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Monday, April 12, 2010

Arnold Spohr, 1923-2010

>> by Amy Bowring
Arnold Spohr, one of the longest serving artistic directors in Canadian cultural history, has died at a nursing home in Winnipeg. Spohr began his career as a dancer in 1945 at the Winnipeg Ballet working with founders Gweneth Lloyd and Betty Farrally. He received acclaim for his performances at the Canadian Ballet Festivals and his early choreographic works were highlighted by the critics. He was a part of the company when it received its Royal moniker in 1953 and when fire ravaged the studios in 1954. He became artistic director in 1958 and remained its leader for the next three decades. During that time, he raised the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s profile from that of a regional ballet to one of international stature and guided dancers such as Evelyn Hart and David Peregrine through award-winning performances. His skill as a director is often noted by former dancers. He put a unique signature on the company by commissioning works from emerging and established choreographers creating a repertoire of contemporary and classical ballets.
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York University celebrates Yvonne Rainer

>> by Brittany Duggan
On April 6th, York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts celebrated legendary dance and film artist Yvonne Rainer for her influential five decades of dance and film as part of the 2010 Joan and Martin Goldfarb Summer Institute. The day included screenings of three of Rainer’s feature-length films, a short dance/text film, as well as a silent record of her seminal dance piece, Trio A, and resolved in conversation with Rainer and three York scholars: choreographer Holly Small and filmmakers Brenda Longfellow and Kay Armatage. In her welcoming remarks, Dean Barbara Sellers-Young commented on this year’s theme, “Where is the Medium”, as recognizing artists, like Rainer, who do not create in isolation. Sellers-Young also noted the faculty’s wish to include more disciplines in the future. This event, in particular, was the first Summer Institute to combine visual art and media and was organized by John Greyson, associate professor in the department of film at York. The day-long event was housed in the Nat Taylor Cinema on York’s Keele Campus.
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Monday, April 5, 2010

John Ottmann brings changes to Quinte

>> by Cynthia Brett
John Ottmann has been implementing a new vision for Quinte Ballet School of Canada (QBSC) since his appointment as artistic director on August 24th, 2009. He began by bringing in dancers, choreographers and teachers from New York, Montréal, Toronto, Texas and Italy for the 2009 Professional Intensive Program, four weeks of summer training that includes assessment for full-time studies in September. "My intention from the start was to bring an energy and vision that would permeate the school and be felt by the community near and far," commented Ottmann. For the 2010/11 season he plans to implement a post-graduate program, as well as a new artist-in-residence program. QBSC Co-Chair Judith Atkinson commented in a press release that, "It's exciting to see the growth and excitement surrounding John's appointment at the school ... Mr. Ottmann has been receiving support from far and wide as momentum builds for the future of QBSC." Ottmann has had an extensive career as a performer, teacher, choreographer and mentor. Since training at Canada's National Ballet School and L'Ecole supérieure de danse du Québec, he has performed with The National Ballet of Canada, Ballet BC, Danstabat, Holy Body Tattoo, Mascall Dance and formed the dance collective Quorum.
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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Dance highlighted at The Images Festival

>> by Naomi Brand
The Images Festival kicked off on April 1st and will be held until the 10th in twenty-five venues across the Greater Toronto Area. This year's festival highlights dance with Tacita Dean's (UK) Craneway Event, a film featuring the late choreographer Merce Cunningham; New York duo robbinschild's Sonya and Layla Go Camping; and choreographer, dancer and film/video maker Yvonne Rainer as the keynote speaker of the International Experimental Media Congress hosted by The Images Festival. Now in its twenty-third year, The Images Festival is North America's largest festival for experimental and independent moving image culture featuring screenings, live performances and media art installations by international artists.
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