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Reviews

 

A Mix of Light and Shadows

Dusk Dances 2015 By Mark Mann Dusk Dances

Dance rarely draws big crowds, and when it does, people don’t usually sprint and scramble for front-row seats. But such was the case at the opening of the twenty-first annual Dusk Dances, where 600 people – and many fine dogs – rushed back and forth across Withrow Park in Toronto’s east end to catch the best possible view of all five performances in this year’s program.

 

Dancing on the Edge 2015: Part 2

MOVE: the company and Wen Wei Community Dancers By Pia Lo

Dancing on the Edge (DOTE) has been a mainstay of the Vancouver dance scene for the past twenty-seven years, presenting outstanding work of professional artists from Vancouver and elsewhere while giving an equal platform to emerging artists. For many, their premiere at DOTE is often in collaboration with established professionals that may lead to return appearances in subsequent years. The opportunity to witness an individual artist’s progression over multiple performances, year over year, is another rewarding quality of this festival.

 

Dancing on the Edge 2015: Part 1

Edge 5 and Steppin’ By Lori Henry Dancing on the Edge Festival 2015

Vancouver’s Dancing on the Edge festival brought another strong collection of work this year. On the whole, the mixed programs were well matched each evening, with the longer pieces generally being more cohesive and developed. The Site Works continue to be good entry points for new audiences (as well as a place to debut new or in-progress choreographies).

 

Dancers’ Studio West’s Dance Action Group

By Sarah Todd MYTHBEHAVIN’

As a cultural community, Calgary’s artists seem to create and perform without looming historical precedents, and with it a refreshing lack of self-consciousness. People just do what they want to do. This ethos is evident in the work of DAG – a relatively small group of performers and choreographers from a diverse range of backgrounds who make up the artistic core of Dance Action Lab.

 

The Beginning of the End (and Why it Should Happen Again)

By Sky Fairchild-Waller Apocalypsis R. Murray Schafer

Welcome to the beginning of the end, also known as Apocalypsis, R. Murray Schafer’s two-hour oratorio chronicling the demise of the world and its laboured regenesis. The mood, more than fittingly, isn’t a light one; 1000 singers, musicians, and dancers gather to perform the opening and closing ceremonies of this Olympic-sized pageant of death and rebirth, and you made it into the theatre and to your seat, which was was no small feat.

 

Cutting to the Chase

By Jillian Groening Chase Scenes #1-58

On June 19, Winnipeg-based choreographer and performance artist Ming Hon took the adrenaline-boosting phenomenon of film to the gallery in an exhilarating new work.

 

Canada Dance Festival 2015

Challenging the Idea of Dance By Mercedes Déziel-Hupé Canada Dance Festival/Festival Danse Canada

The yearly festival serves as a community leader in Canadian dance in order to foster the art form’s growth and its reach, featuring artists from across the country.

 

An FTA Round Up

By Philip Szporer Festival TransAmériques (FTA)

This ninth edition of Montréal’s Festival TransAmerique (FTA) was once again a two-week intensive bringing dominant artists as well as newer voices from the Canadian and international scene together from the realms of dance, theatre and performance. There was an overload of stimulation, from the poignancy and charm of Seoul’s Eun-Me Ahn’s dancing grandmothers and her astonishing company, to Daniel Léveillé’s continued study into personal space and the engagement of the other in Solitudes duo, or Stéphane Gladyszewski’s study Phos, using a playground of technology to probe what’s seen and unseen, as just a few examples of work on view.

 

Living, Breathing, Sensing: 605 Collective

The Sensationalists By Andrea Rabinovitch The Sensationalists

Forget the fourth wall. In the world premiere of The Sensationalists, a collaboration between 605 Collective and Theatre Replacement, the first, second and third wall is also up for grabs. The seventy-five-minute piece explores the relationship between performer and audience, using dance, physical theatre and text while exploring every configuration that a proscenium stage with a lobby can provide.

 

Different Control Measures

By Mark Mann Le Jour Bleu & A Standard of Measure, Except Not Really

In two very different works presented together at Montréal’s Monument-National theatre, the dance presenter Tangente has created an intriguing dialogue on the problem and possibility of control, both in art and in life. The double bill featured Marilou Castonguay’s ten-minute solo Le Jour Bleu, which premiered in Québéc City in 2012, and the debut of Andrew Turner’s sixty-minute ensemble piece A Standard of Measure, Except Not Really.

 

Robinson Repurposed

Tedd Robinson’s FACETS By Mercedes Déziel-Hupé FACETS

The piece is a creative retrospective in which the choreographer explores his recurrent themes of balance, material sculpture and movement, and risk-taking with humour and courage. As introspective solos, it was all the more interesting to see different performers interpret the personal nature of Rokudo, Rigmarole and Redd, nouveau genre.

 

From Point A to B

Peggy Baker’s locus plot By Sky Fairchild-Waller locus plot

While (thankfully) not a physicalized ode to quests for empirical knowledge, locus plot excels as a poetic transposition of chemistry in its humanist and even larger-than-life form, and the beginning of the full-length work illustrates this perfectly.

 

Remote Sable Island brought to life by Mocean Dance

By Shannon Webb-Campbell Close Reach

Wild horses couldn’t drag us away from the world premiere of Sable Island, the first full-length production by Halifax’s Mocean Dance since 2010. Choreographed by Serge Bennathan, one of Canada’s most distinctive voices in dance, who immigrated from France in 1985, Sable Island is deeply emotional, untamable and an elemental dance performance. As the contemporary dance bill promised, Close Reach, an evening sail of dance, theatre and music featured Sable Island and Live from the Flash Pan.

 

Paratopian View

By Kathleen Smith Paratopia

Choreographer and singer Bageshree Vaze first studied classical Indian dance while growing up in St. John’s, Nfld. She has named her recent DanceWorks program of new and remounted works Paratopia. Also the name of the new group dance that closes the evening, the word can mean both “displacement” and “alternate reality”. Collectively, the works on the program acknowledge the ever-evolving nature of Indian dance forms – and of life itself, which has carried Vaze to a new home in Toronto.

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