logo
Canada’s Dance Magazine
  • PRINT
  • ONLINE
  • LIVE

Back Issue

Features

 

Life, Creativity and Persistence

By Colleen Snell

Hanna Kiel, founder of Human Body Expression, is a choreographer with her finger on the pulse of the creative moment. Colleen Snell explores Kiel’s collaborative approach, impressive creative output and distinctive artistic voice.

Hanna Kiel, originally from Seoul, South Korea, came to Canada over twenty years ago expecting to stay for a few months to practise her English language skills. First in Vancouver, and then in Toronto, she has since built a career as a choreographer who can direct groups of dancers, develop narrative through gesture and create emotional impact. Now the artistic director of Human Body Expression, which she founded, she is a sought-after voice on the dance scene. Beyond her impressive creative output and her distinctive artistic voice, her collaborative approach to creation has helped her to forge meaningful creative partnerships and lasting friendships. 

 

 

~

Hanna Kiel / Photo by Shy Alter

Photo courtesy of Kate Cornell
 

The Politics of Dance

By Kate Cornell

Kate Cornell, executive director of Canadian Dance Assembly and co-chair of the Canadian Arts Coalition, discusses arts advocacy in the current political moment.

Ten years ago, in the Summer 2007 issue, Shannon Litzenberger, then executive director of the Canadian Dance Assembly, wrote a column about the dance community and the federal government, “Coping with the Conservatives: CDA reflects on a year of cultural policy under Canada’s new government.” The Dance Current asked current executive director Cornell to comment on the changes over the past decade and the relationship with the Trudeau Liberal government.

~

Photo courtesy of Kate Cornell

Dallas Arcand / Photo by Kristen Almer
 

Moving Spirit

By Semiah Kaha:wi Smith

A look at Indigenous artists from across the country.

Performer, dance, visual artist and singer Semiah Smith, Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk), of the turtle clan, was born and raised on Six Nations Reserve into an intergenerational artistic family. Her Mother, Santee Smith, is an Indigenous/contemporary choreographer who gave Smith many opportunities to perform and tour with her, during which she got to see productions by talented Indigenous artists of both contemporary and traditional backgrounds. 

Smith collated and wrote this photo essay to showcase some of the varied Indigenous artists making work across Canada. She aims to counter the common stigma that Indigenous dance is the same throughout Canada. “I hope people reading this will understand the vast diversity that each nation has from one another. I also hope that readers will understand that Indigenous people are still living here today, and we are evolving and constantly changing but still keeping in mind the teachings of our ancestors and all that came before us.”

~

Dallas Arcand / Photo by Kristen Almer

Axelle Munezero / Photo by Mat Rich
 

Moving Forward, Looking Back

By Carol Anderson, Kate Stashko, Helen Simard

A special three-part feature on dance in Canada

In this time of national anniversaries, The Dance Current has chosen to consider the current moment in dance in Canada: how we got here, what are the pressing issues facing the community and what lies ahead. We asked three writers to take different chronological and thematic approaches on the topic.

Carol Anderson investigates two significant moments in the organization and funding of dance in the past few decades. Kate Stashko spoke with more than a dozen artists about their current practice and what themes or issues seem to be most relevant to making dance and living as an artist in present moment. Finally, Helen Simard casts her gaze forward, discussing the potential promise and difficulties facing street dance in Canada, issues and concerns that resonate across a wide range of genres. Together, they present a panoramic view of some of the artistic and administrative influences that have shaped and continue to shape dance practices in Canada. 

~

Axelle Munezero / Photo by Mat Rich

Departments

Editorial

By Lee Slinger

For some years now, my mother-in-law, Judy, has asked that instead of celebrating her birthday, an acknowledgement of passing time, we honour an “appreciation day,” an opportunity to consider the resilience and perseverance of those we love. 

Anniversaries, with their frequent presumption of progress, can easily become awkward and unwieldy considerations of definitions and limits. This summer marks 150 years since the British North America Act of 1867 by which Canada became a confederation that included the provinces of the East Coast (but not Newfoundland) and what became Ontario and Québec. 

In 1967, celebrations of the centennial anniversary of the event were organized and funded by the federal government, just as those this year have been. Then as now, they often served to highlight the limits to the idea they sought to celebrate. Upon entering the Indians of Canada Pavilion at Expo 67, for example, visitors were greeted with the phrase, “You have stolen our native land, our culture, our soul …” The pavilion became a space for First Nations artists and the community members with whom they had consulted to express their anger and frustration over racist government policies on a wide variety of important issues, including education and self-government.

The sesquicentennial celebrations of Canada 150 have also provided as many opportunities to question the current political situation in Canada as to celebrate it. With that in mind, this issue of The Dance Current seeks to acknowledge this moment as a time for stock-taking, without celebrating any singular identity or form. The three-part special feature looks at the current moment in dance in Canada through three different historical and thematic lenses. Carol Anderson looks at some of the important institutional and organizational events since 1967 that have influenced how dance artists create work and are funded. Kate Stashko spoke with artists about the issues that seem more relevant to the current creative climate. Helen Simard spoke with street dancers about the future of the form: how growth and tradition might be negotiated moving forward.

The photo essay, collated by Semiah Smith, presents some Indigenous artists from across the country who are using dance as part of their artistic practice and their expressions of self and community. Colleen Snell profiles Hanna Kiel, originally from Korea, an immigrant who has found a home in the Canadian dance community. Finally, Kate Cornell of the Canadian Dance Assembly and the Canadian Arts Coalition reports on the federal political climate for the arts.

As of this issue, I will be taking a leave from the magazine. In my stead, Emma Doran will be stepping in as interim editor – she can be reached at dc.editor@thedancecurrent.com. Among many other accomplishments, Doran recently completed a PhD in communications from Ryerson University in Toronto for a dissertation that examined dance criticism in the early twentieth century. Learn a bit more about her in our Dancer’s Kitchen section.

Until the next time, then, may the summer warmth extend into all our interactions and bodies.

Scott Forsyth (centre) and the members of Brotherhood / Photo courtesy of Forsyth

Movers

Business and Brotherhood: Scott Forsyth
By Francesca D'Amico

British Columbia’s YouTube sensation Scott Forsyth

Though it had no mirrors on the wall, or a sound system, back in 2011 Scott Forsyth saw potential in a dusty church basement in Surrey, British Columbia. From that space he perfected his now world-famous quick and precise technique and founded Brotherhood – a two-time World Hip Hop International Champions crew that he heads.

~

Scott Forsyth (centre) and the members of Brotherhood / Photo courtesy of Forsyth

Peter Kelly / Photo by Shakeil Rollock

Movers

Dancing with Emotion: Peter Kelly
By Elise Tigges

Emerging dancer and choreographer Peter Kelly

Read an online Q & A with Peter Kelly here.

Only two years out of the dance program at George Brown College in Toronto, Peter Kelly has completed an internship with Toronto Dance Theatre and now holds a full contract with the company. He is also the artistic director of New Blue Emerging Dance, an organization founded by George Brown graduates, aimed at helping emerging artists develop their work.

~

Peter Kelly / Photo by Shakeil Rollock

Jeff Sullivan / Photo by Corinne Louie Photography

Inspire

Heading South
By Grace Smith

Working in the United States requires patience, planning and help

The current political situation in the United States has made travel between our two countries more complicated and less certain. As the summer often brings many opportunities for artists to travel and work abroad, The Dance Current decided to revisit the basics for planning a working trip to the United States. Jeff Sullivan is a musical theatre performer originally from Newfoundland now based in New York City. Rachel Wool is an immigration attorney with D’Alessio Law Group, based in Los Angeles. They shared their different expertise on the process of applying to work in the United States.

~

Jeff Sullivan / Photo by Corinne Louie Photography

Veronica Maguire in Pasajes (2014) / Photo by Levent Erutku

List

Veronica Maguire of Alma de España Flamenco

Artistic director and co-founder, Alma de España

Performer, choreographer and teacher Veronica Maguire’s passion for flamenco first lit up while she was a student at York University in Toronto in the 1970s. She was soon performing with local groups and companies, including Paula Moreno Spanish Dance Company, Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company and Los Hispánicos. In 1985, Maguire teamed up with flamenco guitarist Harry Owen and in 1991, they co-founded the School of Flamenco Dance in Victoria, British Columbia, as well as their own touring company, Alma de España Flamenco Dance Company. Among the many recognitions she has received, in 2013 Maguire was a recipient of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Jacqueline Lemieux Prize for her contribution to dance in Canada. The Dance Current asked Maguire about where she finds inspiration.

~

Veronica Maguire in Pasajes (2014) / Photo by Levent Erutku

Alayna Kellett / Photo by Bob House

Body

The Mechanics of Healthy Turns
By Blessyl Buan

Consistent, effortless turns seem to be reserved for the “superpower” dancers. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

By breaking down the mechanics, and with a little practice, turns don’t have to be so overwhelming. The fundamental elements to turning are the center line of gravity, spinal mobility, breath, balance and core stability.

~

Alayna Kellett / Photo by Bob House

Dancer's Kitchen

Emma's Brunch Bean Patty
By Emma Doran

The Dance Current’s new interim editor, Emma Doran, shares a delicious, lovingly borrowed breakfast recipe

When Emma Doran was a student and freelancer she lived with two lovely roommates from whom she “stole” many recipes. “For us,” she says, “breakfast was a great time to socialize before doing studio or writing work.” Cohabitation, while a necessity for many students and artists, also provided opportunities for sharing food and cooking tips.

Participants of MamaDances (2006) / Photo by Stéphanie Duclos

Practice

Moving Relationships
By Jessica Rae

Eryn Dace Trudell of MamaDances

Dancer, choreographer and self-taught businesswoman Eryn Dace Trudell first created MamaDances as a choreographic response to a lack of maternal roles onstage. Featuring six professional dancers and their babies, MamaDances premiered at Festival Quartiers Danses in 2006 to sold-out shows and intrigued audiences. Knowing she was onto something, Trudell developed MamaDances into a program that uses dance and movement to help strengthen relationships between parents and their children.

~

Participants of MamaDances (2006) / Photo by Stéphanie Duclos

Photo courtesy of Morimoto

What's In Your Dancebag?

Sahara Morimoto

Contemporary dance artist and teacher

Originally from Tokyo, Japan, Sahara Morimoto has made her dance career in Canada. She has danced with numerous companies, including Dreamwalker Dance Company, Toronto Dance Theatre and Peggy Baker Dance Projects where she was an artistic associate for seven years. While increasingly exploring the possibilities of solo performance, with a 2015 solo work she commissioned from Noa Zuk and Ohad Fishof and a forthcoming solo being created on her by Marcela Giesche, Morimoto remains a committed teacher of dance and somatic work and part of the faculty for Peggy Baker Dance Projects’ August Intensive. Her dancebag is a treasure trove of carefully chosen necessities.

~

Photo courtesy of Morimoto

Ofilio Sinbadinho, Molly Johnson and Sebastian Hirtenstein in Rawrabide by Sinbadinho, a Dusk Dances 2017 commission / Photo by Zhenya Cerneacov

Backstage

Fresh Air
By Marissa Trarback

Finding focus for Dusk Dances

Created for Dusk Dances, an outdoor dance festival that presents dance in public parks, Ofilio Sinbadinho’s newest work, Rawrabide, draws from contemporary and urban movement vocabularies. Much like the title itself, the piece combines the raw and rabid individual styles of each of the five performers, Zhenya Cerneacov, Sebastian Hirtenstein, Molly Johnson, Kathleen Legassick and Meredith Thompson, and fuses them with the signature urban-based qualities of Sinbadinho’s work. 

Sebastian “Bash” Hirtenstein (seen right), a contemporary dancer and choreographer based in Toronto, describes the rehearsal space for this work as intense and alive with focus and laughter. The focus required by the work, says Hirtenstein, is nearly palpable; the dancers need to be aware of what’s happening not only within their own bodies but also in “every part of the room.” Though a rehearsal with Sinbadinho makes fierce demands on the dancers’ concentration and energy, his “enthusiasm for authenticity and individuality” ensures space for each dancer’s movement to flourish. 

“This fusion of urban and contemporary,” says Hirtenstein, “is exactly what I’m exploring in my own practice, and it’s very refreshing to work with someone who has made that their staple.” 

Rawrabide is presented by Dusk Dances on tour in Repentigny, Québec, on July 6th and 7th, Hamilton, Ontario, from July 27th through 30th, Toronto from August 7th through 13th and Barrie, Ontario, from August 17th through 20th.

~

Ofilio Sinbadinho, Molly Johnson and Sebastian Hirtenstein in Rawrabide by Sinbadinho, a Dusk Dances 2017 commission / Photo by Zhenya Cerneacov

You May Also Like...

LISTINGS THIS WEEK