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Older & Reckless

Mar 26, 2018

Older & Reckless is an intimate dance performance series featuring mature dance artists who have followed their passion for a lifetime. The series is curated by Claudia Moore of MOonhORsE Dance Theatre. Since 2013, each Older & Reckless performance has included a dance piece performed by local “dance enthusiasts.”

Video feature from the St. Catharines Standard, March 2018

Where?

In March of 2018, seven women from across the Niagara region took part in an Older & Reckless performance at the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre in St. Catharines, ON.

Who?

Older & Reckless is curated by Claudia Moore of MOonhORsE Dance Theatre. Claudia led the community workshops, working with the dance enthusiasts to create their piece.

The project was programmed by the FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre, and supported by the Ontario Dances program. Fully funded by the Ontario Arts Council (OAC) and administered by Ontario Presents, Ontario Dances builds capacity for dance presenters, artists and organizations, and offers the public the opportunity to participate in dance at all levels.

Ontario Dances seeks to have more dance performances in Ontario communities and more people engaged, interested and invested in dance at a local level in our province. The program aims to increase the range and diversity of dance available to communities in Ontario outside of the city of Toronto.

What and how?

The Older & Reckless project in St. Catharines included:

  • Three workshops led by Claudia Moore  in 2017
  • Stand-alone, two-hour Sunday workshops led by each of the professional Older & Reckless artists in the weeks leading up to the performance
  • A six-workshop series for community dance enthusiasts (recommended for ages 40+), leading to a final performance
  • Performance featuring the community dance enthusiasts and four professional dance pieces (Friday, March 23rd, 2018)

The FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre’s Dance Animator, Alice Burke, has an established web of connections within the Niagara Region dance community. Through outreach and promotion to this network and beyond, the Sunday workshops were full of community members, the final performance sold out, and seven dedicated women from across the region took part in the community dance project.

Through the six workshops in this project, the women were led through warm-ups and movement-based exercises to increase their comfort with dance and performance and to enhance their physical skills. Participants had varying levels of experience with dance; many had danced as children and were eager to reconnect with creative movement.

The physical language of the dance piece itself was developed by the women, with Claudia as guide and teacher. For one section of the piece, the women were given a line of poetry and led through the process of creating movement to articulate their given phrase. These movements and others, created by the participants, were incorporated into the dance piece by Claudia. The participants performed the finished work as part of the Older & Reckless presentation on March 23rd.

Community Impact

The benefits of this program to the community members were immediately evident in both the rehearsals and the final performance. The women bonded very quickly as a group, discovered or rediscovered the joy of dance, and performed before family, friends, and the public.

As participant Maja Bannerman told the St. Catharines Standard,

"Everyone here has a desire to move and to move with other people and create something with other people. And that's profound, to meet people who have the same fire within."

 Claudia, too, was “wowed” by the passion and creativity of the dance enthusiasts as they worked through movement exercises, created their dance piece, and developed their performance skills.

“The focus, the commitment to the movements, the level of creativity is really astonishing”

Since starting the community dance aspect of Older & Reckless in 2013, Claudia has fallen “in love with working with community.” When asked what she enjoyed about working with this group, she noted,

“I have so enjoyed their generosity and commitment to the process. They’ve all come such a long way; they’ve been really challenged by creating movement, and learning movement, and working together, collaborating. They all have very open hearts and willing spirits. It’s been such a pleasure to watch them grow through the project. I have been in awe of what they’ve managed to achieve in five short sessions.”

In addition to the direct benefits to the participants themselves, the project also brought family and friends to the Older & Reckless show who may not otherwise have engaged with dance. These audience members also had the opportunity to take part, as the final performance began with a dance warm-up during which audience members were invited to dance in their seats or join the facilitator on stage.

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