Cai Glover, a dancer with Montréal’s Cas Public who is hard of hearing, finds new strength and creativity by embracing his identity as a dancer with a disability.
A sensitive yet technically precise dancer with Cas Public in Montréal, Cai Glover’s passion for dance might never have had a chance to develop as, since the age of eight, he has been hard of hearing. While the use of hearing devices help him hear some sound, Glover has recently been exploring how the sensitivity of his other senses inform his dancing and that of his colleagues. He is now proud to identify as a dancer with a disability, one whose work seeks to embrace difference.
Danseur au sein de Cas Public à Montréal, Cai Glover est un interprète sensible et techniquement précis. Pourtant, sa passion pour la danse aurait pu passer sous le silence puisque depuis qu’il a huit ans, il est atteint de surdité. Des implants cochléaires l’aident à entendre certains sons, et depuis peu, Glover explore comment l’acuité de ses autres sens influence son art et celui de ses collègues. Il est fier de s’identifier comme danseur handicapé qui cherche à accueillir la différence dans son travail.
Cai Glover and IsaBelle Paquette in Symphonie Dramatique by Hélène Blackburn / Photo by Julie Artacho
Photographer Karolina Kuras captures the individuality and spirit of four dancers from Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal in honour of the retirement of the company’s artistic director, Gradimir Pankov.
Since assuming the artistic direction of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in 1999, Gradimir Pankov has fashioned a dance company with an international reputation for presenting innovative contemporary ballet and commissioning exciting, new works. These cutting-edge performances are built on the effort, skill and personality of the dancers Pankov gathered to work with him.
In honour of his forthcoming retirement at the end of this season, The Dance Current asked dance photographer Karolina Kuras to take portraits of four dancers from Les Grands Ballets. Pankov provided his thoughts on why he elected each of them as company members. The combination of Kuras’s portraiture and Pankov’s words provides an intimate look at the artistic director’s vision and the superb dancers who have allowed it to come alive onstage.
Depuis son arrivée à la direction artistique des Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal en 1999, Gradimir Pankov a formé une compagnie avec une réputation internationale pour le ballet contemporain novateur et la commande de créations excitantes. Les spectacles haut de gamme de la compagnie sont construits sur l’effort, le talent et la personnalité des interprètes que Pankov a rassemblés.
En honneur de sa retraite imminente à la fin de la présente saison, The Dance Current invite la photographe de danse Karolina Kuras à prendre en photo quatre danseurs de la compagnie. Pankov partage ses réflexions sur son choix de les avoir invités aux Grands Ballets. L’alliage des portraits de Kuras et des mots de Pankov propose une perspective intimiste sur l’inspiration du directeur artistique et les superbes artistes qui y ont donné corps sur scène.
Mahomi Endoh / Photo by Karolina Kuras
The gender imbalance in dance participation has led to numerous programs encouraging boys to dance. How do those choices affect girls and the discipline more broadly?
There are many current programs and incentives aimed to encourage boys and men to dance, but how do they affect the girls and women with whom the male dancers train and perform? Carolyn Hebert examines the implications of such policies on both male and female dancers, as well as the dance world more broadly. She examines the consequences of the use of gendered language of athleticism as a way to make dance appear more masculine. Using her own research amongst adolescent dancer in a competitive studio, she highlights how costume, choreography and teaching practice often prioritize boys’ experience at the expense of the girls.
Actuellement, il existe plusieurs programmes pour inciter les garçons et les hommes à danser. Comment influencent-ils les filles et les femmes, et dans leur formation, et sur scène? Carolyn Hébert se penche sur les contrecoups de politiques qui ciblent les hommes sur les hommes et femmes en danse, ainsi que dans le milieu de la danse au sens large. Elle soulève les conséquences d’un vocabulaire hétéronormatif, centré sur l’athlétisme, comme moyen de rendre la danse plus « masculine ». À partir de recherches avec des adolescents et adolescentes dans un studio de danse compétitif, elle souligne comment les costumes, la chorégraphie et les pratiques d’enseignement favorisent souvent l’expérience des garçons aux dépens de celui des filles.
Illustration by Tanya Lupo
Four artists participating in The Dance Centre’s Dance In Vancouver showcase gathered recently to discuss the role of formal presentation and the current state of the dance community in Vancouver.
Dance In Vancouver is a biennial showcasing opportunity for Vancouver’s dance creators, presented by the Dance Centre. Four of the participating artists, Jennifer Mascall, founding artistic director of MascallDance, Martha Carter, artistic director of Marta Marta Productions, Vanessa Goodman, founder of Action at a Distance and co-artistic director of The Contingency Plan, and Shay Kuebler, artistic director of Shay Kuebler Radical System Art, met recently to discuss the importance of locality and building community. Their conversation included their experiences with the business of dance and dance presenters and the divergent career paths that led them to basing their current work in Vancouver.
Présentée par le Dance Centre, Dance In Vancouver est une vitrine biennale pour les créateurs de danse à Vancouver. Jennifer Mascall, directrice artistique fondatrice de MascallDance, Martha Carter, directrice artistique de MartaMarta Productions, Vanessa Goodman, fondatrice d’Action at a Distance et codirectrice artistique du Contingency Plan, et Shay Kuebler, directeur artistique de Shay Kuebler Radical System Art comptent parmi les artistes qui y participent. Ils se sont réunis pour discuter de la spécificité de la ville et de la consolidation de la communauté. Ils partagent leurs expériences avec le côté administratif de la danse, les diffuseurs et leur parcours disparate qui les ont amenés à s’établir à Vancouver.
Vanessa Goodman / Photo by David Cooper
For better or for worse, the holiday season is about inclusion and exclusion. Most identities, personal or social, are formed through a process of defining who “we” are and who “we” are not. At the personal level, family occasions are about confirming membership in a small, intimate group. Our various cultural holiday traditions can create community, but often at the expense of others, those who do not know the rituals and ceremonies. More broadly, it is a season during which we tend to be more keenly aware of those we have socially and economically excluded.
In different ways, each of this issue’s feature articles considers how we create dance communities and the repercussions of those choices. Writer Andrea Rabinovitch met with four dance artists participating in The Dance Centre’s biennial showcase, Dance In Vancouver, to discuss how they came to live and work in that city. Their conversation points to the instrumental role of the multigenerational hub created by The Dance Centre in building and supporting dance careers in Vancouver. The photo essay considers, instead, the act of selection. The beautiful portraits of dancers from Les Grands Ballets Canadiens by photographer Karolina Kuras accompany comments from Artistic Director Gradimir Pankov about what he saw in each dancer that made him want them for his company. In her profile of Cai Glover, a dancer with Montréal’s Cas Public who is hard of hearing, Helen Simard paints a picture of a man who has been successful as a dancer but who is now looking for broader, more inclusive acceptance of his multiple and overlapping identities. Finally, in a thought-provoking feature article, Carolyn Hebert examines some of the effects of overemphasizing the inclusion of one group in dance at the expense of others. Specifically, she looks at how attempts to bring men and boys to dance, to make them feel comfortable within dance training programs and to make dance appear more masculine in North American popular culture have had negative consequences for girls, women, as well as boys, men and the dance world generally. Thinking critically about the communities we create, how they are built and what we do to sustain them is an important part of aspiring to a more just and plural Canadian dance culture. I hope this issue provides you with both inspirations and questions for future consideration. The Dance Current always welcomes your comments and suggestions.
Dancing at the base of the pyramids in Egypt, sipping wine with Christina Aguilera and performing for millions at the Super Bowl with Beyoncé are just part of the daily grind for Canadian hip hop dancer Kim Gingras. Originally from Montréal, the thirty-year-old is a versatile dancer, whose hard-hitting but fluid, sensual style has made her a sought-after dancer by the world’s top pop artists.
Kim Gringras and Beyoncé Knowles in a work by Christ Grant / Photo by Robin Harper
Caryn Chappell has only just begun her dance career but has quickly come to realize the importance of fluidly adapting to change. Since graduating in 2014, Chappell has started Chappell Projects as an umbrella for her creative explorations and had a successful inaugural evening production in January 2015. She has collaborated with The Garage, performing works by Alyssa Martin of Rock Bottom Movement and Jasmyn Fyffe. Chappell was also part of the creative process for a remount of David Earle’s Sacra Conversazione and, most recently, performed with Toronto Dance Theatre for the Pan Am Games. Most notably, she continues to challenge herself as a dancer with ProArteDanza, a contemporary ballet company based in Toronto.
Caryn Chappell / Photo by Silvia Silva
From the reflecting pools opposite the entrance to the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, the serene, horizontal emphasis of Fumihiko Maki’s architectural design is broken only by a robust cupola. Surmounting an exquisite, intimate auditorium, its exterior prominence signals that what happens beneath is central to the definition of the museum.
The performing arts program at the Aga Khan Museum has been a key element of public introduction for the ambitious new pan-Islamic museum, opened in 2014 and operated by the Aga Khan Foundation. Last year, before every theatre performance, music concert or film screening, Amirali Alibhai, head of performing arts, would ask who was visiting the museum for the first time. “Routinely, it would be eighty, ninety per cent of the audience, even after several months,” he says. “These programs are among our most effective means of having people discover what we do here.”
The Aga Khan Museum / Photo by Janet Kimber
This November Alberta Ballet presents Up Close, a mixed program of works created by its dancers. Among the company’s most prominent choreographic talents is Yukichi Hattori. Originally from Tokyo, Hattori trained at the Hamburg Ballet School and danced in their company until 2004, when he and his wife, fellow dancer Galien Johnston, moved to Alberta. Now in his tenth season with the company, Hattori has garnered acclaim for numerous performances, including the lead role, Elton Fan, in Love Lies Bleeding, but has a growing reputation as an exciting and inspiring choreographer. His own pieces, including Dump The Physical Memory (2012), Pomp Without Circumstance (2013) and Temple (2014), demonstrate a sensitive musicality and combine demanding physical movements with intelligent investigations of, among other things, the relationship between mind, body and soul.
The Dance Current caught up with Hattori between rehearsals and asked him about his current inspirations and when they come to him.
Yukichi Hattori as Elton Fan in Love Lies Bleeding / Photo by Don Lee
Dancers demand a lot from their upper bodies. Choreography in many styles of dance experiments with having dancers move seamlessly between levels of space, accepting their own weight through their arms on the floor. In partner work, men and women lift and carry the weight of others. All too frequently, however, neither technique class nor conditioning and training regimens target the upper body sufficiently to protect and support a dancer’s shoulders. Registered physiotherapist Mary Ellen Baldner explains the workings of the shoulder and provides exercises to help keep shoulders healthy and strong.
Brittany Duggan / Photo by Tim Beringham
A quick and surprisingly filling breakfast or a simple snack to boost your energy with the superfood chia seeds!
Photo from thesuburbansoapbox.com
Meaghan Wegg, a graduate of the École nationale de cirque, was an aerial hoop (cerceau) artist faced with a very grounded problem. The aerial hoop equipment had a lot of technical requirements, including sufficient ceiling height and a strong structure to support the rigging. Wegg found herself refusing many gigs, as the performance spaces were unable to accommodate the hoop. Being flexible of mind, as well as body, Wegg invented the Weggsphere, a ground-based hoop apparatus that allows the use of the aerial hoop vocabulary without the complicated rigging. It is portable, easy to put together and disassemble and sits on most flat, strong surfaces. It spins, can support several people at once and the base platform is strong enough for dance, acrobatic or contortion movements. Big tops no longer required!
Learn more >> weggsphere.com
Photo courtesy of Meaghan Wegg
Patricia Miner is one of Toronto’s senior contemporary dance teachers. With a performance career that includes Toronto Dance Theatre, Dancemakers (which she co-directed with Peggy Baker from 1977 to 1979), an appearance with the Limón Dance Company and innovative work with several New York choreographers, her focus more recently has been on her teaching practice. She is an artistic associate at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, where she teaches and directs rehearsals, and has taught at Canada’s National Ballet School for numerous years. In 2004 Miner received a lifetime achievement award from Dance Ontario.
Lucy Rupert spoke with Miner about her teaching practice and what inspires her in the studio.
Pat Miner / Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann