Neige Bleue

Festival PHENOMENA 2012 à MontrealThe title of this dance work translates as Blue Snow. It’s choreographed by Montreal artist Tony Chong, and will be performed by Chong and Carol Prieur at New Dance Horizons (2207 Harvey St.) on Sunday, July 6 at 6:30 p.m.

The performance (the photo above is from a 2012 show in Montreal) is inspired by the idea of the wicked witch as a metaphor for women who live their lives outside of societal norms. For centuries, that’s led to persecution, whether it’s related to the desire of Christian authorities to stamp out paganism as in the Middle Ages, or the broader issue of patriarchal power and the need to enforce certain behavioral standards on women.

In addition to the performance there will be a screening of the Rob King film Silk Cyclone about a collaborative choreographic process undertaken by Robin Poitras, Margie Gillis and Susan McKenzie — all of whom have danced in long-flowing silk garments in different performances over the years.

Tickets range between $25 and $30 and more information on this event can be obtained by calling NDH at 306-525-5393.

Sara Riel: A Journey

Sara RielInspired by the life of Louis Riel’s sister Sara (pictured), this dance performance is being co-presented by New Dance Horizons and Compaigni V’ni Dansi as part of NDH’s House of Dance series.

Born in St. Boniface, MB in 1848, Sara joined the Grey Nuns as a novice in 1865. Three years later, she became the first Grey Nun of Metis ancestry at Red River. From there she was dispatched to her father’s home community of Ile-a-la-Crosse in what is now north-west Saskatchewan where she took the name Sister Marguerite-Marie. She served in the school and mission there until she died from tuberculosis at age 34 in 1883.

Sara Riel: A Journey is a co-creation of dancer/choreographer Robin Poitras and visual artist Edward Poitras, with text by former Saskatchewan poet Tim Lilburn, and performance by Yvonne Chartrand. It will be presented March 28 at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m., March 29 at 7:30 p.m. and March 30 at 1:30 p.m. at 2207 Harvey St. Tickets are Adults $20 and Students & Seniors $15, and the matinees are $15. More information can be obtained by calling 306-525-5393 or you can check out this article I did in the March 20 issue that contains interviews with Robin and Yvonne.

The Listener

This is being presented by the Regina Symphony Orchestra. It’s billed as a family concert, and joining the RSO under guest conductor Alan Denike will be the Magic Circle Mime Company. The company is based in the U.S., and over the last few years they’ve performed with “scores” of symphony orchestras across North America and around the world.

The Listener is structured as a show within a concert. The latter starts out with the conductor intending to demonstrate to the audience the range of symphonic music. But things go sideways a bit when two audience members (as mimes) get overly involved with what’s going on on stage.

The concert goes at Conexus Arts Centre at 3 p.m. For ticket info call 1-866-973-9614. And to give you a sense of what The Listener is like here’s a short video clip from an earlier performance in Japan:

Music Of The Ballet

Some of the most famous compositions in classical music aren’t necessarily most familiar to audiences through their performance in a symphony setting. Instead, they’re best known as part of larger operas or choral works, while others are associated with the world of ballet.

Tonight, as part of its Masterworks Concert Series, the Regina Symphony Orchestra is presenting several works that were either composed or adapted for the ballet. Guest artist is violinist Ingerine Dahl, and the composers being showcased are Stravinsky, Saint-Saens and Prokofiev.

The concert goes tonight at Conexus Arts Centre at 8 p.m. To give you a sense of Dahl’s talent, here’s video of her and a chamber group performing a work called “Oblivion” by Piazzolla:

Colleen Murphy

Quebec-born, northern Ontario-raised playwright, screenwriter and director Colleen Murphy is in town for two literary events in the next week. The first is Talking Fresh 12 which the Saskatchewan Writers Guild is hosting at the University of Regina on March 7-8 (RIC119)

The theme this year is “Exile: Writing Beyond the Borders”. In addition to Murphy, Ottawa poet and academic Armand Ruffo and Toronto dub poet and reggae musician Lillian Allen are feature presenters.

Allen is pulling double-duty too as she’s also appearing at Thursday Night Live! at the MacKenzie Art Gallery tonight at 7 p.m. It’s being co-hosted with Vertigo Series, so there’s a bit of a literary theme. Allen and musician Brian Templeton are two of the presenters. And while you’re at the MacKenzie be sure to check out the Amalie Atkins show if you haven’t already.

As for Murphy, she’ll also be presenting at the Playwrights Reading Series at the University of Regina (ED114) Monday, March 10 at 8 p.m. Before Murphy arrived in Regina I had this email exchange with her:

At Talking Fresh 12, in addition to a panel discussion and reading, you’re scheduled to give a talk on the subject “Emotional Theatre: A Country Without Flags, A Land Without Borders”. Could you elaborate on what you intend to discuss and the relationship with the conference themes of exile and writing beyond borders.

I am approaching the notion of exile from a writer’s perspective, asking whether writers can free themselves from having to represent where they come from, where they are now or where they wish to be in the future.  How do I, as a playwright, write beyond my own personal borders and create other worlds on a stage?

2013 saw the premiere of two plays for you. Armstrong’s War debuted in Vancouver in October. It features two characters (a 12-year-old girl who’s a Pathfinder and a 21-year-old man who is an Afghan War veteran). Both suffer from physical and psychological injuries when they meet in the hospital — she as a community volunteer, he as a patient. What was your motivation for writing the play?

War fascinates me — the impulse to kill for your country and the impulse to sacrifice yourself for your country.  I am not sure what all that means but I am interested in the meaning of honour in war; honour between soldiers under extreme duress… and because war smashes young people I created a young soldier who lost his courage and a young girl whose own trauma helped her find courage.

The second premiere occurred in Edmonton in November. Pig Girl deals with very dark subject matter tied to the Robert Pickton mass murder case in Vancouver and has some very graphic scenes. What was your motivation here, to perhaps provide audiences with a visceral representation of the horrible crimes that occurred in Vancouver and the general indifference in many quarters of society to people who exist on the margins?

Societal indifference to women being abused and murdered makes me angry. The play, which is deliberately fictional, puts a woman on the center of the stage as she defiantly fights for her life against a brutal killer. It’s a very, very serious play and demands a great deal from those who watch it.

On March 10 you’ll be participating in the Playwrights Reading Series. What works do you intend to read from?

I am excited to read the outline of a new opera in development about the Canadian Arctic called THE BREATHING HOLE, and I will read a bit from a new one-person play called LUMPS, about a clown.

Happy Family Day

Snow Gallery IWe’re stuck in the office today doing production on our next issue which hits the streets Feb. 20. But if you’re looking for something to do to celebrate Family Day you could do worse than to check out stuff that will be happening in the downtown area as part of the Ice and Fire Festival and the Distinguished Storytellers Festival.

If you make it down to Victoria Park, be sure to check out the Snow Gallery that’s been built in the north-west corner. The artists behind it are Lucien Durey and Katie Kozak, who currently have a show called Baba’s House on display at the Dunlop Art Gallery’s Sherwood Village branch (scroll down to last entry).  The Snow Gallery is presented by the Dunlop as well, and will be in the park until spring melt — whenever that happens.

You can see a sample of what’s located inside the gallery after the jump. Like the gallery itself, the exhibits will transform as the Sun rises inexorably in the sky and winter gives way to spring. Continue reading “Happy Family Day”

Shumka At 50

Described recently by the Globe & Mail as the Ukrainian version of Riverdance, this Edmonton-based dance troupe is on a 50th anniversary tour. While the troupe has a healthy respect for traditional folk music and dance from Ukraine, it also seeks to inject a contemporary vibe into some of its performances to reflect the experience of Ukrainian emigres who have settled in Canada over the past few decades or so.

On Sunday, Shumka is in Regina to perform its 50th anniversary show at Conexus Arts Centre. Start time is 7:30 p.m., and tickets are between $37-$67. To give you a taste of what to expect here’s a brief promo clip about the troupe:

Prairie Dance Circuit

Davida MonkThe Prairie Dance Circuit has been around for a few years. It’s designed to help dance companies in remote prairie locations pool resources to share performances and help dancers and choreographers tour new work outside their home communities.

This program is being presented by New Dance Horizons, and features new dance works by Calgary’s Davida Monkand Regina’s Johanna Bundon and Bee Pallomina. Monk’s work is called Dream Pavilion, and it’s inspired by the Japanese art form of netsuke which involves the creation of tiny sculptures of real-life and mythical flora and fauna. It’s a duo that will be danced by Helen Husak and Walter Kubanek, with live music by Bill Horist (that’s the three of them in the above photo, with Monk in the background).

Bundon and Pallomina’s work, meanwhile, is titled the understory, and it’s described as a wintery duet. The two dancers have worked together previously, and in this Dance Current article they discuss their partnership in greater detail. the understory has been performed in Calgary and Winnipeg previously, and will be performed in Saskatoon and Edmonton after the Regina show.

The performance will be held tonight at the University Theatre at 7:30 p.m., and again on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are Adults $30, Students & Seniors $25. On Friday, there will be a matinee performance of the understory along with a presentation of another work by Monk titled Between the Eagle and the Monkey. Tickets for that are $15. For more information call 306-525-5393.

Romeo + Juliet

Later this month a touring production of the Broadway musical West Side Story will be playing at Conexus Arts Centre. While it’s set in 1950s New York, the story itself, which focuses on the star-crossed lovers Tony and Maria, is inspired by Shakespeare’s classic tale of young love Romeo and Juliet.

Monday, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet is in town to present its version of a ballet based on Shakespeare’s play. The ballet was scored by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev and debuted in what is now the Czech Republic in 1938. The RWB has been known to rework classic ballets, giving them a modern edge for 21st century audiences, but this production (with choreography by Rudi van Dantzig) is apparently faithful to Shakespeare’s original story which is set in 16th century Verona.

Romeo + Juliet goes tomorrow at Conexus Arts Centre at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $32.50-$84 and can be obtained by calling 306-525-9999. To give you a taste here’s a teaser trailer from a 2013 production of Prokofiev’s ballet mounted by the Australian Ballet:

Pick Of The Day: Extreme Gold

FadaDance was voted Best Dance Studio in our 2013 Best of Regina Reader’s Poll. Apart from the work the three principals (Misty Wensel, Heather Cameron and Fran Gilboy) do in the studio, and at various festivals around town, one of the things that makes FadaDance so popular is the biannual parties that they hold at the Exchange around the time of the Winter and Summer Solstice.

The Winter Solstice is tonight, and the theme of this year’s FadaDance party is Extreme Gold. Whether or not that’s a riff on the cheesy ’80s American music show Solid Gold hosted by Andy Gibb and Marilyn McCoo (among others) I don’t know. But if you’re planning to go to tonight’s party, you could probably do worse than to use that show as inspiration for your outfit.

Extreme Gold goes at the the Exchange tonight at 9 p.m. Tickets are Adults $12 and Students $10. And to give you a taste of what Solid Gold was like here’s a 10-minute except from a special salute to music from the ’70s:

Pick Of The Day: The Nutcracker Ballet

Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky is the most famous name associated with this ballet which has become a Christmas tradition since it was first performed in St. Petersburg 1892. But he was only one member of the creative team that created the ballet. The original choreography was done by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov, and the story itself is based on the E.T.A. Hoffmann’s story The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.

Today and Thursday Class Act Performing Arts Studio is presenting its version of the ballet at Conexus Arts Centre. Both days there’s performances at 12:30 and 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $25-25-$34.25.

To give you a taste here’s an excerpt from the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy as performed by the Bolshoi Ballet:

Silver Bells Ball

This is a co-production of the Regina Ballroom Dancing Club and Regina Jazz Society. It goes at the Conexus Arts Centre on Dec. 14. Ordinarily, we’d have listed it in the 14 Days section of our Dec. 12 issue. But the ticket deadline is Dec. 10 so we’re doing the listing in the form of a blog post instead.

The evening kicks off with cocktails at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m. and then dancing to the Bob Moyer Big Band. There will also be some ballroom dancing routines performed by members of the Regina Ballroom Dancing Club. Tickets are $40 for members of the two host organizations, and $55 for non-members. More information can be obtained by visiting the Regina Jazz Society website.

To give you a taste of what the Bob Moyer Big Band’s sound is like here’s video from this summer of the group playing “Cha Cha For Judy” at a show in Moose Jaw:

Pick Of The Day (Tomorrow Edition): Compagnie Marie Chouinard

Born in Montreal in 1955, Marie Chouinard has worked as a dancer and choreographer since the late 1970s. In 1990, she founded her own dance company. In subsequent years, she’s produced works inspired by famous composers like Stravinksy, Chopin and Bach. But in keeping with her contemporary dance training, she always injects her choreography with an energy and edge that fits perfectly with the pace and pressures of modern life.

Thursday and Friday she and her company are in Regina to present two works. The first Henri Michaux: Mouvements is based on a 64-page book of india ink drawings and poems by the Belgian artist and poet Henri Michaux (1899-1984) that Chouinard subsequently transformed into a choreographic score.

The second work the company will perform is Gymnopédies. It premiered in Lisbon Portugal in June, and is inspired by a composition by the French composer and pianist Erik Satie (1866-1925). Chouinard describes Gymnopédies as a ballet for 11 dancers around the theme of the duet.

Compagnie Marie Chouinard is being presented in Regina by New Dance Horizons. The dance performances are being held at University Theatre in Riddell Centre. Thursday’s show goes at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $30 for adults and $25 for students & seniors. Friday’s show is a 1:30 p.m. matinee and will feature Henri Michaux: Mouvements only. Tickets for that are $15. For more information call 306-525-5393.

And to give you a taste of what to expect, here’s a short video showing moments from Henri Michaux: Mouvements:

 

Downtown Dance-Fest

Dance PlazaIf anyone’s in the mood to do some outdoor booty shaking tonight there’s a dance party of some description happening on City Square Plaza. It’s supposed to last until 11 p.m. and features local DJs. And next Saturday night as part of Culture Days there’s another outdoor dance party happening on the plaza from 8 p.m. to midnight with DJ Natural Sympathies and others spinning tunes — digitally, that is.

Pick Of The Day (Tomorrow Edition): Queen City Ex Parade

Queen city x IVTypically, the annual kick-off parade to the Queen City Ex (picture above) is held on the Saturday preceding the traditional Wednesday start of the exhibition. This year, in an effort to generate a bit more momentum for the fair, it’s being held Tuesday evening. The parade route is the same (ie. Dewdney Ave. & Cameron St. as a starting point, proceeding east on Dewdney to Broad St., then turning south and moving along Broad to Broadway Ave., finishing at the Tartan Curling Club) but the parade won’t get going until 7 p.m.

It will still be light out then, but by the time the parade winds up at the Tartan dusk will perhaps be descending — which creates the potential for some interesting light effects should parade participants be so inclined. And even if that isn’t the case, the parade will be followed by a fireworks display in Wascana Park.

Pick Of The Day: Secret Gardens Tour

NDH Secret GardensYou can find out more about this annual fundraiser by visiting the New Dance Horizons’ website. What it involves, though, is self-guided daytime and evening tours of select gardens in Regina. At several of the locations there are short dance performances that explore the relationship between art and nature.

This year’s tour is organized around the theme “Birds, Bees & Butterflies”. The evening tours run July 12-13 from 7-10 p.m., while the daytime tours run July 13-14 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Tickets are $40, and more info can be obtained from the above website or by calling 306-525-5393.

Ru(Elles)

Ru(Elles)No pick of the day today. Instead, here’s a heads up about a contemporary dance program that’s being held at Artesian on 13th on May 17-18. Both evenings, works choreographed by local dance artist Johanna Bundon will be presented. The first, Ru(Elles) will be performed by FadaDance (that’s a scene from the dance above). The second, Live Duet, will be performed by Bundon and co-creator Jayden Pfeifer. Both works explore the theme of relationships — romantic and otherwise.

Doors both nights are at 7 p.m., with the performance at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.  

Pick of the Day: End of Summer, Orange Leaves Falling

IMG_4121This is the last event in MagDance 2, a performance series co-hosted by New Dance Horizons and the MacKenzie Art Gallery that’s been running since January. It features a collaboration between choreographer Robin Poitras and visual artist Edward Poitras that explores dreams and consciousness.

Above is a scene from a rehearsal a couple of weeks ago. End of Summer, Orange Leaves Falling goes at the MacKenzie Gallery April 26-27 at 7:30 p.m., and April 28 at 2 p.m. Adults are $25, Students & Seniors $20, and the April 28 matinee is $15. For more information call 306-525-5393.

Edit: You can see a close up of the performers after the jump:

Continue reading “Pick of the Day: End of Summer, Orange Leaves Falling”

Pick of the Day (Tomorrow Edition): Chutes Incandescentes

Probably the most erotic dance performance I’ve ever seen was at the first Magdance in March 2010. The night previous, I’d seen a big-budget, multi-media production of Alice In Wonderland by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet at Conexus Arts Centre. It was big on spectacle, then the next night I saw a work called Heaven where the choreographer Sasha Ivanochko stripped away all notion of spectacle — there were no visual effects, no music, no elaborate costumes. In fact, no clothing at all. Just three dancers (two men, and Ivanochko, all nude) exploring various facets of human sexuality and love.

Chutes Incandescentes is being presented as part of Magdance  2. It’s a collaboration between Montreal choreographer Benoit Lachambre and dancer Clara Furey, and according to advance publicity it also explores human sexuality and intimacy.

Magadance 2 is co-organized by New Dance Horizons and the MacKenzie Art Gallery. Chutes Incandescentes will be performed at the galery  April 11 at 1:30 p.m., and April 12-13 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are Adults $25, Students & Seniors $20, Matinee $15. For more info call 525-5393.

To give you a taste, here’s a short video of Lachambre and Furey in rehearsal:

Boob Tube

Incisive documentary dissecting the pernicious effect that TV has on dumbing down human discourse and impacting negatively on the physical and mental health of those who consume it excessively? Or a cabaret performance by the Bottoms Up Burlesque Club that features routines inspired by hit musicals and TV shows?

To find out, show up at Artesian on 13th on April 6 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 advance and $20 door.

I intended to finish off this post with a Boob-themed video, by the way, but when I went to YouTube and searched “Boobs” I got 1.6 million hits and by the time I plowed through them all to find out which one was best like Steve typically does with his Friday afternoon pet videos I was out of time. So sorry about that.