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An Embarrassment of Riches 

By Nova Bhattacharya Kalanidhi International Dance Festival and Conference: A Century of Indian Dance: Part II  Kalanidhi

The 2006 Kalanidhi International Dance Festival and Conference ran from September 22nd through October 1st and featured over 100 bharatanatyam, odissi, kuchipudi and chau artists from 7 countries in 30 performances, 2 intensive workshops in chau and bharatanatyam/zulu dance, and countless lectures, papers and dance chats. 

 

Serious Themes, Seriously Treated 

By Kathleen Smith IN(side)time: made in Canada/fait au Canada  dance: made in Canada/fait au Canada

Made in Canada/fait au Canada is a biannual showcase of contemporary dance curated by choreographer/performer Yvonne Ng via her company princess productions. Over two weeks, the last of September and first of October, six works were presented, some new and some worthy remounts.  

A Commitment to the Future

By Kathleen Smith Toronto International Dance Festival (a fFIDA presentation) Toronto International Dance Festival

For fifteen years, the fringe Festival of Independent Dance Artists (fFIDA) has presented a mixed bag of dance over an extended period in August. Chosen by lottery and stacked into mixed programs and large-scale spectaculars, the dance viewing experience has also been a crapshoot. Some years it was mostly dross with a few buried treasures; in others, the riches made you feel hopeful for the future of dance in Canada. 

 

The Spirit of Dance Weaves a Tale 

By Suzanne Jaeger dance Immersion Showcase Presentation   Dance Immersion

“Throughout history, our people have been able to survive, through dance,” says Emerita Emerencia, who plays the role of a storyteller guiding the audience through various dances of the African Diaspora in the Dance Immersion Showcase Presentation’s Saturday matinee.  

Cross Gender Performance: Dispelling the Binary 

By Bridget Cauthery CanAsian Dance Festival 2006  CanAsian Dance Festival

Transformations: Expressions of Gender Roles in Asian Dance, presented by CanAsian Dance (June 8-11th, 2006), was like opening a jewellery box of precious gems or discovering buried treasure.  

 

The Honesty of an Artist

By Megan Andrews "Absences" Serge Bennathan, Dancemakers

Space, silence, absence. Moments of suspended emptiness punctuate the robust joy, delicate care and aching grief in Absences, Serge Bennathan’s last work as artistic director of Toronto’s Dancemakers.  

 

Fragments of Mind 

By Lindsay Zier-Vogel ”she’s gone away” Susanna Hood, hum dansoundart

A horse, a gorilla, a snake and a fiendish beast; a young girl, a storyteller, a go-go dancer; a teapot, a napkin, and a cast of chairs are all brought together in Susanna Hood’s latest performance, “she’s gone away”, a theatrical dance and sound work that explores female sexual awakening.  

 

Celebrating Masculinity and Creole-Canadian Dance 

“Breaking Out” Patrick Parson, Ballet Creole

Fresh from drinking in the National Ballet of Canada’s recent Balanchine season where works like “Rubies” and “Theme and Variations” stood for deep appreciation of the female form, my mind still echoes with the oft-repeated Balanchine quote “ballet is woman”. What a splashy switch then to soak up Patrick Parson’s premiere for members of his Ballet Creole company, an all-male ballet entitled “Breaking Out”. 

 

The Innocence of Schoolgirls 

By Suzanne Jaeger "Signs" Yvonne Ng, Princess Productions

Yvonne Ng’s two-part work, “Signs” is a well-mixed suspension of text, movement, music and percussion in a fluid performance of theatrical dance. Katherine Duncanson composed a new score for the first dance “Paper Women”, and Lee Pui Ming created a work for “Emerald Lies”. Ng also invited poet Lindsay Zier-Vogel to contribute to the creative process by translating into poetic language the physicality of the choreography she observed in rehearsals.

 

What can you say about love? 

By Kathleen Smith "The Betrayal Project" Julia Sasso Dances

What can you say about love, lust and sex that hasn’t already been said in a million different ways in a multitude of media? This is the fundamental dilemma that must underpin any discussion of Julia Sasso’s new full-length exploration of eros: “The Betrayal Project”. 

 

Finding Entertainment in an Artist’s Obsessions 

By Suzanne Jaeger "bODY_rEMIX/gOLDBERG_vARIATIONS" Marie Chouinard, Compagnie Marie Chouinard

It is not that Chouinard has run out of ideas. “bODY rEMIX” is a rich, wildly entertaining compilation of playful associations, sensual and erotic imagery and stunning virtuosic dancing enhanced by a cleverly woven mesh of percussive sounds, music, recorded speech, breathy sighs, grunts, orgasmic gasps and squeals.  

 

Tranquility, Destruction, Struggle, Amusement: Four Choreographers, Four Very Different Dances  

By Suzanne Jaeger Four at the Winch Sara Porter, Andrea Nann, Valerie Calam, Louis Laberge-Côté, Toronto Dance Theatre

A musician sits at the far left of the stage with a banjo and percussive instruments including bowls of water. In front of him is a small boat, “dry docked” with colourful nets hanging from it. Invoking familiar images of a seaside beach, a life jacket and bucket hang from ropes dropped from the fly, and at the front, seashells of various sizes and shapes are piled on the floor. The dance begins with … 

Sita's Journey to Canada 

By Nova Bhattacharya "Sitayana -- Sita's Story" Menaka Thakkar Dance Company

The Menaka Thakkar Dance Company’s presentation of “Sitayana – Sita’s Story” from May 12-15, 2005 at the Betty Oliphant Theatre, Toronto, was a virtuoso production of a dance drama in the bharatanatyam style. 

A Savvy Program 

By Paula Citron dance Immersion 2005  dance Immersion

Somewhere toward the end of dance Immersion, this writer had an epiphany. No matter how stirring the traditional African drumming and dancing, or how stylish a tap routine, or how attractive the synchronization of energetic b-girls, or how charming the Caribbean folklore, it was the contemporary choreography that gave substance to the evening.  

Mixed Blessings 

By Kathleen Smith Platform 33 in works by Muñoz, Itoh and Bédard  Damian Muñoz, Platform 33, Kim Itoh, Louise Bedard

There hasn’t been a Toronto show in recent memory to spawn as many heated and diverse opinions as the recent Danceworks show featuring commissioned work for a new collective called Platform 33. Audience members on the evening I attended seemed to position themselves all along the spectrum. I love when that happens, because it usually means a chord of some kind has been struck.  

 

Dancers and Gemstones 

By Kathleen Smith CanAsian Dance Festival Program B  CanAsian Dance Festival

Great dancers are like gemstones. Fully experiencing their brilliance can depend on the sensitivity and fit of the setting theyve been given by the choreographer, composer, set designer etc. When everything is up to the standard such artists can inspire, excitement ensues; mess up with the setting and it feels like a crime against art.  

 

Of Loss and Healing 

By Kathleen Smith "Grace" Eryn Dace Trudell

Sometimes, dance is very good at capturing the zeitgeist. Eryn Dace Trudell’s “Grace”, is a memorial to her aunt Grace McDace Barker, who passed away from breast cancer in 2002. It is an overt and intimate treatment of the subject. 

 

Poetic Craftsmanship 

By Kathleen Smith "Passare"  O Vertigo, Ginette Laurin

Believe it or not, there are some perks to getting older. For most of us, achieving a semblance of peace of mind finally seems possible after the sometimes-inappropriate mania of youth has passed. For artists, continuous creation over a long period results in work that can’t help having depth; the palette is at its broadest, the decision-making process is at its most refined. Confidence rather than cockiness prevails. 

 

Liquid and Vapour 

By Lindsay Zier-Vogel "INKCrossfade2AIR" Andrea Nann, Lydia Wagerer

In a co-production by DanceWorks CoWorks Series and dance: made in Canada/fait au Canada (d:mic/fac), presenter Yvonne Ng brought together Toronto’s Andrea Nann and Quebec City’s Lydia Wagerer in an intimate evening of choreography, entitled “INKCrossfade2AIR”, that explores both grace and intimacy in their extremities. In all three pieces, the audience witnesses the process of engaged transformation.  

 

between and beyond 

By Sara Porter invisible borders Louise Bédard, Doug Varone, Michael Trent, the empty collective

“invisible borders”, presented by the empty collective and Danceworks, ran November 4th through 6th at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre Theatre (formerly duMaurier Theatre Centre). The show was envisioned by dancer/choreographer Michael Trent as an exploration of a “multiplicity of viewpoints” and manifested as a mixed repertory program by choreographers with three contrasting aesthetics and from three different cities: Louise Bédard from Montréal, Doug Varone from New York, and Trent from Toronto - who was also the show’s producer and featured performer.

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