Festival of New Dance serves up a buffet of shows

Tara Bradbury
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St. John’s dancer Louise Moyes performs her piece “Mavis Gallant: A Docudance.” — Photo by Jared Reid

Hungry for dance? Place your order, and participants in this year’s Festival of New Dance will serve it up.

Eroca Nicols’ “Made to Order,” a community dance project she’s presenting with local dancers, is one of a number of events taking place this week in downtown St. John’s as part of the week-long annual festival, and will happen at Atlantic Place 1 p.m. Friday and Rocket Room 1 p.m. Saturday.

“You put your order in and the dancers will customize a dance for you,” said Lisa Porter, festival co-ordinator. “You could say, ‘I want a dance about elephants in pink tutus and three people in a tree.’ Serious or silly, they will then do their best to improvise it in a dance for you.”

The festival opens at the Arts and Culture Centre tonight with Toronto Dance Theatre’s performance of “Rivers,” under the vision of artistic director Christopher House. Inspired by water and with music by Ann Southam, 10 dancers work on a white floor with carpeted sides, creating a rippling, mesmerizing effect, Porter said.

Other performances throughout the week will take place at the LSPU Hall, including Tara Cheyenne’s “Goggles,” a black comedy about a kid who lives in a fantasy world of TV crime shows; Halifax-based Mocean Dance’s “Beside Myself, Gasping,” and St. John’s documentary dancer Louise Moyes’ “Mavis Gallant: A Docudance,” inspired by a series of short stories. Dancer Caroline Niklas-Gordon, a local now living in Toronto, will present “Tilting — Resettlement,” while Liz Solo explores her real and virtual self in “Dance Me.”

On Thursday and Friday at the third-floor gallery space at the Arts and Culture Centre, Karen Bernard will use a laptop and projector to present “Ouette,” an autobiographical solo piece with a femme fatale theme.

Saturday night, urban dance troupe BBOYIZM will perform at the Arts and Culture Centre.

“There are 14 of them and they just rock it,” Porter said. “They go all out and full-on.”

Other performers include MAX Group, Phillip McDermott and Hillary Walsh, as well as Krista Vincent of MUN’s School of Music, who will present “The Pierrot Project,” at the D.F. Cook Recital Hall, with choreography by Lynn Panting.

Workshops for beginner and advanced dancers will also take place.

This year’s festival includes a noticeably high number of performances incorporating film, something Porter says local dancers have been doing for years.

“I like to think the rest of Canada is just now catching on,” she said, laughing. “In every one of these pieces, it’s used as an integral part of a story, which does add another dimension to it.”

Ticket prices for the various events range from free to $25, with festival passes available for $75. More information and a full festival schedule is available online at festivalofnewdance.ca.



Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Organizations: Toronto Dance Theatre, Christopher House, MAX Group School of Music

Geographic location: Toronto, Canada

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