As we approach the 20th anniversary of Older & Reckless, we shine a light on the senior artists who we are honoured to feature in our celebrations, including the courageous LOUISE MOYES from St John’s, Newfoundland
Photo by Justin Hall
LOUISE MOYES tells us about an inspiring project she is currently working on.
I make docudances- works with dance and stories real or made up. They had mostly been solos, but subjects have brought me to where others live. In If a place could be made, singer/songwriter Diana Daly and I worked with dance artist Anne Troake to tell the story of Diana’s very large family. They lived on Long’s Hill, a few doors up from my house.
At the same time, our neighbourhood was transforming. Street-based sex work, drugs and crime moved into and onto our street. The neighbourhood was divided as to what to do about it. I realized I was becoming uncomfortable walking home alone. In our home.
As artists, we’re lucky that we can scratch undefined itches- to go deep into areas that could be tempting to avoid. I decided to create a walk in and about our neighbourhood- one of the oldest in St. John’s. I read and researched, walked, took pictures. I spoke with children, business owners, sisters who lived here in the 1950s, street-based sex workers, sociologists, church groups. I read historic works and stories about the streets here by local writers.
Together with a textile artist/ costume designer and composer, both locals, we created a 90-minute walking tour performance in the little-known gardens, alley ways and interconnected streets of the Long’s Hill area, to bring together the different layers of the neighbourhood’s history and the people who live there. Conversations among residents took place between performances. The walk ends inside the KIRK church to chat, over tea and cookies.
I feel more comfortable than ever in my neighbourhood now. I feel grounded in it. With the trees, alley ways and the people - an incredible feeling for a nomad like me.
I received funds to remount the walk and will figure out how to do that, with physical distancing practices, this summer. I look forward to going back out into the streets with dances and stories, solos and non-solo! In community. And hear where people are.
Here is a link to a new dance short Louise made in her house and garden this June, commissioned by Mile Zero Dance Edmonton’s Garden.
Louise Moyes (St. John’s) most often creates docudances: multidisciplinary shows and films working with the rhythms of voices and accents as her musical score. Combining her work as dancer, storyteller, filmmaker, and sociologist, Louise is currently exploring her neighbourhood and its crises, community, history, and people in Long’s Hill Walk: I live (d) here. She loves telling traditional Jack tales. In 2017 Louise Moyes Docudance celebrated its 25th Anniversary. Louise was finalist for the ArtsNL BMO Artist of the Year and awarded the Canada Council’s Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Prize, for Innovation in Dance.