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Thursday, September 30, 2010

UPDATE: New university credit course for dancers

>> by Brittany Duggan
Ryerson University, in partnership with the Dancer Transition Resource Centre (DTRC) and The National Ballet of Canada, is offering Critical Thinking, a course for professional dancers. The course, offered Monday nights for eleven weeks, will allow professional dancers the opportunity to earn university credits while continuing to work. Amanda Hancox, executive director of the DTRC, has confirmed sixteen students from the National Ballet and two independent artists are currently enrolled. This course is being piloted as a step towards developing a specialized degree program for professional dancers through Ryerson University.
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Canada-wide master class with Rex Harrington

Rex Harrington / Photo by Sian Richards
>> by Cynthia Brett
On September 25th The National Ballet of Canada broadcast a nation-wide master class taught by Rex Harrington as part of Culture Days. Registered participants across the country took this free class streamed live from the Walter Carsen Centre in Toronto from 2:00-3:30pm. Culture Days, running September 24th through 26th, is a national initiative to raise awareness and engagement of all Canadians in art and culture. Free, interactive events took place across Canada to encourage public participation and discovery.
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So You Think You Can Dance Canada nominated for four Gemini awards

Leah Miller / Photo by CTV
>> by Cynthia Brett
The 25th annual Gemini Award nominations have been announced and So You Think You Can Dance Canada is up for four awards. The show received a nomination for Best Music, Variety Program or Series, while individual nominations went to Leah Miller for Best Performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series (Montréal/Edmonton auditions), Jean Renaud and Vincent Colbert for Best Photography in a Variety or Performing Arts Program or Series (Finale), and Peter Hordylan and Owin Lambeck for Best Picture Editing in a Comedy, Variety or Performing Arts Program or Series (Toronto auditions).
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New tap centre opens in Ontario

Everett Smith and Kim Chalovich / Photo by Ross Photography and ES Photography

>> by Cynthia Brett
September 9th marks the grand opening of the Tap Dance Centre, eastern Canada's only studio devoted solely to tap dance. Located at 2480 Cawthra Road in Missisauga, Ontario, the Tap Dance Centre is co-founded by Kim Chalovich, founder of What's On? Tap!, and Everett Smith, fourth-place finalist of So You Think You Can Dance Canada (SYTYCDC) Season 2. It aims to provide both private and open classes for people of all ages while offering opportunities to audition for companies and professional shows. In a press release, Chalovich remarks that this is "big for the dance community", describing it as a "centre for all ages with the full commitment to one discipline: Tap!" Smith commented that, "Creating a space and standing behind something that represents solely tap is such an uplifting and breathtaking experience. The 'Tap Dance Centre' is a place for any tap enthusiast to call home." Chalovich has a career in dance spanning over twenty years and she is also the founding director of the Eastern Canadian Tap Conference. In addition to Smith's rise to fame on SYTYCDC, he has danced for Katy Perry and Ludacris, appeared in Hairspray: The Movie and onstage in Grease and Footloose.
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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New dance TV show in Canada

>> by Brittany Duggan
Geneviève Guérard and Stéphane Bellavance / Photo by Barry Russell

Geneviève Guérard, former ballerina with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, has launched a new dance television program on ARTV called Voulez-vous danser? Each week, the show challenges one Québec celebrity to learn a specific style of dance alongside host Guérard. On August 20th, Guérard, previously a judge on Match des étoiles, held an event where dance teachers were dispersed in four of Montréal's Métro stations to teach the general public salsa, hip-hop, country and African dance in order to publicize the fall season of the show. Hélène Beausejour from ARTV’s marketing department was on site to distribute flyers explaining the event to Métro patrons. "I wish we could do this every Sunday," she said, "Everyone is smiling."
Voulez-vous danser? is scheduled to air Fridays at 7:30pm on ARTV.
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Degree credit course for professional dancers

>> by Naomi Brand
Over the past year, the Dancer Transition Resource Centre (DTRC), The National Ballet of Canada and Ryerson University have been working together to develop a specialized program to help professional dancers earn an undergraduate degree. The program would be tailored to address the challenges of pursuing higher learning while working full-time as a professional dancer. This fall, as a first step, Ryerson is piloting "Critical Thinking", a university credit course for professional dancers.

For more info and to register see: http://www.dtrc.ca/html/news_en_ryerson_program.html
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Friday, September 3, 2010

NBoC’s Principal Character Artist Retires

Victoria Bertram in The Sleeping Beauty / Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann

>> by Brittany Duggan

The National Ballet of Canada announced on August 20th that Victoria Bertram, principal character artist for twenty-four years, has decided to retire. Karen Kain, artistic director of the company, commented on Bertram’s retirement: “We were looking forward to having Victoria in the roles she has made her signature this season, including Her Stepmother in Cinderella and Baba in The Nutcracker, but after much reflection this summer she has decided to retire. She has had an extraordinary forty-seven-year career at the National Ballet where her commitment and artistry was evident in every role she brought to the stage. Victoria will be greatly missed by the company and our audience.” 
A company member since 1963, Bertram was first a soloist and principal dancer before becoming a principal character artist in 1986. Her repertoire at the company has come to include virtually all of the female lead character roles including Madge in La Sylphide, Berthe in Giselle, and Juliet’s Nurse and Lady Capulet in Romeo and Juliet. She is also noted for creating roles in several of James Kudelka's pieces including Aunt Penniman in Washington Square, the Winter muse in Four Seasons and the Queen in Swan Lake. Bertram was honoured in June 2010 by her peers with the National Ballet’s David Tory Award for professionalism, mentorship, optimism and enthusiasm for life and the art of dance.
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Vancouver Global Dance Project and Toronto's D2D Festival

>> by Samantha Mehra
From July 26th through August 13th, Vancouver hosted the city’s first contemporary dance festival for young and emerging artists: The Vancouver Global Dance Project (VGDP). Directed by Brenna Mclaud, Claire French and Heather Laura Gray, the project aims to use education and performance to unite the dance community and support young choreographers in creating contemporary dance work. The project also emphasizes the tools emerging choreographers require when creating and presenting new compositions. The VGDP included a three-week dance intensive for youth and pre-professionals, as well as a performance series in which festival participants and youth dance companies performed work for the public at Vancouver’s PAL Theatre on August 12th and 13th. Festival participants had the opportunity to work with guest choreographers Susan Elliott and Justine Chambers.

Toronto’s Dance 2 Danse Festival, the city’s newest annual dance festival, began its first run in August. Artistic Director Sion Irwin-Childs created the festival in order to provide diverse, economically sound and accessible opportunities for dancers and audiences. The festival is comprised of four dance series that showcase mixed programs of performers and choreographers: Eros, Thanatos & the Avant-Garde ~ The Cabaret Series (performed at The Rivoli); D2D Dance Duels (performed at the Winchester Street Theatre) in which the audience votes for its favourite pieces; D2D DLX! at which the favourites are performed; and D2D DIVERGE/DIVERSE, which presents seasoned dance artists and emerging artists.
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