Friday, April 30, 2010

Move mind, body and soul with Live Art

Dance company announces plans for new season

Susanne Chui, kneeling, and Jacinte Armstrong, of SINS (Sometimes in Nova Scotia dance collective) perform at the 2010-11 season launch of Live Art Dance at the Sir James Dunn Theatre in Halifax.

When Compagnie Marie Chouinard performed The Rite of Spring at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in 1999, it was the beginning of a love affair for Halifax dance fans.
"There were about 250 to 300 people and it was the beginning of building Marie’s audience here," says Paul Caskey, executive director of Live Art Dance Productions.
"Since then the audience (for the Montreal company) has exploded."
The show was so popular, Live Art has brought it back for its 2010-2011 season, Caskey said Thursday during the season launch at the Sir James Dunn Theatre in Halifax.
The Rite of Spring will be paired with 24 Preludes by Chopin for a show at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium on Nov. 17. It is an appropriate pairing because this year marks the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth.
"Marie has a demonstrated gift for mixing music and movement," said Caskey. "Her dance is widely accessible but also really profound art, a magic mix. She’s the undisputed queen of contemporary dance."
The season is designed says Caskey "to move you mind, body and soul."
It features seven shows, including three world premieres.
Le Carre des Lombes from Montreal presents Danielle Desnoyer’s quintet La ou je vis, Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 at the Dunn.
"It’s richly visual and highly physical . . . agitated, urgent and driven by desire," says Caskey.
It features stunning visuals by media artist Manon de Pauw.
SINS (Sometimes in Nova Scotia) — composed of Halifax dancers Jacinte Armstrong, Susanne Chui and Vancouver-based Sara Coffin — has commissioned a new work by Vancouver choreographer Daelik and will be joined by Halifax dancer Elise Vanderborght and actor/dancer Cory Bowles.
The world premiere of Xs will be presented Oct. 7-9 at the Dunn along with the world premiere of New Work by Toronto’s Susie Burpee. Both works will be developed during residences at Ross Creek Centre for the Arts near Canning in September, with support from Live Art.
"We wanted to work with Daelik because he is a theatre artist who was in dance a long time. His work is rooted in contemporary, contact improv and improvisation rather than ballet," said Armstrong, after performing a short piece with Chui for those attending the season launch.
"When he works, he does a lot with improv and props and theatricality . . . though it is a dance piece. He asked to have an actor and Cory is filling that role. He’s part of our group, so it’s an added bonus working with him. And he’ll be doing the music."
Montreal Danse and George Stamos present the world premiere of Troglodyte Plastique, Jan. 20-22 at the Dunn. The work, to be danced by Nova Scotia native Stamos, Rachel Harris and Elinor Fueter, was inspired by a series of masks he unearthed at Value Village in Dartmouth and will feature live music by Jackie Gallant.
From Feb. 17-19, Montreal native Paul-Andre Fortier’s Cabane will be presented in three found locations to be announced Nov. 17. Running during the Canada Winter Games, the work is equal parts dance performance and installation art and "challenges the audience to open their eyes to that which we take for granted," says Caskey.
On Saturday, March 19 Wen Wei Dance of Vancouver and the Beijing Modern Dance Company present Under the Skin at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium.
The work will feature 12 dancers, six from each company. It fuses elements from the Occident and the Orient with the idea that under the skin we are all the same.
Caskey says the large audience for Wen Wei’s 2007 debut in Halifax was proof of the effectiveness of word of mouth. He adds that the Chinese dancers are like Olympic level acrobats in their incredible level of training and their virtuosic bodies combined with their interpretation of toothy material should create a knockout show.
The final presentation is Audible, from Vancouver’s 605 Collective, May 5-7 at the Dunn.
The five performers, all trained in contemporary dance, blur the line between street and stage combining hip hop, jazz, popping, locking and ballet.
In the company’s first full-length work "the erosion of intimacy in the age of social media gets put under the microscope: data-addiction, online voyeurism, texting and tweeting . . . connecting without really connecting," says Caskey.
As well the company is entering a special partnership with OneLight Theatre’s Prismatic Festival to present the Canadian premiere of Junkyard/Paradise by Montreal’s Mayday Danse Oct. 15-16 at the Dunn.
Live Art subscribers will get discounted tickets to the work, choreographed by Melanie Demers which explores the contradictions of everyday life.
Caskey was pleased to note that Live Art has experienced a 30 per cent increase in attendance despite the economic downturn.
"Last year the average attendance for a three-night run at the Dunn was just over 300. This year the attendance is over 400."

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