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To breathe in new hope, a testimony by Heather Mah

ARCHIPEL - volet 2 responded to my desire to share and develop tools with my peers for the transition of aging in the performing arts. Dance was once an amazing channel of energy and vision to explore and manifest my creative ideas. It now presented unanticipated blocks in moving forward. I was feeling an unfamiliar struggle. There were dilemmas to untangle and confront. An uncomfortable phase.

The animators, Michel Brais and Parise Mongrain, brought insightful information and practices to every workshop. Exceptional disclosure and mutual trust was imparted during these sessions; and focus, genuine listening, generosity and understanding resulted from a salient group presence. Each participating artist contributed feedback and perspective to the others’ trajectory.

Over the series of meetings we returned with new experiences and changes, feeding the process. I was letting go of being a dance performer and integrating that towards a new perspective. Ironically, in the months preceding the workshop, I had accepted some projects as a dancer. One of these projects occurred the week of the workshop’s final meeting. I arrived with a reactivated excitement, energy, joyful fatigue and the creative ecstasy that I am so familiar with from working in the studio. During the discussion of that final meeting I realized immense gratitude for the dance I accomplished and completed in my life. I felt at peace that I can channel my spiritual and physical energy into projects, not purely dance, for the future.

ARCHIPEL - volet 2 addresses a crucial and invisible necessity to assimilate the shifts of aging as a performing artist. Through discerned appreciation and expert guidance it offers a group to safely express what is difficult to acknowledge or see, to widen one’s scope and to illuminate one’s path and self. To breathe in new hope.


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