Symbiotic Forms takes place on the unceded ancestral territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations.

At Morrow

From February – August 2022, Rianne Svelnis, Joyce Rosario and Marisa Gold are cultural connectors, lighting up Morrow with care and glow! Dumb Instrument Dance is thrilled to engage these harbingers of multi-genre and socially engaged practice – and to provide each with 100hrs studio time, funds to support their work and honorariums for the people they connect with: artists, educators, activists, and people whose creative forays defy categorization. 

Joyce Rosario

Joyce Rosario

Symbiotic Forms Cultural Connector

Feb – Aug, 2022

March – August, Joyce Rosario facilitates Critical Response Process with dance artists Justin Calvadores, Natalie Gan, Jeanette Kotowich and theatre artist June Fukumura. We’re pleased to share what Joyce, Justin, Jeanette and Natalie have written about their Symbiotic Forms experiences and intents.

Joyce: I am honoured and humbled to be one of three artists with Rianne Svelnis and Marisa Gold, participating in Symbiotic Forms, Dumb Instrument Dance’s sector innovation project at Morrow. 

Symbiotic Forms is an opportunity for me to deepen my research and practice as a mid-career performing arts curator. Over the next several months I will engage in a cycle of conversation and exchange with Justin Calvadores, Jeanette Kotowich, Natalie Tin Yin Gan, and June Fukumura. In support of each artist’s creative practice, I will facilitate feedback discussions using the Critical Response Process (CRP), as well as sharing its practice  values and adaptations.

Over the past 2 years I have been deeply engaged with CRP as a certified facilitator and advanced practitioner. I consider CRP an extension of my curatorial practice, valuing the relational over the transactional and focusing on care for the work and artists who make it. As a methodology, CRP is the foundation of my current practice-based research, to establish new approaches and expertise within curatorial practice in performance, its wider application, and in cultivating an independent practice outside of established institutions.

Choreographer Liz Lerman devised CRP in 1990 as a methodology for giving and receiving actionable feedback on works-in-progress. CRP has since become a leading model for constructive critique, embraced by educational institutions, arts organizers and membership organizations worldwide. At its core, CRP aims to leave the maker motivated to return to a work-in-progress. Based on care and generosity, CRP’s core values are active listening, genuine curiosity, honouring rigorous labour and placing the artist at the centre of feedback. It goes beyond our usual feedback approaches, offering generative alternatives for discourse. 

I’m drawn to CRP as it offers a way of being that the world needs now in moving towards transformational change in post-pandemic community building. The practice of inquiry, inherent in CRP, is a useful tool as a curator and facilitator navigating conversations with artists with wide-ranging experience, training and practices from experimental and hybrid forms, many rooted in specific cultural traditions. But this work is not fully realized until it meets an audience. Curation is not an exercise in “taste”, but rather a practice of active inquiry and care, emerging from listening and building trust so work can best meet an audience.

Through Symbiotic Forms, I am thrilled for this work to be placed within a wider framework situated alongside practitioners whose work forays across genres and cultural practice and to support discourse and collaboration amongst equity seeking creatives in order to stimulate pathways for renewal, as the sector moves through and beyond the pandemic. Joyce Rosario

Symbiotic Forms Guest Artist

Natalie Tin Yin Gan

August 1 – 8, 2022

Natalie: With Joyce as an active witness, I am keen to focus on what one of my teacher’s (Diane Roberts) refers to as ancestral dramaturgy, and also want to discover what ways the creative writing revision process can bolster the crafting of new choreographic ideas. 

Natalie Tin Yin Gan (顏婷妍) is an independent choreographer, interdisciplinary artist, and writer working on the unceded ancestral lands of the Coast Salish peoples. Her practice squats at the intersections of food, feminisms, race, voice, and body. She has presented, performed, and spoken in Seattle, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan, and across Canada. Natalie is the Co-Artistic Director of company Hong Kong Exile that explores the historical and contemporary politic of the Chinese diaspora. She is a graduate of The Writer’s Studio and completing her teacher certification in Fitzmaurice Voicework®. Natalie is a late sleeper, a late riser, a late bloomer, a latecomer, and a late-night snacker. She publishes under a pseudonym and is currently writing for indie video game company Sunset Visitor Studios.

Symbiotic Forms Guest Artist

June Fukumura

July 25 – 29, 2022

June: Alongside creative collaborator, Shizuka Kai and CRP mentor, Joyce Rosario I will be researching and experimenting with ‘owarai’ (お笑い). Owarai is a Japanese comedic sensibility with a unique history, specific forms, and timing that does not exist in Western comedy. Owarai has been a huge influence in my life and my clown work and I am inspired to understand how I can integrate non-Western comedic sensibilities in a Western context. By combining Owarai with Pochinko clowning I aim to further develop my hybrid, inter-cultural comedic sensibility unique to my Japanese-Canadian heritage. 

June Fukumura is a Japanese-Canadian theatre maker based in Vancouver. By day she is a polite, well-mannered theatre artist and by night she is her dark humoured, hyper kawaii, raunchy clown alter-ego, Sumiko. Sumiko dices, slices, and blends up Japanese stereotypes and serves up a zany, East-meets-West comedy experience. Winner of the 2019 Vancouver Fringe Festival’s Public Market Pick of the Fringe. 

Jeanette Kotowich

Symbiotic Forms Guest Artist

May 2 – 6, 2022

Jeannette: ” A Landing Place. I’m honoured by the invitation to participate in Symbiotic Forms with Dumb Instrument Dance. Morrow will be a hosting site for my current exploratory research and conceptual curiosities, where I will value creative process over ‘product’. I will be joined by cultural connector Joyce Rosario and invited guest artist Raïna Von Waldenberg who will hold space for deeper questions regarding my creative process. 

Stepping forward into the ever unfolding moment of now. I return to a solo research practice called 🌾 Kisiskâciwan 🌾 after a period of insightful creative distance. I approach this work with anew and acknowledge that I too am new. I call on all of my selves (past/present/future) – to guide me forward/backward into this work. To reveal the most unapologetically authentic expression this work is archiving. All the usual heavy hitters are called to be present 💫 Ancestor | Spirit | Land | Animal | Cosmos | Self 💫

I’m a multi-disciplinary iskwêw, independent dance artist, creator, choreographer and Auntie Culture enthusiast of Nêhiyaw Métis and mixed-settler ancestry. Originally from Treaty 4 territory Saskatchewan, I create work that reflects Nêhiyaw/Métis cosmology within the context of contemporary dance, Indigenous performance and Indigenous futurism. Fusing interdisciplinary collaboration, de-colonial practices and embodied research methodologies; my work references protocol, ritual, relationship to the natural/spirit world and Ancestral knowledge. My practice is intergenerational and vocational; it’s a living and lived experience. I reside as a guest on the Ancestral and unceded Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) əl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ/ (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) territories, colonially known as Vancouver.

Justin Calvadores & Francis Natoc

Justin Calvadores

Symbiotic Forms Guest Artist / Feb 19 – 26, 2022

with Juan Alcuitas-Imperial and Francis Natoc

Justin: My heart is full after wrapping up my Symbiotic Forms process with Joyce Rosario. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to continue developing a practice that centre’s around my identity as a queer Flilipinx contemporary dance artist. I was joined at Morrow by queer Filipinx artists, Juan Alcuitas-Imperial and Francis Natoc. I was met with such joy with these two as they brought their creative thoughts, ideas and curiosity in to the space. Juan Imperial is a contemporary Vogue dancer who has trained in street dance styles for the majority of their life. Francis Natoc is a versatile pop musician who works with various mediums and produces their own music. 

One of my approaches to centring queerness in my practice is to be surrounded by artists who’s work distinctly reflects the intersections of their identity as QTPOC artists. This process was an opportunity for me to be in community with emerging Filipinx artists who similarly navigate working in contemporary art spaces.

It is healing for me to be in spaces where I’m able to see myself in my colleagues. To hold one another in our queerness and differences. Spaces like this are often unjustifiably rare within the contemporary dance community. Identifying as queer, gender fluid or being POC can be ostracizing. We took a lot of time for discussion. There was a lot of critical thinking toward undoing forms of practice and ideas that no longer serve our artistry as queer creators.

I wanted to create an environment that resembled a horizontal power structure. This way we could give space to one another to create collaboratively and to encourage authenticity. We experimented with improvisation based music and movement scores that gave way to our queer fantasies. Researching improvisation based forms is important to me; I believe these dance practices create accessibility and enable diverse expression. The three of us exchanged ideas from the range of our varying forms of practice. We wanted to groove, we wanted to create in ceremony and we wanted to propel one another’s creativity.

Throughout the process Joyce Rosario was a mentor and outside eye for us. She supported through her experience in engaging in the Critical Response Practice. Her approach as a mentor really created a zero judgement environment and provided supportive feedback that challenged my ideas as an artist.

Joyce & Justin

So many thanks Dumb Instrument Dance and Ziyian Kwan who were so supportive and generous with during my Symbiotic Forms research. Morrow for me continues to be such a beautiful space of community and a haven for creativity.

Marisa Gold

Marisa Gold

Symbiotic Forms Cultural Connector

May 1 – Sept 4, 2022

May through August, Marisa Gold deepens her evolving collaboration with Her Tribal Roots and with film-maker Daryl Ahye.

Marisa: I am deeply grateful to be a part of Symbiotic Forms alongside such beautiful and powerful connectors. Morrow is an inviting oasis, ripe with a healing creative energy and vast openness. I am humbled by the opportunity to explore my practice in this space, sharing and collaborating with creators and activist across many disciplines. Thank you so much Ziyian and Dumb Instrument Dance for dreaming up such a gift to the community!!

Marisa with Daryl Ahye

In May and June, Marisa and film maker Darryl Ahye engage in conversations through movement and lens in a series of film experiments using scores, props, writing exercises and spoken word poetry. The films will explore vulnerable expression as healing, physical sovereignty, and the power of perspective/being seen. At the end of their exchange, they will hold an informal showing of their research and a talk back inviting further discussion on the topics/audience experience. 

From Aug 29th- Sept 4th, Marisa facilitates a sharing between a group of multidisciplinary artists and activists called Her Tribal Roots. The goal is to bring together and activate these powerful voices from across communities, offering them sacred space for connection, harmonization and deep healing. Here is a list of some the inspiring multidisciplinary artists that she will be bringing together to share stories, knowledge and experience:
Alyssa Amarshi, Ariane Custodio, Tawahum Beige, Kt Rose, Franz Seachel, John David Muco, Janelle Reid, Felicia Simone.

Rianne Svelnis

Rianne Svelnis

Symbiotic Forms Cultural Connector

Feb 1 – Mar 6, 2022

Rianne worked with visual artist Sauha Lee in somatic workshops that flowed into pulp painting. With dance artist Alexa Solveig Mardon: movement classes for support workers. With dance artist Olivia C.Davies: welcoming DTES Grandmothers Collective to Morrow as part of Matriarchs Uprising. With writer, facilitator and cyber mystic Romila Barryman: exchanging practices in grief, ritual and social / somatic movement.  

Rianne & Sauha Lee

Feb 1-4: practice share & workshop development

Mar 6 / 1pm-4pm: workshop for small group

Motivated by material exploration and curious about deep ecology, Sauha’s focus is: reflecting on land use, experiencing cultural catharsis, looking more closely at waste, adhoc constructions, questioning the nature of labour, and envisioning a more livable and equitable future. In her current works, Sauha makes pulp paintings and sculptures by repurposing locally gathered plants, textiles, recycled or discarded things. 

Alexa Solveig Mardon
is devoted to practices of gathering, collaborations with the dream realm, and collective sensing. Alexa studies movement through dancing, bodywork, political actions, and poetry. Alexa is a queer second generation settler of Finnish/Karelian/British Isles descent living as an uninvited guest on the illegally occupied, unceded Coast Salish territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ peoples. As a teacher/facilitator, Alexa is committed to anti-oppressive frameworks, unlearning unhealthy relationships to obedience and power, and creating spaces where agency, rigorous play, and selfhood can flourish. Alexa is currently completing their masters at DAS Choreography, University of the Arts. Amsterdam, where their research focuses on dreaming, writing + movement practices that seek anti-colonial mythical, queer + speculative relations with ancestors of all species. Alexa is excited to continue this nourishing and complex work on movement classes for support workers through Symbiotic Forms.

Rianne & Alexa Solveig Mardon

Movement Classes for Support Workers

Feb 7 – 8: Workshop development and preparation

Feb 17 / 4 – 6pm : online workshop

February 18: in person, 4-6pm: (Limited Capacity)

The workshop is free!  If you have an abundance of funds at the moment and would like to make a financial contribution to the community, please send funds to the Drug User Liberation Front

Movement Classes for Support Workers are just that: classes for those of us doing frontline support which incorporate movement, play, and strategies. We invited self-identified support workers, with the understanding that support work takes many forms, and is not always professionalized. 

We have been developing this workshop since 2017 and both are or have been front-line workers in different capacities.  We recognize that workers increasingly experience “burnout”: a reasonable nervous system response to unsustainable systemic conditions. We recognize that burnout is not an individual failure to cope with crisis but rather a symptom of larger systemic dysfunction.  

These classes invited participants to access strategies for embodied rebound and repair, play, and connection through movement.  Our belief is that we each have a multitude of responses available to us in any given moment: and that movement + dance lead with awareness can help us access and practice this responsive agility.  

Our hope for these classes is an invitation of allowance of what our whole systems need, creation of space for non-linear thinking + play. We hope for these classes to build solidarity amongst workers, to build a practice of being together even when in separate places, to sew fibres of strengthening bonds between us. 

Rianne & Matriarchs Uprising

Gathering Hope

Feb 15-18: Research

Sat Feb 19: Online sharing and circle discussion

Matriarchs Uprising brings together Indigenous women who are nurturing the art of contemporary dance so that it may be appreciated by audiences from all backgrounds. The 4th edition of Matriarchs Uprising Festival, curated by Olivia C. Davies (Anishinaabe), features an exciting program of new contemporary Indigenous dance works from Jeanette Kotowich (Cree-Métis), Maura Garcia (non-enrolled Cherokee/Mattamuskeet), Animikiikwe Couchie-Waukey (Nipissing First Nation) with Bella Waru (Maōri), Christine Friday (Anishinaabe), Sandra Lamouche (Cree), Samantha Sutherland (Ktunaxa),)  Sophie Dow (Métis-Assiniboine), and Vancouver DTES Grandmother’s Collective, plus masterclasses, community workshops and Talking Truth circle conversations. Link here to Matriarch’s Uprising: 4th edition 2022

Rianne hosted Matriarchs Uprising at Morrow for a week of community exploration titled “gathering hope”, curated by Olivia Davies.  “gathering hope” brings together the DTES Grandmother’s Collective: Dalannah Gail Bowen, Rosemary Georgeson, Savannah Walling, Sharon Jinkerson-Brass and dancers Olivia Davies, Sophie Dow, Ziyian Kwan and Rianne Svelnis co-create a landscape for movement, poetry, and song to plants hope in our hearts.

Rianne & Romila Barryman

Feb 20-25 practice share

Feb 24 co-facilitated sharing

Romila Barryman is a writer, facilitator and cyber-mystic of kejawen and Zoroastrian ancestry based on the never surrendered, ancestral Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ (Tsleil-Waututh) village site of Sen̓áḵw.
Using storytelling as a portal and liminality as a venue, Romila’s work explores futures we can remember and pasts we can reimagine. Child of a dream interpreter, great-grandchild of birthing doulas, Romila carries the gifts of intuition, groundedness and future-telling to hold spaces to gather in community through literature, spellmaking and ritual.

After meeting Romila in the loving arms of the Community Capacity Building Certification offered by SFU, Rianne has invited Romila into Symbiotic Forms residency to share practices around grief, ritual, story-telling and somatic/social movement. 

Rianne and Romila will play in the interstitial zone where their artistic practices meet and meander. Their time together will lead to a co-facilitated sharing of findings and invitations.

Symbiotic Forms is made possible through the generous support of The Canada Council For The Arts.

Graphics by Kelly McInnes