St. John’s Gets New Dance Space

By Kate Morris
  • Bollywood Jig performing at the Symposium on Embodiment, Gesture and Dance / Photo by Leila Qashu

On May 24, internationally renowned ethnomusicologists joined local St. John’s, Nfld., scholars and dancers for a symposium on “Embodiment, Gesture and Dance” at Memorial University’s Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media and Place (MMaP), in celebration of the completion of a project to develop the Dance Space. This community dance studio will provide workshop, rehearsal and performance space to members of the local dance community as well as a space for MMaP’s scholarly research on dance.

The half-day symposium featured two roundtable discussions “Where Words Fail: Challenges in Representing and Teaching Movement,” moderated by Dr. Beverley Diamond, the president of the Society for Ethnomusicology whose Board met in conjunction with the event.

The other roundtable, “Improvisation in Dance and Other Performing Arts,” included panelist Corie Harnett, administrator at DanceNL, who had also performed earlier in the day, and Kristin Harris Walsh – past president of DanceNL, the president of the Canadian Society for Dance Studies-La société canadienne d’études en dance, and a step dancer/dance scholar based in St. John’s. “The Dance Symposium was a wonderful event that celebrated dance research and creative practice, culminating in the official opening of the Dance Space, a beautiful, fully equipped dance studio,” says Harris Walsh. The partnership ensures that the space is offered at no cost to independent and community dancers and dance groups, something about which the community is “especially delighted,” admits Harris Walsh.

Dance in Newfoundland and Labrador has received a significant boost recently as a result of initiatives and partnerships between Memorial University and the St. John’s Arts and Cultire Centre. In addition to the dedicated Dance Space, a dancer-in-residence project began last fall.~

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