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sonic maps

sound of circles

Produced by musician Liz Knowles, the sound of circles is a podcast series of “circular” reflections, gestures, sounds, and landscapes explored through the migration dance film project. These sonic maps spiral up through music, movement and filmmaking — weaving together Liz’s reflections on the films and her conversations with choreographer Sandy Silva and director Marlene Millar. In each episode, we present these resonances of circular motion — a journey of emergence.

music/sound design — excerpts of fiddle sounds, fiddle music and ambient sounds by Liz Knowles.
migration dance films — audio excerpts provided with permission by Migration Dance Film Productions.
audio post-production — Les Studios Bakery

1 – sound of circles

Musician Liz Knowles introduces sound of circles, a nine part cycle of reflections on the migration dance films.

2 – container for curiosity

Art can be a container for our curiosity. Liz discusses those creative vessels with the migration dance film creators, Sandy Silva and Marlene Millar.


of navigation

              hush standing,
                            seaward facing

with palms inward yet expectant,
they are the paths to the corrosion, cleaves
that each rhythm maker has come to heal
in an act of unity.
Dance the union
the winds.
    The spray has
                      soft hooks:
the ocean - the muscles an element
of deep dark and cliffs mocking
the innocents light.
Nothing of rock determines ways, only
                                            the roof of clouds
dreamt in the run can choke the reality
of their journey. 
Dance the touch
In the gloom the chaos
unravels, and the dark speaks:
Listen to the dark
                   the voices
of ancestors
                   whisper up
The weaves of crevice are mouths to pasts,
the arteries to our tomorrows.
Dance the union of ancestor to the unborn.
Is the horizon
                       We will know
soon enough.
              the distance
– close
the mystery.
Jim Mackintosh


In movement,
in genuflection of curved air
         they remember
the bodies of children,
closed eyes lit by notes
          of lost song
curved silent
curve again -
into vaulted space, shadows dance across
trappings of failed religions, question
bleached impressions of icons - remnants
of a first forgiveness,
                                          a last confession,

the second and last coming defined in
turned tone

turn again -
into the morning where
                            ash road patterns
pass windmills brooding, like vacant crosses
on the Appian Way but they dance forward
through a sea of corn, centurion stalk-spears
where do you take
                                your rhythms?
                which of you
                                is the leader?

what truths
               do you hope to find?
The sun with all its power to gift life, deny days
or quicken death, blesses motion repeated
               by the dancers, arouses the grain husk wind
to lift dust to
                          camouflage their hearts.
Keepers of movement - 
be our futures, 
remember us,
               embrace our past of
danced rhythmic

dance again -
at the rise of the moon to guide feet
on journeys deemed impossible in sun’s glare
where rhythm must be light for footsteps,
in darkness to outline gestures, the fusion
               of phosphorous and vaulted moon.
Dancers understand steps
              they choose,
know where paths will
                              take them,
to where journeys
               demand breath, poise,
& silent space at its solemn velvet edge,
to where feet stop memories dissolving
one by one, eyes open, finding lost song,
turning our pasts, one by one
turn again
return to the path
    for in tomorrow’s trinity,
silent reflection,
    tone genuflection,
    rhythmic inquisition
will return in movement
Jim Mackintosh



“For its judicious use of space, its uplifting sound composition, and its breathtaking images, and for the director’s generous sharing through extraordinary attention to detail, the student jury awards the prize for Best Canadian Short Film Award to Marlene Millar and Sandy Silva’s film Navigation.”

Best Canadian Short Film Award – Festival International du film sur l’art – Montreal 2021


It is with great appreciation for the overall production that we would like to present an Honorable Mention to NAVIGATION by Marlene Millar and Sandy Silva. Strikingly kinesthetic and rich in sound and image, the film portrays a strong sense of community, history and cultural heritage. The production beautifully presents a symbiotic relationship of choreography, landscape and music. It lingers in the memory long after the final scene, and is a poetic reflection on the past combined with hope for the future.

Honorable Mention, Short Waves Festival – Poznan, Poland 2021

“…[navigation ]…manages to convey a strong message about humanity, which is reflected in the way bodies, sound, camera and location are used. It emphasizes, generously, how different generations evolve side by side and the different ways of living together while finding each’s voice.”

Best Film Award – Bucharest International Dance Film Festival, Romania, 2020


As Navigation progresses from the cracked pavement of glacial-era limestone (overhead shots make the patterns on the rock look like something created by an ancient civilisation), through tracks and lanes, the repeated rhythms of the music and vocals are superbly echoed in the gesture-driven choreography that is precise and surprisingly full of emotion. It ends on a beach, and with shots of dark cliffs and grey waves. The message needs no elucidation.

David Mead, Seeing Dance

lay me low

“An extremely well-crafted film that speaks to the viewer on many sensorial levels. Floating outside of a specific time or history the film addresses in a powerfully original way universal themes of grief and the power of communal ritual. An intensely moving film that resonates with what it means to be alive”.

Charlotte Ginsborg  – filmmaker, jury WOFFF21 (Women Over Fifty Film Festival, UK)

MDFP series

With the use of mixed generations and pedestrian movement, the films from the series resonate deeply with all audiences, creating an inclusive experience that seamlessly weaves music, dance, and filmmaking into one.

Greta Schoenberg, San Francisco Dance Film Festival

MDFP series

The visual lyricism of these films is simply stunning. They are stunning for their simplicity and their resonance. These sounds and images linger gently in the imagination and make a home there as most welcome guests.

Ev Mann, Center for Creative Education, New York