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about

snaps, steps, slides and vocables shape the visual and sonic rhythmic language of the migration dance films.

The migration dance film project is the creative collaboration between two pioneers breaking conventions within their respective artistic practices: screendance film director Marlene Millar and percussive dance choreographer Sandy Silva. Performance-based narratives as lyrical poems — follow a cast of ten dancer-singers as they travel where song, rhythm and movement envelope us through communal voyage and the powerful storyline anchored in m i g r a t i o n —movement through journeying.

Sound plays an equally prominent role throughout the progression of these stories where the performers’ sonorous connection to the different landscapes and surfaces they navigate are as telling in narrative form as the deeply breathtaking visuals.

The films explore the migratory experience for the artists themselves and the communities engaged with — nomadic storytellers connected by the intimate knowledge of individual and shared experiences in unison. Renewed interpretations between hushed abstract formations are captured and the defiant personal gravity that displacement deeply imprints.

Silva’s choreography translates through Millar’s camera in a porous lingering resonance, an assemblage of sound design, montage and alternative screens all reside as a visceral convergence that the opening of possibilities allot — offering an intimacy impossible to see or hear on a live stage.

Marlene Millar

director — producer

has created dance films, documentaries and experimental media productions for over 30 years. In 2019, her career was honoured at a retrospective exhibit at Threshold Artspace, Perth, UK, premiering her installation WITNESS that captures metaphoric histories with docu-fiction resonances. The process-driven continuum of the MIGRATION DANCE FILM PROJECT directed by Millar comes to life as she transposes Sandy Silva’s choreography to the screen, revealing the intricacies of issue-driven, performative stories. The films have garnered over 30 awards and prizes internationally. Since 2000, Marlene has co-created an acclaimed collection of dance media work with Philip Szporer through their company, MOUVEMENT PERPÉTUEL. A prolific educator and mentor, Millar has taught filmmaking across continents at institutes such as Centre Imagine (Burkina Faso), Malakta (Finland), Impulstanz (Vienna) and throughout the Canadian Arctic.

Sandy Silva

choreographer — producer

is an award-winning performer, choreographer, composer, producer, and internationally acclaimed pioneer of percussive dance. She draws from global percussive practices infusing themes with movement, vocal integration, theatre, and impeccable musicality. The result is a unique and powerful form of performance storytelling. After 30 years of performing and teaching around the world, Sandy started the MIGRATION DANCE FILM PROJECT with award-winning director Marlene Millar. Their dance-for-camera films have screened internationally and won numerous awards. Sandy has chosen artists from different artistic disciplines — dancers, singers and musicians — and brought communities together to move beyond traditional body percussion, expanding the depth of percussive dance vocabulary within an unconventional contemporary art form.

performers

Afia Douglas

has a passion for dance, music, and health. She began dancing at a young age in a variety of dance styles and has performed in many shows across multiple movement practices. She taught jazz and contemporary dance for several years before focusing on health and fitness. Her love for dance and rhythm drew her to participate in the MIGRATION DANCE FILM PROJECT beginning in 2016. Today she continues to teach Zumba and cardio classes in Montreal.

Dominic Desrochers

has been a collaborator and performer in the MIGRATION DANCE FILM PROJECT from the outset. Dominic participates generously in the collective’s process, inviting introspection, reflection, and expression through the arts of dance and song dedicated to poetic images. To the collective’s landscape of percussive dance, Dominic adds music, poetry, animation, and clowning. He has worked as a clown therapist for the Dr. Clown Foundation, is a member of the Bon Débarras trio, a choreographer and co-founder of Zeugma Danse, and is a member of Québec’s Répertoire Culture-Éducation.

Drew Bathory

is a multidisciplinary creator based in Montreal. Their practice is informed by over 20 years of experience with a focus on the relationship between self-inquiry and self-expression through vocals, dance, and creative writing. A proud graduate of the Canadian College of Performing Arts and alumni of Berklee College of Music and Concordia University, Drew has been a member of the MIGRATION DANCE FILM PROJECT since 2014. The collaborative spirit, community-oriented practice, and ongoing relationship-building that enriches listening, connection, and care is what inspires Drew most about this collective.

Bobby Thompson

had been dancing professionally since 1985, engaging many styles including contemporary, flamenco, and Argentine tango. Bobby now devotes his time to teaching dance and learning baroque dance. He appears in all of the MIGRATION DANCE FILM PROJECT films. Bobby is proud to be part of this magnificent team and to be able to share art on screen that marries image, dance, song, and music to deliver a message of humanity.

Sonia Clarke

has been studying and performing body percussion with Sandy Silva since 2009. A member of the MIGRATION DANCE FILM PROJECT since its inception, Sonia has spent her adult life in the dance industry as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. Working with Sandy Silva has broadened her understanding of music and its association to movement. According to Sonia, the work created in the MDFP is as nourishing as the relationships that have grown from the collaboration.

Kimberley Robin

started working with Sandy Silva in 2012, several years before the MIGRATION DANCE FILM PROJECT and has been part of the collective from the very start. Although music has always been a part of her life, it’s only as an adult that she dove into percussion by joining a Brazilian bateria in Montreal. While her love for percussion initially drew her to the project, for Kimberly, the MDFP is so much more. According to Kimberly, the MDFP is an immersion into rhythm, movement, song, and friendship.

Issac Endo

works as a multidisciplinary facilitator including influences from circus, visual arts, and theatre, and has long been informed by a connection to music. A member of the MIGRATION DANCE FILM PROJECT since 2019, the collective’s ethos of music and collaboration has provided him deep insight into the fusion of movement and sound.

Hélène Lemay

has had a long career as a contemporary dancer in parallel to her work as an artistic trainer and choreographer. Presently, she works with young circus artists at Cirque du Soleil. In addition, Hélène had the opportunity to learn and practice body percussion with Sandy Silva. She has participated in all of the MIGRATION DANCE FILM PROJECT films to date and has been a member of the collective since the beginning. Through the MDFP Hélène has had the pleasure of working and exchanging with artists across disciplines in Montreal and abroad.

David Cronkite

has been a member of the MIGRATION DANCE FILM PROJECT since the project’s debut film “Lay Me Low.” David brings diverse experience to the collective including fifteen years as a Tai Chi instructor, massage therapist for DanseDanse, instructor for L’École de Danse Contemporaine de Montréal, member of the choir Voces Boreales, and president of the Montreal Choral Institute. For David, working with the MDFP  has been a tremendously enriching experience. In David’s words, “Witnessing how germinal choreographic ideas develop to become fully fleshed-out films has been a joy!”

collaborators

Jules de Niverville

editor

is a visual and media artist and has oscillated between photography and film for over 25 years. Following a degree in filmmaking he has worked in the industry as set decorator and assistant art director in both provincial and American feature productions, including television series and advertising. More recently, his career has shifted to cinematography and editing with a specialization in dance for camera productions. Collaborating on the MIGRATION DANCE FILM PROJECT continues to enrich his craft as he endeavours to distil the collective’s unique vision.

Jean Fréchette

composer — arranger

is a saxophonist, arranger, composer, and teacher at the Saint-Laurent CEGEP. His career is oriented towards jazz, pop and variety music. In 1982, Vic Vogel integrated him into his musical formation and he has since participated in numerous projects, festivals, studio sessions, television shows and tours. From 1990, he concentrated his activities on the band La Bottine Souriante as musical director, arranger, multi-instrumentalist, and album producer. Since 2015 the MIGRATION DANCE FILM PROJECT has allowed Jean to continue to evolve in the composition and production of music for moving images.