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Reviews

 

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.  

 

Physical Resonance 

By Philip Szporer “Play It Again!”   Danièle Desnoyers, Le Carré des Lombes

Danièle Desnoyers’ new work, “Play It Again!”, is detached from narrative. Well mostly: there’s the resonance of tough guy Humphrey Bogart’s famous line in the film classic Casablanca, indelibly linked to tinkling the ivories.  

 

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 … 

 

Dancing the Architecture 

By Philip Szporer "Full Time at the Belgo" Lin Snelling

Lin Snelling and her assembled troupe did a fine job of imagining the Belgo building in “Full Time at the Belgo” (“FTATB”). The stage for the innovative site-specific dance project was the vast, six-storey fixture itself, located at Saint Catherine Street West and Bleury. Dancers explored the architecture of the building and their bodies, and the public was invited along for the ride.  

 

Fierce Courage 

By Fritzraven Sky “Speed” Suzanne Miller, Allan Paivio, Magali Stoll, Karsten Kroll

Montrealers received a singular invitation to the dance last month from Rafik Sabbagh, artistic director of Transatlantique 2005 (September 19th through 24th). The six-day moveable feast featured some leading lights of the past decade, and the premiere of Suzanne Miller and Allan Paivio’s stunning new work, “Speed”, danced to transcendent perfection by the unforgettable duo of Magali Stoll and Karsten Kroll… *This review was delayed due to unforseen circumstances. 

 

Not Wisely But Too Well 

By Garth Von Buchholz “Othello” Tom Stroud, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers

Of “Othello” the play and “Othello” the dance, you could say that “so sweet was ne’er so fatal”. The Canadian premiere of Tom Stroud’s “Othello”, performed by Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers (WCD), was a bleak and emotionally exhausting experiment in unstructured, improvised dance theatre. 

 

That Rare Breed Called Soloist  

By Kaija Pepper Chasing Bliss Jolene Bailie, Cuppa Jo Solo Dance

It’s not easy to be a solo dancer, filling out a program and keeping the audience engaged and focussed all by yourself. Margie Gillis does it brilliantly; so does Peggy Baker. And so does the up-and-coming Jolene Bailie.  

 

Reading Dance 

By Robin J. Miller Nanaimo Infringing Dance Festival  Nanaimo Infringing Dance Festival 

Nanaimo, BC – about an hour-and-a-half’s drive north from Victoria on Vancouver Island – is not anybody’s idea of a chic, urban centre. It doesn’t even have a downtown Starbucks. What it does have is a contemporary dance festival, when other, much larger and ostensibly more dance-friendly cities have lost theirs. 

 

A Ceremonial Event  

By Kaija Pepper “Percy Gladstone Memorial Dance (The Skidegate Project)” Karen Jamieson Dance Company, Dancing on the Edge Festival

The good news from the Edge is that it got off to a great start. Margie Gillis, the opening headliner for the 17th annual Dancing on the Edge Festival of Contemporary Dance, drew excellent houses for both nights of her “Voyages Into the Interior Landscape”. Gillis appeared at the mid-sized, close to 700-seat Vancouver Playhouse, an upscale, downtown theatre, and to see it well filled and bustling made for a festive launch to the ten-day event. 

A Stage Full of Hurtin’ Albert’ns  

By Kaija Pepper “Nine Points to Navigate” Brian Webb Dance Company

What is the soul of a man? … When Sheri Somerville and Brian Webb ask the question in “Nine Points to Navigate”… the answer is more meaningfully grounded in their particular world, growing up in post-World-War-II Alberta.  

Absorbing All Boundaries 

By Marilyn R. Wilson The 15th Annual Festival of New Dance  Festival of New Dance

Two premieres, both of Newfoundland works; a six-day schedule of three repeating programs in venues throughout downtown St. John’s; and fourteen free shows, in such unexpected/found spaces as churchyard trees and high-end clothing boutiques. The Festival of New Dance’s fifteenth anniversary spread also incorporated “Momenta”, which ran throughout the festival at LSPU Hall.  

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. 

 

Gods and Dance Know Space and Time  

By Kaija Pepper "Vivarta -- Manifestations of Vishnu" and "HowZaat!" Lata Pada, Sampradaya Dance Creations

For her latest project, choreographer Lata Pada travelled to India to hold auditions. The artistic director of Toronto-based Sampradaya Dance Creations was in search of full-time professional bharata natyam dancers, a rare breed in Canada.  

 

The Force of Water (unsolicited submission) 

By Sherry Dawn Knettle “Swept Away” Mari Osanai, Mile Zero Dance

Mile Zero Dance’s annual Dance Lab Performance had an unexpectedly large audience for its informal showing of “Swept Away”, choreographed by Japan’s Mari Osanai. The result of a one-month workshop, this Dance Lab was exceptional because the work developed into a completed piece rather than the intended work-in-progress. 

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