Traces of movement

Nanaimo residents can see the performance of poetry onstage.

People leave traces of themselves on the lives of others, whether it’s a remnant of emotion, a moment preserved in memory or a physical reaction their intersecting lives affect each other.

Dancer Jennifer McLeish-Lewis explores memory and how people leave traces on each other’s lives during her performance Leaving Traces, choreographed by Daelik. She’ll also perform her own piece Reverie, which explores the idea of the sacred feminine and its inverse, objectification.

“I would love if people had a visceral reaction to my piece, like a sensorial experience in their body,” said McLeish-Lewis, adding even if people have conflicting interpretations of the story or don’t see a story she hopes it makes them feel something inside their bodies.

She creates her pieces through assembled images that flash in her mind. She works to link those images through movement and incorporate different structures of dance to communicate her story to the audience. McLeish-Lewis said every dancer’s process of creating their pieces is unique.

McLeish-Lewis’ piece, Reverie, explores the idea of the sacred feminine, the reverence of the feminine and its inverse – objectification.

“I kind of feel like those are two sides of the same coin,” she said.

Her performances are part of a collaboration with Crimson Coast Dance Society entitled Leaving Traces – New Dance Works.  Leaving Traces is Saturday (Sept. 29) at Vancouver Island University’s Malaspina Theatre, starting at 8 p.m., and also features the pieces of four young Nanaimo choreographers from VIBE Dance, which includes Voula Rounis, Melisa Jones, Dominique Saab and Chelsea Ikona.

Holly Bright, artistic director and producer of Crimson Coast, said the pieces are about the essence of human experience and even if people don’t know the exact story the dancers are performing because they perform with so much conviction and passion the audience will have an emotional reaction.

“It’s moving poetry. The body is moving and you are creating poetry and space and everyone gets to share the experience of seeing it unfold ,” she said, adding people will then be able to talk about what it means to them. “I think in that conversation there is an essence that arises that defines the global experience of being human or humanity.”

Nanaimo dancer Melisa Jones, 18, a hip-hop contemporary fusion dancer, will perform her piece 18th Floor. Her piece is a story of a person who misses another but can only see them through dreams. Jones said to create the dance moves for her piece she drew on the inspiration of what is around her and what she lives with.

“Everyone can relate to it, whether it’s someone who passed away of moved away,” she said. “You’re missing them and in the dream you are happy when you see them.”

Jones said it’s an honour to be able to share her version of dance with people in Nanaimo.

Leaving Traces – New Dance Works is Saturday (Sept. 29) at the Malaspina Theatre starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 in advance,  $25 at the door and $10 for students with valid ID. Tickets are available at Lucid Clothing, Lobelia’s Lair, Arbutus Music, Shades of Green and

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