my . artist run website  

Today I'd like to introduce you to SEACHS,  the South East Asian Cultural Heritage Society.  In coming days, I'll post more about them and related activities.


The group presents indigenous dance, music and costumes from Southeast Asia, an area spanning 11 countries and 500 million people, of which Vietnam, Thailand and the Philipines are most strongly represented in BC's population.  SEACHS  performances strive to present indigenous instruments, cultural garbs, songs and dances interspersed with informative narration. This year, their performances - of Laotian, Vietnamese, Pilipino and Thai indigenous traditions showcased SEACHS performers including Kathara Indigenous Pilipino Arts Collective Society , the Thai Dramatic Arts and Cultural Association, and the Monsoon Society. 


These are people who love what they do.  Their passion is rooted in teaching Canadian-born people of Southeast Asian descent about their shared heritage. 



With the help of SEACHS artists, I directed a young people's dance group for five years, performing Vietnamese dances taught by Co Kim Be Nhung and Co Betty Chao Nguyen, which I arranged and produced with other parents at Libraries, community centres, schools, galleries, benefits  and particularly Lunar New Year Festivities. 


My connection to SEACHS is personal.  SEACHS members, and other Vietnamese Canadian friends have generously opened their hearts to my family.  We are part of Vietnam Connection, a small collection of families whose heritage includes roots in Vietnam, predominantly through their adoptive children.   We do things together to connect our families, particularly our kids, to Southeast Asian heritage - and to our amazement, we've weathered a decade of growth and change together.


bg_21401381138342.jpgDancer:  Lan  Joyce


For seven years, we've marched in the Chinatown Parade each Tet (Lunar New Year).  Last year Mr. Ha Sam kindly put a video glimpse of our rambling parade presence on line.  We have been introduced as "particularly diverse" when we arrive at the dignitaries stand.  In case you are wondering, I am  the one driving Mr Ha Sam (accordian),  little Sam, who didn't feel well,  and a gaggle of beauty queens, in Tammy Truong's white miata sports car.   Hen Gap Lai!





Thai Dramatic Arts and Cultural Association of BC
Monsoon Society

"The question is this: what is the right way to work for the thing that you want to do?

What can you do, at this moment, in this process?

Whatn will be gained and what will be lost in the way you choose to work?

There will be loss.

All of these questions can be asked even if you don't know what you're trying to do. So long, that is, that you know you don't know what you're trying to do.

It's ok not to know what you're trying to do."



Jonathan Burrows, 2010 

Improvisation/Choreography cut-and-paste



Susan McKenzie  hosts a blog at MascallDance, a Vancouver dance company - the primary topics are improvisation and teaching.  You can find it HERE.  Enjoy!  



MascallDance is led by choreographer Jennifer Mascall, whose art has inspired me for the past 35 years.  I've been watching the gestation of her next work by catching improvisations by her  research ensemble, the Nijinsky Gibber Jazz Club, at various  Vancouver sites.  You can find out where and when they appear  HERE.  I  caught them at Vancouver Downtown Public Library last Sunday at WORD ON THE STREET.

Darcy McMurray & Chris
  Wright -   Nijinsky Gibber Jazz Club. 



We invite you to root for a silken horse in the Golden Sheaf Award (Yorkton Film Festival) race, Silk Cyclone

Silk Cyclone is a Rouge-gorge, Rattlesnake Films and Jackie Dzuba production, directed by Rob King featuring New Dance Horizons' Artistic Director Robin Poitras, choreographer Susan McKenzie, dance legend Margie Gillis and emerging dancer, Daniella Beltrami.

Here's some of Margie's Montreal promo.  She is performing improvisations using one of the costumes from our 2012 collaboration The Spiralling Forces with Robin Poitras at New Dance Horizons's TORNADO PROJECT. 


"I'm honoured to begin brain/bodystorming about the future of  Jumpstart Performance Society.   

Thank you  to Founding Artistic Director Lee Eisler, longtime collaborating artist and Board member Raymond Milne,  the  Jumpstart Board of Directors, and the many artists whose audacity and vision  have built Jumpstart's legacy.


I am  re-entering artistic practice after a dozen years of childrearing.  Those years have shifted my engagement to different parts of life, so I'm beginning by writing about some of the thing I do now, here.

Please join me here over the next year,  as Jumpstart's direction emerges through these fledgling steps.  

I hope our interests are piqued and our creativites are ignited.  You and me both.

Stay tuned....."            


                                                                                Susan McKenzie

                                                                                March 6, 2013