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Skin Songs: dance-theatre performance in Strathcona Park

Skin Songs: dance-theatre performance in Strathcona Park

What’s written in your skin? Follow four dancers through Strathcona Park as they reveal their experience of living female accompanied by a recorded soundscore of text and music.

TACTICS (Theatre Artists’ Co-operative: the Independent Collective Series) presents Skin Songs in Strathcona Park (25 Range Road in Ottawa) from June 1 to 11, 2023. This site-specific, outdoor, dance-theatre performance plays Thursday to Sunday evenings at 6pm.

Four women - Eleanor Crowder, Jacqui Du Toit, Jessica Ruano, and Lola Ryan - challenge society’s definition of the feminine through their struggle for personal independence. Composer Angela Schleihauf underlines each woman’s story with her music, weaving four experiences into one celebration of female strength.

This performance brings extreme intimacy to a very public setting. The show is heard on personal headphones over wifi as audience members follow the dancers through the park. This creates an interesting juxtaposition: tuned to an intimate and revelatory sound piece, audiences are also present to the busy daily life of a public park.

Skin Songs unearths meaning from decades of life history:

Eleanor grew up in Ireland with a large family and immigrated to Canada as a child. Through multiple marriages and the empowering experiences of childbirth, she built on the strength inherited from a matriarchy of powerful women.

Jacqui was born and raised in South Africa. She felt comfortable in her own skin, her own style of dress, until the tender age of 13, where she felt pressured to fit in with other girls. After moving to Canada as a grown woman and having a baby girl, Jacqui found herself embracing femininity in a whole new way.

Jessica had a traditional suburban upbringing in Ottawa. As a queer woman who found she did not thrive in monogamous relationships, she questioned whether she would ever become a parent. That is, until she was offered the opportunity to adopt a newborn baby from Nunavut.

Lola lived a life dutifully male for six decades. After coming out as a transgender woman, she looked back over years of poetry full of symbolism – a red dress, make-up, dancing in silk and lace – revealing the paradox of her identity. These moments of knowing she was always female.

Directorial Consultant Kate Smith (Skeleton Key Theatre) is joined by Outside Eye Yvonne Coutts (Ottawa Dance Directive), Costume Coordinator Sarah Waghorn, and Stage Manager Katie Webb. Promotional photos are taken by Mad Mary Photography.

BOOK TICKETS $25: skinsongs.eventbrite.ca

RUNTIME: 55mins

Please bring your own device (we can provide the wifi)
Bring earphones
Download Zoom in advance
Make sure you have access to the meeting (via Eventbrite)
Limit of 50 people per show (no more than that for the wifi hub).

ACCESSIBILITY: Outdoor (wheelchair accessible), headphones required, accessible to sight impaired with a guide, visual elements accessible to deaf audience with a screen to provide written text.

The Skin Songs Collective and Creative Team are grateful to live and work on the unceded, unsurrendered territory of the Anishnaabe Algonquin people, the past, present, and future caretakers of this land.


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