Local dance presenter Live Art Dance has announced Halifax-based dance artist Emma Kerson as the winner of this year’s Diane Moore Creation Award (DMCA), which includes a $2,000 cash prize and 50 hours of free studio space.
Named in memory of Live Art Dance‘s founder, the DMCA was inspired by Moore’s passion for dance creation and her support of Atlantic Canadian artists. The award, adjudicated by an independent jury, was created to help stimulate and sustain the creation of contemporary dance in the Atlantic region.
Grateful to be this year’s recipient, Kerson says it marks a new chapter for her, having spent the majority of her professional life away from home.
“Now that I’ve returned, I very intentionally decided to work with as many artists as I possibly could as both a love letter to the community and as a desire to find connection and grounding,” she says.
That work comes in the creation of What’s the Use?, Kerson’s project that will use the award’s cash prize and studio time. An experimental proposal through which seventeen local collaborators and co-creators from across Mi’kma’ki from a variety of artistic mediums and practices, What’s the Use? will include dancers, choreographers, visual artists, directors, stand-ups, scholars, clowns, poets, drag artists, writers, sound designers, musicians, set designers, circus artists, and actors.
“What’s the Use? will challenge me into unknown territory as a creator and choice-maker,” says Kerson. “This support gives me the time and space to create the process-based collaborative environments I wish to see more of, and I am honoured that so many incredible artists are coming along for the ride and asking the big questions.”
Raised in Halifax, Kerson was drawn to dance “as a means to understand one another through collaborative experiences.” A graduate of Dalhousie University and The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Kerson also completed her Master of Arts at the Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. Her work has been developed and presented in Canada and abroad.
In 2019 Kerson founded Bare Nerve with Jane-Alison McKinney. Their full-length work hard wire (video trailer below) will premiere later this year.