halifax NS 2014

halifax NS

1313 hollis  /  august 2014














guest artists

susanne chui


Susanne Chui is a Halifax-based dance artist and Artistic Director of Mocean Dance. Moving fluidly between dancing, choreographing, and improvising, she thrives on working across disciplines to create unique performance works. Susanne trained professionally at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and was based in Toronto from 1999-2007, where she danced for many independent choreographers and extensively with Yvonne Ng and Tilt: sound + motion dance company. Since returning to Halifax Susanne has become immersed in the Halifax arts community, collaborating regularly with dance artists Jacinte Armstrong, Lesandra Dodson, Gwen Noah Dance, Phin Performing Arts, SiNS Dance, as well as creating and performing for Mocean Dance.  An avid improviser, Susanne has created improvised works with musicians Jerry Granelli, Anne Davison, Doug Cameron, Janice Jackson and Antonia Pigot, and in 2012 the TD Halifax Jazz Festival presented her full- length work, Threnodies, created in collaboration with composer Geordie Haley.  www.moceandance.com


jacinte armstrong


Jacinte Armstrong is a Halifax-based dance artist who has worked with many collaborators locally and across Canada. She initially trained at Halifax Dance, and went on to study at the New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL. Since 2014, she is the Artistic Director of Kinetic Studio, a Halifax-based organization that presents regular classes, workshops, and an annual series of work-in-progress performances. Jacinte performs regularly with Mocean dance, SiNS (Sometimes in Nova Scotia) dance, independently, and in her own work. Her choreography ranges from intimate and imagistic to large-scale collaboration with architects, filmmakers, and musicians.  She is the two-time recipient of the Diane Moore Creation Scholarship (2007 & 2014), awarded by Live Art Dance Productions, and a 2014 Dora Award nominee for best ensemble performance in Tedd Robinson’s Canvas 5×5, along with the cast from Mocean Dance. Armstrong is a Pilates teacher, a member of the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists, the DTRC, and an Artist-in-Residence at Halifax Dance. She is also a 2014-2015 artist-in-residence on PEI through Arts Nova Scotia and the Atlantic Public Arts Funders (APAF).

sara coffin


Sara Coffin is a Halifax-based dancer, choreographer, improviser, and dance educator, and Artistic Associate of Mocean Dance. Her professional career spans Canada in both Vancouver, BC and Halifax, NS. Recently, she completed her MFA in Choreography at Smith College in Northampton, MA (2014). Her award-winning credits include the Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Award (2009) and the 2005 BC Emerging Dance Artist Award. Sara received her BFA in Dance from Simon Fraser University (2003), and her BSc. in Kinesiology from Dalhousie University (2004). Coffin has collaborated with Chris Aiken and Angie Hauser (USA), Annie Kloppenberg, Daelik (MACHiNENOiSy), Jennifer Clark, Susan Elliott, The Holy Body Tattoo, Claire French, Kinesis Dance, Jennifer Mascall, Tilt Sound + Motion and is a co-founder of the SiNS (Sometimes in Nova Scotia). Her choreography has been presented in many prominent dance festivals, commissioned by Mocean Dance, and she produced her own full-length work Taking Your Experience for Mine (2011), which was featured in the Dance Centre’s 10th Anniversary publication What They Said (Vancouver, 2012) and was described as ‘hauntingly gorgeous, witty, and where the virtual goes visceral.’

rhonda baker


Rhonda Baker is a Dora Award nominated artist, and School of Toronto Dance Theatre alumna. She collaborates with various companies and independent artists within the cities of Halifax and Toronto, but names the former as her home. Independently, Rhon-da has performed in the Atlantic Fringe Festival, Halifax’s Kinetic Studio Series, Toronto Fringe Festival, and Dusk Dances. Rhonda Baker is a member of the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists.





doug cameron


Doug Cameron is a Halifax based jazz and improv drum set player, instructor and composer.  He attended St. F.X. University and studied with Mark Adam, John Hollenbeck, Owen Howard, and Terry O’Mahoney.  Doug moved to Halifax in 2002 and has been heavily involved with the local jazz festival and scene.  As well as performing locally he has toured across Canada in support of original projects which have ranged from rock to funk to dance and jazz.  He has performed in live theatre with Theatre New Brunswick and Festival Antigonish and his work also ventures into interdisciplinary projects with dancers and visual artists and poets.




tim crofts


Tim Crofts is a true 21st Century pianist whose main focus is improvisation & new music. He combines elements of 20th century classical music with free jazz improvisation and world music aesthetics. In performance, Tim explores the full sonic capabilities of the acoustic piano through extended techniques and a range of piano preparations, employing traditional and non-traditional techniques in tandem. Crofts also utilizes samplers, synthesizers and keyboards to extend his palette of sounds and textures. These stylistic elements are blended through free improvisation, and the pursuit of the sound of the moment. In Halifax, Tim is active in both the performance and teaching of improvised music. He has been presented by suddenlyLISTEN, with the Crofts/Adams/Pearse Trio. He has performed regularly with the Upstream Music Association and the Upstream Orchestra, with a 2013 performance at the 29th Festival International de Musique Actuelle de Victoriaville, in Quebec. Tim has also performed with Symphony Nova Scotia at the CNMN Forum, and with such music luminaries as Jerry Granelli, Gerry Hemingway, Graham Collier, Evan Parker and Dave Douglas. In 2014 Tim released two recordings: a solo CD 8 Ball and Doorknob, and Early February with the Crofts/Adams/Pearse Trio and percussionist Gerry Hemingway.

geordie haley

P1350797 With more than 25 years experience presenting and performing original music, guitarist, composer, improviser and educator Geordie Haley has been a featured artist in concert and festival programs by creative music presenters Upstream Music, Suddenly Listen, Canadian Music Center, The Motion Ensemble, Jazz East, Vocalypse Shattering the Silence, Obey, Scotia Fest, and the Harvest Jazz Festival. Geordie teaches guitar and ensembles at the NSCC Music Arts Program and at the Maritime Conservatory for the Performing Arts .






rhonda baker
day 01:

finding and spending time with space

once stark and clean (i imagine)
a pillar brought in to hold up something
painted white with clean edges
now a dusty crawl space (for details)
a blank canvas, leaned up against it
is that scalene or isosceles?
no way in which to measure, but by the eye
drop down to look, to reveal
the outline that disappears
only marks left by rolling wheels
and heavy scuffing feet
a reflection from the window of
red brick – leaning up against it
from the outside in, no sky attached to it
to break apart the accumulation of
vertical manmade necessities.
shelter, heat, stability

day 02:


my eye sight is shorter than my listening
five minutes of looking and losing interest
the floor smells of vinegar and childhood sugar rushes
we don’t allow ourselves those things anymore
and that five minutes was our own
and that five minutes was over and gone
and i couldn’t even remember if i had a vile of disobedience left within me
eyes close. i’m in a doorway. between two things – trying to bring them closer
together – us and the trucks traveling the road with their loud clanking cargoes
what would we do without them. wheels and feet
i love their sound on the pavement
now reach up. way up. a blue jay
an awful sound
but, their beauty always astounding

day 02:

practice – facing the white wall

earth ling
lay down
don’t worry,
i’ll hold you
while it shakes you to sleep
and in there you won’t dream of this:
riding buses, guilty as the dry ink
that reports the days previous defeats.
if you stir at all – i’ll see it
i will not let it tip you over
even when your mouth opens agape
at the age we could witness words
forcing us into modes of understanding
and misunderstanding
as the paper rolls on
in an untidy stream
of phonetic images
we put the letters down
water blue drops from a reflection –
i wish it was purple

day 03:

a practice

felt an urge to see you
from a birds eye view
so much taller, the fall
would be harder
with my true blue,
my Atlantic romancing
my usual point of view
drawn out by myself,
with myself, but not alone
no race, no quarrel, no ties
that time could make,
to attach itself against me
stretching out my limbs
my confidence is greedy
i stay in quietly – waiting
from the inside
a smile so wide, my ribs split
a wishbone remains

day 05:

show me what you’ve got

the design was flawed
like a ring it was built
lined with comfortable seating
who’s going in?
give me a right hook
hit me – come on
i’d love to tell you about this
cracked jaw – how the flesh cried out
as it tried to hold on.
i got up
there was a race – i missed it
tipped slowly. cracking, creaking
the wind blew in
a tree only stands as tall as the
roots reach beneath it
down by the river – like veins
everything sucking the water up
life’s blood – life surface – lie face up
force your way through the pavement
finally grown up
the boys and the girls don’t play
with cars or trucks or barbies anymore
like a wounded hound dog
a stray, shaggy and wet
i’m looking for a good hiding space

day 06:

the afternoon meanders

i’ve been thinking of a really good ending
it starts out sweet, but it leaves a bitter taste
in your throat when you suck it all back
and i haven’t decided what is best, or more precisely
where the best place is, to pinch you. in the gut or the heart?
really though, lets be serious. i’m too much of a coward, to finish it

i’m my own worst enemy, i’m the root of my cause
i’m the worm in the garden, making progress by continuing
to slowly inch forward. two ends for an interchange,
no start, no finish, no riband
only forks
to continue us forward: through the shit, the pollution, the monoculture of youth
to the endives, searching with our pores (still open) and stinging from the ivy

to be fair, nothing ever is as it seems
i love that line, i got it from the movies.
and please, do not go troubling yourself with how i’m feeling
do not try adhering to a plead that led out of a disagreement
there is nothing more to be done. or revealed from the history
of empty shells and appendages we left behind.
to bring anything brighter than a faded yellowing light upon a modicum of honesty
between us or within me, would dispel the truth that lives inside the strength of a pillar
where i say to myself: what a yawn-able fucking prologue, because it’s easier than caring

i’ll be the background, standing solid on a cliff with the ambiance
i’ll be replaying the dreams i was having through the week
of you in a blue car, wearing a helmet
laughing uncontrollably, hair dancing wildly with the wind
i can never make sense from it. but i do not wish to fit it all into a space defined
for people who underline and highlight things.

what would you call it, if you were to give it a name? i wouldn’t
and i would never consider handing my secrets over to hotlines
that only ever dole out recommendations.
in my opinion, it does not make sense, or any difference in my brain
to wish you all were kinder, or to wish i was a child now
but if this were true, maybe i would think all of you were super heroic
i still do, though
and perhaps i appear sweeter to you
than the version that greets me in the mirror,
holding my cup of coffee, steam spilling hot and rapidly.

Rhonda Liane Baker



susanne chui
august 30, 1 pm. show

Lin began writing her reflections on Halifax on a river of paper unrolled by Jacinte.
Halifax is the kind of city that stops for pedestrians. I am drawn in by her writing and enter the picture to repeat her words, amplify them put like a megaphone. Geordie is dancing wildly around the room. I challenge him to a dance-off, spurring off corrections like ‘eyes on me, ‘don’t forget the audience.’

The sound of bells fills the air and I am now sitting on the grass in Essarois. I write: do you remember the bells in Dijon? on a canvas where Doug is composing sound through colour. (Later he comments that Rhonda followed the score to perfection). Ding Ding Ding, then a cacophony of colourful bells fill the room.

I see Jacinte and remember her desire to connect, so I join in a duet of sticky notes, covered in words. One gets stuck on my sternum. I do the dance of the sternum. Jacinte disengages but I continue even though she has become unstuck. Later she asks ‘are we still dancing together,?’ and we join on the floor, wondering what to do next, until the monster appears. The natural thing to do is crawl away.

A crystalline humpy dumpy remains and begins to speak.
This reminds me of a story twice told.
Space held as delicate as paper as a little boy finds himself revealed to a room full of strangers.

friday am. practice

The sound of drawing.
Walking the line of music, just barely playing,
just barely putting one note in front of the other.
Forgive the beginner for he knows not what he does.
Child-like references to cars, to hair braiding, to buddies.
Hiding is always an option.
My mind is continually flooded with stories
but they seep out as quickly as they come.
It’s so relaxing to have your hair braided.
It’s really nice to watch men dance.
Forgive the beginner for he knows not what he does.
The ice bucket challenge, or rather the plastic cup challenge.
There is always someone to clean up your mess in this practice
so we made a lot of messes
and we tidied them up.

thursday am. practice

How did it begin?
Allow yourself to forget
Allow yourself to remember
Building walls
Locking doors
Stories I’ve heard before about birds named Jeff but couldn’t hear because I was practicing playing my bowl.
Jesus has entered the building
I wrote a letter to Jesus that began, Ah, Jesus and went on to tell him about my morning.
Lin & Guy answered me.
Sara and Geordie (or was it Tim?) in around the spaces of the drums.
(I’m trying to remember)
Doug did some ballet moves, what are they called?
Oh yes, bourees.
Sara built a doorway and Guy walked through it with a blundstone.
I set out six pairs of shoes as a way to exit, shuffling around like an old Chinese man. Then I realized that I had set up six pairs and even though it was preconceived (and I felt bad about it, not sure why) I felt the need to share this little unintentional insight, thought, story.
We did a really fun Chinese counting trio. Jacinte was the teacher, I was the teacher then she became the teacher.

evening walk from the Thursday night workshop

Reflective quality to the glass.
The piano is such a sweet sound, so personal, so alone
I am a voyeur, a listener,
I want to go in and stand beside the piano.
Walking down hidden alleyway I feel curious but afraid.
I am trespassing.
There is a whistle blowing like a distant soccer game somewhere across the harbour.
The gulls…
Tourists walking aimlessly in matching shirts.
I hear keys approach from the rear, then a rolling suitcase.
The man passes in front of me and I see he is wearing headphones, unaware of the sound he is making.
So many people with suitcases.
The light on the building like someone turned on the stage lights.
The gel choice is warm, amber.
This space is calmer at night. But the cars still pass like rivers of sound.
Such predictable sounds in this area: cars, gulls, footsteps.

Some text written from inside an improv

Yeah yeah yeah
Ah ah ah
Ah ah ah
Chuckles the clown
Classic clown
Booze in his back pocket
We were playing
Chuckles the clown
Gum that tastes like soap

I am documenting the performance from within.
I am crawling with a rock on my back for no good reason.
Time to go.

august 31

post-show writing

After a day of paddling, unwinding, figure eighting, undoing what was done and therefore integrating it even more.
Bright coloured houses in combinations of orange and blue that reflect the various mosses on slate rocks.
Crystal fold.
Shimmering waves.
I can see the outline of the sun through the layers of cloud and sunglasses.
Where’s Guy? (Just behind the tandem crew).
A private wharf wraps around tiny shacks that were once inhabited on a road that time forgot.
Remembering back to the first performance.
How did it begin?
Jacinte unrolled the paper.

Susanne Chui



doug cameron


august 25

Hiding – Internal – No one sees me.  

Fires my imagination caves – enclosures.  The opposite of claustrophobia.  What is that called?  Cow slaughter?

Sensation shared with not only other people but also other species.

Seeing things up close really allows you to see the real beauty of things.  


That guy came in triggered a lot of childhood experiential memories

Dentist Clown

august 27

Last night I broke through a barrier with the guitar.

Walking today I was drawn to the rhythmical sounds of the sailboats pulse of the rigging dinging against the mast.  The sound of the fountain the water drops slapping onto concrete.  I didn’t stop walking.

Improv Research

More cohesive today.  Really bad headache words not coming.

august 28

Lots of time for things to develop which felt good to me. 

A few instances where I wanted more people in but mostly the whole experience felt stronger.  It felt like easier to keep track of participants and also entrances and exits felt more important and had more impact.  It helped with self-editing.  Even with the witness chair as a level between and audience and performing it made me more critical (good way) of how my choice would impact.  That gets closer to this work feeling more satisfying for me.

Steal everything.  That’s ok.

august 29

Dodge ball wheelchair pack of smokes yoga brush solo monster man walking on all-fours backwards figure 8 frenzy.  space.  muscles tired feeling good.  speak how do I speak.  What do I do with my hands?  Lots of trust.  physical contact.  eye contact.  being present.  coffee breath ducks in a row rhythm connections.  don’t give a shit.  I find the writing hard.  I like listening to others read.  I don’t like words.  This is all too much fun.  fast track to self awareness in a super safe environment.

Doug Cameron



tim crofts


re-writing distance

day 2 am.

5 Minutes of looking:

This kind of attention affects mind in what way? Glass & Reflection

5 Minutes of listening: eyes closed

Different attention.
Head against the wall absorbs vibration.

Moving eyes closed. This is scary.
Contact with others freaky but comforting.

Going back & forth:

eyes direct attention
listening feels more macro
like a blanket

Interestingly, eyes closed makes me more aware of my body, somehow.
My body is not as limited as I thought.

Practice run through–

Slowly trying to get into motion
suspending that I don’t know
what I’m doing.

Trying to play from themes
remember them; bring them

Sideways space changes dynamic
wider but shorter.
Trying to forge relationships
instigate less– work from
what’s there.

Thinking of entrances in piece form
i.e. come in, do something,

Piano becomes interesting.
Once I’ve finished playing I don’t know what to do.
I have to move to leave the space.
Sometimes uncomfortable.
Want to try to approach
playing as movement.
Focus playing the piano
around choreography of fingers
superseding sound.

Curious about the writing.
Sometimes seems more sonic
or movement-based than literary arc.
How do we use the words?
Try to use them more.

I like singing more than talking
in this concept or frame.

Also: trying to play more with the street sounds & movement sounds.

day 3-walk:

What is the difference between sound & rhythm? Each created by movement so for me they are the same. Street dominated by car sounds both large & small. Working of motors means this is constant but fluctuating. Sensation of metal on metal lubricated with oil.
The sense of reveal: everything emitting a sound radius whether stationary or moving. When a car passes it reveals the underbelly. Suddenly aware of people talking= speech rhythm. Interestingly irregular, more active as the speaker gets excited leading to laughter. Interesting sound, open sound to short release HA.
A bigger truck, engine noise but chains hanging off of it. As it turns they become active, cascade of details.
I’m blown away by the Westin generator.
3 spinning tubes. Very regular pulse, high pitch. Birds everywhere but I can’t hear them. The wind activates the tree & leaves, mixing with the sound of the generator. First nature sound I’ve heard.
Toward the market. Huge open space, sound travels. As I enter, pigeons coo in the spiky ceiling. Inside a building; frame changes everything. Conscious of the bubble. People speaking languages I can’t understand. Sounds like song.
Cooking rhythms: bubbling oil, chopping foods, giving directions.
Different quality of speech sounds. High heel shoes walking.
Going upstairs: Tiny stairwell I’m aware of my own rhythms-footsteps.
Tiny bubble this.
When I open the door to the outside, sound literally crashes in like a wave of ocean. High up so street sounds more muted. Wind turbines moving, hear the blade but also squeak. Crickets.
Back outside: whale tour boat doppler, humming engine. Can hear the voice of the tour guide, but can’t make out words. More aware of rhythm.
I hear the water under the deck slapping the foundation.
Dude is fishing: the ebb & flow of the reeling is awesome. The motion of the rod is interesting too.
Sounds in spaces: as I walk back I hear a garbage bin being pushed through an underground garage, like a huge reverb tank.
Trying walking backward so I don’t see things coming. Trying not to look at the source of the sound. Keep eyes fixed. Changes the experience.
Rhythm like waves, temporarily covering and revealing. Staying in one place the sound evolves, moving turns into a tour of sorts.
Toddlers walking, ten of them. Interesting shuffling footfall. Apprehensive.

Difference yesterday to today:
The soundwalk really tuned my ears to sound and its motion in waves. I felt more sonically connected, yesterday I felt more physically connected.
Playing with the use of my voice, how to mask it and change it. Brought on by listening to languages during the soundwalk. Vocalizing without understanding what I’m saying. Trying to diversify what I can do with it.
Water theme was unifying but also had lots of mileage.

The solos yesterday made me more aware of the individuals in the group. Wondering whether I have a tendency to link up with some more than others. I mostly made sound, not much movement but my hip is sore.
When writing was side stage it felt separate. Liked the move to the centre.
I feel like I’ve ignored part of the space.

day 4 morning:

A moving trio:
I did not play piano until the end, becoming one of many options. The revolving trio seemed to provide an episodic quality to the work. Common theme of Jesus Christ. I enjoyed how it was woven in so many ways by different group members. Positioning in this way creates length more than width. Things become more unified in terms of sight line. Side view creates tension sometimes because you can’t always view the entire canvas.
I can’t stop sweating.
Are there subjects that are taboo? I could do much worse.

day 5:

I found yesterday’s debrief to be very interesting & thought-provoking.
As I packed & moved last night the data knocked around inside my brain like the last gumdrop in the bowl.
Then it hit me: “Wait a minute, what are we doing again?”
This blew my mind. It seemed after so much practice and experimentation I had arrived back at the start. Back at the question. “What is this?”
I don’t mind this place, I kind of find it more interesting. Returning to the question.
What is?
What if?
More than what was…..

The practice today then felt freer for me.
Somehow less preconceived.
Osmosis is an interesting thing.
What I learn without knowing.
i.e. data free.

Tim Crofts



jacinte armstrong


tues. aug. 26, 2014

Re-Writing Distance #1 on Tues.

Where you’re a ham, you’re a ham all the way, from your first cigarette to your last dying day.

Wish I had heard the discussion yesterday. Practicing not going with first instincts. Which means maybe third instincts? Being invisible? less visible? more visible? more serious?

Staying in a long time. How to be poetic with the big paper writing. So much going on. I still didn’t dance. Wish I could sing better. Will practice. New memories, comfy couches, awkward choices. Fun. Ham-fisted, sausage-fingered. Ham-fisted player. Ham fisted dancer. I love the sound of it. Re-hashing the past, re-hashing the past hour. Re-writing the past, re-writing the future as we speak. It’s a practice. Do I smell? Will that roll from yesterday be too dry to eat today with my steak? 

Mirror mirror. Empty. Headed. belly. Keep going, it’s almost lunch. Get some grapes now.

It’s very hot in here.

I really enjoyed playing the Sailor’s Hornpipe bastardization with Tim. 

What is it to the “I” out of it?

wed. aug. 27/14

City Walk. 20-30 felt minutes. attention to rhythm.

Didn’t want to be late-pretty sure the time was up. What an amazing day. The prospect of writing was fun-I imagined what I’d write. and then forget about it.

Waterfront. Drunk and Fell Over lights that were dead quiet. lively(?) masts scraping chains. Jingle jangly metal stuff. Rhythm of the wood on the dock meets the rhythm of the ripply water and they clang together on the edges. Camouflage crabs side step along the same-coloured seaweed. Catches my eye. I didn’t that water would really support life. Walking where I usually think I shouldn’t, but there are no signs that say private property. Just a buoy that says Shallow Zone. I hang off the rungs of a ladder for a nice, bobbing back stretch, and see Sara has found a spot on the edge of the wall to hang her leg over to stretch her psoas as well.

Walk on the dock, see people I know but resist the impulse to hand them the empty coffee cup hidden between us on the wall. Lie on the raft. It’s closer to the open waters- the harbour, so the wavelength is higher. Not the wavelength -> the height. Less frequent and bigger. Rhythm textures. Seeing the different densities riding each other and colliding. It feels very European down here today. Do they lock these yachts? Is there expensive music equipment on them that people would just walk on and steal? Are they so rich they can afford turquoise deck chairs?
Hurry up get back. I swear I see Lin sitting in the hair salon. Back of her hair. But it’s not her after all. Air conditioned in there like it was a different time and place. I wonder if everyone’s back. they are. As usual just nearing the end I feel a sudden panic that I’ve taken too long and need to rush to finish.

Rewind. No rush. Rhythm of the air in here is absent of wind, and full of trucks rumbling by. Concentration. What’s the rhythm of the pen to paper? I hear a pencil over there making long strokes. So many filters. Nice way to spend the morning.

End of the summer. 


Re-writing Dist. #1

Impulse control to achieve a goal. It was amazing to give in to all the rhythms without trying to corral them. Paying attention to rhythm on the walk made me see no rhyme or reason to any of the existing ones in the world around me. Just the bumping together and layering and co-existing. The idea of any single underlying pulse today seems like a farce that played out over and over again in the last hours. The textures, voices, bodies, materials clanging and colliding and riding each other out. 

I danced! It was an effort but good. 

I imagined that the first thing was the beginning of a ing ending. No rush of time. No 1/n principle today. Purposely laid face-down in a position where I couldn’t see. I could hear instead. Like a rock in the middle of the ocean. Except maybe more like a rock near the shoreline. Sloppy hand. Singing. So many sounds. 

Reading Susanne’s writing. The first time made me laugh at being broke and too cheap to pay for parking, but when I read it the second time it was more sad. and I slightly regretted having laughed earlier. Impressed that Susanne will tear up her book in the name of the piece, because up til now I don’t think I would do it. She’s collecting the pages. Full of fold marks, I guess to reassemble. 

It’s the end.


“You can’t be Romantic about the Atlantic.”  

Jacinte Armstrong



lin snelling


These are things written on the inside cover of my orange Halifax notebook

“vertical and horizontal texture”
“receiving an embrace from the space”
“transported into no content”
“I like singing more than talking”
“data free”

day one

…. the space,
we rearranged everything …
we moved and cleaned and
even disturbed some art in the window.

it felt better after we moved a lot of
stuff out of the space,
this was how we all met each other
that first day ….
we began with moving things
around, sweeping, cleaning, everyone getting
busy right away.

I think about how long we have been planning this meeting …
and here we are …

writing after Miranda’s exploration of the room

I am
at the window,
beside the doorstop,
the doorstop is up on a ledge
of the window.

the ledge where
I am writing …
a doorstop could be a ledge,
if you fastened it to a wall,
instead of placing it on
the floor,
freed from its purpose,
the doorstop has many guises
if I slide
it against the wall,
it makes music.

All the times the door has
been jammed into the
surface of the doorstop …
this is
evident as a geography,
a form forced/forged
by the pressure of a push …
It feels good in the hand …
lifted away from its duty.

day two

seeing through something,
an earthquake,
a ham sandwich,
a chandelier,
to what’s on the other side,
shaking paper is
a problem,
something in the air
with writing on it,
Apparently alarming
to read the Metro News,
take it from a snow bank,
or a couch,
there is great comfort
in the texture of a man,
his own manner of comfort
becomes a country
and like birdsong
the constant chorus
of shaking
moved everything around,
despite the difficulty
the pen continues
on course, paper,
a topography of her lap.

day three

(a walk to Halifax harbour from 1313 Hollis Street)


wind, wind, wind


wind, wind, wind

the sun on this/my/self feels good

wind, wind, wind.

breeze creates rhythm on seawater
tiny tiny waves
the Atlantic
is a stern mother
beautiful, cold …
gorgeous, dangerous
Compelling ….
necessary caution is wise.

I see/feel/think/altogether
tiny waves of memory
all the times this sea and me have met.

swimming /Rockport,
watching for/not seeing/whales,
dancing/madly/ suitcase,
horizon sea/sky and
even now a guy fishing.
The lampposts,
are falling down drunk,
their steel spines curving with
gravity and libation.

all water,
eventually gets what it wants,
wind remembers and forgets
sings names of things


(Church steeple patina: a shade of green
that reminds me of Matisse cut outs,
and your name
soft green
and watered
is with me on the walk)

in studio

Jacinthe enters the space,
begins to dance
something so tangible
so the day begins
stories of wind and water,

all of them titling towards
a dance,
a sea still/Sea Still ( yes, actually the name of the dance by Trish Beatty)
a way of being in wind
with water
in a room,
this one
1313 Hollis St.

rock the boom
“ you can’t be romantic about the Atlantic”
too much wind
and there’s no room for words.

Let’s dance
bridging across to another
name for
what’s the name of the fiddler
he was famous
he died
I cried.

“ I must go down to the sea again”

And the little boats of paper
are mighty stories
if you take time
to unfold,
a little message
some words written
by hand,
a conversation
from a far off desk
becomes a country
as it sails like a
into the

day four

dance nine seven
Chinese coke float
flame shoe bring
Jesus ….
ah ah ah
breathe and fan
winds comes
doors open and close
crash door crash
wall of sound
wall of sound
wall of sound
16 guitars how
many trumpets safe and sound
where is sound safe
where is safe sound
how is a story
so balanced
and balancing
line horizontal space
texture of listening and
what what what
backs into
hides around
surround around
embrace of space
ah Jesus
such is grace.

day five

crashing into slot cars
the race along a line
the electricity
the speed
the thrill of driving
into what is
already there
in front of you.
Ancestry gong backwards
braiding … braiding
and weaving
instructions of how to,
this is,
what if,
when and where
we are dealing with hair,
the beauty of an instruction
handed down
passed on
this calligraphy
rhythm of sitting against a wall
that is a song
that leaves a mark
and frames
a Philip Glass confession
beside the canvas
at one moment
each note
playing dream data
watch the papers receding
crash the care
say goodnight
all the information
a geography of creases
crash cartography

performance #2/ 7 pm

Rhonda and the open arm ritual
… sets tempo,
music of detail,
and sustaining
stories of
being in
a painting,
echoes of Sarah,
I myself am.
A beautiful hat
created and balancing on your head,
graced with
glorious weight.

a breast is a cymbal
yes, really
a cymbal with steel
and your arms around it
innocent without
spontaneously planning
next move …
fallen embrace
story of a clown
a sad one
funny and falling
comes and
goes like Rhonda’s ritual
and her patience
for braiding
a love for what makes
idle hands involved
and not so sad,
“I will show you how to do it,
watch me and remember …”
“she loves me” “she loves me not”
I don’t remember.

performance #1/ 1pm

falling into
the long river,
an afternoon,
Halifax Saturday market,
our feet and
the way forward moves us …
percussion wrapped up in a chair
telling a story
two big eyes
we are listening
to how this trapped and telling and marvelous tale …
suspends a moment
beautiful and completely chaotic …
how did he get there?
he’s telling us a story….

two performances

like day
(afternoon 1 pm)
like night
(evening 7 pm)

light brings us to different places
absence or presence
of shadow
can make a

We put everything back to where we found it,
(sort of); even the art … and then left; just like that,
to celebrate somewhere close by.

I was very happy to finally meet Jerry Granelli.

Lin Snelling



guy cools


Rewriting Distance


day 1, august 25th

(Miranda’s exercise)

When I look at this floor, I am reminded of how everything is always layered. In a similar way that the earth has layers of sediments, we layer our own dwellings: a carpet upon tiles upon an old wooden floor upon a concrete foundation upon…

When I got attracted to the floor the first time, it immediately reminded me of the apartment of the aunties where I moved to after they had died or gone to a retirement home and the process I engaged in: stripping down all the layers of wall paper to paint eventually the bare walls and to take out all the seventies linoleum in order to restore the wooden floors underneath. It took me about three years and by the time I was done, I was ready to move on: which turned out to be to Canada.

It also reminds me of my strong connection with wood, which somehow is missing in this space: except for the beautiful table and the wooden floor hidden under these tiles. My ancestors were wood turners and the only objects I kept from them are all wooden. My body needs to touch wood to feel well…

Hello, Mr. Spider, while I was wondering of in the past, you crawled up, from underneath the window sill to bring me back to the here and now, to have a second look at the spin rag around the wood supporting the brickwork. I hope we didn’t disturb you too much with our late spring cleaning.

I look down to see where you have gone and discover an inscription in one of the bricks: “Made in Canada, Chipman”, it says, upside down. I didn’t know bricks were also signed.

day 2, august 26th

It started with Sara lying down in the space and waiting for the alarm to go off. Susanne put her personal writing courageously in the space and put on the morning news: an earthquake in California; no victims but serious damage to the vineyards. At one point, I also got up and was promised a ham sandwich for breakfast if I touched the right spot. But Tim who doesn’t like ham, told me not to. So I got stuck half way my desire. My body shaking uncontrollably and one hand and arm still begging.

I guess I was melting away like snow into your body… until you rescued me…

A blue mussel and a red arrow pointing towards the spot you like so much and can’t let go off even risking an explosion.

day 3, august 26th

We went off for a walk and immediately tuned in to the landscape: ‘the Atlantic is not romantic’ and the wind can make you crazy but they both are also great sources of inspiration to fiddle away.

It is in the musicality and the rhythm that we connect with each other and with the world outdoors: the micro and the macro; a truck blowing the ship horn; a paper boat fall of thoughts sinking to the bottom of the sea.

 Drawing the sense of drowning.

day 4, august 27th

We did a very catholic run with Jesus being omnipresent. It is probably the Irish influence of this neighborhood. Lin started it and she did exactly what I thought I would do if I had gone in first: that is to close one door and open another.

A lot of childhood memories and stories and lot of family: six pairs of shoes, one for each member of Susanne’s.

We are a band of nine playing together rewriting his/her/my story for it to transform like a phoenix, a bird burning, turning into an open door to walk through, which always includes the danger of things falling apart.

I wonder if the Chinese have a gene that doesn’t allow them to drink so much alcohol, what would happen if they plant that gene into the Irish.

(Evening workshop. Different version of rewriting another walk)

Crazy sky line. Drunken Lamp post. The smell of fresh bread. And everywhere there are barbecues on balconies. An empty champagne bottle is used to support an open window. Fishing rods resemble cameras. A schooner is entering the harbor. ‘Schooner’ means ‘more beautiful’ in Flemish. A helicopter. A seagull.

Halifax Haiku.

If I were a seagull in this city

I would get drunken from all the leftovers

On the barbecue balconies blurring

The skyline and I would long to sail out

On the first schooner: schoon,

Schooner, schoonste.

day 5, august 28th

I went in first moving the cymbals in circles waiting for an image to arise. Being male, the first image that came to my mind were breasts but that felt too much of a cliché so I let it go and waited a bit longer until…

I was brought back to my childhood race track and the pleasure I had in making the cars crash… Which inspired other stories about Barbie, Ken and the Lone Ranger… or racing wheel chairs… which was an intimate story Doug shared only with me when we were both sitting on the table at the back.

What is our right hook? Use your defects (Grace Jones) as much as your strengths. I always make a mess, so why not do it consciously. Try the thing you never did before: like bridling a girl’s hair.

It is a privilege to have this intimate encounters inside the practice… and I am confident they also resonate with an audience.

To write the stories with water and allow them to disappear while unfolding.

Like a fire eater who burns his hair but goes on the next day as if nothing has happened.

Like a wedding dress becoming a megaphone becoming a shell.

Daisy Duck turning in Canard Orange as you grow up. You still love it but for different reasons.

Again that male thing!

day 6, august 29th

To conclude the week we do two performances in front of an audience as part of the Atlantic Fringe Festival. It is hard to take the time to write after a performance because the audience still lingers with you and maybe there is also less need, because it is what they take with them that is more important.

Still some powerful memories linger even weeks after the event. Doug telling for the second time how he got stuck inside Humpty Dumpty at the dentist’s waiting room but this time much more real since he really was stuck in front of an audience. I diving in Rhonda’s arms. Taking the time, marking the time, pulling petals from the flowers we bought that morning at the farmer’s market: ‘she loves me; she loves me not’. Waiting for Jacinte to open my food bag to discover the little wooden vase made by a wood turner, the first one I ever met, this morning. To make another full circle, spiraling through this week.

Halifax: Endless fun!

Guy Cools