Fall Arts Preview: Sara Coffin’s wild side

Mocean Dance’s co-artistic director’s Wild Within takes a look at our connection to the earth.

Wild Within
November 14-16, 8:00pm
Alderney Landing Theatre, 2 Ochterloney Street, Dartmouth
$17-$28 www.moceandance.com

The ties between ourselves and the natural world are vast and deeply connected to a part of us we might not be conscious of—but what does that bond look like? This is a question Mocean Dance's co-artistic director Sara Coffin hopes to explore through her latest production, Wild Within.

"We all have a wild body within us that's sleeping," says Coffin.

Paddling 700 kilometres from Whitehorse to Dawson while participating in the Canadian Wilderness Artist Residency, Coffin says she had an epiphany: "Paddling for four to six hours a day—it was like that wild body in me woke up. I wasn't in my city body. I was connected to the land, the water, the weather."

With the inspiration to explore her wild side, Coffin began creating a work of art implementing contemporary dance to express her wilderness-induced feelings. "I was trying to hang on to that feeling," says Coffin. "That's what inspired the piece, like 'how do you share something that you can't describe?'"

Love and loss and respect for the land are two main themes the production focuses on—using contemporary dance styles and techniques to communicate her profound ideas. An interdisciplinary work, Wild Within employs the talents of dance artists Lydia Zimmer, Georgia Skinner, Julie Robert and Anastasia Wiebe; composer Brian Riley; and multimedia artist Nick Bottomley.

"I'm comfortable with being in the unknown," says Coffin. "I look for collaborators who have a level of comfortability trying things out and seeing what happens—I like people who aren't afraid to fall in sweat hard."

While she's not giving away any surprises, Coffin hopes her production gives attendees something to think about.

"Our sense of self is shaped by our experience; when our experience is related to the natural world, how does that change our perception?" says Coffin. "After experiencing Wild Within, I'd like the audience to think about what their connection to the land is and how their body feels in different landscapes, and why it's important to have respect for our own bodies and the land."

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