Congratulations to our 2015-16 Creative Exchange Project presenters: Springboard Performance, Neighbourhood Dance Works, and Yukon Arts Centre! Their unique, national project, Body of Water, brings together artists Ann Troake (St. John's), Wojciech Mochniej (Calgary), and Aimée Dawn Robinson (Whitehorse). The exchange will be shaped by the personality of each community's body of water: its history, politics, and qualitative experience. In each community, local artists will be engaged to work with the creative trio, promoting local engagement.
CanDance was greatly saddened to hear the shocking news of the tragic death of Michael Green. Co-founder of One Yellow Rabbit and Curator of the High Perfomance Rodeo Festival, Michael has been a leader in the Canadian arts community for over three decades, and a local theatre pioneer in Calgary, Alberta. He leaves behind a strong legacy of work that will continue to grow. Michael was one of five people killed in a multi-vehicle highway accident in Saskatchewan on the morning of February 10th. CanDance extends its condolences to Michael's loved ones, and to the staff and company of CanDance member organization One Yellow Rabbit.
David Raymond and Tiffany Tregarthen, co-artistic directors of Out Innerspace Dance Theatre (OIS) are the recipients of the CanDance Network’s 2014-15 small-investment Creation Fund commission. Hailed as “theatrically engaging performers and beautiful movers” (The Dance Current, December 2011), the company is creating a new work for 7 dancers, anticipated to premiere in January 2016, which will explore conflicts between the self and the crowd. They ask, “how do we want to be seen, heard, and understood in the world as a group, a generation, a people? What do we protest, what do we promote, and what are we up against?”
Alongside their exploration with how groups thrive or suffer inside social taboos, the creation process also focuses on technical experimentation with microphones, video projection and camera flashes. Outreach will play a key role in the creative process, as the public is invited to inform their ideas. OIS will work alongside project mentor Crystal Pite, rehearsal director Justine Chambers, and lighting designer James Proudfoot. Presenting partners include Live Art Dance Productions, Dance Victoria, Firehall Arts Centre, L’Agora de la Danse, and the Brian Webb Dance Company.
The CanDance Creation Fund supports Canadian choreographers in their creation and development of new works, culminating in a tour of at least four Canadian cities. This presenter-driven process, which deepens the working relationship among artists and presenters, develops new audiences, and enhances the artistic experience for current audiences. The Creation Fund offers an unprecedented opportunity to Canadian dance creators by giving commissioned dances a longer life and a national audience.
What is one characteristic that makes MAI a unique presenters in the Canadian dance community?
Our mandate, specific to presenting intercultural arts remains, I believe, one of a kind throughout Canada and possibly North America. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Which Canadian dance artist/company would you love to present, either in the short or long term future?
Because we are a pluridisciplinary presenter, I have a list that spans any number of disciplines (and it keeps growing). Pretty high up on that list at this time are The Dancers of Damelahamid.
What is a success story you have experienced, related to either performance or audience engagement?
I am stoked whenever the artist the MAI has presented gets picked up by another presenter, and/or is given the opportunity to present their work outside of the city or province. It is so important that work be given a life beyond a first run.
Co-founded in 1981 by Cathy Ferri and Agnes Walsh, Neighbourhood Dance Works (NDW) began as a performance collective dedicated to creating innovative new dance works in St. John’s. As the organization developed, a performance series was established which showcased local talent, as well as work by leading Canadian dancers, making NDW the primary presenter of modern dance in the province. In 1990 Neighbourhood Dance Works introduced the first Festival of New Dance. Now, over twenty years later, the festival enjoys a reputation for programming eclectic and challenging dance work from Canada and abroad, as well as exposing local talent to new audiences.
CanDance: What makes NDW a unique presenter in the Canadian dance community?
Calla: I believe our geographical location adds a level of appeal for artists attending the festival. The fact that we’re situated on the most easterly point of North America, coupled with the wild ocean, the rugged cliffs and the fairy enchanted South Side Hills that frame the City; it’s a stunning backdrop to the festival. Often our visiting artists can be seen running up Signal Hill or hiking the East Coast Trail in the few spare moments before and after performances. I’ve been told time and time again how they long to come back to the festival, not only to reconnect with our audience, but to reconnect with this place. Of course we have nothing to do with Mother Nature’s handiwork, but it sure is nice to capitalize on her beauty.
CanDance: Which Canadian dance artist / company would you love to present?
Calla: If we had unlimited money and time I’d want to bring everyone here. No seriously, I mean that. I want to have a huge dance marathon with back to back dancing for a whole month. In the short term I want to see Louise Lecavalier’s So Blue at the Longshoremen’s Projective Union – our historic LSPU Hall.
CanDance: What are some of NDW’s performance/ audience engagement success stories?
Calla: Performances and moments that our audience still talk about include Tedd Robinson balancing that incredible stick on his head; Dulcinea Langfelder in Portrait of a Woman with a Suitcase; Peggy Baker in her magnificent performance of Portal after being stranded in a B & B because of Hurricane Igor; the audience jumping to their feet following an opening night with Margie Gillis; and the unforgettable performance of Roger Sinha in Burning Skin. And our very own local artists: Louise Moyes in My Secret Pig, Barry Nicols in Moose Man and the beautiful duet of Sarah Joy Stoker and Peter Trosztmer in Broken Accidents. This blend of home-made talent and artists from away makes for so many memorable moments.
A big welcome to CanDance’s newest members: Mile Zero (Edmonton), PuSh International Performing Arts Festival (Vancouver), and Theatre Junction (Calgary)!
We are pleased to announce that Kathy Lewis is the new Program Manager for The CanDance Network while Chrystine Williams is away on maternity leave. Kathy worked with CanDance in the past as the Administrative Assistant and we are very excited to welcome her back to the CanDance team!
Choreographer: Wen Wei Wang, in collaboration with the performers
Performers: Jung-Ah Chung, Léon Feizo-Gas, Josh Martin, Diego Romero, Renée Sigouin, Tiffany Tregarthen, Wen Wei Wang
Music: Giorgio Magnanensi & Walter Zanetti
Lighting designer: James Proudfoot
Video designer: David Raymond
Costume designer: Kate Burrows
Run time: 65 minutes, no intermission
Premiere: Brian Webb Dance Company, Edmonton, February 22, 2013
Commissioning partners: Brian Webb Dance Co., Dancehouse, National Arts Centre, L’Agora de la danse, and The CanDance Network.
Stemming from the dichotomous nature of improvisation – uninhibited abandon and controlled precision – choreographer Wen Wei Wang examines ideas of control and power through his new dance creation. 7th Sense is an exploration of how we wield control and succumb to it, an invisible force that shapes our lives and our relationships.
We cherish the autonomy of our lives, the free will we exercise in our daily existence, and we valiantly struggle against oppressive forces, on scales large and small. Yet we also have the deep-rooted urge to dominate our surroundings, conquer the unknown, and to master the mysterious. The work holds a mirror to this duplicity to reveal our desire for individual freedoms while exerting our will on others.
7th Sense is a personal exploration into the realization of one’s true nature, despite the many external societal forces that constrain and inhibit. It is about pushing back against the artificial rules of society that prevent us from giving way to our true selves and from loving – others and ourselves – unconditionally.
Choreographer: Aszure Barton
Dancers: Jonathan Alsberry, Lara Barclay, William Briscoe, Tobin Del Cuore, Benjamin Kamino, Andrew Murdock, and Davon Rainey
Original score: Lev ‘Ljova’ Zhurbin and Curtis Macdonald
Lighting design: Burke Brown
Costumes: Linda Chow
Visual content: Tobin Del Cuore and Don Lee
Premiere: The Canada Dance Festival, Ottawa; June 8th, 2012
Run time: 69 minutes
Commissioning partners: National Arts Centre, Danse Danse, Canada Dance Festival , Le Grand Théâtre du Quebec (through La danse sur les routes du Quebec), and The CanDance Network
“I had a dream one night. I dreamt I was underwater, sitting in a rocking chair.” -Aszure
Awáa explores the nature of the masculine and the feminine, the sharp and the curved, earth and water. Water is grounded in sensation, suggesting the womb, motherhood, and a sense of time slowing down. This powerful evening of dance draws audiences into a world that is spellbinding, exciting, and percussive. At times, it is funny and sad, and at others, hauntingly beautiful.
Aszure Barton & Artists is a collective of visual, sound, and performing artists, cohering in creative residencies in Canada and the United States to evoke the movement-based vision and free spirit of its founder.
Producer: Van Grimde Corps Secrets
Curator and Choreographer: Isabelle Van Grimde
Assistant Choreographer: Soula Trougakos
Performers: Marie Brassard, Sophie Breton, Robin Poitras, Soula Trougakos, Brian Webb
Visual & Media Artists: Derek Besant, Brennan/Caulfield/Mills, Kate Craig, Nadia Myre, Marilène Oliver, Monique Régimbald-Zeiber
Music: Thom Gossage
Architect and Set Design: Anick La Bissonnière, in association with Éric O. Lacroix
Lighting Design: Lucie Bazzo
Essays: Dr. Cristian Berco & Dr Dawna Gilchrist
Visual Arts Advisory Committee: Louise Déry & Kitty Scott in association with Brian Webb Dance Company
Premiere: May 29, 2012
Commissioning Partners: Festival TransAmériques, The Brian Webb Dance Company, Canada Dance Festival, Festival Danse, Centennial Theatre (through La Danse sur les routes du Quebec), and The CanDance Network
The interviews compiled in this study, entitled The Body in Question, have created a complete choreographic corpus in which the very meaning of dance and gesture becomes more and more refined as our understanding of the human body gains in depth. The primal body of our origins and instincts enters into a dialogue with the body of the future, a sum of energetic vibrations subjected to the influences of an environment in perpetual mutation. In offering this theoretical and gestural matter as a source of inspiration to visual and media artists, Isabelle Van Grimde takes on the role of an exhibit curator, and delves further into the transposition, the transformation and even the deconstruction of her choreographic materials, in order to enhance the theme of the body. Echoing the creations of the invited artists, five solos developed from the same materials inhabit the space of the exhibit, which is also named The Body in Question. Through their thoughts and writings, several authors, philosophers, historians and anthropologists broaden perspectives on the overall process.
In each of her works, choreographer Isabelle Van Grimde attempts to uncover the secrets of the human body, evoking its numerous dimensions. She envisions each new piece as a mystery in action, keeping it alive by presenting it to the public in a context of open creation. Her collaborations with artists from others disciplines lead her to probe that mystery while enriching it, multiplying perceptions of the creation and its points of access. Driven by an unquenchable thirst for learning and an insatiable desire to break down the limits of her understanding, Isabelle Van Grimde has since 2004 researched perceptions of the body with many artists and intellectuals throughout the world.