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UN/A brings 3 world premiers to Queen Elizabeth Theatre as climax of Ballet BC season

Andrea Rabinovitch
Apr 20th, 2014

Photo: Michael Slobodian

Ballet BC’s UN/A caps off a stellar season with three world premieres by international choreographers Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, Cayetano Soto and Montreal’s Gioconda Barbuto at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre from April 24-26.

“Part of our mission is to be part of a conversation between the choreographers, dancers and the audience that moves the art form forward, while keeping the art in the centre of the room. We want to challenge but also be accessible,” Emily Molnar, the artistic director of Ballet BC, said on a break from rehearsal. “The audience trusts that we are creating an interesting and engaging conversation at a high standard.”

Ballet BC has had a fabulous year. Steadily increasing its visibility in Canada and around the world, increases in subscriber and single ticket sales reflects the company's success.

Tara Cheyenne Performance premieres Porno Death Cult at the Firehall Arts Centre

Andrea Rabinovitch
Feb 28th, 2014

Photo: Wendy D

Dance/theatre artist Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg lends pathos and a wicked sense of humour to the big questions like why we’re here and who’s looking out for us. Her new solo work, Porno Death Cult, making its world premiere at the Firehall Arts Centre March 5-8, 2014, and explores faith and faithlessness, life and death.  

Following the success of Highgate (2013), her morbid romp through Victorian funerary culture, Porno Death Cult’s subject matter was started on a life changing journey.

“The whole idea was born when the year before (2010) my son Jasper was born, my husband (Marc Stewart also the composer for the piece), and I walked the Camino de Santiago trail. I’m not religious at all but I was interested in the ritual and the pain of the body, “explained Friedenberg. 

Ballet BC links with Turning Point Ensemble for Grace Symmetry

Andrea Rabinovitch
Feb 17th, 2014

Ballet BC dancers Alexis Fletcher and Gilbert Small. Photo credit: Michael Slobodian.

Ballet BC offers Vancouver audiences the marriage of dance and live music with their collaboration with the Turning Point Ensemble (TPE). Presenting  two world premieres by Kevin O’Day and Medhi Walerski, plus the return of In Motion by Wen Wei Wang, an audience favourite from the 2010/2011 season, Ballet BC’s stellar season carries on till Feb 22 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.

“The opportunity to perform with live music is a wonderful one for the dancer and choreographer as it brings all of the performance elements together in real time, creating a live conversation between the dancer and the musician," enthused Emily Molnar, artistic director of Ballet BC.

Chutzpah Festival ready to roar with dance, music, theatre and comedy

Andrea Rabinovitch
Feb 14th, 2014

Where can you find breath-taking dance, hilarious comedy, internationally lauded theatre and captivating music over the next few weeks? The 14th Annual Chutzpah! Festival, the Lisa Nemetz International Jewish Performing Arts Festival, is a diverse mix of some of the world's best performers. Running February 22 to March 9 at several Vancouver venues, the Chutzpah Festival offers live performances in many genres.

The Festival’s popular dance programming kicks off with a full evening of international dance, featuring a World Premiere by Hofesh Shector, one of the hottest choreographers working today. 

605 Collective remounts Inheritor Album as part of the PuSh Festival

Andrea Rabinovitch
Jan 26th, 2014

photo by David Cooper

Presented by the PuSh Festival, 605 Collective brings their high energy, urban-infused version of their hit Inheritor Album to the Scotiabank Dance Centre January 30 to February 2. Though the venue is reduced in size from previous performances, the dance remains the same as does  the integrated film/ animation projections created by award-winning visual artist Miwa Matreyek.

”We needed to find a way to make it seem big in a smaller space,“ said Josh Martin, one of the core artists along with Lisa Gelley  of 605 Collective.”We are preserving the fit and feel. “

A collection of short pieces that the group calls “tracks”, set to an atmospheric electronic score by Kristen Roos, comprise the group's “album”.

Martin explained the music metaphor used in the piece:

“Like an album that has different tracks yet stays consistent within a theme, Inheritor Album includes short works that fit together. We allow the separation (of each piece) to exist but the whole work is cohesive in the end.”

Legendary dance artist Peggy Baker returns.

Andrea Rabinovitch
Jan 2nd, 2014

Peggy Baker Dance Projects dancers: Andrea Nann, Sean Ling, Sahara Morimoto

Peggy Baker, an acclaimed internationally celebrated, dancer, choreographer and teacher, returns to the Firehall Arts Centre after a twelve year hiatus with two unforgettable companion pieces. Inspired by the mysterious, interconnected world of insects.  coalesce & armour – an audio action tour runs from Jan 8 – 11 and should not be missed by dance enthusiasts.

Not only do we get to experience her trio coalesce performed to an electro-acoustic score by Debashis Sinha but you get to see her dance in a duet armour  pairing Baker with Bessie Award winning dancer Larry Hahn.

Both pieces are inspired by Lewis Thomas’ classic series of scientific essays on communication amongst social insects entitled The Lives of a Cell:: Notes of a Biology Watcher (1974).

Ballet BC presents the Alberta Ballet Nutcracker: a wonderland of children's dreams

Andrea Rabinovitch
Dec 21st, 2013

Jennifer Quibelll rehearsing with the young dancers involved in the Alberta Ballet's Nutcracker. Photo credit:Taryn Langeman.

For most of us, The Nutcracker is an enjoyable holiday tradition where gorgeous pageantry and balletic daring leave us decking the halls with Christmas warmth. But for the 96 children who are an integral part of the Alberta Ballet’s Nutcracker, it's an exciting opportunity to dance on stage with professional dancers.

Running from December 28 – 31 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and featuring Tchaikovsky’s glorious musical score played live by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Nutcracker kid-wrangling falls to one intrepid dance professional. Jennifer Quibell, presently an instructor at the Harbour Dancentre in Nanaimo and formerly an instructor at Vancouver's Arts Umbrella Dance, has a long history with the Nutcracker.

Her dance school as a child, the Kirkwood Academy of Performing Arts in Nanaimo, would produce a Nutcracker every second year. “I loved the whole atmosphere of being in a production,” reminisced Quibell, a graduate of the 3 year Teacher Training Program at the National Ballet School in Toronto. “I just really like the Nutcracker.”

West Side Story coming to Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Andrea Rabinovitch
Dec 8th, 2013

The story of Maria and Tony, based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, returns to Vancouver at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on February 4, 2014. The smash hit Broadway revival tour of West Side Story directed by David Saint, the Associate Director on Broadway, showcases the original Jerome Robbins’  choreography,  reproduced by Tony Award-nominee Joey McKneely (The Boy from Oz, The Life). With music by Leonard Bernstein, book by Arthur Laurents and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim  (Sondheim’s Broadway debut), West Side Story remains one of the best dance-driven musicals of all time.

Jacques and James features autobiographical solo dance works by talented performers

Andrea Rabinovitch
Dec 2nd, 2013

Jacque Poulin-Denis and James Gnam share the stage in solo works.

Dance, storytelling and theatre are offered up when Vancouver's critically acclaimed contemporary dance artist James Gnam (Plastic Orchid Factory)   shares the stage with Dora-nominated Montreal interdisciplinary dance artist/ composer Jacques Poulin-Denis (Grand Poney) at the Firehall Arts Centre December 4-7, 2013 for a show entitled Jacques & James.

Each man performs an autobiographical solo: James by Gnam traces one man's journey from boyhood to manhood through his relationship with the North American ballet classic, The Nutcracker.  Poulin-Denis’ Cible De Dieu (Target of God) is the story of a doomed anti-hero who finds himself at an existentialist crossroads.

The Dance Centre presents a smorgasbord of contemporary dance with Dance in Vancouver

Andrea Rabinovitch
Nov 16th, 2013

Joe Ink, one of many exciting dance artists showcased at DiV.

Photo credit: Michael Slobodian

Vancouver is known across Canada as a hotbed of contemporary dance with sophisticated audiences to prove it. In celebration of that, Dance in Vancouver, a biennial event providing the public and presenters from across Canada the unique opportunity to experience local artists, is showcasing eight companies performing excerpts of new works and recent hits in four mixed programs. As well, free showings and discussions where the artistic process is demystified and deconstructed will give audiences a greater ability to enjoy what they are experiencing.

“Dance in Vancouver offers a platform for artists to tour across the country and to have their work seen outside of Vancouver, “ enthused Jeanne Holmes, curator of this year’s Dance in Vancouver November 20-23. “This is a collision of the industry and the public so I wanted to include a mix of all-in-one shows to get a sense of the landscape of Vancouver artists. They will feature excerpts of longer works.”

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