a Member

Lucy M. May: The Conditions - Performances and Workshops

May 26, 2024May 31, 2024

Photo Credit: Lucy M. May, The Conditions. Photo by Fran Chudnoff

Can feeling be a way of knowing?

Coming together in an art gallery, six improvisors from distinct practices reach into the sensory present. Together they unfold fields of speech, live music, and dance. They spill across clean floors and white walls; light swirls through inky shadows. Their fabulations pry open channels between the bewildering envelope of the world and wild inner landscapes. Is the gallery a climate-controlled institution estranging us from nature and body, or a temple for sensing, feeling, and paying attention? Beneath concrete foundations, the bedrock shifts.

Weaving improvisation, the physicality of emotion, and felt-relationships to land, The Conditions unfurls from Lucy M. May’s uneasy search for a relationship with her homeland in Wolastokuk and the trouble of her settler origins. An interdisciplinary exhibition made in collaboration with Fran Chudnoff, Jon Cleveland, Ja James Britton Johnson, and Maisie O’Brien accompanies this long-form performance featuring live music by Patrick Conan and Amy Macdonald, and costuming by Pax. In the intimacy of a contained space, the public is invited to listen, gaze, wander, and sink in.

Admission to all performances and workshops taking place in the Contemporary Gallery at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery is included with the purchase of an admission ticket. Admission is free for members. Tickets can be purchased through the link below for the workshop taking place at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre.

Join us for this exciting lineup of workshops and performances


Wednesday, May 29, 3 PM – 5 PM: all ages audience.

Six artists reach into the sensory present, unfolding fields of speech, live music, and dance. A live performance of The Conditions in the Contemporary Gallery that weaves improvisation, the physicality of emotion, and felt relationships to land. Listen, gaze, wander, and sink in.

Register below to reserve your spot and pay admission when you enter the gallery.

Thursday, May 30, 6 PM – 8 PM: Performance and Discussion

Six artists reach into the sensory present, unfolding fields of speech, live music, and dance. A live performance of The Conditions in the Contemporary Gallery that weaves improvisation, the physicality of emotion, and felt-relationships to land. Listen, gaze, wander, and sink in. This performance will be followed by a moderated discussion.

Register below to reserve your spot. Admission is by donation during this performance.

Friday May 31, 6 PM – 8 PM: Performance and Closing

Six artists reach into the sensory present, unfolding fields of speech, live music, and dance. A live performance of The Conditions in the Contemporary Gallery that weaves improvisation, the physicality of emotion, and felt-relationships to land. Listen, gaze, wander, and sink in. This performance marks the closing of The Conditions project at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery.

Register below to reserve your spot and pay admission when you enter the gallery.


Sunday, May 26, 12 PM – 3 PM: Drop-in shadow play and movement workshop for all ages during Family Day with artist Maisie O’Brien, assisted by Lucy M. May.

Come explore the range of shadow theater as featured in The Conditions. In this afternoon drop-by workshop, participants will get to create and play with simple materials and found objects and build new narratives with them using a vintage overhead projector. In collaborating on a shadow world together, we will look at how the choreography of shape and color affects our sensations.

No registration is necessary for this Family Day workshop.

Wednesday, May 29, 7:30 PM – 9 PM: INSIDE-OUT BODY, a contemporary dance workshop with Lucy M. May at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre.

INSIDE-OUT BODY: A professional-level Contemporary dance class led by choreographer Lucy M. May. Listen deeply to your sensations as we explore skin, bones, and muscles through self-touch, mapping imagined lines from our five fingers to our five toes. The workshop begins with a moving meditation, proceeding with a few exercises for functional strength, power, and stamina. We’ll then play with patterns that move across the floor in three-dimensions, alone and with a partner, engaging with the unexpected. A phrase, session, or choreographic exploration inspired by The Conditions will complete the workshop. Improvisation, interconnectedness, and an eclectic playlist lead the way as we orient towards dexterity, explosiveness, self-discovery, and being together through dance. Movers from all backgrounds are welcome!

This workshop takes place at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre. Please click the link below to register through their portal.

Biographies and Credits:


Lucy M. May (she/they) is a dance artist born in Eqpahak/Wolastokuk/Fredericton and based in Tiohtiá:ke/Mooniyang/Montréal since 2003. Her choreographic projects explore the materiality of human attention and our relationships to place and to each other. Improvisation resides at the heart of their work as a dancer, creator, and teacher, nourished by experiences performing with Marie Chouinard, Margie Gillis, Mouvement de passage, and practicing since 2018 the street dance Krump. She battles as Pluto and Ravage Grouch. Moonlighting as an illustrator, Lu explores links between dance and drawing practices.

Franz Chudnoff • DANCE + VOICE + VISUAL ART + FILM

Fran also known as Franz (they/them), is a Tkaronto based millennial, with a BFA in performance, and paying rent as a multidisciplinary artist. They are a dancer, dance maker, video artist, photographer, and a beginner at 3D sculpting and digital illustration. Across mediums, their work is in conversation with post internet aesthetics, gender deviance, and shaping a “social aura” through aspirational imagery. Their most personal and urgent project these days is sharing as many meals as possible with their Lola, Yolanda.


Montréal-born Patrick Conan (he) is a drummer and percussionist who has been playing music professionally for more than 25 years. Since 2013, he has composed music for contemporary dance works by Nate Yaffe, Sarah-Ève Grant-Lefebvre, and longtime collaborator Lucy M. May. His compositions use software manipulation and field recordings. Patrick has played as a musician in numerous projects and toured Canada, the United States, and Europe with Tricky Woo, Sackville, and The Carnations amongst others. Current projects include Sam Shalabi's Land of Kush and The Air Contains Honey Orchestra. He completed his studies in Classical percussion at Vanier College in Montréal.

Ja James Britton Johnson, aka Jigsaw • DANCE + VOICE + FILM

Ja “Jigsaw” Britton Johnson is an artist with an extensive knowledge of various street styles, with a focus on hip hop and Krump. He began working in hip hop with 2marvelous, then ventured into Krumping in 2006. He has dedicated 15 years to his art, and with determination and dedication Jigsaw has become one of the new generation of leaders of Krump in Canada. He is also part of MKA (Montreal Krump Alliance) a not-for-profit dance organization and now dances for Ebnflōh Dance Company

Amy Macdonald • MUSIC

Amy Macdonald (she) is a guitarist, songwriter, and composer who has recorded and performed in genres from folk to hardcore to improvised noise. Having cut her teeth in Edmonton’s all-ages hardcore scene, her primary project Nennen combines the ferocity and weight of metal and experimental influences with evocative folk songwriting that brings clarity to elusive emotional and relational landscapes. Nennen’s self-released full-length debut, Two Mountains, garnered glowing reviews from Chart Attack, AUX, and Grayowl Point. Nennen has honed its sound opening for artists like Tess Roby, Kee Avil, Ought, King Woman, Faith Healer, and Thus Owls.


Maisie O’Brien is a Philadelphia based shadow caster, and educator. She has toured and practiced her original storytelling with communities including Studio 34, Black Cherry Puppet Theater, The Baltimore Crankie Festival, and Asian Arts Initiative, as well as developed shadows, short films, and costumes for collaborations with fellow artists in film, dance, music, and theater. Maisie has studied puppetry with Bread & Puppet Theater, The University of Connecticut, The O’Neill National Puppetry Conference, and the Chicago International Puppetry Festival Workshops. They also work to foster young voices via puppetry and narrative arts workshops, summer camps, and festivals.


Jon Cleveland (he) is a Montreal based Lighting Designer/Visual Artist. Working in theatre and dance he has worked with The Segal Centre for The Arts, The National Arts Centre, The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, Tangente, Cabal Theatre, Scapegoat Carinivale, Susanna Hood, Lucy M May, Rabbit in the Hat, Malik Nashad Shapre,Rubberband Dance, Dave St-Pierre and Kim-Sanh Châu among others. His design for Tragic Queens with Cabal Theatre was nominated for a 2017 META award for outstanding lighting design.


Hanako Hoshimi-Caines (she/they) is an experimental dance artist, curator and dramaturge who works in solo and collaborative formats. Her material and embodied performance practices have been shown in theatres, art galleries and community spaces in Canada and internationally, notably at the MAI (CA), Portland Institute for Contemporary Art/TBA festival, On the Boards (US), Moderna dansteatern (SE) and Fierce Festival (UK). She is the outgoing artistic co-curator at the Centre de Création O Vertigo (2020-2023). Hanako’s involvement in dance is rooted in critical practice and particularly values working across age and culture.


PAX (she) is a multidisciplinary performing artist and creator. She has been an innovator of the hip hop & street dance community locally and internationally. Her work has been presented on various platforms, notably at the V&A museum (London,U.K). She is the founder of A.MUSE, an interdisciplinary company whose mission is to showcase culture and art through various artistic mediums. She is continuously committed to education and community building, focused on creating platforms for self expression.


Creation & Production : Lucy M. May | Looumms

Dance & Voice: Fran Chudnoff, Ja James Britton Johnson, Lucy M. May

Live Projections: Maisie O’Brien

Music: Patrick Conan, Amy Macdonald

Composition: Patrick Conan

Visual Art & Filmmaking: Ja James Britton Johnson, Fran Chudnoff, Lucy M. May, Maisie O'Brien

Lights: Jon Cleveland

Costumes: Pax

Artistic Advice & Dramaturgy: Pax, Hanako Hoshimi-Caines

Technical Direction: Jon Cleveland

Consult & Coaching: Eroca Nicols, Judith Koltai, Susanna Hood, Katrin Heimann, Ola Maciejewska

Writing: Patrick Leonard, Erin Hill

Outside Eye: Helen Simard, Marie-Reine Kabasha, Sasha Kleinplatz, Nindy Banks, Angie Cheng

Photography: Fran Chudnoff, Kinga Michalska

Videography: Ja James Britton Johnson, Giordano D'Alonzo, Fran Chudnoff, Do Phan Hoi, F. Chris Giles

Video Editing: Lucy M. May, Fran Chudnoff, Ja James Britton Johnson

Administrative Assistance: Margarita Herrera-Dominguez

Communications & Touring Assistance: Éléonore Emond-Fontaine

Participants In The Research And Creation: Peter Jasko, Marie-Reine Kabasha, Vicky Mettler, Sovann Rochon-Prom Tep, Camille Huang

Creation Residencies: The Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Studio 303, Circuit-Est, Gallery TPW, Maison de la Culture Marie-Uguay/Centre Culturel Georges-Vanier/Le Sud-ouest, Musée d'art contemporain des Laurentides, Maison de la culture Claude-Léveillée

With The Support Of: Canada Council for the Arts, Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, Conseil des arts de Montréal, Festival Transamériques, Stephen May

Sincere Thanks: Danse-Cité, Catherine Lavoie Marcus, Charles Brécard, Émile Pineault, Iele Paloumpis, La Serre arts vivants, Le Patro Villeray, La Porte Rouge, Eastern Bloc, Siwar Soria, Julie Scriver, Paul Scriver

We would like to express respect and gratitude to the Indigenous peoples, nations, and confederacies who are the traditional stewards of the stolen and unceded lands upon which this work was created: the Kanien’kehá:ka, the Anishinaabeg, the Wolastoqey, the Mi’kmaq, the Peskotomuhkati, the Wabanaki, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, Mississaugas of the Credit, and the Wendat. Creating art and performance relies on funding and resources, and all wealth comes from the earth. Land back.