Bodies in Mocean

Photo: Michelle Doucette

From April 30 to May 2, Mocean Dance will present Close Reach, its annual home-season production and main-stage show featuring two works. The first is the world premiere of Sable Island, choreographed for Mocean by Vancouver’s Serge Bennathan. The second is the remounted solo work Live from the Flash Pan, which was originally choreographed in 2011 by Halifax’s Cory Bowles and will be performed by Rhonda Baker.Mocean-Dance-12-resized

At 40 minutes in length, Sable Island is the showpiece. “There’s a lot of running through space,” says Susanne Chui, Mocean’s artistic director and one of the five dancers who will perform the work. “We can just barely do the piece, it’s so physical. You can really see the hardship and courage of the dancers, which reflects the rugged, raw spirit of the island.”

Bennathan describes Sable Island as a sense of space, of physical freedom and power, and calmness that can suddenly become wild and unleashed in a stormy way. “As I was creating this work, I was told about the actual island and its mythical story, with these horses running wild,” he says. “I couldn’t help but see a parallel with how I was using the space and strength of the dancers, the fluidity through tenderness, fear and storm that I was trying to achieve.”

Bennathan’s long-time composer, Bertrand Chenier, will play keyboards near the dancers. “It’s the first time we’ve had live music onstage, which is exciting,” says Chui. For more information, visit

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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