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Arts Umbrella Dance Company shares the stage with guest Noord Nederlandse Dans in Season Finale

The talented dancers of Arts Umbrella Dance Company shine this weekend at the Playhouse

Fine dancers loaded with technique, performance capabilities and beauty combined with cutting edge, international, national and local choreographers and an internationally renowned dance company from the Netherlands as a guest makes for a delicious evening of dance. The fact that the Arts Umbrella Dance Company (AUDC)  are students, ages in the range of 13 to 16 in the Apprentice Company and 16 to 20 in the Senior Company, makes the work that much more exciting. Prepare to be blown away Friday May 27th at 8pm and Saturday May 28th at 2pm and 8pm at The Vancouver Playhouse Theatre when the Arts Umbrella Dance Company along with special guests, Noord Nederlandse Dans' five dancers from NDD StudioGroup, will be performing their Season Finale show.

On a lunch break from a breakneck schedule, Artistic Director of Arts Umbrella Dance , Artemis Gordon, explained how the connection to Noord Nederlandse Dans came to be.

 “I met Ronald Wintjens (artistic coordinator of the StudioGroup, a leg of NND not dissimilar to the AUDC ) last year when Itzak Galili was working with Ballet B.C. They were blown away with what we were doing here (at Arts Umbrella) and were inspired by the rigour and intelligence of the work and so we began to scheme about the possibility of a collaboration. It was like a volcano erupted.”

After much negotiation and organization that included Gordon, Senior Company rehearsal mistress Lynn Sheppard, Arts Umbrella Dance administration and a strong parent volunteer support group, 34 dancers from the senior company travelled to the Netherlands on a two week tour in March. While there, they performed at Codarts, an arts university in Rotterdam, and in Groningen with the NND, saw three performances  by top Dutch Companies, attended workshops with Dutch companies and choreographers and collaborated with NND artistic director Stephen Shropshire on a piece called “Shadow Boxer” that will be world premiering next weekend.

The collaboration was of major importance to Gordon. “These collaborations further dance and fill our eyes with something new. It is really important to the vitality of local dance, “she explained. “ I hope this is the first of many collaborations as Holland is a hotbed of theatrical movement innovation. “ 

Out of the ten grads in Senior Company, eight have already been placed in professional companies and two:  Amy Josh and Maya Klassen were offered contracts with Noord Nederlandse Dans StudioGroup. “This is the first group to ever have work placement before the year is even finished,” Gordon said.

The Apprentice Company led by Sheppard and Andrea Hodge are young in age but not in talent as they present challenging choreography that delights and provokes,

The opportunity to see these young dancers is further enhanced by a program that is filled with exciting choreographers: James Kudelka, Emily Molnar, Gioconda Barbuto, Roberto Campanella, Cherice Barton, Rob Kitsos, Allison Denham, Andrea Miller, Lesley Telford, Stephen Shropshire, Donald Sales, Dario Dinuzzi, and Lina Fitzner.

For the first time ever, live music will accompany one of the pieces. James Kudelka, former artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada and present artist in residence of the National, choreographed a quartet on Senior Company dancers using music by famed composer, Rodney Sharman. Once the piece was set, Kudelka invited Rodney Sharman to watch the dancers run the piece. Sharman was so impressed, he offered to have the Standing Wave Ensemble accompany the dancers live on both the Friday and Saturday night performances.

Gordon’s choice in choreographers and training of the dancers is based on finding dance artists who are leaders in the dance world and will share their knowledge and passion while creating professional connections.

 “When dance is good, “Gordon contemplated. “it is a complete visceral experience that transports me to dancing with them” That kinesthetic response is what draws an audience in. “I’m trying to do the work that inspires me.”

Tickets available at or 604-654-2787. $20 students/seniors, $30 adults.



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