Photo Credit:

Holly Small by Vid Ingelevics

DanceWorks presents 40TH Anniversary Celebration show!


– a thrilling mix of new works and past favourites from stellar artists -November 16-18
at Harbourfront Centre Theatre

 TORONTO (October 31, 2017) – DanceWorks, Toronto’s acclaimed and longest running contemporary dance series, is proud to present its 40th Anniversary Celebration, a stellar evening of world premieres and past favourites reflecting its inspired presentations over the last four decades. The 40TH Anniversary Celebration runs November 16-18 at Harbourfront Centre Theatre as part of the NextSteps dance series.

From solos to duets to a work for nine dancers and a community choir – with some pieces incorporating live original music – four different sets of phenomenal creators bring their work to the 40th Anniversary Celebration.

Featured artists in this unique evening include choreographers/performers Esmeralda Enrique and Joanna de Souza who collaborate on the world premiere of Amalgam; choreographer Denise Fujiwara with the world premiere of Moving Parts; choreographer/performer Learie McNicolls with two works, remounts of The Night Journey and excerpts from Dancing With The Ghost; and choreographer Holly Small with composer Robert W. Stevenson with a re-imagining of Cheap Sunglasses.

Mimi Beck, Curator of DanceWorks, notes: DanceWorks began at the Music Gallery in 1977. We’ve had 222 numbered performances since then. True to its early roots, the 40th anniversary edition – DW 223 – features music, dance and performance by five seasoned choreographers, all of whom were presented in previous seasons. These pieces are a sampling of themes from different decades of DanceWorks, drawn from 1981 to today.”

Following is the exciting lineup for the evening:

Esmeralda Enrique and Joanna de Souza, Amalgam (world premiere)
Choreographers/Dancers: Esmeralda Enrique, Joanna de Souza
Musicians:             Caroline Plante and Ian de Souza with Santosh Naidu and Maryem Hassan Toller
Twenty years after their magnificent Firedance collaborations for DanceWorks, Esmeralda Enrique and Joanna de Souza reunite in a new kathak/flamenco duet with original live music. Each form stands alone or merges flawlessly as these stellar artists embody the vitality and passion of dances from India and Spain while they reveal their joy of dancing together.

Denise Fujiwara, Moving Parts (world premiere)
Choreographer:                   Denise Fujiwara
Performers:                          Sylvie Bouchard, Lauren Gillis, Alaine Hutton, Claudia Moore, Lucy Rupert, Lacey Smith, Miko Sobreira, Rebecca Hope Terry, Gerry Trentham
Music Direction & Song Arrangements: Phil Strong & Laurel MacDonald
Choir leader:                        Cathy Nosaty
Partial Choir list:                  Annabelle Chvostek, Lieke van der Voort, Susan Slottow, Simone Moir,  Leah Collins                                                         Lipsett, Bev Kreller, Catherine Crowe, Linda Deshman, Thomas Hoy, Michelangelo                                                             Iaffaldano, Ray Kinoshita, Howard Druckman
Pop songs and a pop up choir! Distressed by the current state of geopolitics, one wonders what to do? Dancing and singing pop songs is not the first thing that springs to mind for most people. When the 39-member ensemble was asked this question, they realized there’s an important question even before that. How can we be? Receptive, perceptive and creative came the answer. Which, of course, leads to dancing and singing! In times when opinions are polarized, Moving Parts corrals pop songs, harmonization, dance and improvisation. What is life if not an improvisation?

Learie Mc Nicolls, The Night Journey (2016)
Choreographer/Performer: Learie McNicolls
Composer:                               Wilbert De Joode

Night Journey
is a single larger work comprised of five distinct solos. It is a kaleidoscopic refraction, born of dream imagery and linkages to ancestral archetypes. It takes place at night, in shadow, in a place often unseen – a layered procession of echoes, a weaving of ghosts. Movement and gesture emerge from a body given permission, a body allowed to listen, a body telling a story that has been asleep for, perhaps, centuries. The visual environment, created in real time, is by Judith Sandiford.

Learie Mc Nicolls, Dancing With The Ghost (1995)
Choreographer:                   Learie McNicolls
Performers:                          Jennifer Dahl and Robert Glumbek
In this excerpt from the quartet Dancing With The Ghost, two people enter into a room and dance a duet without acknowledging the other.

Holly Small and Robert W. Stevenson, Cheap Sunglasses (1981) Choreographer:                   Holly Small
Composer:                            Robert W. Stevenson
Performer:                           Evan Winther
Vocalists:
                               Jocelyn Barth, Mingjia Chen, Bea Labikova, Laura Swankey
Choreographer Holly Small and composer Robert W. Stevenson jumped at the chance to recreate their 1981 collaboration Cheap Sunglasses for DanceWorks 40th Anniversary Celebration.  Cheap Sunglasses, a work for solo dancer and four vocalists, premiered 36 years ago in DanceWorks 21. Robert W. Stevenson took a line from a Z Z Top song as his point of departure and commissioned choreographer Holly Small to create an accompanying solo dance. Responding to the rhythmic challenge of Stevenson’s score, Small explored the singular movement style of an earlier pop idol — Elvis Presley — to devise the unpredictable twisting turns and punchy grace she was after. Originally danced by Small with vocalists Stevenson, Michael J. Baker, Miguel Frasconi and Andrew Timar, this brand new version features a gender reversal, with dazzling newcomer Evan Winther dancing Small’s choreography and four superb female vocalists ­– Jocelyn Barth, Mingjia Chen, Bea Labikova and Laura Swankey -performing Stevenson’s rambunctious vocal score.
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DanceWorks
began as a collective of independent dance artists in 1977 and has grown to become Toronto’s leading presenter of independent dance. DanceWorks offers seasons of eclectic, exhilarating choreography programmed to intrigue, challenge and enthrall. DanceWorks adds to the theatrical experience with Carol’s Dance Notes and post-performance conversations with artists. http://www.danceworks.ca and https://danceworksblog.wordpress.com/

ARTISTS’ BIOGRAPHIES
Joanna de Souza comes from a music background. Canadian-born, Joanna de Souza began her life-long study of kathak under the late Pandit Chitresh Das in 1978, and was part of the Chitresh Das Dance Company from 1981-1985. Under his guidance, in the traditional one-on-one, guru-shisha-param-para context, she received knowledge in all aspects of Kathak dance performance, theoretical understanding and teacher training. Joanna opened M-DO in 1987, fueled by the intent to establish the art form in Canada, from her unique perspective as an informed, contemporary, non-South Asian classical Indian dancer. She established Chhandam Dance Company in 2003 and, with company members, creates new work for kathak that deeply respects tradition and has a present-day sensibility.
Esmeralda Enrique
is one of the most celebrated Flamenco dance artists in Canada. Lauded internationally, she is the founder of the Academy of Spanish Dance and the Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company. She has received numerous awards including being named one of the 10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians in 2008. She received the Toronto Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Vision Award for Arts and Culture and the inaugural Young Centre for the Performing Arts Dance Award as Senior Artist in 2012. In 2014, the City of Barrie, Ontario dedicated their fifth annual Rhythmfest to Esmeralda in recognition of her contribution to dance in Canada and North America, and she was awarded the Pioneers Award in Art and Dance from the Hispanic Canadian Heritage Council. Ms. Enrique has also been honoured with Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations for Outstanding Performance and for Outstanding New Choreography in 2009 and 2015. Ms. Enrique also  founded The Art of Flamenco Symposium, a bi-annual event in Toronto. Esmeralda reveals in her work a total mastery and love of the art. Her infinite creativity, energy, and passion conveys a true love for the art of flamenco for generations to come.
Denise Fujiwara is a dancer and choreographer who began her movement career as a member of the Canadian rhythmic gymnastics team. After competing at the international level, she turned to dance, and in 1978, Fujiwara, with other choreographers, founded the collective Toronto Independent Dance Enterprise (TIDE). She created Fujiwara Dance Inventions in 1991 to continue her solo projects and, in 1993, began studying butoh with master choreographer and performer Natsu Nakajima. Nakajima created her interpretation of Motomasa’s 15th century Noh play, Sumida River, for Fujiwara. Sumida River established Fujiwara as a senior solo dance artist and butoh practitioner. Fujiwara premiered her second major butoh work, Komachi by Yukio Waguri, in 2005. Her solo projects and commissions include Spontaneous Combustion, Vanishing Acts, Elle Laments, Brief Incarnations and Lost and Found. In addition, Denise Fujiwara has choreographed the acclaimed group works EUNOIA, Conference of the Birds and No Exit. In 1997, Denise Fujiwara co-founded the CanAsian International Dance Festival.

Learie McNicolls has been a key figure in the contemporary dance scene in Toronto since the 1980s. He has danced with Toronto Dance Theatre, Desrosiers Dance Theatre, Dancemakers, the National Ballet of Cuba, and his own company, Mythmakers. As a solo dancer, he has explored the combination of dance with spoken word, to create a powerful new form of theatrical presentation. His Toronto production, Armour, took two Dora awards for Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Performance. Since moving to Hamilton, he has devoted himself to building the city’s contemporary dance scene creating an ongoing series of showcase dance productions at Artword Artbar. In 2015, he was awarded the Hamilton Outstanding Achievement in Dance award.

Holly Small is an award-winning dance artist and educator with a longstanding passion for interdisciplinary collaboration. Her choreography, described as “a flawless integration of music and dance” (Globe & Mail, Toronto), has been presented throughout Canada, the US, UK, Europe and Asia. Honours include the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, a Canada Council Millennium Award, a Chalmers Award, the Paula Citron Award and the UCLA Woman of the Year Award. Current projects include Museum of Missing Things, a collaboration with composer/media artist John Oswald and renowned Irish poet Doireann Ni Ghriofa. Small is delighted to re-connect with composer Robert W. Stevenson to remount their 1981 piece Cheap Sunglasses for Danceworks’ 40th Anniversary.

Robert W. Stevenson has been active as composer and clarinetist in the Toronto new music scene for many years. After studying at the Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto) and the University of Western Ontario, he embarked on a career that has seen him function as artistic director of Hemispheres, conductor of the Fifth Species Counterpoint ensemble, clarinet player in Arraymusic, and co-artistic director of the musicdance orchestra. As a composer he has worked with the Physical Theatre Company, choreographer Bill James, the Evergreen Club Gamelan, and Art in Open Spaces. His list of compositions includes works for a variety of unusual chamber music ensembles, and Nostalgia, an opera in two acts.

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Media refer: Dianne Weinrib, DW Communications 416-703-5479 dw@dwcommunications.net

Photos and interviews on request