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Going up!

Vertical dance choreographer visits Memorial as dancer-in-residence

Teaching and Learning

By Melanie Callahan and Pamela Gill

Julia Taffe, Memorial University’s 2016 dancer-in-residence, arrived this month to begin her six-week program, which takes place in three different locations in the province.

She will spend two weeks each in St. John’s, Corner Brook, and Gros Morne National Park. The program is a collaboration of Memorial University and its partners, Creative Gros Morne and DanceNL.

Public talk Sept. 15

In Corner Brook, Ms. Taffe was at Grenfell Campus Sept. 6-12, and will return Sept. 26-30, when she will work with theatre students during class time and lead workshops and performances. 

In Gros Morne, Ms. Taffe will deliver a public talk at the Bonne Bay Marine Station on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 7 p.m., as well as a number of workshops titled Dancing in Nature, dates to be determined.

Julia Taffe performs outside a Mountain Equipment Co-op in Ottawa, Ont.
Julia Taffe performs outside a Mountain Equipment Co-op in Ottawa, Ont.
Photo: Wayne Cuddington

In St. John’s, she will present at the Queen Elizabeth II Library’s Check It Out! series with faculty in the School of Music and Memorial’s writer-in-residence. She will also work with students in geography and human kinetics and recreation by teaching classes and giving workshops on Dancing in Nature. In addition, she will participate in creative incubation and rehearsal time at the dance space at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre and conduct an aerial dance workshop in partnership with DanceNL and the Festival of New Dance.

Participation welcome

Ms. Taffe is looking forward to connecting with individuals at each of the three locations and with faculty, staff and students, members of artistic communities and with the general public.

Anyone looking for more information on these events or wishing to participate in the workshops (space permitting) should contact Alex Fallis.

As a choreographer, Ms. Taffe combines art, the environment and adventure by dancing on buildings and mountains. She is the founder and artistic director of Aeriosa, a vertical dance company based in Vancouver, B.C. Aeriosa transforms neighbourhoods into theatres and explores wild environments as dramatic stages for live dance.

She has choreographed site-specific works at locations such as Stawamus Chief Mountain, Taipei City Hall, Cirque du Soleil’s headquarters, Vancouver Library Square, Banff Centre, Scotiabank Dance Centre, Toronto’s 58-storey L Tower, the traditional Coast Salish Territory of Vancouver’s Stanley Park and the traditional Nuu-chah-nulth territory of Clayoquot Biosphere Reserve on Vancouver Island.

Ms. Taffe and Aeriosa received the Canadian Dance Assembly I Love Dance Innovation Award in 2012. She is the second woman to achieve the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides Rock Guide certification. As well, she has worked as a climbing guide, instructor, coach, rigger, stunt performer and mountain safety technician for film and TV productions from British Columbia to Morocco.

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