Guided by Catherine Joncas, dancers Claudia Chan Tak, Lucy Fandel, Charo Foo Tai Wei, Kyana Lyne, Heather Mah, Victoria May, Marine Morales-Casaroli and Marie Mougeolle explored ancestral memories in their dancing bodies in May 2021. During these exploratory workshops, Catherine acted as an elder and guide. To start, she placed four stones in the space to anchor the project in respect, truth (to oneself and others), non-judgement and a willingness to embrace and overcome fear.
These workshops were not filmed or photographed. The participants took with them memories of slowness, introspection, intense focus, fragility and openness. They carried traces of the experience in their bodies, notebook entries and sketches. The adventure was also captured in drawings by artist and illustrator Youloune, who attended the workshops on two occasions. These traces (writings, drawings and sketches), along with new reflections around ancestral memories, have been incorporated into a new publication by Espace Perreault.
Ancestral memories are part of the very fibre of our being: they are lodged in our bones, brain and organs. They suddenly emerge, surprise us and offer comfort, reminding us of an essential human connection that extends far back in time. During this global crisis, it is more urgent than ever that we pay attention to these memories and share their messages.