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Showing posts from February, 2010

COBA's Diasporic Dimensions at Harbourfront

Diasporic Dimensions COBA Fleck Dance Theatre - Harbourfront February 26, 2010 The Collective of Black Artists, or COBA , celebrated their 17th season with a performance of four pieces under the title Diasporic Dimensions. Just as what we typically call simply contemporary dance speaks with a vocabulary developed through history via classical ballet and European/North American traditions, the pieces in this programme speak from African traditions. The vocabulary of movement is uniquely African in nature, a subject, as it happens, studied and written about on an academic level by choreographer/dancer/COBA co-founder BaKari E. Lindsay. That language has different dialects depending on where exactly it comes from, which handily plays back into the show's title. It wasn't necessary to have any particular background in dance at all, though, to enjoy what was an energetic, very interesting and engaging show. The first two pieces, Mandé Variations and Maa-Keeba , were choreo

Madagascar Slim plays the Gladstone March 5

Madagascar Slim at the Gladstone Hotel Friday, March 5 - 7 to 10pm Presented by Batuki Music Society Madagascar Slim , as he's been known to blues/roots/world music fans in the Toronto area for decades, was born as Randriamananjara Radofa Besata Jean Longin in Antananarivo, capital of the sunny island of Madagascar. Teaching himself to play an older brother's guitar at an early age was just the beginning of a long career. "I grew up listeninig to a lot of music from Madagascar, traditional music. At the same time, Western music was very popular, like the Rolling Stones, Santana. I listened to that type of guitar driven music." Salegy is the traditional Malagasy style Slim grew up with. Here's a little modern salegy if you're not familiar. It's the kind of music that won't let you sit still, and involves really intricate finger picking - among other things. "First, I was trying to play note for note, people I like - like B.B. King.

24 Preludes by Chopin & More - the National Ballet of Canada

24 Preludes by Chopin & A Suite of Dances & The Four Seasons National Ballet of Canada March 3 - 7, 2010 at the Four Seasons Centre Chopin may not be the first name that comes to mind when you think ballet. The great Romantic composer is most often known for his piano works, after all, but dancing to his expressive pieces is not at all uncommon either. "I think most of us have danced to this music before," says Corps de Ballet member Tiffany Mosher of 24 Preludes by Chopin, one of the pieces in their upcoming show, "but with a very different mentality." The piece was choreographed by often controversial artist Marie Chouinard. "It's different - but it's so nice to be able to move different muscles, to move differently to classical music." "Different" as a description is just scratching the surface of Chouinard's contemporary choreography, at times known for incorporating elements like on stage urination and a fan of N

Peggy Baker Dance Project - confluence

Peggy Baker Dance Project confluence Harbourfront/EnWave Theatre Continues to February 28 "Legend" is a word that can be bandied about perhaps a little too readily in the world of arts and entertainment, but in the case of dance diva Peggy Baker , it's really the only just term. After founding Dancemakers in Toronto in 1974, she toured extensively with New York's Lar Lubovitch Company in the 1980's, then joined with Mikhail Baryshnikov and Mark Morris for the inaugural season of their White Oak Dance Project . As a choreographer, she works through her Toronto based Peggy Baker Dance Projects. She's Artist-in-Residence at the National Ballet School , recipient of the Premier's Award for Excellence in the Arts (2006), three Dora Mavor Moore Awards for performance and two for choreography, she's a member of the Order of Ontario, Order of Canada, and won the 2009 Governor General's Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts

Going Off-Off Broadway for Wake-Up Marconi! and The Weird

Wake-Up Marconi! presents: The Weird Cast: Matthew Cohn, Lucky Gretzinger, Allison Hirschlag*, Melissa Pinsly, Mark Rosenthal and Mark Stetson *Member appears courtesy of Actors' Equity Association Directed by Celine Rosenthal and Erin Gilmore Produced by Celine Rosenthal Continues nightly thru Sunday February 28th at 8pm Saturday 27th & Sunday 28th at 2pm At Manhattan Theatre Source 177 Macdougal St, West Village (near Washington Square Park) On my latest venture to New York, (just got back this morning!) I went off-off Broadway to discover The Weird , a funny, well acted show at Manhattan Theatre Source, snugly ensconced in Greenwich Village. The Weird, by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa , consists of a series of six short-ish scenes based on pulp fiction, mixing horror, camp, sex and pop culture and played out by a cast of six young actors who were clearly having great fun with the material. The scenes were connected by Mark Rosenthal's ghoulish M.T. Brave as a sort o

COBA - Diasporic Dimensions at Fleck Dance Theatre

COBA (Collective of Black Artists) Diasporic Dimensions February 26-28 Fleck Dance Theatre/Harbourfront Centre If you're familiar with the work of Toronto's COBA , you might be a little surprised at Diasporic Dimensions, their upcoming show at the Fleck Dance Theatre. "The entire production is contemporary dance," explains Charmaine Headley, co-founder, dancer and choreographer. The company typically performs either traditional West African or Caribbean dance. "We normally keep it as authentic as possible," she says, "but this is contemporary work - based on our African heritage. This is contemporary dance to traditional music - live music." Diasporic Dimensions comes as part of Black History Month celebrations, exploring the richness of Africa and the Diaspora through dance in a programme that will present four pieces, three of them world premieres, including one piece by Haitian choreographer Jeanguy Saintus . Headley describes the expe

The Year of the Tiger - Tigers in Film

Happy Year of the Tiger ! Tigers are my favourite animal, (although I have more than one or even two faves). I actually met a tiger live and in person once, when I was modeling for animation classes at Sheridan College. They would hire this tiger to come in and model too, once in a while, and one time, I worked for the first 2 hours of the class, then they got the tiger (Qaadesh was her name,) to come in for the last hour. I had dressed already, and was waiting on the model stand, a kind of raised podium, to check her out. Someone just opened the door, and in she walked. Huge, bigger than you think in person. Qaadesh had been hand raised from birth, and she used to do shows with strippers and such. Anyway, in she comes, and lies down in front of the podium, but of course they wanted her to get up on it to see her better. Her owner prodded her a little to get her to step up on it, and she let out a complaint, not a roar, but a throaty growly sound that made me think, if I had a tiger,

Film News - imagineNATIVE Embargo Collective at the Berlin Film Fest

Hot Off the Presses: (and gosh, doesn't that expression sound quaint these days?) imagineNATIVE’s EMBARGO COLLECTIVE to have its European Premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival 2010 ( Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin 11.-21.02.10 ) ( Toronto, February 3rd, 2010) The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is pleased to announce the official selection of the festival’s Embargo Collective programme for the Forum Expanded section of this year’s Berlin International Film Festival. This programme of works was commissioned by the imagineNATIVE festival for its 10th anniversary and will have its European premiere Monday, February 15th, 8.30pm at Cinema Arsenal 2 and a repeat screening Wednesday, February 17th, 4pm at CinemaxX 6. Curated by imagineNATIVE’s Artistic Director Danis Goulet, the Embargo Collective is an international group of seven Indigenous artists at the forefront of the changing global landscape of Indigenous cinema. Inspired by Lars von Tri

Angela Hewitt, pianist

Angela Hewitt in Concert Friday, February 12, 2010 at 8pm, Roy Thomson Hall 60 Simcoe Street, Toronto On May 10, 1985, pianist Angela Hewitt stepped out on stage at the 1st and only ever Toronto International Bach Piano Competition for her own-choice virtuoso piece, knowing her career was virtually in the balance. While she wasn't available for an interview, understandably, she does like to share with her fans and fellow music/Bach enthusiasts online in various forms, including her own website , and in an online post reminiscing about the win, she says, For ten years, since the age of 16, I had been on the international piano competition circuit, winning many prizes but lacking the “big one”. Winning this would, I knew, launch me worldwide and put an end to competitions for life. She launched into a version of Liszt’s “Aprės une Lecture de Dante” that left the competition behind, and a jury that included pianist Leon Fleisher , composer Olivier Messiaen and his pianist w

And So It Goes - George F. Walker's new play at Factory Theatre Toronto

And So It Goes Written & Directed by George F. Walker Starring Martha Burns, Peter Donaldson, Jerry Franken & Jenny Young Factory Theatre, Toronto Continues to February 28 George F. Walker's latest play, And So It Goes , unfolds in a succession of brief scenes, and it's that format - and the flashes of humour in the superbly written dialogue - that keep the piece from becoming too dark. It is, after all, dark material that it explores. Ned (Donaldson) has lost his job at an age where few are willing to look at him, and in an era where the opportunities are few to begin with. His daughter Karen (Young) is locked in a druggy schizophrenic hell where brushes with police and the judicial system have become routine. Gwen, (Burns) the wife and mother, tries to carry on through sheer will and the help of her own secret therapist, the ghost of none other than Kurt Vonnegut (Franken) . Son Alex, who appears only in mention, left the scene long ago. (Donaldson - standi