We've moved to the...

All new thedancecurrent.com

You will be redirected in 4 seconds

Headlines and details published by The Dance Current.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

André Gingras, 1966-2013

André Gingras / Photo by Jochem Jurgens

>> by Jaimée Horn
After having battled colon cancer for several years, dance artist André Gingras died on February 17th at age forty-six, in Breda, The Netherlands. Born in Canada, he studied theatre, English literature and contemporary dance in Toronto, Montréal and New York City. Gingras began his work as a choreographer in The Netherlands in 1999. His desire to explore a highly physical and visual language, drew inspiration from martial arts, free running, and the physical symptoms related to specific medical conditions. His work has been commissioned by several prestigious artists and companies worldwide, and has toured internationally to great acclaim. In March 2010, he became artistic director of Dance Works Rotterdam, bringing new life to the company through his international network. A public memorial service will be held on March 22nd in The Netherlands, to celebrate his life and honour his numerous artistic contributions. According to Dance Works Rotterdam, Gingras' friends in New York and Canada will be sharing in the celebrations from a distance.
Bookmark and Share

Nancy Lima Dent, 1919-2013

Nancy Lima Dent, 1957 / Photo by Jim Griffin, courtesy of Dance Collection Danse

>> by Amy Bowring
Pioneering modern dance choreographer Nancy Lima Dent died on February 15th, age 93, at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto. Born in Toronto to Italian immigrant parents, Lima Dent was not allowed to study dance as a child but did study piano at the Toronto Conservatory of Music. Her father was interned during World War II and during this time Lima Dent began ballet lessons with Boris Volkoff. At Volkoff's studio, she was introduced to modern dance through Elizabeth Leese and discovered an immediate affinity for this form of movement. She left home to pursue dance when her father was released from the internment camp. Living a hand-to-mouth existence, she put every cent she could into her training and staged her first work in 1946, Set Your Clock at U235. With its anti-atomic weapon theme, this was the first of many works Lima Dent created that included social or political commentary. She worked for a decade with the New Dance Theatre under the umbrella of the United Jewish People's Order and was its director from 1950 through 1955. She ran a dance program for the Canadian Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers' Union in Sudbury, Ontario, from 1955 to 1957 and then returned to Toronto and set up the Nancy Lima Dent Dance Theatre. Her works were performed at the Canadian Ballet Festivals in the 1950s and at several modern dance festivals in Toronto in the early 1960s. Working with choreographers such as Yoné Kvietys, Ruth Lau, Birouté Nagys and Bianca Rogge, Lima Dent was part of a group that laid the groundwork in the mid-1960s for the boom period modern dance would experience in the 1970s.
More: dcd.ca/exhibitions/limadent/index.html
Bookmark and Share

Carol Anderson receives Jubilee Medal

>> by Cynthia Brett
Carol Anderson has been awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her outstanding contributions to the Canadian dance community in a career spanning over thirty-eight years. A founding member of Dancemakers (and artistic director from 1985 to 1988), Anderson is also a choreographer with three Dora Mavor Moore nominations under her belt, a respected teacher and a busy writer. She has written and edited several books on Canadian dance and history as well as numerous other essays and articles, including many for The Dance Current. Bookmark and Share

Monday, February 4, 2013

Cirque du Soleil lays off 400 employees

Artists of Cirque du Soleil in Amaluna / Photo by Laurence Labat

>> by Andrew Guilbert
Cirque du Soleil recently announced it would lay off 400 employees due to a variety of economic factors putting pressure on the usually robust entertainment giant. Most of those jobs will be cut at company headquarters in Montréal, home to roughly forty percent of Cirque’s 5,000-employee worldwide workforce. In a statement, Cirque spokesperson Renée-Claude Menard acknowledged that the company was dealing with rising production costs, but denied that the Cirque was in any deep financial trouble. “The Cirque is not in crisis, let’s get that straight,” said Menard. “We had a record year in terms of tickets sold. We sold more than 14 million tickets this year. We had a record year for total revenue, with more than $1 billion.” In spite of the record sales, Menard agreed that times were hard. “The organization at the moment is not profitable.” She said that for each cent the Loonie gains over the U.S. dollar the company’s profits are negatively affected by nearly $3 million. Cirque du Soleil currently has nineteen shows touring worldwide and is working on a new show set to open in Las Vegas in May. Bookmark and Share

Quanz Awarded State Medal in Literature and the Arts

Peter Quanz / Photo by Natalia Ulanova

>> by Samantha Mehra
On February 11th, Canadian choreographer Peter Quanz will receive the State Medal in Literature and the Arts from President Vyacheslav Nagovitsyn of the Republic of Buryatia, Russia. The award, which lauds significant creations of artistic and literary work for the Republic, recognizes Quanz's collaboration with the Buryatia National Ballet for the Republic's 350-year membership in the Russian Federation. In addition to the creation of a new work, titled Dzambuling, Quanz also remounted his In Tandem, while he was in residence in Ulan-Ude, the Buryatian capital, in 2011. Anton Lubchenko, a composer who created the score to Quanz's In Colour (a 2009 work for The National Ballet of Canada), commissioned Quanz to create the award-winning work for the forty-five members of the Republic's National Ballet. The choreographer, who hails from Baden, Ontario, and is now based in Winnipeg, has international prominence as a choreographer, and is the first North American to be awarded the medal.
Bookmark and Share 

Bolshoi Director Filin attacked

Sergei Filin / Photo by Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images

>> by Andrew Guilbert
The dance world reacted in shock when a masked assailant attacked Sergei Filin, artistic director of Russia’s revered Bolshoi Ballet, near his home last month. The assailant threw sulphuric acid at Filin resulting in third-degree burns to his face. Filin, a former dancer who became artistic director in 2011 following the six-year renovation of the company’s famous home theatre in Moscow, had experienced a number of incidents prior to this attack. These included slashed tires, the disabling of two personal cellphones and the hacking and dissemination of his personal e-mail. Filin expressed his feelings of unease on the day of the attack to Bolshoi General Director Anatoly Iksanov. “Sergei told me that he had the feeling that he was on the front line,” Iksanov said in a press conference the day of the attack, and continued, “I told him, ‘Sergei, I’ve already been on the front line for the last two years, it is part of our profession, the profession of the leadership, so it’s normal.’”

‘Normal’ in that the Bolshoi has a history of infighting and petty sabotage. In 2003 former Bolshoi prima ballerina Anastasia Volochkova received death threats after she sued the theatre for unfair dismissal. She is quoted in The Independent saying, “People came to me with threats, even with knives, telling me to drop the case.”

A week after Filin’s appointment in 2011, the theatre’s deputy director, Gennady Yanin, left his position after personal photographs were leaked onto the Internet.

And this week, Bolshoi ballerina Svetlana Lunkina refused to return to Russia after threats to her life over her producer husband Vladislav Moskalyev’s film about the great Russian imperial ballerina Matilda Kshesinskaya. Lunkina has been living in Canada for the past six months and is currently teaching in Toronto.

Though no clear motive has been found for the assault, Filin’s colleagues suspect this to be a case of professional envy, in particular over Filin’s casting choices for top roles. Fillin has been released from hospital with a prognosis of complete recovery in spite of worries that he would lose sight in one or both eyes. Principal dancer Galina Stepanenko will act as interim artistic director until Filin can resume his duties. 
Bookmark and Share