The Friday Round Up

•September 26, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Rest up today, maybe call in sick? Cos you are going to need lots of energy to see all the dance that is being offered around town this weekend!

Soooo, do you want to see the work of someone who puts as much heart and soul into working with kids from the East End of London as he does with the dancers of the British Royal Ballet? Someone whose choreography is as eclectic as a piece for the Paris Opera Ballet and a hugely popular Radio Head music video with over 29,000,000 hits?  Someone who has been named both Commander of the Order of the British Empire – for Services to Dance, and one of the 1000 most Influential Londoners? Well look no further! Tonight or tomorrow get yourselves down to the Vancouver Playhouse to see FAR, choreographed by Wayne McGregor and danced by his company Random Dance. Wayne McGregor is one of the hottest choreographers of our times, and we are so very lucky to see his work here in Vancouver. Vancouver Playhouse, 8pm. Tix (photo Tristram Kentan)Wayne-McGregor-Random-Dan-006

You still have two more days to see local choreographer Judith Garay’s work 20 20 20 with her company Dancers Dancing. Celebrating 20 years of working in Vancouver, Garay looks at 20 intersections in the city to set 20 dancers in motion inspired by interactions of architecture, pigeons, overpasses, green spaces, mountain views, skateboards and especially the people old and young. Contrast and contradiction drive the work to be physically exhilarating and thoughtful, pedestrian and emotionally charged. September 26 and 27, Studio D, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 W. Hastings Street, Vancouver. TIx

Oh what will you choose? Also tonight and tomorrow night, Ballet Preljocaj (France) performs Empty moves (parts I, II & III) . Created by the company’s celebrated French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj, Empty moves (parts I, II & III) is set to the infamous 1977 recording of John Cage’s Empty words, when the minimalist composer calmly intoned radically abstracted text to an uncomprehending and increasingly raucous audience. Preljocaj’s choreographic response creates an ode to the abstract which exults in pure movement, as a quartet of superb dancers executes a flow of inexhaustible movement with absolute precision and technical skill. Spare, contemplative and sensual, this absorbing work unfolds as an elegant counterpoint to the turbulent score. At the ScotiaBank Dance Centre, 8pm. Tix

Always wanted to dance? Well here is your chance: join a diverse and dynamic group of Vancouverites for this free, fun, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with an internationally renowned choreographer and star in a memorable, outdoor spectacle! In January 2015 the PuSh Festival will present the Vancouver premiere of Le Grand Continental® by Montreal-based choreographer Sylvain Émard in an outdoor downtown Vancouver location. The exciting performance brings together more than 66 participants of all ages, ethnicities, dance experience and backgrounds to perform a contemporary re-imagining of a traditional line dance. If this seems like the opportunity you have been waiting for, you must attend a recruitment/information session where you can learn more about this project. The next round of recruitment sessions run October 14–18 in Vancouver! And remember - NO DANCE EXPERIENCE NECESSARY! For more info and to register go here.


Mind and Body–An Interview with Wayne McGregor, CBE

•September 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment

An edited extract from The new New by Ulrich Dietz.
waynemcgregorUlrich Dietz: I must confess that as an engineer I don’t really know what motivates a famous choreographer like you. Contemporary dance is not especially close to me.
Wayne McGregor: Why not? You have a body. That makes you perfectly qualified.

UD: Well, fine. I consider you innovative because you radically transcend the boundaries of your discipline – for example, by co-operating with neuroscientists. Why?
WM: Because I want to discover and understand how the mind and the body interact as an interconnected whole. My company Wayne McGregor | Random Dance and I have been experimenting intensely for nearly ten years with cognitive scientists who study this interaction. In classical ballet and modern dance, technique is still focused on physical training to the point of perfection. People concern themselves with virtuosity and controlling the body; the mind is essentially ignored. I completely reject this separation of mind and body. Fortunately, science is increasingly demonstrating how absurd this split is and addressing a notion of embodied cognition far more seriously. We are finding out more and more about how our imagination integrates emotion, sensation, memory, movement and language. We understand that there are techniques not only for training the body but also for enhancing creativity and stimulating a richer imagination.

UD: How?
WM: Artists often claim they work instinctively. This is only partially true. This so-called creative instinct is always integrated with our cognitive faculties.

UD: A concrete example would be helpful…
WM: Dance is essentially a collaborative art form; usually it requires other individuals to participate in the generation of the work. A choreographic process is an ideal example of distributed cognition. In a project at the University of California, San Diego, we investigated how ideas are disseminated (distributed) within a team. This led to some very interesting insights about how the creative process evolves, which in turn shaped our next creative process. We looked at some seminal questions: during a making process, which parts of an idea are retained by the group (or individual) and which parts are dropped? What mental models do we each develop when we improvise together? What forms of communication do we use to share, transform and vary the ideas and how is gesture, verbal language and sound utilised to embody the concepts? With a greater understanding of these issues we were able to recharge the choreographic process with a new framework and new points of departure. This is incredibly inspiring. Practically this means (as a concrete example) that the dancers and I now share a richer understanding of the distinctions made when we image-build, whether they be visual images, aural images or kinaesthetic images and how we work with them to generate dance. These distinctions can be practiced, explored and developed so you can generate more and more complicated relationships between the categories of image. This becomes a very dynamic creative resource or new technique.

UD: Can anyone learn that? Even someone who has no
dance training?
WM: Definitely. When I work with young dancers, the first thing I do is encourage them to trust their bodies. They should experience how wonderful it is to dance. How it feels to jump, to stretch out, to turn, to walk, to run. They can learn flawless pliés later. First you have to awaken the passion for dance; everything else will follow. Then you can seed these new creative techniques so they start to generate and choreograph their own dances – they find their own expressive voice rather than imitating one and re-discover themselves quite literally through dance.

UD: Can people of any age manage this passion?
WM: Of course, it doesn’t depend on age. More and more adults are attending dance classes in their free time; there are dance shows on television with public casting sessions and thousands of people register in the hope of being selected. But for me, the creative aspects of dance making are the key to self-discovery; it’s the integration of the visceral thrill of moving with the flight of the imagination. I believe the need to feel the body (and by body here I mean a fully embodied body) is increasing as our world becomes more virtual.

UD: Do audiences understand your radical choreography?
WM: Hmm, not an easy question. Certainly many of our audiences respond well to the work and its challenges for them in creating meaning. I think for them, meaning emerges from their active participation in the viewing. They are not looking to be simply entertained but they are looking to navigate the work themselves and engage with the questions it presents. For me, dance has not only an emotional dimension but also an intellectual one.

Part of the attraction to the work and by definition, the repulsion for some is the actual physical vocabulary the dancers execute, with its often abrupt, distorted, torsioned movement that seems alien to the body. But dysfunctional, damaged, traumatised bodies have always interested me a lot, precisely because they are not stereotyped. Learning to understand the beauty of this ‘other’ body language is something I consider very important to appreciating the work. For this you have to be open to a body misbehaving, a body not obeying the conventional rules of dancing and for some, this is too far an aesthetic stretch.

UD: What are creative competences?
WM: There are many creative competences including: encouraging active problem solving, developing an independence of thought and functioning, learning new ways of extracting information from things, using the body as an object to think with, exploring alternative decision making etc. These are competences we are actively training through our use of creative imagery tools and techniques in the studio. But it is just as important to understand how to generate opportunities to make mistakes. Creativity often comes at the point where you make a mistake. Then you make another, and another, and another… and at some point you suddenly make something original. At school we are usually taught to do the right thing, give the correct response, not the original thing; our creative impulses can be destroyed. That can include the ability to think independently, or to deal with a task differently today from how you did it yesterday. Creative minds understand their habitual patterns and seek to disrupt them, or at least continually invent new ones.

UD: What is your vision?
WM: My vision is to be open to new possibilities and ever curious. The fields of research outside the art world bear rich pickings for experimentation and knowledge transfer and to be creative is a resource we all can share.

Ulrich Dietz is founder and CEO of GFT Technologies AG.

The Friday Round Up

•September 19, 2014 • Leave a Comment

212324_1Only a week to go before Wayne McGregor|Random Dance hits town with FAR, season opener for DanceHouse! The Guardian of London says “There is material of heart-stopping beauty … the choreography is remarkable.” If you want to see for yourself, take a look at a video of FAR here.  And did you know that Wayne is the brainchild behind Thom Yorke’s convulsive choreography in Radiohead’s Lotus Flower video?  Fun stuff! So if don’t yet have your tickets to see this extraordinary choreographer in action, get them here and now! The show begins at 8pm, with a pre show chat at 7:15pm in the upstairs lobby of the Playhouse, Friday and Saturday September 26 and 27.

If your interest is piqued and you want to learn more about Wayne McGregor|Random Dance, Tuesday September 23 come out to our Speaking of Dance. Georgia Straight Arts Editor and Dance Critic Janet Smith will engage in a lively illustrated presentation on the work of this renowned choreographer. At the World Art Centre, SFU Woodwards, 7pm. FREE (Photo Ravi Deepres)

September 24-27 Dancers Dancing and SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs present the World Premiere DancersDancing: 20.20.20. Celebrating 20 years of working in Vancouver, choreographer  Judith Garay looks at 20 intersections in the city to set 20 dancers in motion inspired by interactions of  architecture, pigeons, overpasses, green spaces, mountain views, skateboards and especially the people – old and young. Contrast and contradiction drive the work to be physically exhilarating and thoughtful, pedestrian and emotionally charged. The artists have brought their experiences and observations back to studio, where it has been a process of utilizing pedestrian research and full body articulation to create beauty in otherwise mundane and overlooked aspects of city life. At the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, SFU Woodwards 8pm. Tix

Thursday and Friday September 25 and 26 the Dance Centre’s Global Connections brings us from France, Ballet Preljocaj  in Empty moves (parts I, II &

Ballet Preljocaj 960x480 pixels_fullwidthIII).  Created by the company’s celebrated French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj, Empty moves (parts I, II & III) is set to the infamous 1977 recording of John Cage’s Empty words, when the minimalist composer calmly intoned radically abstracted text to an uncomprehending and increasingly raucous audience. Preljocaj’s choreographic response creates an ode to the abstract which exults in pure movement, as a quartet of superb dancers executes a flow of inexhaustible movement with absolute precision and technical skill. Spare, contemplative and sensual, this absorbing work unfolds as an elegant counterpoint to the turbulent score. If you want to know more about this interesting work go here. At the Dance Centre, 8pm. Tix






Wayne McGregor | Random Dance 101

•September 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Wayne McGregor | Random Dance return to DanceHouse September 26 & 27 with FAR. (Get tickets.) Dance critic Judith Mackrell examines what makes the company tick:

WayneMcGWayne McGregor | Random Dance was founded in 1992 and became the instrument upon which McGregor evolved his drastically fast and articulate choreographic style.

It was during his major trilogy The Millennarium (1997), Sulphur 16 (1998) and Aeon (2000) that the company became a byword for its radical approach to new technology, incorporating animation, digital film, 3D architecture, electronic sound and virtual dancers into live choreography.

With collaboration at the centre of his practice, McGregor has innovated new work with world-class artists from a broad range of disciplines. These have included visual artists Shirazeh Houshiary, John Pawson, Julian Opie and Tatsuo Miyajima; composers Scanner, Plaid, Joby Talbot, Jon Hopkins, The White Stripes and Kaija Saariaho; and film-makers Jane and Louise Wilson, Ravi Deepres and Frederick Wiseman. This unique, tenacious questioning between artists and artistic mediums, across the interface of science and art, through the body and mind has ensured that Wayne McGregor | Random Dance has remained at the forefront of contemporary arts for the past 20 years.

In 2002 Wayne McGregor | Random Dance was invited to become a Resident Company at Sadler’s Wells. The invitation acknowledged their status as one of Britain’s most important modern dance companies.

Technology FAR_eventhas also been crucial in Wayne McGregor | Random Dance’s effort to deliver dance to the public in new ways. Among the company’s groundbreaking projects have been webcasting live performances and exploring broadband (ATM) bi-directional performance where two companies perform simultaneously in different parts of the world. The results are experienced by both live and online audiences. It has also incorporated technology into its outreach work, which is high on the creative agenda. The company’s Creative Learning team engages hundreds of young people each year in school and community projects that focus on the creation of new work; in 2012 they led a major new public work to mark the Olympics, Big Dance Trafalgar Square, which involved almost 1000 participants from over 30 groups across London.

Regularly supported by the British Council, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance tours frequently to some of the most prestigious world theatres: Het Musiektheater, Amsterdam; Lyon Opera; Tel Aviv Opera; Lincoln Center, New York and Dansens Hus, Stockholm. The company’s European tours have ranged from Ireland, France, Germany, Belgium and Holland to Poland, Hungary, Cyprus and Turkey. Wayne McGregor | Random Dance has also performed in Russia, Israel, Japan, China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Colombia, North America and Australia. In 2002 it became the first British dance company ever to tour central Asia and the Caucuses. The company has also made several cinema and television appearances including The Spirit of Diaghilev (BBC Four, 2009) The South Bank Show, Wayne McGregor: Across The Threshold (ITV1, 2009); La Danse by Frederic Wiseman (on global release – 2010), The Culture Show (BBC Two, 2010), and a Channel 4 documentary on Big Dance (2012).

In 2003 McGregor was appointed Research Fellow of the Department of Experimental Psychology at Cambridge University. AtaXia (2004) arose from the six months he worked with the department exploring the interface between mind and body. Every subsequent Wayne McGregor | Random Dance production – Amu (2005), Entity (2008), Dyad 1909 (2009), FAR (2010), UNDANCE (2011) and Atomos (2013) – has built on this growing fascination McGregor has for engaging directly with scientists who share their knowledge of the body and mind. This exploration is now ‘housed’ under the department of R-Research (Random Research).

Wayne McGregor | Random Dance is Resident Company of Sadler’s Wells, London. Wayne McGregor is the Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet, Covent Garden and was the government’s first Youth Dance Champion. In January 2011 he was awarded a CBE for his Services to Dance.

By Judith Mackrell
(FAR photo, Ravi Deepres; Wayne McGregor photo by Linda Nylind)

The Friday Round Up

•September 12, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Just as well it is September and not May or we would never get you inside to see the great dance happening this week! Come on in out of the sun – looks like it will be around for a while!

Wayne_McGregor_l_Random_Dance_c_Ravi_Deepres.JPG.300x202_q85Photo by Ravi Deepres
Although 2 weeks off, you really need to add to your calendar (if you have not done so already!) DanceHouse’s season opener Wayne McGregor|Random Dance with FAR. Inspired by the Age of Enlightenment and by the 18th Century French philosopher Diderot’s very first set of encyclopedia, Far brings us dance that is physical and immediate, with an underpinning of intellectual curiosity. This May the Washington Post said “FAR makes you want to shout your praise for this inquiring, deep-thinking choreographer, for his impossibly fit, masterly dancers, for the fascinating 2003 book that inspired the dance…”. FAR will be shown September 26 and 27 at the Vancouver Playhouse, 8pm. Tix 

Want to try out something new? This weekend Saturday Sept 13 is the Dance Centre’s Open House. Don’t miss the opportunity to sample a host of dance styles in a day of free open classes, studio showings and events. Participating companies and artists include Shay Kuebler/Radical System Arts, Kinesis Dance somatheatro, Polymer Dance, TomoeArts and a diverse selection of local dance artists and companies working across many different dance traditions. Go here for a full schedule of events, many of which are FREE!!

Saturday September 13 and Sunday September 14, as part of the Fringe Festival, Hong Kong choreographer Iris Lau brings us Definition of Time, a piece about the fragmented narrative of time. At the Cultch, Saturday 5:30, Sunday 2:30pm. Tix $14.

Wednesday September 17 MACHiNENOiSY presents The Fur Will Fly. One evening – two performances: Tortoise Hair, explores the male persona inspired by the myth of the satyr and the mystery of the cowboy. This “wild” solo was originally created in 2000 by choreographer Cornelius Fischer-Credo for MACHiNENOiSY’s artistic director Daelik, and will be performed by Diego Romerobut some of us are looking at the stars, a new solo created for Olivia Shaffer. Performed by Olivia and assisted by Daelik, this dance was inspired by research about the Soviet Union’s early space program. At the Scotiabank Dance Centre, 8pm. Tickets $20 at the door.

Ever heard of New Works? Well among other things they manage some of TaraCheyVancouver’s most exciting dance companies. September 18 you can taste the work of four of these companies all in one evening – one stage, one night only! The evening will feature a mixed program, including excerpts of critically acclaimed repertoire presented to sold-out audiences earlier this year, and a sneak peak of exciting upcoming work from Vancouver’s hottest dance companies: the response., 605 Collective, Out Innerspace Dance Theatre, and Tara Cheyenne Performance. At the Orpheum Theatre, 8pm Tix. Photo by Wendy D.

The Friday Round Up

•September 5, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Welcome back–hope you’ve had a relaxing summer, and you’re ready to see some dance!

Among this week’s highlights:

Tonight marks the beginning of Tango Fest at Russian Hall in Strathcona. Tonight, tomorrow and Sunday, Gabriela Rojo presents performances by Juan Santillan, Claudio Otero, and Elizabeth Roccella under the umbrella of Masters of Argentinian Tango and Folklore. Tomorrow, there’s also the Argentine Tango Festival Gala at 9pm, an evening of Argentinian performance and social dance. Featuring the spectacular Juan Sanytillan with the famous Gaucho Dance Boleadoras. Followed by Tango Masters Claudio Otero and Elizabeth Roccella from Buenos Aires. Some tickets available at the door or advance purchase at


Tomorrow at 3pm (LOVE a good matinee!), and various other days/evenings up until the 14th, Hong Kong choreographer Iris Lau’s new dance/theatre piece, Definition of Time, is presented as part of the Vancouver Fringe Festival at The Cultch. Time is the container that is full of memories, fragrance, voice, thought, and emotion. When we’re going to define time, time will deviate from its definition. This is a dance, but also a theatre. This is fragmental, but narrative. It is a collective reality, which may or may not exist.



Burlesque more your thing? Tomorrow at 8:30pm at the Fox Cabaret, it’s an encore presentation of Mistresses. This is the first show of The Lover’s Cabaret Noir Series featuring six of Vancouver’s elite dancers and special guest performances. Viewer discretion advised.

Finally, Sunday is DanceAbility Day at the Scotiabank Dance Centre. From 11-4, this free showcase day will include a a mixed-abilities dance workshop and talk with Alito Alessi and the Canadian film premiere of United We Dance: American Dance Diplomacy.



The Friday Round Up

•June 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment

There is some really interesting dance happening this week. Can you convince yourself to come on in from the sunshine to partake a little?

June 4 – 8 Les Productions Figlio presents The Dance Poetry ProjectThe Dance Poetry Project brings dance and storytelling to the intimate settings of private homes and small venues, this time featuring five shows presented in French and English. The Dance Poetry Project is an autobiographical tale by choreographer and playwright Serge Bennathan, with Bertrand Chénier playing bass and piano. Words, music, jubilation and might, an intimate experience deep in the dance world. The story follows a 6 year old boy as he discovers the wonderful and magical world of dance, as he dreams of Ninjinsky, of arabesques and ronds de jambes…The young boy grows up, meets with Nureyev, becomes a dancer, then a choreographer. The Poetry Dance Project is a true love song to those who live their art with courage, passion, joy and selflessness. Go here to see places and times.

a13c5adcab1cfe96f79c08ba1f0d7821Friday and Saturday June 6 and 7 Lamondance presents Cinco. Cinco marks the celebration of Lamondance’s five years of existance and presents five dance works choreographed by Lara Barclay, Monica Proença, Davi Rodrigues and Shauna Elton as a guest choreographer. In these five distinct pieces, Cinco will invoke your emotions taking you as far as you will let your imagination go. At the Scotiabank Dance Centre, 8pm

Saturday June 7 as part of the In the House Festival see Worlds of Dance. Really wish you could go around the world in 80 days? Now you can go around the world in just over 80 minutes (105 minutes to be precise)! From flamenco to hip hop, contemporary to bellydance, tap to Balinese, it’s a tour around the world through dance. Some of the folks featured are: Her, X and the Wildman w/ Olivia Shaffer (contemporary), Meris Goodman (Balinese) and Meris Goodman (Balinese). 1940 Napier St, Vanouver. 2pm. Tix and Info

On Sunday June 8, after hanging out at the In the House Festival, you can then make your way down to DanceLab Studio Showing at the Dance Centre. Choreographer Anna Kraulis, environmental activist Hannah Carpendale and media artist Leslie Kennah are working together as part of The Dance Centre’s DanceLab program. Join them, along with dancers Jen Aoki, Jen Dunford, Angelina Krahn, Karley Kyle-Moffat, Daphné Paquette and Rianne Svelnis for an informal sharing of research. Scotiabank Dance Centre, 8pm

June 11-13 Family Dinner is an initimate and immersive dining performance. Six guests join a very particular family dinner that explores the choreography of dining, etiquette and social behavioural codes. Each dinner is at once a shared meal, a performance, an embodied recording and a conversation. Created and performed by: Justine A. Chambers, Alison Denham, Billy Marchenski, James Proudfoot, Tiffany Tregarthen, David Raymond, Josh Martin, Aryo Khakpour, Kate Franklin and Michelle Lui. Concept by: Justine A. Chambers.At Ten Fifteen Maple Field House – Hadden Park, Kitsilano. For tix and more info





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