In April 2013, driven by a mutual need for creative space, my dear friend, fellow choreographer and improvisor, Sarah Bild, and I opened a studio space in the heart of Montreal’s Mile End neighbourhood. Devoted to community-centred practice, La Poêle is a meeting space for research, creation and education and serves as a rehearsal and performance venue for works-in-progress in dance, theatre, music, and other related practices.
Now an important and much-loved hub in the Montreal arts-scene, the studio celebrates it’s 10th anniversary in 2023!
Highlights of La Poêle’s activities over the last 10 years include:
Dance-a-Day: an annual event held since 2014. For 5 mornings, artists join in a communal movement/creation event, engaging in the daily practice of making. They offer themselves as dancers/movers in someone else’s exploration, and/or come with their own choreographic ideas to explore.
Between 2013 and 2015, Musique à la Poêle was a curated, monthly event, featuring live improvised music, mostly locally sourced with some national and international guests. Curated by Susanna Hood and Craig Pedersen, active members in the improvised and music actuelle scenes, the series provided a unique venue for intimate, acoustic concerts by artists such as Jean Derome & Joane Hétu, and Tristan Honsinger among many others.
The Frying Pan series: physical improvisation in performance by Susanna and Sarah, with invited local, national and international guests in dance and music such as Lin Snelling, Diane Labrosse, and Angelique Wilkie among others.
Summer Residencies: Since 2017, La Poêle has offered 30 hours of free studio time to two Montreal artists every summer. The intention is to support exploration and research with no expectation towards a final product. There is no application process for this residency. Instead, new residents are chosen by a committee of the last two-years of residents in a pay-it-forward ethic.
La Poêle is also a teaching space for multiple body practices such as yoga, Qi Gong, Kung Fu, choirs, a children’s music camp, professional dance trainings and multidisciplinary art-making practices.
Special workshops: Action Theater™ with Ruth Zaporah; Open Source Forms™ with Susanna Hood; vocal improvisation with Rhiannon; Composer la musique pour la scène – as an annual partnership with the Université de Montréal, a graduate-level course for collaboration between composers and choreographers (co-taught by Ana Sokolovic and Sarah Bild).
Printemps à la Poêle: since the spring of 2021 we have run a week-long intensive combining a variety of physically-based practices with a lab in creative process. In addition to Sarah and Susanna, teachers have included Alanna Kraaijeveld (Fighting Monkey); Kelly Keenan (Feeling Dancing); Charles Brécard (Fluidify); Linda Rabin (Continuum Movement); Sylvie Fortin (Feldenkrais): David Rancourt (Qi Gong); Rainer Weins and Rae Bowhay (Rhythm for Dancers); Lucy M. May & Nindy Banks (Off_Script).