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 www.bctango.com


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




The Friday Round Up

•May 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Whoops – a little late today, but worth the wait! Have a great week!

Continuing this Friday and Saturday is Noam Gagnon and Nova Bhattacharya’s collaborative work DVote: Lust, Madness, and Mayhem. DVote is their investigation into the dichotomies that separate devotion and submission, the profound and the profane, and sexuality and spirituality. At the Cultch, 8pm. Tix

amberAlso continuing tonight and tomorrow is Amber Funk Barton and the response. in The Art of Stealing, a brand new work based on the action of stealing – what can be taken from us both physically and emotionally without our consent. Barton casts her dancers as both victims and thieves as they seek to manipulate and endure each other, but the ultimate thief in life will outlast them all. At the Firehall Arts Club, 8pm. TIx

Thursday June 5, The Dance Centre presents 12 Minutes Max Studio Showing. 12MM aims to foster experimentation and the development of new work, along with critical feedback and community dialogue. The participants receive fully subsidized studio space at Scotiabank Dance Centre to research and create their works, with input from the guest curators, and will share their work in an informal studio showing open to the public on June 5. The artists this time round are Michael Kong, Caitlin Griffin, Su Lin Tseng, and Jamee Valin. Scotiabank Dance Centre, 5pm.

And for something completely different, but oh so much fun! From May 29 to June 7, the Vancouver International Bhangra Celebration presents the City of Bhangra Festival, an eleven-day all-out dance party and music-fest showcasing the music and dance of the Punjab regions of India and Pakistan. On indoor and outdoor stages, in parks, in clubs, and even right smack downtown in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Festival features hundreds of local and international artists in a series of performances designed for audiences of all ages. Check out their website for details


The Friday Round Up

•May 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Are you ready for this? This is the weekend for end -of – year showings by some of Vancouver’s pre -professional student dance programs. Here goes…

Arts Umbrella started the weekend off last night with their Season Finale featuring works by internationally renowned choreographers such as Fernando   Hernando Magadan, Lesley Telford, Walter Matteini, James Kudelka and more. The dancers graduating from Arts Umbrella are top notch, moving on to dance with companies such as NDT II, Ballets Jazz de Montreal, and Ballet BC. At the Playhouse Theatre, May 23 and 24 7pm, 2pm matinee on Saturday May 24. Tix at the door.

Friday and Saturday, The SOULdiers  presents Gallery of Souls, a look at each individual as the owner of their artistry and what a struggle it can be to balance life in persuing their dreams through dance. The company trains for 9 months in the street styles: Hip Hop, Locking, Popping, Breaking and House and a large component of the training is focused on the individual freestyle aspect of this dance culture. Norman Rothstein Theatre, 8pm. Tix

Saturday May 24 Pro Arte Intermediate & Advanced Pre-Professional Programs with the CatchingART Contemporary Ballet Theatre and live musicians. Featuring excerpts from “Swan Lake, Act 2” staged by Stephana Arnold & Jenny Yoo and dynamic new choreography by Astrid Sherman, Melanie Dance, Tania Brossoit, Stephana Arnold and Kim Dixon. At the Kay Meek Art Centre, 7:30 pm


And now from the world of professional contemporary dance…

May 27 – 31 DVote: Lust, Madness, and Mayhem is presented by Vision Impure (Vancouver) & Nova Dance (Toronto). It may seem at first glance that Nova Bhattacharya and Noam Gagnon come from vastly different worlds, culturally and geographically. Nova is Bengali, an award-winning dancer and choreographer in Toronto, known for her transformation of classical bharatanatyam into stunning contemporary dance. Noam is French-Canadian, an award-winning choreographer and dancer in Vancouver, known for his physically punishing and emotionally baring creations. However, beyond differences in technique and heritage, their recent independent works reveal a shared impulse to mine the depths of their personal experience to create engaging and transcendent performances. DVOTE is a journey they have taken together, both travelling on uncharted ground, coming together in a unique hybrid world. At the Cultch, 8pm. Tix (Photo by David Cooper)

Also starting May 28-31, World premier of The Art of Stealing by Amber Funk amberBarton’s the response.  A brand new work based on the action of stealing – what can be taken from us both physically and emotionally without our consent. Barton casts her dancers as both victims and thieves as they seek to manipulate and endure each other, but the ultimate theif in life will outlast them all. At the Firehall Arts Centre, 8pm.(Photo by Chris Barton)



The Friday Round Up

•May 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Happy Friday! Not so much this week – getting into the summer mode?

edamThe EDAM Choreographic Series continues this weekend tonight and tomorrow night with Intersect, new works by Peter Bingham, Josh Martin and Helen Walkley. Tix $15 or $20 at the door.EDAM Studio Theatre, 303 E. 8th Ave., Vancouver

Tonight Coastal City Ballet, a division of Pacific Dance Arts, presents a new commission of ballet’s great comedy, Coppelia.  Based upon two stories by E.T.A. Hoffman, and set to Leo Delibes’ irresistibly melodic score, this comedic full-length ballet is choreographed by Irene Schneider, former Artistic Director of Germany’s Magedeburg Ballet. At the Centennial Theatre, North Vancouver. Tix





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