That’s A Wrap!

DanceWorks wrapped up the 2013-14 Season this past weekend. Thank you to our Mainstage artists firstthingsfirst productions, 605 Collective, Signal Theatre, Robert Glumbek and Kevin O’Day, and Bboyizm Dance Company. Here are some photographic highlights of the past season.

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605 Collective
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{Photo Credits from top to bottom: Jeremy Mimnagh, Robert Sondergaard, John Lauener, unknown, unknown}

 

Also, a special thank you to our CoWorks artists Hanna Kiel/Human Body Expression, Lua Shayenne & Company, and Find the Floor Dance Collective.

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{Photo Credits from top to bottom: unknown, Rema Tavares, unknown}

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Small Town To Big City: Jillian Peever and Shannon Roberts Interview

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From small town Ontario ballet exams, to Toronto Dance Theatre and graduate school at York Univesity, Jillian Peever and Shannon Roberts prepare to present Perception: A Way of Seeing and What We Do on July 18 and 19 at the Dancemakers Centre for Creation in the Distillery District.

We asked Jillian and Shannon to share some insight into their creative partnership and the inspiration behind the new work.

Can you describe how the two of you came to know each other and work together?

Jillian:

This brings us back to around 2001 when we were both young dance students in our respective small towns, Shannon in Stayner, Ontario, and me in Gravenhurst, Ontario. Each month I would travel the 1.5 hours to a studio in Collingwood to train for my ballet exams. After graduating high school, unbeknownst to each other, we both moved to Toronto to further our dance training – Shannon at Ryerson University and me at the Teacher Training Program at Canada’s National Ballet School. We actually bumped into each other on the street!

I began to take an interest in what Shannon was working on choreographically and went to see her M.A. performance at York University, while I was studying at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre. When I began experimenting with my own choreography I asked her to be a part of the work and she said yes! From then on, we realized that we had been working on similar themes and  had similarities points of view, both having come from small towns. By pooling our different skill sets and connections acquired from four different training institutions , we felt that joining forces was the best plan of action in getting our choreography out there.

Shannon:

Our first experience working together dates back to 2002 when, as young ballet students, our dance instructors brought us together to train on occasion. After moving to Toronto to train at separate dance institutions, unaware of each other’s career choices, we literally crossed paths on the street. I originally asked Jillian to be a part of my thesis work at York University but she had other commitments, she did however attend my show. Afterward, she asked me to work on a piece with her. We discovered our works were both inspired by similar themes of femininity and the roles women play in society, and this is when we decided to create Perception: A Way of Seeing and What We Do.

Can you describe your creative process? What are some of the challenges? What are some of the inspiring moments?

Jillian:

This year I have been studying with Sasha Ivanochko as a choreographic mentor. Through working with Sasha my process has been flipped, shattered, and rearranged. So I’d have to answer this by saying that my creative process is taking a new shape of it’s own. I am working much more collaboratively and therefore am reliant on my dancers’ creativity. Because I am in the work, the most challenging thing is that I can’t see the work until I go home and watch the video. That being said, I do sit out and direct the group at times during rehearsal. These are the times when I am inspired by the uniqueness of the artists I work with. I see my ideas coming to life and go into places I wouldn’t have imagined. Those moments excite me.

Shannon:

This project has stemmed from my thesis work at York University based on choreographing with a specific image. At the time it was Edvard Munch’s A Woman in Three Stages. I have taken a solo from its original form and developed it further into a duet based off of several other images. My goal is to study these images, seek out how they inspire movement and enhance what I would like to communicate to my audience. It has been a challenging process, as this year I have been living in Newfoundland and didn’t have access to my dancers regularly. A lot of my research and exploration has been on my own, however, now it is coming together nicely in rehearsal with Rhonda Baker and Kiri Figueiredo.

Over Christmas I explored the idea of a male and female duet but over time I realized that the piece was meant to be two females. It was a challenge to take a step back and start over because it set back my process, but it was worth discovering what did not work in order to know what does. I have been inspired by the #Yesallwomen movement, articles I’ve read on how women are viewed in society such as John Berger’s Ways of Seeing and personal stories of friends and family. It has been most inspiring working along side Jillian Peever because she has been an amazing sounding board for my ideas and a positive voice when I need it.

The works focuses on ‘women’s search for self-definition’, can you describe why you decided to explore this subject matter?

Jillian:

I came to realize that my failures were as much a part of my self-definition as were my accomplishments. This lead me to consider the human pain in life and it’s role in creating a person’s identity. Society often requires us to conceal our pain and even ignore the pain of those around us in order to appear successful, confident, happy, beautiful. Suffering is a sacred component of life. It informs who we are. I want to give people the opportunity to see and maybe even appreciate their pain as a core part of their being.

Shannon:

It is tough to sift through what a woman is thought of to be historically, and what a woman really is today. I think we have all at times gotten confused as to what societies expectations are of us and what our own expectations are. I know many women who ask themselves ‘Why are we still allowing ourselves to be objectified and defined by the male spectator? Does our sexuality give us power or alienate us? How do I let my younger sister know that self-definition is not about pleasing another, looking a certain way, acquiring material items?’. There is a big difference between how I feel as a woman compared to what I am made to think by society standards. I think it is important to explore why self-definition, a person’s identity, isn’t coming from within ourselves as often as we would like to think.

Perception: A Way of Seeing and What We do will be performed July 18, 8pm and July 19, 7pm and 8:30pm at the Dancemakers Centre for Creation located at 9 Trinity Street in the Distillery District.Tickets can be purchased at the door and online.

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Upcoming CoWorks Show by Lua Shayenne

Lua Shayenne

Our upcoming CoWorks’ show, cos.mo.pol.i.tan, is a 60-minute program filled with explosive contemporary and traditional West African dance, and live drumming and music. The presentation features two compelling works choreographed by Lua Shayenne: Landed Immigrant, based on the experience of newcomers to Canada and Hybrid, which explores identity through a fast-growing multi-racial and multicultural prism.

cos.mo.pol.i.tan runs May 29-31 at 8pm and June 1 at 2pm, at the Harboufront Centre Studio Theatre, 235 Queens Quay West. Tickets can be purchased by calling 416.973.4000.

Want to see more from DanceWorks?

Follow us on twitter @DanceWorksTO, friend us on Facebook, and check out our exciting 2013-2014 season.

Got A Dance Name?

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In anticipation of the upcoming Bboyizm performance on April 25 – 26, 2014 at the Enwave Theatre, we asked a few of the company members to share some details about their early dance days and dance names. Take a look.

Julie Benoit

When did you begin dancing? Which style of dance did you first study?

I began dancing at age five. I took a ballet class and really hated it to the point where I told myself I would never take a dance class again. Then, at age seven, my mom caught me imitating Riverdance on TV and convinced me to register for Irish Step Dancing Classes. I liked it and decided to register for more technical dance styles at age ten.

What is your favourite street dance? Why?

I have two favorite street dances: Bboying and House. Bboying has a special place in my heart because it is the first street dance I was introduced to and I like the challenge it gives me. What I really appreciate about House is the freedom and dynamic that goes along with house music.

What is your dance name? Did you name yourself or did another dancer/choreographer name you?

I go by the name of Julie Rock. It’s a name that was given to me by my crew when I was about fourteen years old. Even though Rock is a common Bboy/Bgirl name element, they just added it to my first name to keep it simple, just like I am! They said I always rocked the beat, so it just fit me perfectly!

Miss Marie

When did you begin dancing? Which style of dance did you first study?

I began dancing at age twelve and the first style of dance was Irish Step Dancing. The following year I took on Hip Hop.

What is your favourite street dance? Why?

Bboying; it’s the style I can practice the most freely and the one that matches my energy the most. Bboying was the first street dance I learned, it is what made me fall in love with Hip Hop culture.

What is your dance name? Did you name yourself or did another dancer/choreographer name you?

Miss Marie Monsta. People always called me Miss Marie, so it just stuck. Then, when I moved to Calgary one of my crew mates, Bboy Rein, saw me dance to the song “Monster”. From that moment on he called me Miss Marie Monsta.

El Houasri Si Abdelkader

When did you begin dancing? Which style of dance did you first study?

I started dancing in 1996 and Bboying was the first dance style that I studied.

What is your favourite street dance? Why?

Rockin’; because there are a lot less people practicing this style and I feel there is more room for me to create, explore and express myself freely.

What is your dance name? Did you name yourself or did another dancer/choreographer name you?

Wary the Warrior. When I started travelling to New York and getting familiar with the community, most people had trouble pronouncing my first name, and they would say “Wary…like a warrior”, with time the name stuck and it became my dance name.

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Bboyizm’s new work, Music Creates Opportunity, runs April 25 – 26, 2014 at 8pm at the Enwave Theatre. For tickets call 416.973.4000 or email education@danceworks.ca for a special student and educator promotional code.

Want to see more from DanceWorks?

Follow us on twitter @DanceWorksTO, friend us on Facebook, and check out our exciting 2013-2014 season.

 

Bboyizm Bitz

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Did you know Bboyizm was founded in 2004 by dancer-choreographer, Crazy Smooth? Considered a premier street-dance company in Canada, Bboyizm is committed to the promotion and preservation of all street dances. The company believes that authentic self-expression enables an individual – and by extension, a community – to realize its full potential.

Bboyizm’s newest work, Music Creates Opportunity, is the third of the company’s theatre productions to tour Canada, in addition to Evolution of Bboying and its critically acclaimed ensemble piece, IZM. Bboyizm has been nominated for a Dora award (2012), won the Atlantic Presenters Association Touring Performers of the Year Award (2013) and won the Ontario Presenters Network Emerging Touring Artist of the Year (2012).

Take a look at an interview with Crazy Smooth, filmed for the Canada Danace Festival in 2011. Smooth talks about his first work IZM and the relationship between hip hop and contemporary dance.

Bboyizm’s new work, Music Creates Opportunity, runs April 25 – 26, 2014 at 8pm at the Enwave Theatre. For tickets call 416.973.4000 or email education@danceworks.ca for a special student and educator promotional code.

Want to see more from DanceWorks?

Follow us on twitter @DanceWorksTO, friend us on Facebook, and check out our exciting 2013-2014 season.

Bboyizm Hits the Toronto Stage

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April will bring one of Canada’s top street dancers to the Enwave Theatre in Toronto.

Crazy Smooth and his Bboyizm dance company will perform a new work, Music Creates Opportunity, exploring themes of personal expression through authentic street dance. Music Creates Opportunity considers the intersection of rhythm, expression, and community in the making of music and dance.

The work features traditional street dances including Rocking, B-boying, House Dancing and Pantsula, a street dance from Soweto, South Africa. Bboyizm delivers precise and mastered technique; explosive movement; synchronicity and individualism together; and a festive and communicative spirit of movement, music, and life.

Here is a sneak peek of the show:

The performance runs April 25 – 26, 2014 at 8pm at the Enwave Theatre. For tickets call 416.973.4000 or email education@danceworks.ca for a special student and educator promotional code.

Want to see more from DanceWorks?

Follow us on twitter @DanceWorksTO, friend us on Facebook, and check out our exciting 2013-2014 season.

From Full Bloom to The Four Seasons

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Since their internationally acclaimed collaboration Full Bloom in 2009, O’Day, Artistic Director of Ballett Nationaltheater Mannheim and Toronto-based dancer/choreographer Glumbek, have paired up once again to create a new work set to Max Richter’s adaptation of Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.

As we count down the days to the North American premiere of The Four Seasons, we thought we would share some details about the two artists, O’Day and Glumbek, bringing the production to the stage.

O’Day trained with the Joffrey Ballet School in New York, joined the company, and began performing with Twyla Tharp in 1984. From 1988 to 1991, he was a soloist with American Ballet Theatre, and from 1992 to 1995 he danced with Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project, and as a guest dancer with the New York City Ballet. After making his choreographic début in 1994 with White Oak, O’Day choreographed more than 30 original works for companies including the New York City Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, The National Ballet of Canada, Stuttgart Ballet, Ballet BC and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Since he became director of Ballett Mannheim, the 14-dancer company has developed an original, contemporary repertoire with no less than three original creations a year.

Upon graduation from Bytom State Ballet School in Poland, Glumbek joined The Great Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Warsaw as a soloist where he worked with choreographers such as John Neumeier, Maurice Bejart and Hans Van Manen. In 1987, Glumbek came to Canada and worked for a variety of companies including the Judith Marcuse Company in Vancouver and Ottawa’s Theatre Ballet of Canada, before settling in 1990 with Desrosiers Dance Theatre where he danced for ten years. Glumbek joined Ballett Mannheim in 2002 as dancer and ballet master and returned to Canada in 2004 to work as an independent artist and choreographer. Glumbek joined ProArteDanza as Artistic Associate in 2004. Glumbek has been honoured with the K.M. Hunter Artist Award and the Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award. In 2009, Glumbek shared the stage with Kevin O’Day and Luches Huddleston Jr. in the critically-acclaimed trio Full Bloom. A four-time Dora Mavor Moore nominee, he and Roberto Campanella were co-recipients of the 2010 Dora Award for Outstanding Choreography for ProArteDanza’s … in between… . Glumbek continues to choreograph and perform in Canada, Germany and Poland.

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The Four Seasons runs March 6 – 8, 2014 at 8pm at the Enwave Theatre. For tickets call 416.973.4000 or email education@danceworks.ca for a special student and educator promotional code.

Want to see more from DanceWorks?

Follow us on twitter @DanceWorksTO, friend us on Facebook, and check out our exciting 2013-2014 season.

Robert Glumbek and Kevin O’Day perform The Four Seasons

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DanceWorks is thrilled to present The Four Seasons choreographed and performed by Robert Glumbek (ProArteDanza) and Kevin O’Day (Ballett Nationtheater Mannheim).

In this Canadian premiere, two middle-aged men ponder the cycle of life and its various stages. From blossoming and discovery, stopping, looking back and letting go, The Four Seasons is a personal work in which two acclaimed choreographers, Glumbek  and O’Day, take a look at their own lives.

The performance runs March 6 – 8, 2014 at 8pm at the Enwave Theatre. For tickets call 416.973.4000 or email education@danceworks.ca for a special student and educator promotional code.

Stay posted for ticket giveaways, sneak peek rehearsal photographs, and an interview with Robert Glumbek. Lots to come.

Want to see more from DanceWorks?

Follow us on twitter @DanceWorksTO, friend us on Facebook, and check out our exciting 2013-2014 season.

New Year, New Work

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We are back in the office and ready to kick off 2014 with more great dance. First up, we present A Soldier’s Tale by Signal Theatre, a powerful dance theatre work that probes the lives of soldiers over the span of fifty years. With music by John Gzowski and written by Tara Beagan, this world premier portrays the aftermath of war on the soldiers who wage it and their families who survive its consequences.

In the coming weeks, DanceWorks’ blog will feature artists’ interviews, rehearsal photographs, and ticket giveaways. But in the meantime, check out this Now Magazine preview piece written by Kathleen Smith (the Editor of The Dance Current).

A Soldier’s Tale runs February 20-22, 8pm at the Fleck Dance Theatre.

For general admission tickets call 416.973.4000. A student discount is available, call 416.204.1082

Want to see more from DanceWorks?

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{Signal Theatre Photo Credit: John Lauener}

Hanna Kiel’s Project L, December 12-14

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Upcoming CoWorks show, Project L, choreographed by Hanna Kiel hits the stage from December 12-14, 8pm at The Citadel. Featuring dancers Erin Poole, Tyler Gledhill and Anisa Tejpar, with lighting design by Mikael Kangas, the work explores how the past shapes our experience. From curiosity to learning and adapting, Hanna’s first full length piece looks at our journeys throughout the span of a lifetime. Says Kiel: “Project L investigates the ways in which we are able to see truth and find answers in our darkest moments, which is an ongoing journey for each human being. ”

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Tickets to Project L, choreographed by Hanna Kiel, are available by emailing HBEdancecompany@gmail.com

Want to see more from DanceWorks?

Follow us on twitter @DanceWorksTO, friend us on Facebook, and check out our exciting 2013-2014 season.