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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Men outnumber women in STDT's first-year class

>> by Cynthia Brett
For the first time in The School of Toronto Dance Theatre's (STDT) history, there are more men than women in its first-year class. Of twenty-two students, twelve are men. Artistic Director Patricia Fraser commented that the school has seen an increase in the number of men auditioning, as well as an improvement in their dancing. A collective statement from the first-year class says that, "In this and other cultures there seem to be more men gravitating to the arts in general. Contemporary dance is now a more accepted career for men to pursue.... There may always be something of a stigma against male dancers, because the wider population doesn't yet entirely understand what we do; however, it's possible that seeing dance in popular culture, on TV shows such as So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing with the Stars, has put men 'on the map' in terms of dance." Here's a look at the number of men in the first-year class over the last five years: 2011, 12 of 22; 2010, 7 of 24; 2009, 5 of 25; 2008, 9 of 25; and 2007, 3 of 22.
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Friday, October 21, 2011

Toronto Heritage Dance showcases Canadian choreographers

>> by Samantha Mehra
In celebration of Canadian dance's vibrant past and present, Toronto Heritage Dance recently showcased the work of six eminent Canadian choreographers at the Winchester Street Theatre from September 15th through 18th. The program, an event presented by the DanceWorks CoWorks Series, featured three new works, and three revivals including Patricia Beatty's new solo The High Heart; David Earle's Baroque Suite Duet and Miserere; Lawrence Gradus' solo Castaway; Danny Grossman's new duet Lone; Terrill Maguire's solo Pond Life, set to the music of late composer Ann Southam; and Peter Randazzo's "Pavane" from A Simple Melody. The cast included dancers Danielle Baskerville, Eddie Kastrau, Michael Sean Marye, Suzette Sherman and Meredith Thompson, among others. According to DanceWorks Curator Mimi Beck, the concert of modern dance pieces intended to "highlight the individual creative visions of these senior Canadian choreographers, to expose audiences to the breadth of the art form, and to revive master works of modern dance."
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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

David Y.H. Lui (1944-2011)

>> by Amy Bowring
Vancouver-based impresario and producer David Y.H. Lui died on September 15th, 2011. Lui had an extensive forty-year career in the arts and was dedicated to his passions of dance, music and musical theatre. The Vancouver native is credited with helping to develop audiences through his presentation of a wide variety of companies and artists, and even began this role while studying at the University of British Columbia in the 1960s. Among the dance groups he brought to the city were the Martha Graham Dance Company, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Sadlers’ Wells Royal Ballet and Maurice Bejart’s Ballet of the XXth Century. At the time of his death, he was working to bring Alicia Alonso and the National Ballet of Cuba to Western Canada in February 2012. He helped to found Ballet British Columbia and the cultural program of Vancouver’s Dragon Boat Festival; he served on many boards including the Dance Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts and British Columbia Arts Council. Lui worked tirelessly to fundraise for multiple causes including the Scotiabank Dance Centre. Mirna Zagar, executive director of the Dance Centre, remembers her friend as a visionary and in her speech at the tenth anniversary of the opening of the Dance Centre she stated, “David was always either getting out of a project, working on one or envisioning the next.” He received multiple honours for his work including the Order of Canada (2001) and Queen Elizabeth II Gold (2004) and Silver (1977) Jubilee Medals. David Y.H. Lui – A Celebration will be held on Sunday, October 23rd at 2pm at the Vancouver Playhouse to commemorate his life and work.
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Monday, October 3, 2011

Signal Theatre takes part in carbon footprint study

>> by Naomi Brand
Signal Theatre's newest production, from thine eyes choreographed by Artistic Director Michael Greyeyes, is part of an environmental research project led by York University Theatre professor Peter McKinnon. The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada–funded study is aimed to determine the environmental impact of a live theatre presentation by measuring and tracking the carbon consumption of Signal Theatre's production and comparing that against a "phantom" production conceived without any consideration for environmental impact. from thine eyes was created with the intention to minimize the carbon footprint in all aspects of its production and was presented at Harbourfront Centre’s Enwave Theatre in September.
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