image: Charlie Hannah

image: Charlie Hannah

Rianne Svelnis | Gatherings for Dance and Other Actions

>> residency reflections by Rianne Svelnis

June - July, 2019

Gatherings for Dance and Other Actions is a two-month research residency wherein Svelnis will coalesce collaborative, facilitation, political and movement practices to explore her relationship to choreography, performance and community action.  The residency will include a session of Pocket Dial, a 2-day workshop with guest artist Be Heintzman Hope, and a work-in-progress showing of their collaborative project Conflict + Relief.

Rianne Svelnis is an independent dance artist and a queer second generation white European settler on the shared unceded Squamish, Tsleil- Waututh, and Musqueam territories. In her artistic practice, Rianne questions the interfaces between place, privilege and perception of movement. She reimagines her dancing body as an action, a prayer, a rejection of the capitalist gaze, and a way of being with others. She has presented her own choreographic work in collaboration with Kelly McInnes, Areli Moran (Mexico) and Zahra Shahab, and has danced in works by Justine Chambers, MACHiNENOiSY, Emmalena Fredriksson, Olivia Davies, Sasha Kleinplatz and others, and is a facilitator and associate artist with All Bodies Dance Project.

Pocket Dial

image: Andrea Cownden

image: Andrea Cownden

June 4th, 9am - 5pm, DAA Projects, 30 W. 6th Ave, Unit 103

Pocket Dial is a pop-up resource centre, a gathering against ongoing colonial violence, and a starting point for a more closely knit network of resistance. Pocket Dial is a collaborative project with Rianne Svelnis, Alexa Solveig Mardon, Andrea Cownden and Zahra Shahab. Guests are provided materials to enable and support them in making calls to politicians to demand systemic change.

Alexa Solveig Mardon is a dance artist living and working on unceded Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil- Waututh), and xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) territories (Vancouver BC). Alexa’s practice spans movement, writing, facilitation, and community action. As a performer, they have interpreted for choreographers and companies locally and nationally including Deanna Peters, battery opera performance, Sasha Kleinplatz, Benjamin Kamino, Action at a Distance, the response., Emmalena Fredriksson, and Daisy Thompson. Alexa’s writing has been published by ISSUE Magazine, Line (formerly WestCoast Line), Room Magazine, The Dance Centre, and The Dance Current. Alexa works collaboratively to investigate expanded defnitions of choreography.


Andrea Cownden is a dancer who lives on on unceded Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil- Waututh), and xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam) territories (Vancouver BC). She recently completed training at Modus Operandi. Andrea is grateful to have worked with and learned from Kate Franklin, Sasha Kleinplatz, Layla Mrozowski, Rianne Svelnis and many others. Prior to her pursuit of dance, Andrea received a B.A. (Hons.) from the University of Victoria in French and Social Justice Studies.


Zahra Shahab is a second generation, Arab-English, queer Canadian. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts with distinction from the University of Calgary in 2014, she relocated to Vancouver in 2015 to continue her dance training with Modus Operandi. She has presented choreography at the Alberta Dance Festival, Alberta Dance Theatre for Young People, University of Calgary Dance, Mascall Dance’s Bloom residency, New Works Performance, and Dance in Vancouver (Boombox Series), and Toronto Dance Theatre’s Emerging Voices. As an interpreter, she has worked for Emmalena Fredriksson, Daisy Thompson, Sammy Chien, The Biting School (Arash and Aryo Khakpour), and Out Innerspace Contemporary Dance Theatre.


Be Heintzman Hope | Wxmb Cxre

photo: Kinga Michalska

photo: Kinga Michalska

June 15th + 16th, 12pm - 3pm, What Lab, 202 - 1814 Pandora Street

As part of Gatherings for Dance and Other Actions, Svelnis has invited Montreal-based artist Be Heintzman Hope to a lead a 2-day Wxmb Cxre workshop, and to expand on their collaborative choreographic research project, Conflict + Relief. Wxmb Cxre is a somatic practice in breathe, voice and movement that makes space for gender fluid notions of re-birth through movement. This workshop is free to those indigenous to Turtle Island and scholarships are available to QTBIPOC. Sasha J. Langford will be performing live music during the Sunday June 16th workshop.

Be Heintzman Hope is a facilitator of music, dance and embodiment ritual based between Tio’tia:ke, most commonly known as Montreal. Over the past five years, they have established a breath, voice and movement practice under the name Wxmb Cxre – an “ephemeral institution” that prioritizes the needs of queer, trans, racialized bodies and sex workers that centers giving birth to self through movement. They have facilitated workshops in various contexts such as Sherpa Centre de Recherche, Studio 303, SBC Gallery, Articule, La Centrale Gallerie Powerhouse, Cinema Politica, and The Center for Gender Advocacy. They are a 3 year artist-in residence at the MAI (Maison d'Arts Interculturels) and co-founder of the Queer Body Workers Network Tio'tia:ke/MTL connecting other queer and trans body workers with one another to create alternative economies of care. Within their hybrid practice they have performed in DIY contexts as well as larger venues and festivals locally in Montreal as well as in Vancouver, Berlin and Vienna.

Sasha J. Langford makes sounds, writings, and interdisciplinary experiments that investigate intersections between bodies, power, and psychic life.  She has composed soundtracks for 3D video, installation, and dance, and has done solo performances at festivals such as the International Noise Conference in Miami, FL; the Ende Tymes Festival of Noise and Experimental Liberation in Brooklyn, NY; and the Lines of Flight Festival of Experimental Music in Dunedin, New Zealand.  She is currently working on curating a reading group based around dance theory, set for summer 2019.