Big Hill-Dancing with the landscape

Big Hill in rehearsal Photo by Megan English Dancers: Cameron Buttrum, Alina Shaw, Tanis Sydney MacArthur

Big Hill in rehearsal Photo by Megan English Dancers: Cameron Buttrum, Alina Shaw, Tanis Sydney MacArthur

When Dusk Dances put out a request for proposals for its 2015 performance, Hamilton-based choreographer Megan English took a walk around Bayfront Park.

A hill close to the doomed gazebo appealed to Megan.

She says the hill is a metaphor for the action of striving. “Sometimes we are at the top or at the bottom.”

The hill inspired her to create a contemporary dance piece called Big Hill for this year’s Dusk Dances.

“The dancers will be climbing, rolling and falling up and down the hill to depict the action of striving.”

Megan has been performing and choreographing dance for the past 15 years. She has taught dance and movement just as long for organizations, such as the Toronto District School Board and the National Ballet of Canada’s outreach programs.

She is also trained in Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP). It uses movement and dance to further the emotional, cognitive, physical and social integration in participants.

Megan uses the therapy in various settings, including staff wellness, programs for students, and individual psychotherapy. She has been practicing DMP for 10 years and has had a private practice for the past five years. She earned her bachelor of fine arts in dance from York University and her masters in dance movement psychotherapy from Roehampton University of London.

“DMP goes beyond talking,” says Megan. “It highlights non-verbal communication to help participants express movements to allow for better awareness in their bodies,” she says.

Megan moved to Hamilton three years ago with her partner, Dale Morningstar, before the birth of their daughter Chloe. “I was attracted to by the new things happening with art in Hamilton. The city is changing and developing and that was appealing to my partner and me.”

Dale and his band The Dinner is Ruined created the music for Megan’s piece.

“I gave them a description of the piece and a list of words to work with for the music I wanted for the piece,” says Megan. The band pre-recorded the music to be played during the Dusk Dances performance.

Megan will be performing Big Hill with dancers Alina Shaw, Cameron Buttrum, Lisa Emmons, John Gerena and Tanis Sydney MacArthur.

“Performing outside is less contained, there isn’t the same amount of control you would have performing inside,” says Megan. “People will view the performance from many different perspectives. The weather can also set the mood as well.”

Blog post by Amy Reusch.

0 views0 comments