FRAME OF MIND Explores The Lived Experience Of Mental Health Through Dance

Do individuals with mental health diagnoses really need to transform themselves to "fit" into society or can we reimagine a society without barriers? This question is at the heart of FRAME OF MIND, a new production from award-winning dance company Propeller Dance, on at Great Canadian Theatre Company from June 19 - 21. It features a full-length company work in addition to a community art project performed in partnership with the Psychiatric Survivors of Ottawa and the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre.

FRAME OF MIND is comprised of two dance-theatre experiences, each of which approaches the lived experience of mental illness from a different perspective. "Picture This", the community art project, explores mental health through storytelling, movement, and a deconstruction of the people use to describe mental health.

"A Look Inside", the company work, holds a mirror to the way society depicts mental health, celebrating the lived experience of individuals who receive diagnoses and bringing attention to the masks society demands we wear as we navigate this increasingly complex world. The piece's choreography takes its inspiration from coping mechanisms, such as the pulling of clothing or the picking of skin, bringing attention to the inner experience of people with diagnoses. It features emotionally evocative video art from Ed Hanley.

Choreographer and director Shara Weaver is honored to have been part of such a deep, collaborative process with the dancers this season. "This work has broadened the company's awareness of and the creative possibilities that mental health poses. Celebrating our madness in all its non-linear and sensory ways has been extremely exciting to me," says Weaver.

Propeller Dance's co-founder, Renata Soutter, recently one of three finalists for an Ottawa Arts Council Mid-Career Artist Award, believes strongly in the importance of FRAME OF MIND. "Through dance-theatre, we have an opportunity to bring to light diverse experiences and allow audiences to really feel them," says Soutter. "It's an opportunity to engage in true empathy, and that's something that we need now more than ever."

PICTURE THIS

Directed and Choreographed by: Shara Weaver with Surraya Aziz

Created in collaboration with dancers: Jenn Abrams, Surraya Aziz, May Gomi, Karen Lemieux, Peter Menear, Kristen Rading, Aline Rubabaza

Dance Support: Jenn Abrams

A LOOK INSIDE

Directed and Choreographed by: Shara Weaver

Created in collaboration with performers: Jenn Abrams, Surraya Aziz, Genevieve Beaulieu, Sylvain Bouchard, Bella Bowes, Robert Chartier, Amelia Griffin, Jessie Huggett, Frank Hull, Moni Hoffman, Alan Shain

Rehearsal Assistant: Amelia Griffin

Dance Support: Maggi Monooogian, Genevieve Beaulieu

Tickets for the Relaxed Performance (June 19, 2pm) are pay-what-you-like. Tickets for the performances on June 20 and 21 at 7:30pm are $30 general, $25 students/seniors, $15 low income. Tickets are available through the GCTC Box Office by calling 613-236-5196 or online at www.gctc.ca.



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