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Reviews

 

Elastic Charisma 

By Philip Szporer "Slicing Static" Victor Quijada, Rubberbandance Group

Rubberbandance Group’s “Slicing Static” explores dance and theatre, working thematically with the insecurity and the uncertainty of our lives. Choreographer Victor Quijada warms up the audience members as soon as they enter the big open theatre space of Usine C, a former jam factory in the city’s east end that is home to the dance-theatre company Carbone 14.

 

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. 

 

Patchwork but Persistent 

By Philip Szporer, Kaija Pepper, Kate Cornell, Bridget Cauthery, Marie Claire Forté Canada Dance Festival 2004  Canada Dance Festival

It’s been a rough road for the Canada Dance Festival this year, first facing funding shortfalls, and subsequently narrowing the programming to fourteen performances, down from thirty-one two years ago. Organizers of the tenth edition, not willing to relinquish much else, splashed the slogan “Dare to turn up the heat” in riposte. 

Running Wild 

By Debbie Blaire Running Wild The Holy Body Tattoo  

“Running Wild” by choreographers Noam Gagnon and Dana Gingras was an evening of postmodern angst, featuring short dance performances created by Holy Body Tattoo artistic directors and dancers Dana Gingras and Noam Gagnon for themselves and dancers Day Helesic and Blair Neufeld.

 

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.

 

Painter/Cartographer -- Dancer/Storyteller 

By Lindsay Zier-Vogel "Portraits/Mapping" Sarah Chase

Sarah Chase paints portraits without paint and creates maps with no arrow pointing north. Instead she replaces brushstrokes with spoken stories and degrees of latitude with movement - her own gestural vocabulary.

 

A Spirited Portrait 

By Kathleen Smith "Tziganes" Serge Bennathan, Dancemakers

Family and home are usually equated with security, grounded in a place with four walls and a roof. For much of the world however, family and home might mean something much more ephemeral. The tone for such musings is set in the opening moments of Serge Bennathan’s newest work for Dancemakers, “Tziganes”. 

 

Thinking/Moving -- Moving/Thinking 

By Kaija Pepper "I Seem To Be A Verb" Susan Elliott  

There are a lot of ideas floating around in Susan Elliott’s first full-length choreography, “I Seem To Be A Verb”. Not all of them surface, and the choreography is probably many works in one. Almost managing to hold the hour together is an interesting subtext: the act of creation, as experienced by a choreographer still getting used to the job. Examining the artist’s role is a legitimate concern, if a trifle inward-looking.  

 

Satire and Celebration 

By Gregory C. Beatty Stream of Dance Biennale Thomas Lehmen, Tania Alvarado  

Intended by New Dance Horizons as a companion event that will run every second year in place of its more expansive Stream of Dance Festival, this Biennale featured performances by two guest artists: Guatamalan-born, Edmonton-based Tania Alvarado (“Still”); and Thomas Lehmen (“mono subjects”) whose touring company hails from Berlin. As originally commissioned, this review was to focus on “Still”. But as I organized my thoughts in preparation for writing, I was struck by both the parallels and disjunctions between Alvarado and Lehmen’s works.  

 

Deconstructing Hitchcock 

By Philip Szporer "Blackmail" Deborah Dunn, Trial & Eros

“Blackmail” is Deborah Dunn’s first full-length choreography since “The Birds”. Here, she isn’t pirating, but rather is inspired to deconstruct another Alfred Hitchcock film.

 

Inscrutable Reflections 

By Philip Szporer "Narcisse en Silence"   Mariko Tanabe Danse

In Greek mythology, the beautiful Narcissus discovered his image in a pool, fell in love with himself, and not being able to find consolation, died of sorrow by the same pool. While the myth may be imprinted in our collective unconscious, Montréal-based dancer and choreographer Mariko Tanabe’s “Narcissus” is hardly conventional.  

 

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.

 

Tandem Images 

By Gregory C. Beatty Rêve à deux: Mascall & Chase for Poitras & Stewart  Jennifer Mascall, Robin Poitras, Ron Stewart, Sarah Chase

Probably the most famous couple in dance history is Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. While not as well-known as them, Robin Poitras and Ron Stewart – she of Regina, he of Vancouver – have a history of dancing together that dates back to 1998, when Montréal choreographer Bill Coleman teamed them in “Zurich 1916”.  

 

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.  

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