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.
Member Profile: Get to know Michael Toppings, General Director of Montreal Arts Intercultural (MAI)
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.