Next Vancouver speaker

Amanda Lewis (online)

More info

• CMVan | Biophilia | Zoom • part of a series on Biophilia

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Amazing food provided by @niclipizzeria and delicious BC wine by @levieuxpin for tonight’s special event with @blprnt. (at HCMA Architecture + Design)

Our Q&A with March speaker Julia Taffe who will be talking on the topic of Creativity and Taboo

Choreographer Julia Taffe combines art, environment and adventure, making dances for buildings, mountains, neighbourhoods, theatres and trees, finding new movement perspectives in the realm of suspension.

Julia is the artistic director of Aeriosa, a Vancouver-based vertical dance company. She has choreographed over 25 works on location including: Stawamus Chief Mountain in Squamish BC, Taipei City Hall, Cirque du Soleil Headquarters, Vancouver Library Square, Banff Centre, Scotiabank Dance Centre and Toronto’s 58-storey L Tower.

Prior to founding Aeriosa, Julia performed across Canada with Ruth Cansfield, and around the world with Bandaloop. Julia attained ACMG Rock Guide certification in 1997. She has worked as a co-producer, choreographer, cast member, stunt performer, mountain safety rigger and creative movement consultant on various film and television productions in Canada and abroad.

How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
I define creativity as problem-solving using whatever resources I have at hand. In my work that usually means dreaming, playing, instigating, organizing, sitting with the unknown and uncontrollable, inspiring other people, taking thoughtful risks and keeping one eye on the clock.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
In nature. And in that magical state between being asleep and being awake.

What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
Experience and wisdom are not always the same thing. One does not necessarily imply the other. Nurture your integrity and be prepared to lead.

Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
I would really like to hear from some of the other species we share Earth with — got any ancient trees on the list? Any cetaceans? Any fungi networks? My human-centric short list includes authors Ursula K Le Guin and Neal Stephenson.

Two extra questions:

What fact about you would surprise people?
I retired from my career as a contemporary dancer in 1996 - I was burnt out and committed to a starting new career as a mountain guide. Then in 1998 I took a spectacular tumble off a rock ledge on the Squamish Chief. I should have died, but somehow I didn’t. My faith in probability was shaken and my faith in magic carpets was reignited. A few weeks after what I like to think of as my “re-birthday”, I found my way back to dancing wholeheartedly again - but this time - immersed in vertical dance, a practice that continues to provide me with intriguing opportunities for staging performances and shifting perspectives with dance.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
My very first backcountry adventure was a one month trip, prospecting for gold in the Yukon. My companions were Annie the mule, La Fille the dog and Sylvain the orphan-hermit. We didn’t take a stove, proper boots, or sleeping pads. One night Annie was scared away from our camp by predators, while we slept. We couldn’t carry all our supplies without her, so Sylvain suggested we built a raft and float off the far edge of our one and only map towards the Arctic Ocean. I had to put my foot down and insist we loop back south towards the road instead. We cached most of our supplies in the bush and spent a hungry week walking through grizzly territory. When we finally made it to our jeep, we drove up and down the Dempster Highway, shaking a can of oats. It didn’t take long to find Annie, and all of us were thrilled to have survived.

Our February speaker Q&A

Mark Haden, an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia and teaches in the UBC school of Population and Public Health, Nursing, Social Work and Medicine. He is the Chair of the Board of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies Canada. Mark Haden worked for Vancouver Coastal Health Addiction Services as a Supervisor at the Pacific Spirit Community Health Centre for most of his career. He works with the Health Officer Council on the issue of drug policy and publishes and lectures on the subject of “a Public Health approach to the regulation of currently illegal drugs”.

How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
Creativity is the willingness to speak the truth and confront the status quo illusions

Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
The community of visionaries who challenge their organizations to actually do what they say they are doing.

What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
Work hard at building communities

Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
Gabor Mate or Donald MacPherson.

What books or movies made a difference in your life?
Movie – Neurons to Nirvana Book - The Psychedelic Renaissance by Ben Sessa.

Our January speaker on the topic of Mystery is Craig Addy!

How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
This could have so many definitions. Here are some of mine. Creativity is the practice of discovering ways to reveal and step past limiting viewpoints. It’s playing in the sandbox without expectation of a particular outcome. Creating can have a plan but being willing to go in a different direction when it presents itself is creativity. It’s saying what’s been said many times in a new way. I try to do all of this, to varying effect and degree, when I perform, compose, cook, and teach.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
I find it in a few places. First and foremost is when I sit at a piano. As a spontaneous improviser, this is the moment of truth, the point of no return, the do-or-die place. While improvising at the piano, I find creative inspiration the sound of the piano, in the sound and aesthetics of the space in which the piano exists, in the conversations with the listeners before I play, and in the “mistakes" or unintentional results that present themselves while I play. To succeed, you must accept these unintended musical elements and allow them to take you somewhere you had no plans on visiting. I also find creative inspiration in nature and other art media such as painting, sculpture, poetry, film and dance. They are great starting points and catalysts for creation.

What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
My conversations about my own talent, attributes, and aptitudes were and still can be my single worst enemy. They give nothing more than an excuse for not doing the work. Why would I bother if I think I’m not good enough.

Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
Tien Neo Eamas.

What books made a difference in your life and why?
“The Brain That Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge.
Your brain is plastic. It can transform, expand it’s capabilities, develop, and re-create itself until the day you die. In this lies freedom if you are willing to accept it for it means there are no excuses and it is never too late to begin.

“Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell
Particularly the passage called “The Structure of Spontaneity” which examines improv actors and reveals how the improvisation will fail if the actors get an agenda and fail to accept and work with what is presented to each other by each other.

“Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell
The chapter that examines a study about violin students of varying levels of accomplishment reveals that the ones who were most successful were not the ones perceived to be the most talented or accomplished at the beginning of the study. The successful violinists were simply the ones that practiced the most. It was a sobering wake up call to the reality that I had used my own self-doubt and poor opinons of my talent as an excuse to practice less than I could have. Your success is most profoundly determined by your willingness to work, with guidance, rather than aptitude or talent.

“The Rest is Noise” by Alex Ross
This book examines the history of western classical music and revealed to me that the reality that a universal harmonic language in music no longer exists. The quest to be the next towering master, such as Beethoven, Mozart or Bach, during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s was exhausted and unsuccessful. We now live in a world of niches when it comes to musical harmonic language and genre. This gave me the freedom to pursue my own aesthetic of beauty in music and to let go of the idea that I had to somehow say something radically new as a composer or performer. I no longer have to convince everyone of the value of my music. I just need to find my niche audience who share my aesthetics about music.

“Sound Business” by Julian Treasure
This book examines the positive and negative impacts of noise, sound and music in every aspect of our lives. Simply mind-blowing. I think about sound everyday and everywhere because of this book.

“The Music Lesson” by Victor L. Wooten
A radical and truly out-side-the-box exploration of music and what it is. I’m still reading it. It has already influenced how I teach and improvise.

What myths about creativity would you like to set straight?
“I’m not creative” - I no longer accept this statement from people. Everyone is creative. If you say you are not creative, you will then fulfill on this by not participating in creative activities. If you participate in creative activities and you do it consistently, you will discover that you ARE creative. “Perfection” isn’t an outcome or something to be attained or achieved. Perhaps, you do need to practice and work hard to master skills that make perfection possible but as soon as you try to be perfect or do something perfectly, perfection is lost.  Mistakes or undesirable results are actually gifts if you are willing accept them and work with them. Allowing yourself to get it wrong is the best gift you can give yourself and the most powerful way to progress and expand.

Gotta love the @likemindvan tribe. The right people always show up to fill our hearts to overflowing. #community (at Save On Meats)

What if we said our Nov 18th event will be hosted by @saveonmeats? True story! Meet us there at 8am for coffee and conversation! (at Save On Meats)

Our next speaker for December’s theme of “Sound” will be Dr. Valeria Vergara from the Vancouver Aquarium!

From the Vancouver Aquarium to Hudson Bay, from the Canadian Arctic to the St. Lawrence Estuary, researcher Valeria Vergara has listened to the communication sounds made by belugas in diverse environments.

She is primarily interested in the communicative and perceptual abilities of marine mammals, and the conservation implications of such capacities. She directs and coordinates studies on beluga whales through the Marine Mammal Research Program at the Vancouver Aquarium.

Valeria Vergara’s ground-breaking doctorate research at the University of British Columbia was the first to document how beluga calves develop their rich repertoire of vocalizations and to identify contact calls critical for maintaining cohesion within the group and mother-calf contact. Her studies allow her to address the problems that this sound-centered species faces in an increasingly noisy environment.

Any predictions whether @markbusse will behave and represent Vancouver well in Austin at #cmsummit16?

Yeah, we’re nervous too. (at Impact Hub Austin)