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Spinning around art and outreach 

By Marie Claire Forté HIP HOP 360 at the Canada Dance Festival  Canada Dance Festival

There is something particular about this Canada Dance Festival (CDF) intermediate year programming, also the festival’s first thematic five-day event. Is it the YouTube trailer, the graffiti artists spraying large wood panels outside the National Arts Centre (NAC) box office, the abundance of youth sporting hoodies and baseball caps, the men outnumbering the women by a proportion of ten to one?  

 

One Old, One Borrowed, One New 

By Emma Doran “Light | Confronts | Unknown” Dancemakers

Michael Trent must feel eyes focussed in his direction. “Light Confronts Unknown” is his first major program for Dancemakers after being appointed artistic director in August 2006.  

 

Layering Tradition and Identity 

By Kathleen Smith “Meeting with Saghi” Sashar Zarif

In Persian culture, the character of Saghi is a beloved wine-bearer who embodies ideals and beliefs of the tradition that created him in much the same way as the stories of Krishna inform the East Indian cultural landscape. 

 

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.  

 

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.  

 

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.  

 

A Whirl of Sound and Motion 

By Kathleen Smith “Asala” Arabesque Dance Company

One of Toronto’s most successful dance companies is devoted to forms of dance that have entranced devotees and audiences alike for thousands of years. Under the direction of Yasmina Ramzy, the Arabesque Dance Company takes Middle Eastern dance vocabularies and showcases them, for the most part respectfully, and to the delight of their fans.  

 

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.  

 

In Search of Flamenco Puro 

By Bridget Cauthery "Escencia Flamenca" Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company

Sometimes a period of absence – or abstinence – from a particular dance form can result in the acquisition of new perspective, allowing one to view a performance with fresh eyes and ears.  

 

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.  

 

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.  

 

Encounter Overflow 

By Marie Claire Forté Canada Dance Festival 2006: Environmental Encounters  Canada Dance Festival

“Encounter great dance,” announced the 2006 Canada Dance Festival (CDF). Returning from a pared-down 2004 edition, Artistic Director Brian Webb presented a full program, complete with theatre performances, Dance Dialogues (a series of morning discussions and presentations) and Environmental Encounters (outdoor performances).  

 

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.

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