In what ways does our labour become a dance?


Photo by Yvonne Chew

How can work and play intersect? In what ways can our labour become a dance? When we dance to produce an object, what does it mean?

On September 7th, we celebrated at Trillium North Park, harvesting flax & hanging it to dry, feasting on produce from Hastings Urban Farm, and gathering to witness potential performance material involving music, dance and spinning wheels.


Photo by Yvonne Chew

Over the past few weeks, we have been generating some material to share as a work-in-progress towards our final installation in the spring of 2015. We became interested in how we could animate the productive process of spinning fibre to make yarn, allowing dance to animate the different stages of the process. Sharon and Karen, both experienced spinners, used special spinning wheels which Martin has turned into percussive machines. Tracy sang a song and David accompanied with his horn. Mirae and Wilson danced the line off and on the wheel, working with Sharon to create a 2-ply length of yarn and finally winding it into a skein.


Photo by Yvonne Chew

As we pulled the line off the wheel and stretched it through the space of the park, we kept a constant tension on the wool yarn and made different shapes with the line, extending those shapes with our entire bodies. We are inspired by the fact that as we pull the yarn off the wheel, we are in fact dancing the whole length of what was produced by the spinning – we are making apparent the product’s length in relation to the time spent spinning it. So, our dance becomes one about measurement and shape as we crystallize our bodies and the yarn in space. Backed-up musically by David and Tracy, this first part of the dance became intentional and contemplative in tone. These qualities continued through the other sections of the dance as we ran both ends of the line back to Sharon so she could spin the 2-ply again, and then finally unwound the yarn from the wheel a second time and wrapped it into a skein.

This fall, we will continue to investigate the possibilities of producing yarn and dance as simultaneous performative actions. We will also look at weaving and how we can begin to make dances that through their steps and patterns in space can result in woven structures. And, as always, we’ll be warming-up our hands in preparation for dancing and increasing our awareness and sensitivity towards our bodies, each other, and our environment. If all goes well, we will discover a few answers to the questions posed at the beginning of this post, as we create a space for work and expression combined. We’ll be sharing the autumn research on November 9th at Hastings Urban Farm as part of the Heart of the City Festival. More details to follow soon.

Autumn Dance Research, Sundays 12-2 PM

14 Hastings Urban Farm
21 Trillium North Park
28 Hastings Urban Farm

5 Trillium North Park
12 Hastings Urban Farm
19 Trillium North Park
26 Hastings Urban Farm

2 Hastings Urban Farm

Celebration Event: Sunday November 9, 1-3 PM Hastings Urban Farm


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