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Media Release
November 2, 2017
Halifax, NS

Letters from the Front: A Remembrance Day Performance

A moving Remembrance Day tribute, Letters from the Front is a three-part contemporary dance inspired by the Second World War correspondence of the choreographer’s grandparents. Performed by members of Halifax Dance’s Young Company, audiences will be lead through a series of site-specific dances, punctuated by excerpts from the letters. A unique and intimate homage, Letters from the Front takes place at the Museum this Remembrance Day.

Letters from the Front: A Remembrance Day Performance
Saturday, November 11th
Performances on the hour beginning at 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Rudolph P. Bratty Hall
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
1055 Marginal Road, Halifax, NS B3H 4P7

Cliff Coffin and Dorothy Sears were engaged to be married when Cliff was recruited and deployed overseas, initiating six years of heartfelt, hand written letters. The letters were cherished and passed down through the family, eventually ending up in the hands of Sara Coffin, a choreographer who saw a dance in her grandfather’s words. Coffin took phrases from the letters, such as “I left my heart at the dock,” and developed dance movements based on their emotion. The result is a three-part performance that symbolizes not only the love between her grandparents, but also the feeling of loss felt by those serving and sacrificing on battlefields and on home fronts.

This free event is included with Museum admission, and will be presented in English. To see Letters from the Front, visitors should check in at the marked assembly point in the Hall of Tribute for a time stamped ticket. There is a maximum capacity of 25 audience members per performance, and tickets will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Quick Facts:

  • Letters from the Front: A Remembrance Day Performance at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 is choreographed by Sara Coffin and Ruth-Ellen Kroll Jackson, and performed by the Young Company of Halifax Dance. 
  • The choreography was inspired by letters written by Francis Clifford Coffin, a Sergeant in the Canadian Army, from 1939 to 1945, to Dorothy Coffin (Sears) his fiancée and wife in Halifax.
  • Choreographer Sara Coffin is the Co-Artistic Director at Mocean Dance. Sara completed her MFA in Choreography and Performance at Smith College in Northampton, her BFA in dance at Simon Fraser's School for the Contemporary Arts, and her Kinesiology degree at Dalhousie University.
  • Choreographer Ruth-Ellen Kroll Jackson is the Co-Artistic Director at Mocean Dance. Ruth-Ellen received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from The North Carolina School of the Arts under the Anthony Bliss Scholarship. Her professional career took place in New York where she danced for The Martha Graham Dance Ensemble, New York City Opera, Cortez and Company, Patricia Kenny Dance Collection, Robert Battle and the Parsons Dance Company.


Quotes:

"Mounting Letters from the Front at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 has been a very touching process. It’s allowed for further reflection and for my gratitude to grow. I am in awe of the love exhibited in the letters exchanged between my grandparents, and I am so glad to share the story and reflect on the time-period with this current generation of dancers. In viewing the performances at the Museum, people will experience a beautiful love story and the embodiment of hope and love that echoes throughout the letters. The environment also allows for the story to be contextualized, and for a sense of place to grow even deeper. The story is not just about my grandparents, but is also about Halifax's connection to the Second World War, and Pier 21’s global connection and place in history. The Young Company of Halifax Dance is thrilled to partner with us, and the Museum, to share these artifacts and the resonances of beauty and courage that come from this period in history." - Sara Coffin, Choreographer

"I am excited to see how the dancers will translate battlefield and home front experiences into movement. I think that seeing the performance on Remembrance Day will be a powerful reminder of not just what happened historically but what it felt like for those who served and those who awaited their safe return." - Carrie-Ann Smith, Vice-President, Audience Engagement, Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21

About the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 collects, shares and pays tribute to the Canadian immigration story. The Museum is situated in Halifax, Nova Scotia at Pier 21, the National Historic Site that served as the gateway to Canada for one million immigrants between 1928 and 1971. Today, the Museum shares the stories and experiences of all immigrants to Canada, past to present day. The Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 enhances public understanding of the experiences of immigrants to Canada, highlights the vital role immigration has played in the building of our country and the contributions of immigrants to Canada’s culture, economy and way of life. It is Canada’s sixth national museum and the only one located in Atlantic Canada.

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Media Contact
Beatrice Houston Gilfoy, Communications Specialis
Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21
Telephone: (902) 425-7770 ext. 264
bhouston-gilfoy@pier21.ca