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February 2023: Sophie Dow
Who is Sophie Dow in a sentence?
Just another trickster wandering down a series of multi-dimensional paths, aiming to carry light in a good way and share it when I can, whether that’s through stories, movement, song, bodywork, giggles or some kind of wondrous adventure.
Tell us a bit about your work and practice.
I fulfill roles in many creative spheres that are consistently evolving my practice.
I have the great privilege of existing as a freelance dancer/choreographer/sound designer. I act as one of five creative directors of Prince Edward County’s Flight Festival of Contemporary Dance, artistic associate of O.Dela Arts & The Chimera Project Dance Theatre, the Re-Centering Margins Residency coordinator at Dance West Network, fire spinner with Ember Arts Fire Society musician with The Honeycomb Flyers, a licensed practitioner of Traditional Thai Massage and a student & trained facilitator of BreathWave.
My movement & ideas are very much inspired by the great outdoors, environment and all those beautiful souls that appear in each of them. I was born, raised and received my initial training in dance and music in the vast prairies and skies of Treaty 1 (Winnipeg, Manitoba.) I then spent 7 years living fulltime in Tkaronto (Toronto) both doing and undoing professional dance training and tapping into strands of my Métis-Assiniboine lineage. Lately, I’ve been living on Musqueam, Squamish & Tsleil-Watuth Territory (so-called Vancouver). There have also been many wild tours sprinkled in the span of those years, carrying me by train, bus, plane, boat, car and thumb from the Halifax pier to the surf of Tofino, North to the tundra and south to the deserts of Nevada.
My choreographic creations are informed through a multidisciplinary lens. When I am dreaming of bringing a story into the physical realm, I’m often employing slivers from all the varying facets of my life so far. (These slivers include but not limited to movement structures, music/sound design, lighting design, patterns, conversations with Elders, costumes/garments, characters, recorded & live projections, and more)
How long have you been dancing?
28 years – aka from the day I was born and in my jolly jumper pre-walking days
(25 of those years became focused in formal training)
How does dance fit into your life currently?
An Elder explained to me once that everything is simply a choreography of energy, and so I’ve been approaching pretty well everything as dance & choreography; from the patterns of my daily morning routine, to the way I respond to emails, or drive down the street or weave in and out of all my relations. Dance is also my primary form of “employment” or financial support, so I’m consistently steeped in it.
How would you describe dance’s impact on your life?
Dance has been a constant throughout my entire life. It serves as a place of play, of solace, connection, community, spirituality, meditation, chaos, joy and grief, pain and healing. Dance is one of my absolute greatest teachers.
What three core values drive your engagement with dance?
Working in a good, heart-centered way
Do you have a particular practice that you carry out each day or have you implemented new practices as a way of adapting to the current climate?
I have a set of very specific morning rituals – approximately a 40 – 60 minute routine – that I do immediately after I wake up every day, whether I’m at my homebase for the year or on a 4 month tour. It generally involves seated meditation, gentle movement (namely sun salutations, 5 Tibetan rites or a small dance party), TRE and breathwork. Having the consistency of this physical preparation for each day really helps me find a grounding wherever I am and to really be present & ready for anything that might appear each day. (I attribute my commitment, rigor & willingness to show up for myself each morning, to my early ballet training and the discipline it instilled)
What would you say are the most significant benefits for you in being a Dance Centre member?
Being a member at the Dance Centre has really welcomed me into the Vancouver dance scene. Having a dance hub full of studios feels like a familiar home, no matter where I’ve traveled and lived, so the facilities and the generous folks who dance through them have been a REALLY beautiful place of grounding, acquainting and feeling safe in a place that is newer to me. I cannot wait to delve even further into all the wonderful programming and upcoming projects.
Sophie’s Membership Profile
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Photos: Graham Isador, Tammy Fiegehen