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Reviews

 

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 Weight of Aggression 

By Kaija Pepper “Lost Action” Crystal Pite, Kidd Pivot

Crystal Pite’s “Lost Action”, which premiered at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre as the closing show of the Vancouver International Dance Festival, makes a serious and emotionally gripping statement about conflict.  

 

A Butoh Classic 

By Kaija Pepper “Sunyata” Kokoro Dance, Vancouver International Dance Festival

Who knew it would last? When Jay Hirabayashi and Barbara Bourget of Kokoro Dance launched the Vancouver International Dance Festival in 1998, it was a showcase for international butoh artists. For the first few years, attendance was dismal. Some of the shows were good, some appalling; but looked at in hindsight, audiences were getting a fantastic grounding in the art of butoh.  

 

Intersections, Overcrossings 

By Philip Szporer “The Part” Antonija Livingstone, Edgy Women International Festival

Lean, bleached-blond, with legs that go on and on, Antonija Livingstone cuts a striking figure. The Part is a work that she’s currently touring.

 

The Sight (Site) of Motion 

By Philip Szporer "Vortex 1"

Van Grimde Corps Secret’s latest production, “Vortex 1”, is just the latest in a series of Montréal dance concerts that have featured live musicians onstage, and in close proximity to the audience.  

 

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.

 

Rhythmic Confrontation 

By Philip Szporer “Exit” Dominique Porte, Système D

Confrontational and contained, Dominique Porte’s Exit, features music compositions by four Canadian composers – James Harley, Nicolas Gilbert, Michael Oesterle and Howard Bashaw – with Véronique Lacroix of the Ensemble contemporain de Montréal directing the live performances of percussionist Philip Hornsley and pianist Pamela Reimer.  

 

Pushing Past the Comfort Zone 

By Philip Szporer “Lost Pigeons” David Pressault Danse

For David Pressault’s Danse-Cité production, “Lost Pigeons”, the dancer-choreographer uses the symbol of the sexy pigeon as his central image to probe today’s lost generation of lovers who see relationships slipping away.  

 

It Dances as a Whole 

By Kaija Pepper “5 AM” Paula de Vasconcelos, Pigeons International, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

The rhythmic flow and poetic abstraction of “5 AM” (“5 Heures du Matin”) lends the whole of Paula de Vasconcelos’ well-produced and visually outstanding dance/theatre work a polished choreographic feel. Yet the pure dance sections themselves were disappointing.  

 

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”. 

 

Three Exceptional Women 

By Kaija Pepper Dances for a Small Stage XII  Dances for a Small Stage

Dances for a Small Stage takes place in a bar, the Crush Champagne Lounge on downtown Granville Street, just a few steps away from The Dance Centre. The bar venue is crucial to the success of the popular series, which is produced by Day Helesic and Julie-anne Saroyan of MovEnt, because having a good time is what Small Stage is all about.  

 

Seriously Improvising 

By Kaija Pepper “Thirst” Peter Bingham, Wen Wei Wang

The partnership of Peter Bingham and Wen Wei Wang is a surprising one. Bingham is an older dancer, in his mid-fifties, and widely known as a master of contact improvisation. Wang, fourteen years younger, studied Chinese dance from a young age, was a member of Ballet British Columbia for several years and has a growing reputation as a contemporary choreographer. 

 

Moments Apart, Together 

By Philip Szporer “Au coeur de l’inconnu/At The Heart of The Unknown” Andrew de L. Harwood, Kirstie Simson

A couple of comments linger long after watching the performance of Andrew de Lotbinère Harwood and Kirstie Simson, both accomplished dancer/improvisers. Prior to attending the concert, which occurred during the recent CORD (Congress on Research in Dance) conference in Montréal, one of the speakers, an academic from the United States, asked what was playing in town that night, and I mentioned the show at Studio 303. Her response was curt: “Oh, is [Harwood] still doing that?” That not-so-gentle put-down was countered by a woman who exited the show, remarking, “[Simson] has managed to take him far beyond what he normally does.”  

 

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.  

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