Dancers in hanging nets


posted November 4th, 2020

Mocean Dance seeks movement-based artists for The Understory,
a new off-ground choreography by Rebecca Lazier

Mocean dance is pleased to be facilitating a new creation project, The Understory, directed and choreographed by Rebecca Lazier (NY/NS), in collaboration with Princeton University (NJ), Breaking Circus (Halifax), and Live Art Dance (Halifax). The Understory will be a performance installation of off-ground choreography performed within, on, under, around, and created simultaneously with a voluminous Janet Echelman net sculpture that speaks directly to our current global and environmental moment. See full description below.

We are seeking four movement-based artists to participate in the project.  Professional dance artists, circus artists, movement improvisers, aerialists, and other movement-based artists are encouraged to apply. We welcome and encourage people from all communities and intersecting identities to apply. This includes Indigenous people, LGBTQ+ & Two-Spirit people, Black people and people of colour.

Selection Process: Selection will take place via a workshop process, where participants will have a chance to meet Rebecca, learn about the research and explore moving inside, under, around, and interact with net structures. Each session will include time for warm-up, group tuning practices, and improvisatory scores with and on various suspended nets.

Workshop Information:

  • Monday, November 9th - 12:00-4:00
  • Friday, November 13th, 12:00-4:00
  • Monday, November 16th, 12:00-4:00
  • Friday, November 20th, 12:00-4:00

    Note: Artists only need to sign up for one session, but are encouraged to join two sessions. There will be a maximum of 10 participants per session. 

Call Backs: 

  • Monday, November 23rd, 12:00-4:00
  • Friday, November 27th, 12:00-4:00

Location: Breaking Circus: 2164 Barrington Street, Halifax.
Please arrive 15 minutes early to register and sign liability waivers.

What to Bring: Wear unrestrictive, warm clothing, layers are recommended as the space can be cool. People might want to bring appropriate, non-outdoor footwear for moving on nets and for warm-up (e.g. sneakers, jazz shoes). Everyone must arrive wearing a non-medical mask.

Project Details: Creation rehearsals will take place on a part-time basis (2-3 rehearsals/week) during the following periods: Week of November 30, 2020; two weeks in January 2021; Mid-April to Mid-July 2021. Performances in Summer 2021. Schedule will be determined with selected artists. Rehearsals will be paid at $30/hour, performance fees to be determined based on CADA standard rates. This project involves climbing and moving in nets suspended from the ceiling.  All activities will follow safe rigging practices supervised by certified riggers Ryan Grey and Dawn Shepherd. Participants will be required to sign a liability waiver at the workshop. 

Qualities we are seeking:  Adventurous movement artists with a passion for discovery and experimentation and an interest in working collaboratively. Artists must be comfortable moving off-ground and exploring different heights of suspension.

To Register: ***APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED***.  If you have any questions, please email Co-Artistic Director Susanne Chui.

COVID Health & Safety:  We will follow Health and Safety guidelines set out by the Nova Scotia Health Authority.
Participants will be required to wear a mask upon entry and sign a COVID-19 Liability Waiver at the workshop.

How do we navigate constant change? How do we find a way to walk and move in this increasingly unstable world? Is there an ethos for living in precarity? Is balance relevant anymore? This collaboration of sculptural choreography and choreographic sculpture is a coming together of forms, influencing each other through the constant cycle of change and adaptation between the sculpture and performers, and is a microcosm for larger questions around what balance means right now. The Understory is an opportunity for interdisciplinary collaboration in the maritime community and for audiences to consider our interdependence and reliance on each other in situations of social and environmental precarity.

ABOUT Rebecca Lazier: Rebecca Lazier returns to Halifax after 4 decades of dance adventures in far flung locals from Winnipeg to Turkey and New York to Poland. She is currently a Senior Lecturer and the Associate Director of Dance at Princeton University, remotely teaching a course in site based dance and performance practices.  Her recent choreographic work includes There Might be Others, commissioned by New York Live Arts and winner of a New York Dance and Performance Award (Bessie), and also presented by Mocean Dance and the Scotia Festival of Music.

ABOUT Janet Echelman:


Rebecca Lazier. Photo by Bentley Drezner
Rebecca Lazier. Photo by Bentley Drezner