The Rite of Spring, Wuppertal Tanztheater at the NAC
Photo Alexandra Campeau
The ghost of Pina Bausch was no doubt fluttering with excitement around the NAC last night as the contemporary formation of her company brought us all back to the very origins of the idea of Tanzteater , dance that incorporates words, foregrounds a heightened form of theatricality and much much more. All that came through very strongly last night in the Opera of the NAC before a packed house, waiting religiously to see the company from Wuppertal perform works that most people have not seen before in Ottawa. (Continue reading » )
With its 35 dancers out in full force on the stage of Southam Hall, les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal under the spell of choreographer Ohad Naharin has created a synthesis of some of his past work bringing together the musics and dancers of many origins. Almost the way Peter Brook integrated the Hindu epic with actors from all the continents, Naharin’s company Batsheva Dance, actually founded by Martha Graham, has become a meeting place for dancers from around the world, and now, Naharin’s recent creation sends us into a spiral of hybrid creativity that sets one’s head spinning. (Continue reading » )
Echo by Christopher House
It is easy to understand how dance is at the forefront of all performance because it is constantly pushing the boundaries of the human body, investigating the relationship between the human body and the possibilities offered by all technologies involved in spacial creation, transforming the relationship between the text and the body. We are so lucky that the Director of Dance at the NAC has the courage to bring us programmes that may not always be easily understood but that help and have always contributed to forming a demanding dance public in Ottawa.
Marie Chouinard has always been synonymous with extreme originality on the Quebec dance scene and her work seems to be a constant investigation into the anthropological sources of the human being. Emerging from the green greasy Uhrschleim of creation, ritualized movements that take us back to pre-western civilization,(not unlike Romeo Castellucci!) her dancers now propel us into new relations between the human animal and our current technological revolution.
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Photo. Aleksandar Antonijevic, with Xiao Nan Yu and McGee Maddox.
Spectacular narrative ballets are the forte of the National Ballet of Canada and Tchaikovsky’s work based on stories and fairy tales have become the mainstay of their production, not to discount that exquisite Romeo and Juliet set to the music of Prokofiev which brought Karen Kain to my attention many years ago. This was just after seeing her dance Nana (based on the novel by Emile Zola) with the Company of Roland Petit in Paris, Now, thanks to the choreography of John Cranko the Company has added to its repertoire, another exquisite production of storytelling on point, this one inspired by Russian poet Alexander Pushkin’s verse novel Evgeni Onegin written in 1823. (Continue reading » )
Photo: Gadi Dagon
At first, we are intrigued by the evolution of these young bodies in space: disarticulated, disjointed, straining muscles in unusual directions, in opposition to what happens to bodies executing existing dance steps. Dance has repossessed the human body in a way that makes unhuman demands on the living human creature and opens a new world.
Choreographed at first as individuals, each dancer crawls, lopes, twists, leaps, floats in from the wings, opposing the rhythms and movements of the preceding dancer, just to give us the feeling of the enormous possibilities of the human body in this investigation of what can take place in a performance space. Then groups form and reform, as all around them the fluttering and twisting of slim, elongated and finely muscular creatures jerking in and out, up and down, below and above, create a parallel dialogue with the electronic sound effects and highly dramatic music. There is so much excitement, so much activity that our gaze keeps shifting around the stage, picking up individual movements, noticing other bodies regrouping, almost as though we were watching the trembling of some nervous cellular activity under an intense microscope.
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