POMEGRANATE by Heather Mah @ MAI – December 2–4

by Heather Mah

When dance and history meet and move towards the present

Dec 2–4, 2021
@ MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels)

Pomegranate, by Montreal choreographer and performer Heather Mah, will finally have its premiere at MAI from December 2 to 4, 2021, following two postponements due to the pandemic. Dance aficionados will definitely not want to miss it!

For PomegranateHeather Mah has taken her inspiration primarily from her family history and specifically the story of her grandmother, who was born in China at the end of the nineteenth century and brought to Canada at the age of 15. She married, became a second wife, and then returned to China after her husband’s death, just before the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937. This piece delicately sketches the imagined journey of this woman, who sought to escape her war-torn country.

Heather Mah’s first major solo, Pomegranate draws a fragmented portrait of migration. By probing deep into the memory of her forebear, she brings life to the dance and the trajectory of her performance, tapping into springs of energy and images. Underlying themes emerge: isolation, solitude, suffering, opening up to others, the search for new meaning—and the choreographer bears witness to these universal preoccupations that resonate with current great migrations and global upheavals. The artist’s purpose is not to recreate the story of a life, but to reveal its scope by linking it to the present through movement and poetic form.

Pomegranate is a performance and a tribute, a duty of memory, an intimate and introspective journey between the past and the present. The piece also marks the year the artist turns 60, the very age of her grandmother when she died. At this age, the body is no longer merely beautiful, but also experienced. The title refers to the fruit and to the fertility and femininity it symbolizes, particularly in China. It also calls up rejuvenation and resurrection after great loss. With its seeds tightly held inside its hard skin, it evokes the difficulty of entering easily into cohesion with the world. 

Heather Mah
Choreographer & Performer

Trained in martial arts, modern dance, yoga and ballet, Heather Mah has worked with numerous Quebec choreographers since the 1980s. A sought-after performer, she is associated with works by Marie Chouinard (Les trous du ciel), Danièle Desnoyers (Corps et écrivain, Du souffle de sa tourmente, j’ai vu, Ex-Voto, Les bois dormants, Mirador-Mi-Clos), Paula de Vasconcelos (L’autre et Les bacchantes), Lynda Gaudreau (Still Life No. 1, Fascination, Fascination, Cinq pieds Carré), Gilles Maheu (Les âmes mortes, L’hiver, Le dortoir), Jean-Pierre Perreault (Joe), as well as pieces by Dominique Porte (Ulysse, nous et les sirènes), Catherine Lalonde (Musica Nocturna) and Pierre-Paul Savoie (Les chaises). At the same time, she has taken part in several short films, videos and televised performances. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Dance (1985) and one in Psychology (2005) from Concordia University, as well as a certificate in Coaching. For the last decade she has taught yoga for various organizations and worked with individuals as a wellness coach. For Heather Mah, dance is a singular art that expresses life and humanity and in particular incarnates the kinesthetic expression and liberation of the spirit. Her solo Pomegranate sprang from a short piece presented as part of the Âgés et déjantés event at the MAI in January 2018.
Choreography & Performance: Heather Mah
Technical Director: Lee Anholt
Lighting Design: Marc Parent
Sound: Alexander MacSween
Video: Bernar Hébert
Costumes: Angelo Barsetti
Production Manager: Mario Brien
by Heather Mah

Dec 2, 2021 @ 7:30 PM
Dec 3, 2021 @ 7:30 PM
 Dec 4, 2021 @ 2:00 PM*
Dec 4, 2021 @ 7:30 PM
*The December 4th performance at 2 PM is offered in audio description for the visually impaired

MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels)
3680 Jeanne-Mance, Montreal

Regular → $28  •  Reduced → $22  •  Junior & Groups → $16  •  Accompanying person → $0  •  Passport 4/4 → $64