logo

Reviews

 

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.  

 

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.  

Go to page:

LISTINGS THIS WEEK