All I wanna do is dance

Karla Hayward
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Festival of New Dance kicks off another year

Each year for the past 18, the Festival of New Dance, organized by Neighbourhood Dance Works has gained momentum, attention and enthusiasm. For those who've never witnessed it, or taken part, you've been missing out big time. But fear not, you are again being offered the chance to be moved and wowed this week from today until Sunday.

This year's slate is filled with intense workshops, random acts of dance, a film component, and of course, the breathtaking performance series. And, adding additional buzz to this year's Festival is the fact that St. John's will also host the Conference for the Society for Canadian Dance Studies this week. Held at the MUN School of Music, the conference will offer up panel discussions, academic presentations, workshops and master classes.

Members of Toronto-based Fujiwara Dance Inventions bring their piece "No Exit" to the Festival of New Dance in St. John's. - Submitted photo

Each year for the past 18, the Festival of New Dance, organized by Neighbourhood Dance Works has gained momentum, attention and enthusiasm. For those who've never witnessed it, or taken part, you've been missing out big time. But fear not, you are again being offered the chance to be moved and wowed this week from today until Sunday.

This year's slate is filled with intense workshops, random acts of dance, a film component, and of course, the breathtaking performance series. And, adding additional buzz to this year's Festival is the fact that St. John's will also host the Conference for the Society for Canadian Dance Studies this week. Held at the MUN School of Music, the conference will offer up panel discussions, academic presentations, workshops and master classes.

The performance series

The Festival of New Dance kicks off later today with an opening gala and reception at the LSPU Hall. There, Christopher House and the internationally acclaimed Toronto Dance Theatre will offer up the visually delicious "Chiasmata." (See page B4) This show will again be seen on June 18 and 19, weather permitting.

On Thursday and Friday, Nora Chipaumire will take to the stage with her work, "Chimurenga." A soloist, Chipaumire used words, shouts, pauses and filmed images to bring to life her three-part multimedia performance memoir.

The three pieces - "kaffir," "convoys, curfews and roadblocks," and "pungwe/musingoutloud about the revolution" - will be accompanied by a live sound mix created by Chipaumire's collaborator, Alex Potts. The entire production is the lawyer-turned-dancer's take on the political, cultural and historical atmosphere of her home country, Zimbabwe.

On Friday and Saturday, it's time for the not-to-be missed Newfoundland Showcase presented at the Arts and Culture Centre Basement Theatre. It's danced by three local greats: Sarah Joy Stoker will dance an excerpt from her work "Sapiens Lay Here"; Calla Lachance will perform "7 Dances for My Mother," a piece created during her graduate work at York University; and Louise Moyes will present a new work choreographed by Eryn Dace Trudell as a companion piece to her work, "Florence."

On Saturday and Sunday is Fujiwara Dance Inventions' "No Exit," a dance-theatre work inspired by Sartre's play of the same name. According to media materials, in this work "the characters exemplify the dilemma that Sartre has put forward through his proposition, "Hell is other people."

Also on Saturday and Sunday at the LSPU Hall, you can catch "One Hundred Returnings" by Chanti Wadge of Montreal. In this short solo piece, Wadge examines the evolution of physical and emotional expression throughout the human lifespan.

Closing out the performance series on a high note is Solid State's "Take it Back," choreographed by Montreal's Helen Simard and Jo Dee Allen. Happening at 10 p.m. at The Rock House on George Street, the show is purported to be an extremely high-energy performance that brings b-boying together with swing and the Lindyhop.

More than just stage performances

In order to bring dance even further into the community, this year's Festival features 'random acts of dance,' which can be found happening around the city.

Alicia Grant and Cara Spooner will be dancing "Mourning Sunshine" and "IT/OUT/IN" on street corners, cafÉ's, maybe even your front yard.

The film component of the Festival will happen at The Rooms Theatre.

Catch "Movement (R)evolution Africa" (featuring Nora Chipaumire) Wednesday and Thursday at 6:30. Admission is $5.

For details on the workshop series, access NDW's website at www.neighbourhooddanceworks.com.

There, you'll also find complete scheduling and all sorts of extras. Contact NDW directly at 722.9454 or ndw@nfld.net. Get tickets at the Hall 753-4531.

Organizations: Society for Canadian Dance Studies, MUN School of Music, Christopher House Toronto Dance Theatre Arts and Culture Centre Basement Theatre York University The Rock House The Rooms Theatre

Geographic location: St. John's, Montreal, Zimbabwe Solid George Street Africa

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