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

Ballet

 

A New Era, Not Unlike the Old 

By Michael Crabb Banff Festival Dance  Banff Festival Dance 

Music by Jonny Greenwood might seem an unlikely candidate to accompany a dance but as it turns out the Radiohead guitarist/composer’s orchestral score for Paul Thomas Anderson’s much-acclaimed 2007 movie, “There Will Be Blood”, provided just the propulsive energy and suspenseful mood Toronto-based choreographer Robert Glumbek needed for his unsettling new work, “Prefigured Effect”.

 

Creating a Sense of Occasion 

By Kaija Pepper “The Four Seasons” John Alleyne, Ballet British Columbia

Ballet British Columbia was once a serious little company that prided itself on its spare black-on-black repertoire, but these days it aims to create a friendlier sense of theatrical occasion.  

 

An Ambitious Anniversary Ballet 

By Bridget Cauthery “Anastasia” Bengt Jörgen, Ballet Jörgen Canada

Jörgen’s “Anastasia” is a fictional dramatization of episodes from the life of Anastasia Romanov, the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia.  

 

Dance As a Metre of the Times 

By Philip Szporer "Amjad" Édouard Lock

Édouard Lock’s new revisionist ballet, Amjad, has a way of messing with our heads. Those who mistakenly expect that Lock’s current choreography draws on the signature barrel turns and the sexual ambiguity of his work in the 1980s will be sorely disappointed. And for those interested to see how he has continued his exploration of the classics of the ballet repertoire, there will be expectation. 

 

Dancing to Save Paradise 

By Kaija Pepper Dancing Joni & Other Works Alberta Ballet

The press interest in “The Fiddle and the Drum” by Alberta Ballet’s artistic director, Jean Grand-Maître, and legendary singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell, surprised everyone – but probably not Mitchell, the cause of it all. Though apparently reclusive, she must be used to attention after four successful decades in the music business and, in order to publicize the ballet, was willing to hold court.  

 

Working Toward World Class 

By Kathleen Smith ProArteDanza  ProArteDanza

A ProArteDanza opening always has a buzz-y kind of glamour – people dress up, they talk about the work, clearly excited to be there. Some of the city’s finest classical and contemporary dancers grace the stage; the rest can be found in the audience along with students and hip dance fans of all stripes.  

 

Driven by Plot not Desire 

By Kaija Pepper “A Streetcar Named Desire” John Alleyne, Ballet BC

It looks good and sounds great. “A Streetcar Named Desire”, by Ballet British Columbia’s artistic director, John Alleyne, is full of eye-catching, interlacing duets and the fifteen members of Ballet BC perform with confidence and style.  

 

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.  

 

A Ballet with Teeth 

By Garth Von Buchholz “Dracula” Mark Godden, Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Mark Godden’s Dracula is a twentieth-century Goth guy (the dance premiered in 1999) tricked out in nineteenth-century vampire garb. He’s been clever enough to get himself a film deal (Guy Maddin’s “Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary”) that garnered rave reviews around the world.  

An Act of the Heart 

By Philip Szporer "Liberamae" Louis-Martin Charest

The night I arrived in the lobby of the Monument National for the performance of Louis-Martin Charest’s new work, “Liberamae”, I was taken aback by the crowd that had assembled for the performance. Montréal establishment types, in pearls and fitted suits, were shoulder to shoulder with folks from both the ranks of the ballet and contemporary dance communities. Everyone seemed to take great delight in being there for the show. 

 

The Birthday Edition 

By Kaija Pepper Twelve Minutes Max XXX  Twelve Minutes Max

Twelve Minutes Max has had a long haul as a dance series goes. The inaugural 12 MM took place in December 1994 but its roots go back a few years further. Anne Cooper remembers the mixed bill’s precursor, an informal community event held at Main Dance Place in the Arcadian Hall at Main Street and 6th Avenue. It was called Shoeless Saturday because everyone had to take their shoes off before entering the studio. In the early nineties, Cooper danced in one of those shows and, during a telephone conversation, told me she always meant to do another. But it was only now that she had the right project at the right time. 

 

DNA: Radical, Shmadical 

By Kathleen Smith "I Know and Feel That Fate is Harsh But I am So Loathe to Accept This"  Hillar Liitoja, DNA Theatre

If the world of contemporary dance is a bit of a closed community, not always so welcoming to outsiders who come from other than the conventional channels, the world of classical ballet is more so – a family compact. You’d better be bringing something pretty special as an offering to the patriarchs if you hope to sit down at the dinner table and be listened to. 

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.  

 

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.

 

LOVE ME: Cinderella, Astroturf, red sequins and dancing men  

By Marie Claire Forté Celle qui, dit-on, aurait perdu sa chaussure (Cendrillon) Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, Stijn Celis

How much can you renew a traditional fairy tale? Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal and Belgian choreographer Stijn Celis answer with “Celle qui, dit-on, aurait perdu sa chaussure (Cendrillon)”.

Alchemy of a Dance Festival: FIND-Lab Part 2 

By Kathleen Smith Festival international de nouvelle danse  Festival international de nouvelle danse 

The second part of this year’s edition of FIND was characterized by unusually fine weather outdoors, uneven programming indoors and an absolute obsession with technology everywhere you looked. Could these three elements possibly be related? 

Humour, Words and Some All-Out Dance 

By Kaija Pepper Dancing on the Edge Festival 2003 Dancing on the Edge Festival

The fifteenth annual Dancing on the Edge, presented by the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver from July 3rd through 13th, was a remarkably mature edition.

LISTINGS THIS WEEK