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Post one: Summer Company 2019!

Hello fellow readers, welcome back to the Frog In Hand blog, Notes from the Studio. You may be familiar with us, if not, this blog will be a gateway into the summer company’s experience over the next nine weeks. Frog in Hand’s Summer Company project binds training and performance initiative for young artists under thirty. Funded by Employment and Social Development Canada under the Canada Summer Jobs initiative, the Summer Company initiative is driven by Frog in Hand’s desire to give back and support new generation artists in the GTA. It’s also our response to the challenge of youth unemployment. In this blog, Frog in Hand summer company members will be sharing their thoughts on our work together, updates on our creative process, spectacular upcoming events, and shared glimpses into our personal involvement with Frog in Hand (FiH). This is the first of many posts to come, so stay tuned for more!


Now we’ve introduced the blog, let me formally introduce myself! My name is Tavia Christina and I am a multidisciplinary (Métis) artist residing in Toronto (Tkarón:to). I am excited to be a part of this year’s the Frog In Hand Summer Company Project! I attended the regional arts program at Cawthra Park Secondary school for Dance. I am currently finishing off my BFA degree at Ryerson University majoring in Dance, minoring in French Language Studies and Curatorial Studies. I first met Colleen in high school when she was a guest artist with Cawthra’s Repertoire Company. We reconnected at Ryerson in April 2019 when FiH was commissioned to create Heart of Matter for their Springworks show.


Summer Company 2019 is well on its way, even if we’ve only had one week together! We started off by preparing for our first performance and workshop, Dragon. Dragon re-mixes a tale of two knights searching for a mythical dragon. Together the audience and performers uncover a surprising tale of conquest, conflict, compassion and empathy. Told through dance, theatre and stage combat, Dragon; invites conversations about empathy and respect by partnering community artists with students learning with and about each other through movement. During the remount of Dragon we learned a few stage combat phrases made by Andy Ingram, which was new and exciting for the company. We also delved into this production’s three archetypal characters - the knight, the prince and the dragon. In this piece each performer is able to adapt their character into their own unique version. From the three characters the dancers elaborated on specific character traits and created their own narratives within the plot.


On April 28th, we visited Port Credit Secondary School and shared our first Dragon outreach performance workshop with two grade nine classes. During our time with the PC students we conducted a few physical exercises that explored themes like listening and respect. I love this production’s use of theatricality to convey important messages around empathy.

This week, the FiH Summer Company is working on a new piece for the Mississauga Waterfront Festival. We are creating a playful, fun, inventive and physical dance-theatre work that tells the story of some unusual characters who discover a tape player for the first time. You can catch Frog In Hand performing in the Gazebo in the centre of the Port Credit Memorial Park, June 15 at 12PM and 3:30PM. As well as, Sunday June 16th at 12PM and 2:30PM. Admission is FREE! So bring your friends and family and join us for an incredible weekend filled with dance and some yummy food! Visit http://www.themwf.com/ for details and more information!


Dancers of the 2018 Summer Company perform at the Mississauga Waterfront Festival. From left: Sarah Flack, Justin Fraser, Gwendolyn Mitchell, Clarke Blair, Hannah Shikatani, Rohan Dhupar. Claire Whitaker & Morgyn Aronyk-Schel (middle of photo). Photo by Heather Snell.

AND - before I sign off - keep on the lookout for Frog In Hand as we are also performing in the Toronto Fringe 2019! We will be reworking Heart of Matter, a piece originally created for Ryerson University’s Springworks show. According to choreographer Colleen Snell, Heart of Matter is a meditation on memory and the special artifacts that spark recollection. It is dedicated to objects we keep or forget. This whimsical and poetic dance-theatre work reflects on feelings of opening and closing, and the human experience of holding on, or letting go. This will be my second time performing this work, and I am elated to visit this extremely meaningful work again.


For more information on our eight performances at Trinity St. Paul’s July 4th-13th at 9:30PM, check out: https://fringetoronto.com/fringe/show/heart-matter Catch you later folks!

-Tavia Christina


Colleen Snell and Frog in Hand company dancers. Image by Voitek Pendrak.

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