Saturday, January 22, 2011

Notes from Dance Ontario DanceWeekend 2011

You'll probably find me there tomorrow afternoon as well, but I wanted to post this for anyone who's looking for something to do on a Sunday afternoon. It was a full house for much of Saturday afternoon - this is the kind of smorgasbord of dance you can sample.

Notes from DanceWeekend 2011

Jasmyn Fyffe Dance
(See an earlier interview with here here.)
If Jasmyn were a painter, she'd be an abstract expressionist I think. The piece Conflicted Resolutions explores the titular themes against dissonant new music, veering into electronica and ending with insistant African beats. The ensemble piece features disjointed movements with various combinations of dancers. It's an energetic young company that brings just the right kind of athletic sensibility to choreography that's thoroughly contemporary yet also accessible; the theme may have been discordant, but the performance was anything but.

Cadence Progressive Contemporary Ballet
IN. TENSIONS, in the excerpts we saw at any rate, is a moody and romantic piece, beginning with three pairs of dancers and ending with only one. It uses an expressive contemporary choreographic vocabulary in a kind of melancholy meditation on love. One of the highlights of the afternoon was a dysfunctional duet with an amazingly agile ballerina. This is a polished company whose work I've seen on other occasions, helmed by Artistic Director and choreographer Courtnae Bowman. (Have a look at a 2009 video below.)



Raagini Dance/Bageshree Vaze
This presentation featured dancer/choreographer Bageshree Vaze in classical Indian works, including music she wrote with tablas and piano. Whirling and strongly rhythmic, she adds to the music via bells around her ankles. A third piece featured dancers Brendan Wyatt and Malgofzata Nowacka, using the language of yoga to depict the ShivShakti (yin/yang) aspect of the human experience. A very interesting segment.

Oh no! by AKA Dance was one of the pieces commissioned by Dance Ontario for the occasion, and featured an entertaining blend of ballroom, contemporary dance and butoh. The piece subverted the traditional parameters of dance pairings - tiny ladies hoisting big men and dipping them tango-wise in white ballroom dance costuming. The effect was really quite funny, the dancers displaying nice comedic acting chops. The men became the prima donnas, usurping the traditionally spotlighted female role - but don't worry, they get their revenge at the end...

Ballet Jorgen
Ballet Jorgen performed excerpts from their upcoming show - one that I preview in this post. It began with Frog & Toad by choreographer Ruth-Ellen Kroll Jackson, a really intriguing short piece for two dancers and with some of the flavour of its namesakes.(It's pictured in rehearsal.) A new piece by Bengt Jörgen is set to the very pretty music of Ignaz Moscheles, a lyrical and elegant work for pairs of dancers who alternated interchangeable male and female roles. The brief look at Ballet Jorgen's range of styles ended with excerpts from Icarus, a contemporary piece by Malgorzata Nowacka that showcased the altheticism of this accomplished company.

The Details:
DanceWeekend 2011
In Association with Harbourfront Centre's NextSteps Series
@ Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay, Toronto
Continues January 23 at 1:00pm
Admission by $10 minimum donation at the door
Information 416 204 1083 or 416 973 4000 or www.danceontario.ca

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