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Reviews

 

Shoes, Pumpkins and a Paparazzo 

By Kathleen Smith "Cinderella" James Kudelka, The National Ballet of Canada

The story of Cinderella and her glass slipper is as old as the hills. Although versions of the story are a cultural phenomenon around the world, we in the West are most familiar with Charles Perrault’s 1697 fairy tale, Cendrillon, ou la petite pantoufle de verre. That or Disney.

 

Painter/Cartographer -- Dancer/Storyteller 

By Lindsay Zier-Vogel "Portraits/Mapping" Sarah Chase

Sarah Chase paints portraits without paint and creates maps with no arrow pointing north. Instead she replaces brushstrokes with spoken stories and degrees of latitude with movement - her own gestural vocabulary.

 

A Spirited Portrait 

By Kathleen Smith "Tziganes" Serge Bennathan, Dancemakers

Family and home are usually equated with security, grounded in a place with four walls and a roof. For much of the world however, family and home might mean something much more ephemeral. The tone for such musings is set in the opening moments of Serge Bennathan’s newest work for Dancemakers, “Tziganes”. 

 

Thinking/Moving -- Moving/Thinking 

By Kaija Pepper "I Seem To Be A Verb" Susan Elliott  

There are a lot of ideas floating around in Susan Elliott’s first full-length choreography, “I Seem To Be A Verb”. Not all of them surface, and the choreography is probably many works in one. Almost managing to hold the hour together is an interesting subtext: the act of creation, as experienced by a choreographer still getting used to the job. Examining the artist’s role is a legitimate concern, if a trifle inward-looking.  

 

Satire and Celebration 

By Gregory C. Beatty Stream of Dance Biennale Thomas Lehmen, Tania Alvarado  

Intended by New Dance Horizons as a companion event that will run every second year in place of its more expansive Stream of Dance Festival, this Biennale featured performances by two guest artists: Guatamalan-born, Edmonton-based Tania Alvarado (“Still”); and Thomas Lehmen (“mono subjects”) whose touring company hails from Berlin. As originally commissioned, this review was to focus on “Still”. But as I organized my thoughts in preparation for writing, I was struck by both the parallels and disjunctions between Alvarado and Lehmen’s works.  

 

Deconstructing Hitchcock 

By Philip Szporer "Blackmail" Deborah Dunn, Trial & Eros

“Blackmail” is Deborah Dunn’s first full-length choreography since “The Birds”. Here, she isn’t pirating, but rather is inspired to deconstruct another Alfred Hitchcock film.

 

Inscrutable Reflections 

By Philip Szporer "Narcisse en Silence"   Mariko Tanabe Danse

In Greek mythology, the beautiful Narcissus discovered his image in a pool, fell in love with himself, and not being able to find consolation, died of sorrow by the same pool. While the myth may be imprinted in our collective unconscious, Montréal-based dancer and choreographer Mariko Tanabe’s “Narcissus” is hardly conventional.  

 

Pages from a Storybook Ballet 

By Pamela Anthony "Cinderella" Jean Grand-Maître, Alberta Ballet

In his new full-length “Cinderella” for Alberta Ballet, choreographer and artistic director Jean Grand-Maître’s vision is of a young woman more concerned with the daunting task of survival than with snaring a prince.

 

Tandem Images 

By Gregory C. Beatty Rêve à deux: Mascall & Chase for Poitras & Stewart  Jennifer Mascall, Robin Poitras, Ron Stewart, Sarah Chase

Probably the most famous couple in dance history is Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. While not as well-known as them, Robin Poitras and Ron Stewart – she of Regina, he of Vancouver – have a history of dancing together that dates back to 1998, when Montréal choreographer Bill Coleman teamed them in “Zurich 1916”.  

 

Chamber Ballet 

Coppélia Bengt Jörgen, Ballet Jörgen Canada

On February 28th, Toronto’s Ballet Jörgen Canada made a stop in Coquitlam, British Columbia, a suburb thirty minutes east of Vancouver, with its production of “Coppélia”. The second-to-last stop in a tour of smaller communities around BC, this performance of “Coppélia” was a rare dance event for the Evergreen Cultural Centre (typically home to theatre and music), an intimate, 250-seat theatre opened in 1996.  

 

Ballet in the Vernacular 

By Kaija Pepper The Magic Flute Mark Godden, Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Mark Godden’s “The Magic Flute”, with its mix of classical ballet and contemporary cultural references, is great fun. Not just for the work itself, but also because of the reactions of the audience. To hear so many chuckles and gales of laughter at the ballet was a pleasure.  

 

Dance, Drama and Drumming 

By Kathleen Smith Middle Passage: A Journey from Africa to the Americas COBA (Collective of Black Artists)

A warm embrace on a cold, damp night was COBA (Collective of Black Artists)’s gift to Toronto audiences with their recent show, “Middle Passage”, at Harbourfront’s Premiere Dance Theatre.

 

Expressive Geometry  

By Philip Szporer Adela, Mi Amor José Navas, Compagnie FLAK

Inspired by the writing of Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, and in particular his most political dramatic work “La casa de Bernarda Alba”, José Navas finds common ground with the playwright in that he wanted to respond to what he calls the “non-dance” that he sees produced in the Québec milieu.

 

Sepia Snapshots: A Poetic Response 

By Lindsay Zier-Vogel Old Country, Resistance Kaeja d'Dance

A response in poetry. 

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