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Contemporary

Points of View (unsolicited) 

By Alana Gerecke, Andrea Downie Vancouver International Dance Festival 2007  Vancouver International Dance Festival

Among the many performances at the Vancouver International Dance Festival, two programs – by senior artists Jay Hirabayashi and Barbara Bourget, and by Karen Jamieson – inspired emerging writers to capture their experiences in words. 

 

Ancient Behaviour 

By Gregory C. Beatty “Herding Instinct” Karen Kuzak, TRIP Dance

In choreographing “Herding Instinct”, Karen Kuzak, artistic director of Winnipeg’s TRIP Dance, took inspiration from an unlikely source – her six-year-old border collie Ben. Or, more accurately, the competitions she and Ben have participated in where teams of two dogs and their master work to control a flock of sheep.  

 

Reconnections 

By Philip Szporer A mixed progam by Gaétan Gingras  Gaétan Gingras

Iroquois-Mohawk by ancestry, but cut off from his roots for most of his life, at fourteen Gaétan Gingras learned that his maternal grandparents were aboriginal. The truth had been hidden for many years.  

 

Bringing the Outside In 

By Gregory C. Beatty “the Weathering Suite” Davida Monk, M-Body

Choreographed by Davida Monk for her Calgary-based dance company M-Body, “the Weathering Suite” arrived in Regina at a curious moment. The UN was in the process of releasing a long-awaited report on climate change; Al Gore and Inuit environmentalist Sheila Watt-Cloutier had just been nominated for the Nobel Peace prize; and in Canada, the environment, and climate change in particular, had become the hot-button political issue.  

 

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.  

 

Keeping It Real at 48 

By Michèle Moss Mixed program by Louise Lecavalier  Louise Lecavalier

Seeing Louise Lecavalier dance is a trip of sorts: a fairground ride through time and space, a wonderland tour across a history of body politics and the ideals of nationalism, the excess of the 1980s, the exuberance of the 1990s.  

 

Seeking Common Rhythmic Ground 

By Samantha Mehra “Tappin’ at the Winch: The Resurgence” Paula Skimin, Turn on the Tap

In this city of diverse traditions, the promise of experiencing several cultural art forms in one performance tempts the cosmopolitan appetite. For those with such a taste, Turn on the Tap’s “Tappin’ at the Winch: The Resurgence”, at the Winchester Street Theatre, offered a range of flavours.  

 

An Unwieldy Opus 

By Philip Szporer “Bas-reliefs” Marie-Josée Chartier

It all began from a fascination with pioneering visual artist Betty Goodwin’s “Swimmers” series from the 1980s. From this source, in which Goodwin drew, using graphite, charcoal and oil pastels, on a kind of translucent paper, dancer-choreographer Marie-Josée Chartier conceived a multi-disciplinary mega-production, “Bas reliefs: un dyptique”.  

 

Bubble-Wrap Reality Dance 

By Marie Claire Forté “Talk Show” Alexis Andrew, Elizabeth MacKinnon

Layers of subtext float around this performance called “Talk Show” by Ottawa’s collective (gulp). Independent dance artists are a rare and special breed in Ottawa – Alexis Kate Andrew and Elizabeth MacKinnon of collective (gulp) are no exception.  

 

Doubles territoires 2/Split Stage 2 

By Philip Szporer New works by Peter Trosztmer and Ségolène Marchand  Peter Trosztmer, Ségolène Marchand

The performance began outside the theatre. Conceptual pieces of printed, bent metal stuck on wooden planks were suspended along the corridor walls leading to the theatre. Inside, bent bicycles in tormented shapes hung from the walls and ceiling.  

 

A review in the shape of a conversation 

By Kathleen Smith, Megan Andrews “/dance/songs/” Ame Henderson, public recordings

“A dance in the shape of a rock show.” Sounds like a good idea, right? It was only a matter of time before someone figured out how to harness the casual collectivity and emotional energy of going to hear a favourite band and applied it to a choreographic concept.  

 

Artist and Critic in [Virtual] Dialogue 

By Philip Szporer, Pamela Newell “Being Susan Sontag” Pamela Newell

A conversation between critic Philip Szporer and choreographer Pamela Newell about her recent work “Being Susan Sontag”. With all due respect, they didn’t hold back. 

Meditative Abstraction 

By Jill Goldberg "Anatomies" José Navas, Compagnie Flak

Dancers in nothing but boy-shorts, minimalist lighting, an empty stage. Much has been made of José Navas’ transition from a choreographer who crafts dance with a theatrical aesthetic to a more mature artist whose work is subtle, even ascetic.  

 

Two Takes on the Same Show 

By Philip Szporer, Lys Stevens “Take it Back” Solid State

Solid State’s new work, “Take it Back”, is a dance that crosses boundaries, re-sourcing the language of hip hop and the Lindy, presenting elements of street dance and swing in a theatrical setting.  

 

Acknowledging Age 

By Gregory C. Beatty “REDD” Tedd Robinson

One of the biggest mantras for business strategists and other motivational types is the idea that it’s better to initiate change than to have change thrust upon you. For most of his career, Ottawa-based performer Tedd Robinson has been an initiator of change.  

 

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.  

 

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 Flamenco Transposition 

By Philip Szporer “Azafran Or Rouge” Ballet Flamenco Arte de España

What happens when a Québécois play is transposed into the language of flamenco? For Laura Lynne McGee, the result is “Azafran Or Rouge”. The latest show by Montréal’s Ballet Flamenco Arte de España, “Azafran Or Rouge” recently played the long and narrow Club Soda nightclub, a renconverted old movie house with floor and balcony seating, that these days mainly books music concerts.

 

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.  

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