Dandelion Dance

Dandelion Dance Company Reflections

Annika:

“I loved how I got the opportunity to work and dance with other young women in Ottawa West. In the beginning, I found it challenging when some girls weren’t willing to participate in discussions and in creating pieces. Through this experience, however, I was reminded of the unique and special opportunity the Dandelion Dance Performance Company offers and how lucky I am to be part of a dance company that explores social justice issues through movement. Dandelion has helped me grow into the person I am today and the Neighbourhood 150 Project made me feel so thankful and appreciative.”

I also learnt how privileged I am to live in a neighbourhood with little to no violence and in a community that is so welcoming and loving. From our discussions, I found out that not every neighbourhood is like mine.”

Nada:

“The Neighbourhood Arts 150 project helped me reconnect with my community and realize how amazing it is! Many of the girls who came to the workshops live in my area and they taught me how supportive and caring my neighbourhood is! The Neighbourhood Arts 150 project taught me how amazing it is to be a women in Canada!”

Kaia:

“The Neighbourhood Arts 150 project was an amazing experience and I’m very fortunate to have been a part of it. I learned about the many points of view girls have when it comes to what it means to be a girl in 2017 and that there are many layers that contribute to these different ideas. One layer is the neighbourhood we end up in and how it shapes who we are. We had discussions where some girls expressed how grateful they are of where we live and the opportunities that are offered to us. Other girls expressed the many improvements that need to take place.

This experience has deepened my understanding of my neighborhood, of my city, and of my country because I really connected with the people inside them. It allowed me to see in many different lights.”

Emily:

“I love to dance – wholeheartedly! It is an art that is incredibly undervalued in today’s society. It brought such a smile to my face when watching the Ottawa West participants dance, create their pieces, and really open up during the workshops.

One particular thing I learned during Neighbourhood Arts 150 is to really listen to people. During the workshops I learned how to interpret people’s feelings and ideas. One girl I worked with was very shy. She would stand and wave her arms just slightly when we were all dancing. I was put into a group with her to create a little piece with a beginning, middle and end. Everyone was offering their opinions but when prompted she said she didn’t have any ideas. Slowly, I learned that I couldn’t directly ask her a question that correlated with the dance piece. Instead, we talked and made jokes about life and I subtly inserted questions about school and what does she hope to do in the future. It turns out she dreams of being a pediatric surgeon! We decided to incorporate this into a dance about our hopes and dreams for our future.

Everyone is different, and has varying life experiences. No two people are the same. Some people take more time than others; some share their opinion readily and some need a gentle push. We cannot expect someone to be a certain way and we must adapt and change our methods each and every time. I think that this is an important lesson that I have learned over the course of Neighbourhood Arts 150.”

Nicole:

“What I found so amazing was to see the participants grow so much in a matter of weeks! Naturally, they all started, shy and nervous, not too sure how to express their ideas. However, come the final day, the girls were so joyful and able to communicate their thoughts. They performed fearlessly!”

 

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Dandelion Dance

Dance: The Universal Language

“I think it’s wonderful to see other people doing dance, something that I love so much! I loved how most of the participants are brand new to dance and yet very brave to try something so different!” says Maya of Dandelion Dance Performance Company. 

Young girls from Ottawa West are creating art and dancing their way to self-expression while exploring what it means to be Canadian in 2017. This Neighbourhood Arts 150 project entitled Celebrating Canada Through Diversity and Dance is a series of six workshops lead by Dandelion Dance Company that will culminate in a final performance.

The first three workshops took place from April 9th – April 23rd, after finding participants through the Homework Clubs taking place at the Pincrest-Queensway Community Health Centre. “Working with the partners was really great, they’ve been very supportive and it’s been great to see how much work towards community engagement there is in Ottawa West.” said Kelsey Walsh, director of Dandelion Dance Company.

The workshops themselves are multi-disciplinary, with dance as the foundation, as it is with Dandelion Dance Company. “With these workshops and with such a limited time to interact with these girls, integrating other art forms has been a great way for them to feel comfortable and confident. For those whom dance is not their most comfortable art form, the other arts provide a means for them to express themselves comfortably. The final product will be the outcome of these multi-arts workshops.”

Workshop 1 emphasized connection and taking risks. The participants stepped out of their comfort zones to dance together, share perspectives, discuss what it means to be a girl in 2017 in Canada, and support each other.

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Workshop 1 – Words shared on the topic of what it means
to be a girl in Canada in 2017 – Photo by Kelsey Walsh

 

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Workshop 2 – Self-portrait – Nada 15 – Photo by Ludmylla Reis

 

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Workshop 2 –  Self-Portrait – Nour 13 – Photo by Ludmylla Reis
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Workshop 2- Self-Portrait – Maya 15 – Photo by Kelsey Walsh

In workshop 2 they took powerful self-portraits that have also shed light on how these Canadian girls see themselves. They’re looking to find a way to integrate these photographs into their final performances.

In Workshop 3 explored two themes: dreams and place, the girls worked at bringing both their dreams, and their ideas about ‘where you live and how this impacts you’, onto paper. Two collective collages emerged, maps of sorts, which chart the thoughts of 17 girls when it comes to how they see themselves and how they see the world. Later, on their feet, the girls created frozen pictures representing what they wish for and what they celebrate in the here and now.

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Workshop 3 – I Dream of Being – Photo by Ludmylla Reis
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Workshop 3 – I Dream of Being – Photo by Ludmylla Reis 

The girls used their bodies as puppets, taking turns being the puppet or the puppet master. This exercise allowed participants to illustrate how sometimes they don’t get to be in control of their situation, of what they want or where they live.

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Photo by Ludmylla Reis

“Together we realized that some of us love where we live and some of us feel shame. We discovered that most of us have a thirst for travel. We confirmed that all of us want to make our lives, our neighbourhood, our communities more equal and safe for women.”

In workshop 4 the girls will focus on compiling all that they have explored so far and will begin to create their final performance.“This is an amazing learning opportunity for everyone involved. Every girl taking part has a different background, a unique story, and it’s important that they all have a chance to express their story, their individuality. It is especially important to have the voices of new Canadian girls included in the 150 celebrations. I’m looking forward to seeing the girls take on more agency, and seeing what they create.”Want to see the final outcome of the workshops?

There are two performances happening at the Bayshore Shopping Centre on May 13th at 11:00AM and 2:00PM. Click here for more information.