About

Lisa Phinney Langley’s Masters Degree in atmospheric science lends her work a profound richness and engaging complexity.  Inspired by field research on loons and the ecosystem that supports them, Analogy for Solid Bones is a lushly organic dance revealing a beautiful and secluded world where the stories of the individuals unfold against the dynamics of a vulnerable society.  Nominated for the Nova Scotia Lieutenant Governor’s Masterworks Award, one reviewer wrote “Conservationists take note: If you want people to pay attention, partner with an artist.”  55 minutes, 7 dancers.

From the Choreographer:

“This work began as a conversation my dad and I had about the beauty of the calls of the loon, after I witnessed a rare meeting of nine loons on a lake in the stillness before the sun had risen.

The movement vocabulary was developed from observations of the behaviours and physicality of the loon.  Loons carry their babies on their backs, their wings develop assymetrically, they have solid bones, and legs that are set far along their body, making them excellent divers but awkward walkers.  Their social interactions rival our own: they court, they mate for life (although cheating has been reported!), the singles socialize in groups, they are territorial and return to the same lakes to nest and rear their young.

My scientific research into the effects of mercury in the ecosystem lead to further movement insight: when mercury levels increase due to human impact, loons stop carrying their babies on their backs, their vision deteriorates, and they exhibit strange behaviours like excessive preening.

The music was created based on the calls of the loons – the rhythms, textures and melodies were distilled and recreated into a musical score, performed with both analog and synthesized sounds.

The set reflects the tension between nature and culture, a reflection of human impact on the environment.

The poetry evolved from these same sources, and from the dance itself. 

As the dancers became involved in this process, the focus shifted to the collective experience, and a society began to emerge.  A reflection of our own.”

Created with the generous assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts, Live Art Dance Productions (who provided an in-theatre residency), Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, Kinetic Studio, Dance Nova Scotia and Halifax Dance.

The premiere of Analogy for Solid Bones was presented October 1-3, 2009 by Live Art Dance Productions, at the Sir James Dunn Theatre, Halifax, Canada.

People

Choreography:
Lisa Phinney Langley

Music/Narration:
Sageev Oore with Daniel Oore
(with additional music by the Chakachas)

Poetry/Narration:
Ardath Whynacht

Set Design:
Peter Dykhuis

Lighting Design:
Leigh Ann Vardy

Developed with dancers:
Sarah Rozee
Elise Vanderborght
Peter Trosztmer
Alicia Orr MacDonald
Jacinte Armstrong
Andrew Turner
Susanne Chui
and
Ruth-Ellen Kroll Jackson
Piotr Biernat
Carolle Crooks
Francis Brake

Photos

Videos

Poetry

We are reflected
             you and I
on the same dark surface

turning circles in opposition
                around islands
                       silence

you; in a theme park of your own design
(slime-rusted metal parts)
protruding, turning circles

algae-covered arms    lift
          making waves
defying senses: slick
quick-turning algebraic equations

and I
     drift slowly          silently
  on a carpet of stars
glimmering, iridescent patches

breathing: choked (tributaries)
      (engine oil and wet matches)

we float.
heavy
hard
leaving traces

but never retracing our paths/slip slowly

into sunrise.

we float,
on the same dark surface: you. and. i.

following trickster-currents
(coyotes in shadow)

we drift away.

beneath the surface,

scratched and wet
we are the same dark earth
the same freshwater stink
of collapse
earth to water.

we float.

by Ardath Whynacht

Reviews

"Conservationists take note: if you want people to pay attention, partner with an artist. ... A provocative and ultimately heartbreaking dance ... subtle and yet strong in its message."
Sue Carter Flinn, The Coast, October 2, 2009

"Sexy and at times humourous ... Phinney draws graceful parallels."
Sue Carter Flinn, The Coast, October 2, 2009

"Tender and moving ..."
Andrea Nemetz, Chronicle Herald, October 3, 2009

"There is a palpable high degree of trust between the dancers"
Andrea Nemetz, Chronicle Herald, October 3, 2009

"A powerful experience for all senses"
Andrea Nemetz, Chronicle Herald, October 3, 2009

"A dynamic, compelling creation"
Andrea Nemetz, Chronicle Herald, October 3, 2009

"Fascinating"
Andrea Nemetz, Chronicle Herald, October 3, 2009

"Touching, subtle, and at times comedic"
Katelynn Northam, DalNews, October 2, 2009

"You might think atmospheric science and contemporary dance are strange bedfellows, but Analogy for Solid Bones makes a strong case for promoting their romance."
Katelynn Northam, DalNews, October 2, 2009

"A unique and moving interpretation of one of Canada’s most treasured natural inhabitants."
Katelynn Northam, DalNews, October 2, 2009

"Awkward creatures, possessing a painful beauty that mirrors our own untidy and complicated lives."
Katelynn Northam, DalNews, October 2, 2009

"Sageev Oore’s minimalist but effective piano score paints a perfect picture to go along with the stark and powerful set created by Peter Dykhuis."
Katelynn Northam, DalNews, October 2, 2009

"A beautiful and secluded world."
Katelynn Northam, DalNews, October 2, 2009

"A resonant message, and one that could leave all spectators feeling like environmentalists. Ms. Phinney may be on to something here."
Katelynn Northam, DalNews, October 2, 2009