Creative Facilitator Information

Nicole Mion - 2020 Guest Creative Facilitator

Person posing for camera in a blue room

A word from Nicole:
Mion is passionate about designing space for art creation and the systems that support a cultural ecosystem. Core to her creation and curation is being a condition maker, designing the spaces for articulated energy flow that enables creation, connection and experience that opens up the individual and community to the possibility of live performance. Our culture today is increasingly focused on a narrow set of priorities around efficiency and scale. Other ways of knowing and experiencing shape the query of her practice.

Mion views artmaking from the lens of the body, where the body is the political ground, a container of possible futures, an artifact of social control, where the history is held at the cellular level and the power and grace of possibilities - unending. Where choreography offers a somatic lens on presence, culture and future, within a cultivated parallel interior ecology. She looks at diverse subjects who have mobilised their bodies to create systems of signification. Continually using dance to explore what it means to be a body in the world.

The CLEAR-Forum offers the chance to be with other makers and thinkers, in the beautiful bubble of expanded time and space, made possible by a group actively holding space for brave conversation, deep listening, and rigorous creation. Through dialogue and community support, we can facilitate and interrogate the creative process, leading in many ways to the re-envisioning of practice, power relationships, and agency. Actively engaging with the surfacing of uncertainties, to consider how we are awake to nature, and nature is awake in us.

Together, finding ways to inhabit a new relationship with “what if”

Nicole Mion is an artist and curator. She is Artistic Director for Springboard Performance where she curates the Fluid Movement Arts Festival, a Signature Dance Presentation Series, Interrarium Creative Practice Workshops and Residencies, and ContainR, an Art Park made of retrofit shipping containers used to connect communities through art. She is an active contemporary choreographer and multidisciplinary artist whose creative practice transverses the fields of installation, choreography, new media and design. She is a condition-maker whose leadership and sensibility opens up space for her own creation and helps artists make their work possible, while connecting audiences to the awe-inspiring possibility of live performance.

Nicole Mion has choreographed over 30 works over the past 25 years that have been been presented across Canada on stages and in site specific locations. Nicole has also created 20 short films as director and choreographer. Core to her practice is continually questions form and modes of articulation. Nicole established the Interrarium Training Program in 2007, which continues to run annually, focused on colleague to colleague sharing of best practices for dance creation, live performance, and curatorial practices. In April 2018, Nicole spearheaded the Interrarium Curators Symposium with Springboard Performance and the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity, to host and curate a national gathering of live performance curators. She was a founding member of the Prairie Dance Circuit, a tour network for Canada’s prairie region. Recent artist residencies include collaborations between UK and Canadian artists, This Is Actively Buit, queer artist exchange focused on Montreal and Alberta artists, and an upcoming BIPOC artist exchange focused on BC and Alberta artists.

Nicole has been recognized as the inaugural award winner of a Creative Placemaking Award from the Mayor’s Lunch for Calgary Arts Champions and awarded an innovation award from the Calgary Chamber of Volunteer Organizations (CCOV) for “disruptive, adaptive, and innovative programming.”

Sara Coffin - Creative Facilitator and Program Director

two dancers with heads together in blue light

Photo Credit Kevin MacCormack

A word from Sara:
I see the stage, in its many shapes, sizes, and contexts as a mirror for human experience. I feel the poetry of our existence can be reflected in both the virtuosic imagination and the subtlety of the mundane.

I am thrilled to cultivate a forum for creative practice, research, and dialogue such as CLEaR Forum for the Atlantic Provinces. Talking while making, reflecting while doing, observing while moving, etc. all of these combinations have been key values in my own choreographic process and understanding my body of work. These values have also informed the construction of the CLEaR Forum Lab. For me, the legacy of an artist’s choreographic work does not lie in the performance tally, but instead in the relationships built in the studio. Particularly, one’s personal relationship to their mode of inquiry in one’s ability to confront, pull apart, sit quietly, or embrace their modality of working so that the depth of understanding and perspective can continual grow and shift.

Annually at CLEaR Forum we aim to make a space for possibility, for reflection – the rest and digest for the creative nervous system, and we also seek the gems found in a creative rub or facing hard obstacles. The lab takes place in the beautiful Annapolis Valley near the wondrous Bay of Fundy tides at a time when the landscape begins to renew and rejuvenate and the local area animals awakening from hibernation. This time of year is a gift for reflective thought and a wonderful metaphor for the coming together of the collective body tending to their own gardens’ of creative practice.

Sara Coffin is an award-winning dance artist, choreographer, improviser, dance educator and Co-Artistic Director of Mocean Dance.

Sara received the Nova Scotia Established Artist Award from Arts NS in 2018, completed her MFA in Choreography and Performance at Smith College in Northampton, MA (2014), BSc. in Kinesiology from Dalhousie University (2005) and BFA in dance at Simon Fraser University’s School for Contemporary Arts (2003). She has ‘taught’ or facilitated the creative process in an organized construct at in the Five College Consortium (Smith College and Hampshire College, Massachusetts), NSCAD University, and Holland College School of Performing Arts (Summerside, PEI). Sara’s work has been presented in many prominent dance venues across Canada including; Dancing on the Edge, Magnetic North/Canada Dance Festival, ROMP!, Dance in Vancouver, and across the Atlantic Provinces.

The process of inquiry, navigating the unknown, and nurturing emergent vocabulary is the main catalyst in her personal choreographic investigation. Sara has sought mentorship and provocation throughout her career, engaging in choreographic labs, workshops, and round-table discussions centralized to the creative gesture. Her studies have led her across the globe dissecting and being inspired by some of the dance field’s most stimulating creators. A list of her study highlights and mentors include: Paul Andre Fortier, Marten Spangbërg, Dana Gingras, Jennifer Mascall, Susie Burpee, Tedd Robinson, Project CPR with Claire French, the Montreal Danse Choreographic Lab with Kathy Casey, Larry Lavender, Philip Szporer, Ruth Little (UK), Donna Faye Burchfield (ADF/ Hollins), Chris Aiken, Angie Hauser, and Mike Vargas at Smith College (USA), and Liz Lerman (USA).

Currently her interests within a making practice centre around: stamina and sustainability, permeability and legibility, the poetics of failure, and courage sought through vulnerability. Fundamentally, Coffin continually notices that she is also the happiest in wild spaces.

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