Running any arts organization is a difficult and sometimes perilous mission, so making one work successfully over 10 years is an achievement worth celebrating. This is exactly what Mocean Dance plans to do with Decennium
, a performance piece revisiting works by the founding members of the Halifax dance troupe, taking place at Alderney Landing, November 18 and 19, and including past highlights such as 5 Breaths
Those founding members are Carolle Crooks Fernando---who is now sole artistic director---Sarah Rozee, Sara Harrigan, Alicia Orr MacDonald and Lisa Phinney Langley, who has gone on to work as an independent dancer and choreographer, but who will be contributing to Decennium
with filmmaker Rohan Fernando. The company also includes dancers Melanie Ferro and Tanya Jean.
“We made a company because at that time, in 2001, there really wasn’t enough work to keep you going,” says Crooks Fernando. “The goal was to make something to live here and do our work here as dancers.”
Mocean Dance is a commission company, in that it attracts local and national choreographers to create original work on the members. The choices for choreographer have changed over the years as the dancers have matured and continued to collaborate. “The kind of work we like to do is very movement-based, physical work. There’s always a theatrical, emotional, human-related component... it’s usually not completely abstract. It usually is about relationship and response.
“And I would say, because we’ve been a company of all women, that’s influenced the kind of work that’s been created on us. Some of the later works we’ve done that really fit the company, deal with the different sides and complexities and nuances that make the female archetype, and not always the classic feminine portion of that archetype.”