored shades with my scarf draped over me and my purchases and say “I’m not going to the square.”


I'm going to the place I get to call home for almost two months. This dance floor, built on a platform elevated from the rest of the rooftop and shaded from the sun. This space that I get to call mine for the next while. There are chickens adjacent to the dance floor that I am so enamoured of. As in, there is a corner cut out of the stage to allow for a coop to be built. This is Marrakech.

The magic of the possible. 

I am thinking about other dance-space-homes.


hub14. That magical space we created in Toronto starting in 2004. Despite personal and artistic differences we grew hub14 from an Artist Run Co-op to a not-for-profit to a charitable organization. We built a floor from scratch. We painted, re-wired, renovated. I have some experience in this. I managed Dovehouse Ballroom when it first came into the dance community. I arranged for painters and for curtains and cabinets to be made. Then after that, when for a brief time we acquired Creative Group at 720 King St. West, we installed dance floors that had been acquired through a cost splitting initiative between a film company who made them for a dance film shoot, the scenic design company who made them, and us, who would then own them afterwards. We converted 10,000 square feet of disused bra factory into a creative space with many large spaces and two dance floors and and made all sort of magic and art there. 


When that ended after a year, I realized that in the 5 years that I had lived in Toronto I always had studio space available to me. It became clear that it is essential for me to have studio space. With three others we searched around for a few months until we found the small room that became hub14. That was in December of 2004. There was a retrospect held for the 10th anniversary. In 2013, the current leadership team, which was the 2nd, and the end of my eight and a half year co-reign, handed it over to a new group to helm. Now, so sadly at the end of it’s 14th year, fittingly I suppose, it will close. 

hub14 for 14 years.


In the many years that I spent in Toronto, I moved a lot. Like 27 times in 14.5 years. And that included several 2 year stints in one place. I just like to change it up. (It suits me well that I am now on a nomadic circuit with an annual, biannual and surprise locations rotation, ongoing). But, when I gave up hub, that is when I felt homeless, anchorless, ungrounded.


In the years since 2013 I have had numerous residencies in many different countries. Access to studio space, this open space with a sprung floor, offers unlimited opportunity to imagine, to be in ones body, move around, conceive of new ideas and concepts, hear oneself think, please no one, find out who and how one is. A room filled with ones belongings and a good bed is essential too, but without the other, I get funny, out of sorts, unable to access my full self. 

Sometimes these residencies are to make something specific, but sometimes it is just to have space, to meet oneself. And others. 

Some of the Residencies I’ve been to:

Banff Centre, Banff Canada

Earthdance, western Mass. USA

Ponderosa, Stolzenhagen Germany

Queens Collective, Marrakech Morocco

International Woman’s Foundation , Building 98, Marfa, Texas, USA

Blipbase, Laddendorf Austria

fabrik Potsdam, Postdam, Germany

I have a feeling that hub14 will find a new home. I am hopeful.
In the meantime, farewell 14 Markham.

photos at hub14, 1 & 4 by Omer Yukseker, 2 by Trevor Schwellnus, 3 by Jeremy Mimnagh

Upcoming and Ongoing  



Here's a sneak peak at a little video we made of what we're up to.

Dream Another Day
~ reaching into the future,
a retrospect of the mess we're in now

Developing the next level at Queens Collective in Marrakech this month and next in Dublin.

On Tuesday November 27th, join the #GivingTuesday movement by supporting Stand Up Dance and Dream Another Day ~ reaching into the future, a retrospect of the mess we’re in now. Your contribution enables us to reach our fundraising goal and develop this important new performance work.


. moving . social . imagination .

Thanks for reading, see you on the dance floor!


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