Movement Manitoulin was the first of 4e’s experiments in inquiry-based programs. Offered in partnership with DanceOntario this project engaged participants in questions about the relations between dance as performance and cultural practice, tradition and fusion, and the influence of place on movement and dance. It brought together a range of dance companies and movement practitioners from different cultural and dance backgrounds, from around the province. Artists dialogued and explored questions about dance practices and influences, hosted workshops for community members, and those with dance companies or musical groups offered presentations for the public. Film screenings from Moving Pictures: Festival of Dance on Film and Video were shown for the public and participants to attend.
Paraphrase offered an opportunity for dancers/movement practitioners, visual artists, digital media specialists, and writers to take the inquiry process further, to explore each other’s work through their own medium, coupled with inquiry-based site visits in communities and landscapes around the Island as an impetus for creation of new works. Curated by Sophie Edwards, the 5-day program created the environment for artists’ work to be influenced by places across Manitoulin, by teachings from community members, elders and storytellers, and for participants to return at the end of each day to a large studio space to create new work.
But the spin was that sometimes a visual artist was drawing a dancer, and sometimes a dancer was influenced by a painter’s questions or by the place they had visited together. There was a shared intention to experimentally co-educate, co-mentor, and co-create across cultures and art disciplines. In the large ‘studio’ of the community hall at Aundeck Omni Kaning, there was dancing and drawing, digital media and writing, painting and installation. An artist might spend time learning from a dancer, or a dancer might pop over and learn about digital drawing. The project engaged the interdisciplinary and land-based approaches of 4e, the site-based Inquiry Method of V. Jane Gordon, and the improvisational and creation practices of the dancers. The balance of collective inquiry and individual practice, discussion and art-making, cultures and landscapes, and Manitoulin itself, provided rich opportunities for both local artists and visiting professionals to take their practice to new places, literally and metaphorically.