Welcome to Way Out West (WOW) , an annual intensive in Vancouver offering in-depth somatic study through daily classes based on the exploration of multiple physical systems, including technique,  improvisation, experiential anatomy, performance, and yoga. WOW 2013  is in session this week, led by MascallDance Artistic Director Jennifer Mascall.   During the intensive, four participants have generously agreed to contribute some of their impressions  to TALK.  All photography is of WOW participants, and we thank them for their participation.

Please meet our contributing writers:  Jennifer Hamman, Ashley Johnson, Elysse Cheadle and Rianne Svelnis



Elysse Cheadle

to read Elysse’s blogpost click here

Elysse Cheadle is a graduate of Mount Royal Universitys theatre arts performance program, nearing the completion of her BFA at Simon Fraser University.  Her interests in physical and experimental theatre, dance, and poetry colour her work as a performer and theatre-deviser.  Elysses recent directorial credits include her production of hoof, while you may have seen her perform in Marco at Art for Impact, at Hive: The New Bees Festival in Good Afternoon, Mrs.Ng-Imish, dancing in Iris Laus ReCall, or spitting out a sonnet at the Accordion Noir Festival in Soft Face

sm PortraitJennifer Hamman

to read Jennifer’s blogpost click here

Jennifer Hamman is an emerging dance artist from Alberta now living in Vancouver.Jennifer received her training at the University of Calgary, completing a BA in Psychology with a Minor in Dance.  She has also studied with W&M Physical Theater’s Pre-Professional Training Program and most recently with Modus Operandi Contemporary Dance Program.  She has also trained at summer intensives at Movement Research in NYC and Bates Dance Festival in Maine.  Her work has been presented at Calgary’s Dance Montage, Alberta Dance Festival and Sage Theater’s Ignite! Festival.  She has danced in the work of Deanna Peters and Tara Wilson and recently apprenticed with Ziyian Kwan of dumb instrument Dance. Jennifer is currently also working on her MA in Expressive Arts Therapy through the European Graduate School.


Ashley Johnson

to read Ashley’s blogpost click  here

Ashley Johnson, dancer, dance educator and Mitzvah Technique teacher, is a teaching artist, collaborative performer and bodyworker based in the Battlefords, Saskatchewan, where she recently completed a Dancer-In-Residency year-long contract with Living Sky School Division.  She regularly works with other artists and musicians and has  a particular interest in cultural practices in isolated communities and landscape-based dance creation. She has a diploma in Dance from Grant MacEwan College (Edmonton) and two years of study in dance and kinesiology from University of Calgary and the University of Hong Kong.  In 2007 she followed Amelia Itcush to Davidson, SK and in 2011 certified as a Mitzvah Technique and Itcush Method Teacher.

Ashley maintains an active private practice in the Mitzvah Technique and Itcush Method and facilitates groups and workshops that focus on integrating the work into different situations.  She is currently touring with Regina-based New Dance Horizons to present Remembering Amelia an interactive exhibit and series looking at the influential life of movement maverick Amelia Itcush.  Actively involved in the somatics community, Ashley studies Continuum Movement with Emilie Conrad in Los Angeles and practices with other Mitzvah teachers to continue developing and refining her understanding of the body in motion.  

headshotpaintRianne Svelnis 

to read Rianne’s blogpost click here.

Rianne is the granddaughter of Eastern European immigrants who now finds herself living as a guest on unceded Coast Salish Territory.  She discovered contemporary dance in Ecuador, South America and is using it as a tool for challenging harmful cultural norms and expressing radical body politics.  Rianne sees art as a primal language of expression, and a basic human right that we can reclaim as our own to help us tell our stories.  

Rianne brings 6 years of experience in Theatre of the Oppressed technique.  She is co-artistic director of Swamp Theatre, and a Registered Yoga Teacher, entering her second year with Modus Operandi Contemporary Dance Training Initiative.  Currently Rianne in site-specific rehearsal with Anna Kraulis for a dance on film project to support forest conservation, in collaboration with the Ancient Forest Alliance.