Lessons from March 2015

Editor’s Note: Here is another blog about the residency Dance Exchange spent with GeriActors and CRIPSiE in March by Bill.

After much reflecting and digesting after two weeks with Dance Exchange and CRIPSiE, the thought of writing a blog post about this experience seems a bit overwhelming – so much had happened. What did we do? What did I learn through this process? What will the future look like after our new experience? Here are three things I have learned in our experience together that I will adopt into my own practice.

  1. The Best Plan Leaves Room for Adaptation.

Being able to observe and participate in some of the planning process, I have noticed that the most effective plans leave room for questions and adaptation in their implementation. The concept of being prepared for anything to happen is fundamental when facilitating creative work with a group of people – it is the foundation of creativity. Whether it is something small like the order of activities or something big such as the performance venue, we somehow find a way to find opportunity behind each wrench being thrown at us. Do we have any idea what’s going to happen? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But we can be open to anything and make educated guesses. I learned this first hand when I got very ill the day before performance. What a treat being able to watch the facilitation team adapt and carry on with the performance. Somehow through our time spent together, the team was able to capture essence of my movement and ideas. This concept of openness and patience will be something we carry into our practice.

Charles Bidwell (GeriActors & Friends) & Amanda Newman (Dance Exchange)
Charles Bidwell (GeriActors & Friends) & Amanda Newman (Dance Exchange)
  1. Turn Discomfort Into Inquiry.

I first encountered this idea when I met Liz Lerman at the Winter Institute in Washington DC. I was so captivated by how she started almost all her sentences with “I find it interesting that…” that I began to do it myself. Whenever there was a moment of discomfort or self-judgment I made the observation and phrased it into that question: “I find it interesting that I feel so awkward right now” or “It’s interesting how the audience members did not respond they way I had intended”. The process of acknowledging the feeling of discomfort and turning it into inquiry allows me to continually be on the tip of my comfort zone.

GeriActors, CRIPSiE and Dance Exchange in rehearsal
GeriActors, CRIPSiE and Dance Exchange in rehearsal
  1. Make Unexpected Dances with Unexpected Dancers.

This is how I started dancing. With no formal dance training, I jumped into the world of movement and have never looked back. It begs the questions of: What is dance? Who gets to dance? Where does the dance happen? Why does it matter? (Dance Exchange). Any type of movement (when motions of energy begin to form). Everyone. Anywhere you darn well please. Because our bodies are already dancing, we might as well acknowledge it.

GeriActors, CRIPSiE and Dance Exchange in
GeriActors, CRIPSiE and Dance Exchange in “The Seeing Heart”.

To read Amanda Newman’s blog post from Dance Exchange go here: http://danceexchange.org/2015/04/06/5-things-ive-carried-with-me-from-edmonton/

Paint with Watercolours, Explore with the Bard!

Join us at the Creative Age Festival, June 4-6 and take part in one of our amazing arts workshops including: Watercolours or Acting Shakespeare!

Watercolours with Willie Wong

Thursday, June 4 from 6 – 8pm

North Edmonton Seniors Association (7524 139 Avenue)

Watercolours made easy. Join renowned Edmonton artist Willie Wong in this 2-hour workshop, designed for all levels of experience, as he walks you through the basics of painting with watercolours. Cost: $15 (all materials included)

Acting Shakespeare with David Barnet

Friday, June 5 from 1 – 3pm

North Edmonton Seniors Association (7524 139 Avenue)

Photo by: Ryan Parker (PK Photography)
Photo by: Ryan Parker (PK Photography)

Try out Juliet or Lear – it’s easier than you think! Play and have fun with the bard with award-winning teacher David Barnet. Cost: $15

And that’s not all – there are 7 more workshops to choose from:

Pottery with Elaine Kwan

Memoir Writing with Shirley Serviss

Performance Storytelling with GeriActors

Handbells with Wendy Hoskin

Musical Improvisation with Grindstone Theatre

Dance and Physical Storytelling with Amber Borotsik & Shula Strassfeld


African Drumming with Deborah Bortscher

Photo by: Ryan Parker (PK Photography)
Photo by: Ryan Parker (PK Photography)

Taking a Creative Age workshop is a great way to meet new people, learn something brand new, expand your current skills, and have fun!

For more information and a complete description of each workshop visit the Creative Age Edmonton website and take a look at our Festival Guide. Workshops are filling up fast so call NESA (780-496-6969) today to reserve your place. Lunch is provided to all workshop participants free of charge.

See you at the festival June 4-6!!!