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See also: Photos from Carving Mother and Music from Carving Mother

Performed at :
Kitchener Waterloo Ontario
Waterloo Community Arts Center
July 11th
Winnipeg Fringe Manitoba July 17 to 26
Saskatoon Fringe Saskatchewan July 31 to Aug 9
Edmonton Fringe Alberta Aug 14 to 23
Victoria Fringe British Columbia Aug 27 to Sept. 7

Free Flow Dance Company, premieres Carving Mother in the Canadian Fringe Theater Festival of 1998. Through use of the dramatic and the subtle, formal and pedestrian movements, an unfinished sculpture and an angry young woman meet. Together they carve out the forms and issues of the true and disturbing mothers, daughters, masterpieces and strange creatures of no fixed address, which they are. Carving Mother creates an eerie yet beautiful atmosphere with it's unique dance style, yards of flowing red, white and black fabric and unusual original musical score by composer Hartley Wynberg.

The Story of Carving Mother

Carving Mother began as an idea. The relationships between mother and child have been studied and analyzed by many minds all over the planet. Each of us has our own opinions, views and images that surround our own experiences. The work concerns matriarchy and strong female figures and discusses both the child and mother's points of view. It also looks at mothering in the artists point of view. For instance how I as a choreographer feel about my dancers, my work and how they grow and develop together.

Enclosed are some excerpts from my own notes and those of my dancers. You can see how each person involved has constructed parts of the story from their own lives and personalities.

She unveils me, I am a relic. I am a dusty statue. Some artist's previous attempt at the perfect female form. I am a glorified woman, you know the remains of the first Australopithecus, an upright ancestor of humans. My story begins, I want to breath again. She has helped me be born, without a mother, not of the womb but from the warm inside an idea. I want to tell her what I have seen and where I have come from. I crawl and she follows.

I shadow her as she collects her tears and discards them. She hears the same voices that I heard and she tells them to go. She is stronger than I and has the power to force them out of her life. It makes her angry that the voices have heard and obeyed.

By me and by many other girls, women, I am a motherly sort of figure because I am teaching but I am also a daughter. I am a daughter of the world, of the imagination, from the realm of the original Gods.

I feel it is too late for me, she is the one who can move beyond the limitations of the voices in our heads. She is the one who can change things. I feel guilty for being responsible for the creative force. I was muse, a creative and pro creative force, I made beauty and blemishes on the earth.

Poor me I am crying over my own lost time. I am angry, but unable to let it free. The artist chiseled me smart and then whittled me down to pretty and then to smart again. I got smaller trying hard to be beautiful and to please everyone, but my features came together in ugliness because the artist couldn't decide if they wanted a pretty or smart muse.

Do I want to be seen or heard?

The sheet is diaphanous, completely transparent but binding. No one should live inside it. Not even me. I want to breath again. We both come to a place that is full of knowledge and power, wicked and decadent and oh so necessary for our survival both personally and universally.

Matriarch: a mother who rules her family or tribe, a woman who is head of a matriarchy, a highly respected elderly woman.

Matriarchy: a form of social organization in which the mother is recognized as the head of the family or tribe, descent and kinship being traced through the mother, government rule or domination by women.

Mother: a woman who has born a child, a woman as she is related to her child/children, that which gives birth to something is the origin of source of something or nurtures in the manner of a mother, a title of affectionate respect for an elderly woman.

Material covers old furniture and unfinished paintings. Return back into your mind and rethink old things, dredging up memories. Gauze from a mummy's shroud, alien and suffocating. Bridal veils and a start anew.

When we speak of the work we discover that it has three belief segments combined into one. Feminine is the softer senses, Feminist is the more political, strong senses and Female is more sterile feeling and concerns itself with the body and physical science.

I prefer to think of this work as a becoming, not just one vision.

The images are very strong. They make the audience stop, think and remember.

Establishing the female symbol, awakening, finding your selves, a life pulse, a heartbeat if you will, that connects you with the rhythms of external life. Flow, Connections, alive, motivations, motion adds to your own personal tale. Love, caring separations, hostility, you fall from grace as your support is taken away. The grave shroud covers you whole, smothering, struggling, beautiful are your insecurities. The order of power. What is it? Cooperation, cycles, competition?

You each grow and move in your own direction but are both going to the same place in the end. Nourishment and growth flourishing from the vagina like flower bud. It opens and reveals it's true self. Mothering instinct, becoming internal, fertility Vs infertility and children leaving the nest. Going no where, around and around, futility cycles you toward menopause. Breath is life, breath Vs non breath, guarded Vs relaxed, curvy Vs straight continuing on regardless. Metamorphosis.

Breaking free, impatience, motion and intertwined paths. A spiritual awakening, like the ecstasy of Saint Theresa. Combines to build the family bond and the artists re-emergence. Wrapping you in it's folds. Expand into it's calling, and reconnect your bonds, a subtle switch has happened and the roles are reversing with the passage of time. Work, play, caress, hold and drop. Helps her up again and starts over.

The knowledge of a new beginning, a fight against it, builds, leaps, rolls and spins. Energy whips the air and through it a calm is formed. A meeting of two souls which could be one or one thousand. Pause. Breath. And move towards the fulfillment of your life's work.

No story ever ends. There is always one that picks up right where the last one stopped. Our place is in the breath that lies between.

If need be SPEAK, my mother, is it me? inane images of strength.
Shall I fly until they hear me?

I seek fun and enchantment. I hear the child where is she?
Shall I sing or shall I spit? do my ears always ring?? - SILENCE - I play with juxtaposition.

My wound has she healed?
Heartfelt Youth.


With my mind's eye, I can see her, do I trust her?
Does she love me?


She is ME and ME is ME and She is ME and ME is HER.
I must go on - do not STOP me!

I am frightened,
I have the strength.
I have the strength......

It's a fine line
To recognize
To breath
To soar
To be.......

Media Quotes about Carving Mother Fringe Tour 1998

“Beautifully Danced”
“It's just wonderful to watch these women's bodies move through space.”

“Raw and Physical”
Winnipeg Sun

“Strong and Athletic”
Saskatoon Star Phoenix

“Striking, strident dance tour de force”
“Not for the faint of heart”
“Unapologetic, fierce and yes, mesmerizing”
“A jolt of creative espresso”
See Magazine

“Beautiful images”
“Rich vocabulary of movement”
Vue Weekly

“Marveled at the discipline”
“The most abstract show at this year's fringe”
Edmonton Journal

“You'll like this Mother”
“Disciplined and controlled”
“An introduction to the art form for those not familiar with it”
“An engrossing hour of modern dance”
Edmonton Sun

“A tautly conceived, satisfying female duet”
“An impressive performance indeed.”
Victoria Times Colonist

More Quotes:
What our viewers think of Carving Mother

“An examination of where the creative spark starts and the resultant creation ends”
“Extends beyond the traditional art form”
“Affectionados of contemporary dance will find it very much to their taste”
“An intense exploration of mother/daughter/family/women struggles and relationships.”
“beautiful and clever”
“the intensity is sustained throughout”
The Jenny Review

“Athletic to fluid and never grows too repetitious”
“Never let the pace of the show drop”
“The tempo never drags. A good piece of dance.”
“A deeply stirring and riveting experience”
“mesmerizing movements”
“I felt as if I were in a trance, watching and connecting with the dancers as they expressed emotions trapped within me.”
“I was caught by the spell which these women wove with their dance.”
“I highly recommend Carving Mother, with the added suggestion of taking a hankie along with you.”
“In Greek theater it was understood that the performers spoke for the Gods, so that humans could be healed. Carving Mother saved me a trip to the temple and a couple of hundred bucks in therapy.”
“Fluid, colorful and evocative”
“Enthralling and captivating”
“You will quickly notice their agility, physical strength and feminine boldness.”
“You'll see every woman in the double shadow of the dancer.”
The Craig

Copyright © 2019 Free Flow Dance Company