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Tlanextli Coyotl and Shauna Devlin

Shauna Devlin was gleeful about working closely with Tlanextli Coyotl (aka Pablo Ochoa) as she loves Tlanextli’s enthusiasm and excitement about creating new ways to bridge art and community. She believes in Tlanextli’s artistic mission and felt that she could support and guide him towards achieving his goals.

Shauna Devlin: Mentoring someone who has fresh ideas and excitement can be contagious. I have been doing my work for 20 years…I have a rhythm and manner in which I deliver my work. I feel that I have new skills and ways at looking at creativity after this experience.

Tlanextli Coyotl: Our mentorship revolved around “offerings.” Shauna was very present and supportive of the dance offering practice that I was offering during the Saturday markets in Salt Spring, which was not related to Culture Days, but I had the chance to have her guidance, support, and recommendations to adjust my path with that. If I take a look at where my art is received and needed at this time, more than developing a performance career, I’m developing spaces for people to dance and feel free in their movement. I’m still following the guidelines of my principles and creating spaces for everyone that are accessible and free. Shauna and I are still working together on a regular basis. I am going to be doing training with Dance Your Ability. Having the training that comes from her institution will also support me in keeping up my artistic persona.

Participants engage in a movement workshop at Tlanextli’s Community Canvas: A Tapestry of Artistic Diversity Culture Days event on Salt Spring Island.
Participants engage in a movement workshop at Tlanextli’s Community Canvas: A Tapestry of Artistic Diversity Culture Days event on Salt Spring Island.

Having Shauna present in the event planning process and actually present at the first one of the two Culture Days events, I got the sensation that “not everything is on your shoulders.” There’s another professional, reliable artist right here that knows the bigger vision and is here, fully committed to success. That’s a game changer. It really helped to dispel some of the doubts that happened in the process like “Am I good enough? Am I doing this right?”

BC Culture Days: Why is artistic mentorship important? Why do you think it’s important to have that type of relationship with a more established artist or facilitator?

Tlanextli Coyotl: Having a reference point. Art is something that often comes from inside. We can have an artistic vision that may be very beautiful and potent, and having an anchor point from another person that happens to be doing slightly similar things helps you to find the middle point between the golden vision and the reality and how to bridge them and how to get your vision to unfold. Otherwise, it can be ungrounding. You just don’t know how to get things going. Having someone that is invested in supporting you…even if they are busy because they have many other things going on… knowing that there is a person that is committed to that, really makes a difference.“

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Learn more about the event that Tlanextli hosted for Culture Days.
Read all of the 2023 mentor bios.

Tlanextli Coyotl (Pablo Ochoa) is a Mexican dancer, art facilitator, caregiver, and user experience artist who is passionate about the potential of art to provide intentional spaces for creative expression and collective ritual in a secular context. They have a vast Indigenous bloodline from different parts of Mexico and identify as a queer, two-spirited person of colour. They have started using the náhuatl calendaric name, Tlanextli Coyotl, to reconnect with their origins. Tlanextli regularly works at a day program for people with special needs, facilitating both artistic and recreational activities, as well as providing day-to-day caregiving support. This includes working with individuals who are Deaf, hard of hearing, neurodivergent, chronically ill, and need varying levels of assistance. Their part-time work at the day program is complemented by their emergent career as an art facilitator, dance teacher, and user experience artist.

Shauna Devlin is a warm and inclusive spirit. As a Group & Movement Facilitator, DJ, Activist and Catalyst for connection and joy, she uses her love of music and movement to create spaces where all can experience the many benefits of Conscious Dance. She began facilitating bodies in motion, as a ski instructor, when she was 17 years old. On the ski hill, she aimed for her students to experience delight & fascination in their bodies as they careened down the mountain. At the age of 18 she discovered Latin dance, and spent the next 10 years deeply exploring partner dance, while living part time in the Dominican Republic. The combination of falling in love with partner dance, skiing & snowboarding, becoming a parent, listening to the cycles of the moon & the seasons of the earth all inform her ability to hold space: lovingly inviting people to discover their dance with a sense of courage, adventure, love and lots of curiosity. She discovered Conscious Dance in 2005 and has not looked back since her first encounter. A 5Rhythms Facilitator, Dance Temple DJ, Embodiment Coach, in training, and the founder of Dance Your Ability Therapeutic Foundation Shauna provides opportunities for a large variety of people to feel welcome to do their own unique dance while having an experience that is healing, positive, life affirming and community building. Based in British Columbia, Canada, Shauna lives in the Gulf Islands with her partner, and a blended family of 5 kids & 3 cats. She offers public classes, workshops & retreats (indoors, outside & online) as well as Outreach Classes & Facilitator Trainings with Dance Your Ability.