Crimson Coast Dance

March 5, 2021: WORKING WITH FAMILY IN ARTS by Geneviève Johnson

Couleurs by Romane Nagy

I have the chance to be surrounded by very colourful creative family members who are involved one way or another in  my creative projects.

  • My niece Romane Nagy is blossoming into a wonderful visual and performing artist;
  • Her brother Guillaume Nagy is creating very playful electronic music;
  • Her cousin Sofina Johnson (one of my twins) is becoming a very creative musician and digital artist;
  • Even her grand-ma, my mom Marcelle Moisan, has turned out to be a great stage manager and needle craft creator for my productions. 

But working together, passing from personal to professional life, can be a challenge at times.

Knitted Kimono created by Marcelle Moisan (my sister Annie-Claude Martin will recognize in this photo the blue square she knitted) – Photo by Geneviève Johnson

Crossroads: Creating A New Point of Encounter and Discussion

When working with family we have to acknowledge that we all start from a different place. Not a better place or the right one, a different one.

Working with others, and especially family members, means creating from where you are not - neither of you.

You meet at a new point of encounter where the different and surprising can take form. From this different place of encounter, creative new discussions can arise.

Exercise to Experience Where You Are Not…

  • Walk in the space.
  • Chose a direction then be pulled in the other.
  • Resist this new pull. Feel your body torn between the two.
  • Chose and action, sitting for example, then as you are going to sit feel a pull to stand or to lie down.
  • Resist.
  • Feel the in between. Explore this dance of hesitation between two directions, two actions, tow qualities…

Be where you are not. Dance where you are not.

(see an example in the video below on a music by Guillaume Nagy)

Guillaume’s music style is full of life and beat. Each song projects me into different worlds of magic: movies and video games. This really pulls my work somewhere new, unexpected. And my movements pulls Guillaume in new directions too. Together our two worlds are telling a third story.

Solidifying the Fabric of Our Relationship While Knitting New Connections

Creating together, in this “new-where”, can make our relationship stronger if we start from who we are.

Working as who you are genuinely, allows each of us to travel back and forth: from the known (the family link) to the unknown (the collective creation).

There, confidence and trust will grow to build new connections. These will ultimately thread a net of familiar ways of working together in a professional manner.

A safety net where everyone can grow.

My mom’s knitting talent inspired the center installation and theme of Nested: Lean and Rise. Threading new family and community connections at the heart of the performance.

(Knitting Hands, Kimono Creation: Marcelle Moisan – Music: Sofina Johnson – Voice, Poem, Performance, Editing: Genevieve Johnson)

Highlighting Each Family Member’s Talents, Strengths, Interests…

Above: Sofina is strong and loves improvising with beats in music. In Nested: Lean and Rise, it brought a live new conversation between our tow passions in each performance, each rehearsal…

Being you in the process of finding this new place of collective creation allows for highlighting each others strengths and talents on the way.

Each one of us, becomes an invaluable ingredient to the new flavour that we are trying to put forth.

A multi-layered conversation is building up between all the different voices. Each one with their own colour but taking and giving hints of nuances to each other. Like the colour wheel.

Stills from Romane Nagy Performance-Installation
(View the full video in my Blog from February 12, 2021)
Romane is inspiring me with every project she develops. Our performance practices are echoing each other. I am looking forward to have them converse with each other soon.

Creatively Using the Challenges of Working Together

In order to be happy in this creative relationship, I learnt to go back and forth, like the ocean’s ebb and flow, never to force it.

I make an offer and let it bounce until someone catches it. Or I catch an offer from someone who has something they want to share. If there is no bounce back or offer, that is alright too.

Working with people I know so well means that I know about pieces of creative endeavours that are lying around in their world as they know some of mine. With permission I sometimes work from these pieces and get the creative conversation fired up again.

Because our collective creation is what fills the distance between each of us, bringing us closer together in this time of too much separation…

I miss you all:)

Explore creating with some family members or with a close friend... Share your discoveries.

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