14 June, 2018: After the celebratory 40th Anniversary Season, Mimi Beck, Dance Curator of acclaimed presenter DanceWorks announces the 2018-19 season with four world premieres and one Toronto premiere featuring artists/companies from Toronto, Montreal, Six Nations, Mexico and New Zealand.
Curator’s statement: Key artistic themes of the Mainstage Series emerge from today’s socio-political environment. Five full length productions engage audiences with topics ranging from the politics of aging, to Indigenous re-matriation, human endurance, survival and connection. Returning to the Mainstage are choreographers Victor Quijada, Santee Smith, Heidi Strauss, and for the first time, Louis Laberge-Côté will create a choreographic solo for himself. Roshanak Jaberi will make her Mainstage debut.
DanceWorks has built an enthusiastic following for RUBBERBANDance group through three previous presentations. Quijada’s work incorporates contemporary and street dance forms. Laberge-Côté’s “performance marathon”, takes audiences to the intimate Citadel + Compagnie venue on Parliament Street, with Michael Caldwell cast in a supporting role. Women’s voices take centre stage as Smith reveals the second in her trilogy uniting an inter-generational, inter-cultural team of Indigenous female collaborators, while Jaberi’s multi-disciplinary group piece honours women’s recollections from refugee camps. Closing the season, Strauss invites audiences into an immersive experience drawing attention to place and perspectives, a co-presentation with Harbourfront Centre, supported by Canada Council New Chapter.
Oct 11-12, 2018: DW 227 RUBBERBANDance group (Mtl) Ever So Slightly @ Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queen’s Quay W.
In a crisis, in the midst of extreme anxiety, where and how do we find the calm needed to confront the situation? Ever So Slightly explores change, the many elements that lead to it and the breaking point, through ten irrepressible dancers, a DJ, and a wide-open venue. The expanded performance space, distorted bodies and live music result in a production on steroids directed by a choreographer whose mastery brings a delicacy, finesse and high-voltage movement to capture the energy of urgency, revolt, and flight from danger. Ever So Slightly is a quest for tranquility within chaos…but at what cost?
Victor Quijada eloquently re-imagines and deconstructs choreographic principles to integrate them into the Hip-Hop ideology of his beginnings to then examine humanity through unique fusion of different aesthetic approaches. In the subversion of commonplace reality, his creative tools range from theatrical interpretation and improvisation to the visual imagery of film. A polyvalent, prolific dancer, at the age of 26, he moved from the Hip-Hop clubs of his native Los Angeles to a career with the finest post-modern dance and ballet companies, notably THARP!, Ballet Tech, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal. Since the founding of RUBBERBANDance Group in 2002, Victor has created 24 pieces of varying length, some for RBDG and others for commissions, and has taken his work all over North America and Europe, as well as to Mexico and Japan. He participated in the making of a dozen films, either as choreographer, director, or dramaturge. Victor Quijada received the Bonnie Bird North American New Choreography Award and the Peter Darrell Choreographic Award in 2003, the OQAJ/RIDEAU Prize in 2009, and a Princess Grace Awards Choreographic Fellowship in 2010. From 2007 to 2011, he was artist in residence at the Cinquième Salle of Place des Arts de Montréal. In 2017, Quijada received Montreal Arts Council’s $10,000 Cultural Diversity Prize to honour his democratization of contemporary and street dance forms.
Oct 31-Nov 3 DW228: Louis Laberge-Côté The art of degeneration @ The Citadel: Ross Centre for Dance, 304 Parliament St.
In work that addresses the concept of degeneration and decay, Laberge-Côté aspires to
initiate discussions on human and social issues including aging, addiction, mental illness, suicide, pollution and revolutions. Multidisciplinary, collaborative and artistically risky, The art of degeneration is a deeply moving choreography that is inspirational, thought-provoking, intuitive and compelling.
Louis Laberge-Côté is a Toronto-based dancer, choreographer, teacher, and rehearsal director. An acclaimed performer, he has danced nationally and internationally with over thirty companies and has been a full-time member of Toronto Dance Theatre (1999-2007) and the Kevin O’Day Ballett Nationaltheater Mannheim (2009-2011). He has created over eighty choreographic works, which have been presented and commissioned in Canada and abroad. His work has garnered him a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Choreography, as well as eight other individual and ensemble nominations for Performance or Choreography. He has been nominated for the KM Hunter Award in 2014, 2015, and 2016 and has received several grants from all three levels of government, the Chalmers Foundation, the Metcalf Foundation, the Laidlaw Foundation, and the Dancer Transition Resource Centre. A sought-after pedagogue, he has taught classes and workshops all across Canada and has been recently appointed Assistant Professor of Dance at Ryerson University. He holds an MFA in Creative Practice from the University of Plymouth (UK).
Feb 14-16, 2019 DW229: Kaha:wi Dance Theatre Blood Tides @ Fleck Dance Theatre, 207 Queen’s Quay W.
A re-matriation to the house of humanity, the womb, the power of the feminine voice and body, Blood Tides opens a sacred space through inter-generational, inter-cultural, and interdisciplinary performance. Led by Santee Smith and an ensemble of Indigenous women, the piece highlights the retrieval of ancient women’s knowing and the restoration of rites of passage, song and dance of earthworld, underworld and cosmos. The musical score by Cris Derksen features Pura Fe, Leela Gilday, Ngahuia Sharney Murphy (NZ) and others, creating an emotive landscape where Lightning Woman, Mother of Mothers, and Clay Woman come to tell their story and gather strength.
Blood Tides is a the second production in the triptych performance series: Re-Quickening, Blood Tides and Skennen, all created through Indigenous process and from a Konkwehon:we (Indigenous woman’s) perspective and research.
Tekaronhiáhkhwa Santee Smith, founding Artistic Director of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, is from the Kahnyen’kehàka (Mohawk) Nation, Turtle Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario. She is a mother, multi-disciplinary artist, and award-winning producer and choreographer. She holds performance in a sacred space, as all life is sacred and maintains an Onkwehon:we understanding of performance, the body and role of the artist. Music and dance are celebrations of life and the body is a vessel to house our spirit during our earth walk when the artist serves as storyteller, transformer and medicine person. From this perspective her work speaks about identity and humanity in relation to the creative universe. Her body of works include productions with Kaha:wi Dance Theatre and independent commissions. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including: Chalmers Award; K.M. Hunter Award for Dance; Canada Council’s Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award; John Hobday Award for Arts Management; and Hamilton Music Award for Kaha:wi in Best Cultural and Ethnic Recording (2003). In 2013, Santee received a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Choreography in the Dance Division for Susuriwka – willow bridge and was recognized as a Eihwaedei Yerihwayente:ri (Community Scholar) in 2015 by Six Nations Polytechnic.
Mar 14-16 DW230: Jaberi Dance Theatre No Women’s Land @ Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 231 Queen’s Quay W.
No Woman’s Land is an evocative new work that explores real stories of women in refugee camps. Conceived and directed by Roshanak Jaberi and created with an ensemble of seven performers, this interdisciplinary production uses dance, theatre and multi-media to speak to the plight and resistance of refugee women.
Violence against women is the most pervasive violation of human rights in the world. This fact, together with the current refugee crisis—which is the greatest mass displacement of people since WWII—brings an urgency to this visceral work.
No Woman’s Land has been developed over three years in collaboration with Doris Rajan of The Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society (IRIS) and with the consultation of Dr. Shahrzad Mojab, professor at the University of Toronto.
Roshanak Jaberi is an Iranian-Canadian artist, activist and producer, and the Artistic Director of Jaberi Dance Theatre. She creates inter-disciplinary dance works that are thought-provoking, emotionally driven and politically charged. The stories and lived experiences of racialized women motivate her artistic inquiry, as do her frequent travels and unique collaborations with artists, scholars and activists. Her practice focuses on the intersection of art and social justice, while re-envisioning traditional dance aesthetics, integrating multiple art forms and experimenting with different avenues to creation. Her work is grounded in a research informed artistic practice that reflects a commitment to ethically and authentically share the stories, experiences and cultures from which she draws inspiration. Roshanak Jaberi’s work has been presented in Canada, US, and Europe. jaberidt.com
May 29-June 2 DW231: adelheid LOT X @ Harbourfront Centre Theatre & Environs, 231 Queen’s Quay W., a Co-Presentation with Harbourfront Centre
Site-specific LOT X transports seven performers and audiences and through several locations in Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre Theatre and adjacent green spaces and structures, challenging ideas of intimacy, holding a magnifying glass to where we are, the land we are standing on, and the people we stand with.
Perspective is created spatially, but also through the opportunity for the audience to decide how they engage with the experience. They move beyond the confines of the theatre on different paths, and return again at the end to a changed space having built a history of their own through the work, one that gives them more of a sense of ownership of where they are, and how they connect with the performers.
Heidi Strauss began choreographing in 1998 and founded adelheid, a company that revolves around people and space, in 2008. As dance artist-in-residence at the Factory Theatre, she created three full evening works including the multi Dora Award winning this time. From 2014-16 she was a resident artist at the Theatre Centre. This opportunity resulted in what it’s like – a trio work and collaboration that garnered three Dora Awards and will be performed at the Superior Theatre Festival in Thunder Bay later this summer. Heidi has choreographed for Mocean (These Versions of Us), Toronto Dance Theatre (Everyday Anthems), Crooked Figure (for me?), The Frankfurt Opera (Durch Rosen), The Canadian Opera Company (Marriage of Figaro), Volcano (Africa Trilogy, Golden Dragon) and worked as a movement director for The Stratford Festival (Macbeth). She has taught at Ryerson University, The Toronto Dance Community Love-In and Volcano Conservatory. Heidi teaches regularly in Ontario and Quebec, and through adelheid offers open classes, and professional development intensives for emerging artists. In 2012, Heidi was honoured with a KM Hunter Award for Dance. www.adelheid.ca