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Celebrating Masculinity and Creole-Canadian Dance 

“Breaking Out” Patrick Parson, Ballet Creole

Fresh from drinking in the National Ballet of Canada’s recent Balanchine season where works like “Rubies” and “Theme and Variations” stood for deep appreciation of the female form, my mind still echoes with the oft-repeated Balanchine quote “ballet is woman”. What a splashy switch then to soak up Patrick Parson’s premiere for members of his Ballet Creole company, an all-male ballet entitled “Breaking Out”. 

 

The Innocence of Schoolgirls 

By Suzanne Jaeger "Signs" Yvonne Ng, Princess Productions

Yvonne Ng’s two-part work, “Signs” is a well-mixed suspension of text, movement, music and percussion in a fluid performance of theatrical dance. Katherine Duncanson composed a new score for the first dance “Paper Women”, and Lee Pui Ming created a work for “Emerald Lies”. Ng also invited poet Lindsay Zier-Vogel to contribute to the creative process by translating into poetic language the physicality of the choreography she observed in rehearsals.

 

What can you say about love? 

By Kathleen Smith "The Betrayal Project" Julia Sasso Dances

What can you say about love, lust and sex that hasn’t already been said in a million different ways in a multitude of media? This is the fundamental dilemma that must underpin any discussion of Julia Sasso’s new full-length exploration of eros: “The Betrayal Project”. 

 

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.  

 

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 … 

Sita's Journey to Canada 

By Nova Bhattacharya "Sitayana -- Sita's Story" Menaka Thakkar Dance Company

The Menaka Thakkar Dance Company’s presentation of “Sitayana – Sita’s Story” from May 12-15, 2005 at the Betty Oliphant Theatre, Toronto, was a virtuoso production of a dance drama in the bharatanatyam style. 

A Savvy Program 

By Paula Citron dance Immersion 2005  dance Immersion

Somewhere toward the end of dance Immersion, this writer had an epiphany. No matter how stirring the traditional African drumming and dancing, or how stylish a tap routine, or how attractive the synchronization of energetic b-girls, or how charming the Caribbean folklore, it was the contemporary choreography that gave substance to the evening.  

Mixed Blessings 

By Kathleen Smith Platform 33 in works by Muñoz, Itoh and Bédard  Damian Muñoz, Platform 33, Kim Itoh, Louise Bedard

There hasn’t been a Toronto show in recent memory to spawn as many heated and diverse opinions as the recent Danceworks show featuring commissioned work for a new collective called Platform 33. Audience members on the evening I attended seemed to position themselves all along the spectrum. I love when that happens, because it usually means a chord of some kind has been struck.  

 

Dancers and Gemstones 

By Kathleen Smith CanAsian Dance Festival Program B  CanAsian Dance Festival

Great dancers are like gemstones. Fully experiencing their brilliance can depend on the sensitivity and fit of the setting theyve been given by the choreographer, composer, set designer etc. When everything is up to the standard such artists can inspire, excitement ensues; mess up with the setting and it feels like a crime against art.  

 

Of Loss and Healing 

By Kathleen Smith "Grace" Eryn Dace Trudell

Sometimes, dance is very good at capturing the zeitgeist. Eryn Dace Trudell’s “Grace”, is a memorial to her aunt Grace McDace Barker, who passed away from breast cancer in 2002. It is an overt and intimate treatment of the subject. 

 

Poetic Craftsmanship 

By Kathleen Smith "Passare"  O Vertigo, Ginette Laurin

Believe it or not, there are some perks to getting older. For most of us, achieving a semblance of peace of mind finally seems possible after the sometimes-inappropriate mania of youth has passed. For artists, continuous creation over a long period results in work that can’t help having depth; the palette is at its broadest, the decision-making process is at its most refined. Confidence rather than cockiness prevails. 

 

Liquid and Vapour 

By Lindsay Zier-Vogel "INKCrossfade2AIR" Andrea Nann, Lydia Wagerer

In a co-production by DanceWorks CoWorks Series and dance: made in Canada/fait au Canada (d:mic/fac), presenter Yvonne Ng brought together Toronto’s Andrea Nann and Quebec City’s Lydia Wagerer in an intimate evening of choreography, entitled “INKCrossfade2AIR”, that explores both grace and intimacy in their extremities. In all three pieces, the audience witnesses the process of engaged transformation.  

 

between and beyond 

By Sara Porter invisible borders Louise Bédard, Doug Varone, Michael Trent, the empty collective

“invisible borders”, presented by the empty collective and Danceworks, ran November 4th through 6th at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre Theatre (formerly duMaurier Theatre Centre). The show was envisioned by dancer/choreographer Michael Trent as an exploration of a “multiplicity of viewpoints” and manifested as a mixed repertory program by choreographers with three contrasting aesthetics and from three different cities: Louise Bédard from Montréal, Doug Varone from New York, and Trent from Toronto - who was also the show’s producer and featured performer.

 

Opposites Attract 

By Susan Kendal "Fading Shadows / Returning Echoes" Yvonne Ng, Robert Glumbek, Dominique Dumais, Tedd Robinson

The contrast between tall and small was explored in triplicate in ‘Fading Shadows / Returning Echoes’, a concert of duets for Yvonne Ng and Robert Glumbek, presented by Ng and her company Tiger Princess Dance Projects. With poignancy and precision, the program of three works featured the dancers’ strengths and vulnerabilities, both personal and archetypal.

 

Edges of Life 

By Lindsay Zier-Vogel "The Countess of Main Events", "In Silence" Susie Burpee, Lesandra Dodson

In the first program of the 2004 Dancemakers Presents season, Toronto-based artists Susie Burpee and Lesandra Dodson premiered their respective new works “The Countess of Main Events” and “In Silence” from September 30th through October 2nd. Together these works created a physically powerful evening of dance that explored the intimate matters of love, loss and madness.  

Four Years, Four Warriors 

By Catalina Fellay "Drona" Devraj Patnaik, Chitralekha Odissi Dance Creations

For Chitralekha Odissi Dance Creations, it is the second year of a four-year cycle recounting the ancient Hindu story of four warriors. This year’s performance, “Drona”, which recounts the story of the Rishi (Sage) Drona in two distinct acts, ran from September 30th to October 2nd at the Leah Posluns Theatre in North York. 

 

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. 

 

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”. 

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