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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Canadians help celebrate Jacob's Pillow anniversary

>> by Jaimée Horn
This summer marks the eightieth anniversary of Jacob's Pillow international dance festival. Every year thousands of people visit Western Massachusetts to experience the festival, which welcomes companies and audiences from around the world. This year, in celebration of The Pillow's founder Ted Shawn and his company of male dancers, Tina Croll and Jamie Cunningham have created The Men Dancers: From the Horse’s Mouth. The piece consists of a unique show in which twenty male dancers execute original choreography as well as share brief personal anecdotes. Among the rotating performers were dancers from various backgrounds including Canadians Josh Beamish and Hari Krishnan. Krishnan performed a version of his solo work Pissing off the Neighbours as part of The Men Dancers: From the Horse's Mouth. Other Canadian companies contributing to this summer's festival are the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, returning after a nearly fifty-year absence, to perform Canadian choreographer Peter Quanz's In Tandem, the pas de deux from Mark Godden's As Above So Below and Mauricio Wainrot's Carmina Burana; Crystal Pite's Kidd Pivot returns to perform Dark Matters; and Out Innerspace performs ME SO YOU SO ME as part of the Inside/Out outdoor performances.
More: http://www.jacobspillow.org/
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

New exhibits celebrate dance and design

Tutu by Jenn Woodall and the Participants of Word on the Street Festival in Toronto, 2011
Photo by Seterah Sarmadi

>> by Cynthia Brett
The Design Exchange in Toronto recently launched two exhibits in partnership with The National Ballet of Canada, which is currently celebrating its sixtieth anniversary season. Curated by costume designer and scholar Caroline O'Brien, "60 Years of Designing the Ballet" offers a behind-the-scenes look at prized costumes, props and settings from the company's history. It is accompanied by "The Tutu Project", which features sixty one-of-a-kind tutus crafted by Canadian fashion designers. Both exhibits run until September 2nd.
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Dance Ontario connecting dance in the province

Maxine Heppner at Dance Ontario's Connecting the Dots conference / Photo by Kathy Lewis

>> by Brittany Duggan
Dance Ontario recently wrapped up its inaugural Connecting the Dots conference at the Young Centre in Toronto’s Distillery District. The conference brought together educators, studio and venue operators, dance activists, animators and artists alike, as well as the funders and arts service organizations that serve the dance community of Ontario. Spread over three days – June 26th through 28th – attendees were invited to weigh in on issues that pertain to them and to their regions and to create action lists. Over the next two years, Dance Ontario will support the following communities: London, Orangeville, Barrie, Orillia, Sudbury, North Bay, Halton, Milton, Burlington and Hamilton, with its proposed activities. “These communities will develop partnerships across the sub-sectors (education/artists & venues/studios) and bring enhanced or new activities to broader markets within their regions,” commented Dance Ontario Executive Director Rosslyn Jacob-Edwards. Additionally, Dance Ontario will partner with the Council of Ontario Drama and Dance Educators to advocate to principals, faculties of education and the Ministry of Education to support dance educator’s needs as well as other partnered projects still to be confirmed.

Sharing and brainstorming was the work of the conference but the act of dance itself was not forgotten; dancers of all ages and genres were invited to perform at either the Performances by Competition & Youth Dance Teams, Studio & Professional Training Institution Showcases or the Professional Dance Showcase. The three-year Connecting the Dots initiative was made possible by funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
More: www.danceontario.ca
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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Mocean Dance announces new leadership

Susanne Chui
Photo: Nick Rudnicki

Sara Coffin
Photo: Peter Eastwood

>> by Naomi Brand
Halifax's Mocean Dance has announced that its 2012/13 season will begin under the new leadership of Susanne Chui as the company's artistic director and Sara Coffin as artistic associate. Mocean Co-founder and Artistic Director Carolle Crooks Fernando will be stepping down after more than a decade with the company in order to pursue the next phase of her career. "I have total confidence in the strength of this new leadership," says Crooks Fernando. "Susanne and Sara are dedicated to their craft and to the development of Halifax as a centre for dance creation and production. They value the company's vision and its potential for moving forward.” Coffin has been acting as interim artistic director this past season while Crooks Fernando was on maternity leave and will continue her work with the company next season while also pursuing an MFA in choreography at Smith College in Massachusetts. Chui and Coffin are both contemporary dance artists and co-founders of the cross-Canada collective SiNS (Sometimes in Nova Scotia). "I am excited to bring to Mocean the knowledge I have gained from being an independent dance artist for the past ten years,” says Chui. “I look forward to the new experiences that will come with this position.” Mocean's upcoming season is full of performance and creation activities including touring work across the country, performing a new commission by New Brunswick’s Lesandra Dodson and beginning a new creation with Sara Coffin.
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Sylvain Emard's Le Grand Continental tours three US cities

Le Grand Continental at the River To River Festival, New York
Photo: Julieta Cervantes
>> by Naomi Brand
This summer Sylvain Émard's Le Grand Continental will be touring across the US with performances in New York, Philadelphia and Portland, Oregon. The piece, which draws from line dancing and contemporary dance will be performed by up to 200 local, amateur dancers of all ages in each city, guided by a few professionals. Le Grand Continental was originally created and co-produced by the Festival TransAmerique in 2009. Two years later a Mexican version of the work was presented in Mexico City. Founded in 1990, Sylvain Émard Danse is a Montréal-based company.
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Monday, July 9, 2012

Sampradaya Dance Centre celebrates official opening

Lata Pada (centre) cutting the ribbon at opening ceremony

Lata Pada receiving the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from Governor General David Johnston

>> by Samantha Mehra
On June 20th, Sampradaya Dance Creations (SDC) celebrated the official opening of its new studio and theatre space, the Sampradaya Dance Centre, in Mississauga, Ontario. At an opening ceremony in front of an audience of supporters, guest speakers Peter Caldwell (director and CEO, Ontario Arts Council), Dr. Dev Sainani (board of directors, Ontario Trillium Foundation), the Hon. Harinder Takhar (Minister of Government Services, Ontario) and Preeti Saran (Consul General of India, Toronto) offered their congratulations on this milestone moment in the company's history. The celebration also included a lamp-lighting ceremony and a performance by Sampradaya Dance Creations' dancers. In a press release, Founder and Artistic Director Lata Pada, CM, spoke of the new centre as a functional space for the South Asian dance community, stating, "We want this to be a place for the community to gather and witness the wealth of local and international talent." The new space boasts a multi-purpose studio and theatre, with retractable seating for an audience of 100. In the fall of this year, SDC will invigorate the space with the launch of its own series program, titled the Horizon Series, which aims to feature the local talents of emerging South Asian dance artists.

On June 18th, Pada, along with several other members of the dance community, was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal at a gala at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall. The medal recognizes the significant contributions of Canadian citizens to the Canadian community; 60,000 Canadians are awarded the medal throughout the year in celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of Queen Elizabeth's coronation.
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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Dance awards across the country

Daelik in his own work Tempus Fugitive / Photo by Chris Randle

>> by Cynthia Brett
Toronto's Nova Bhattacharya is this year's winner in the dance division of the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton award, which celebrates mid-career artists. For her artistic achievement, Bhattacharya received $15,000. Meanwhile Patrick Lavoie, first soloist for The National Ballet of Canada, has won the David Tory Award recognizing his many positive qualities. He received $2,500 in memory of David Tory, former vice-chair of the company's board of directors. Tap dancer Danny Nielsen, from Edmonton, was awarded the third annual Santa Aloi Award, given to help choreographers create new works. The $4,500 he received will contribute to a new full-length work he is co-producing with the Vancouver International Tap Festival this fall. This year Dance Victoria announced two winners for its second annual Chrystal Dance Prize of $14,000; Tessa Charlesworth, an emerging artist from Victoria, receives $4,000, and Vancouver's Daelik receives $10,000. In Toronto, Harbourfront Centre's Next Steps and the Chimera Project announced that Toronto-based dance artist Angelica Scannura won both the Paula Citron FRESH BLOOD Award and an Audience Choice Award for her work After the Fall. Finally, Neighbourhood Dance Works recently announced a new annual award for a Newfoundland/Labrador dance artist (or artist collaborating with a dance artist). The Roberta Thomas Legacy Award will fund up to $1,000 for a project to be presented at the Festival of New Dance each year. Applications are due July 31st.
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