When the threat of COVID-19 became a reality in the spring, the organizers of the Festival of Dance Annapolis Royal were wondering if its sixth year would even be happening this summer.
But as restrictions began to lift, and Nova Scotians were able to come out of self-isolation and gather together under the proper health protocols, FODAR 2020 began to take shape for Wednesday, Aug. 19 to Saturday, Aug. 22.
With only two-and-a-half months to plan, FODAR artistic director Randy Glynn, associate artistic director Michael Caldwell and Kathleen Doherty, co-founder of Halifax-based Votive Dance began finding ways that the festival could be a memorable experience even with the seating restrictions in effect at its home base of Annapolis Royal’s King’s Theatre.
The results of their planning will include a mix of film, live dance inside and outside, and King's Theatre’s first free livestream that can be enjoyed worldwide.
“I think the fact that we have been able to get the Festival running for 2020 illustrates the collegiality of the dance community in Nova Scotia and its determination to get dance out there, despite the huge challenges we face right now,” said Glynn in an announcement of the FODAR 2020 lineup.
The festival begins on Wednesday, Aug. 19 with a screening of Carlos Saura’s landmark 1983 film version of Carmen at 7:30 p.m., combining Bizet’s music and Antonio Gades’ choreography, showing the backstage drama and onstage magic that results from the theatrical production.
On Thursday, Aug. 20, the festival goes outdoors for the first time, to present Market Dances at 8 p.m., a special program of solos and duets featuring seven dancers in the Annapolis Royal Farmers Market space. Admission is by donation, and reservations must be booked through King’s Theatre.
Votive Dance premieres Strike Tone at FODAR 2020
The centerpiece of FODAR 2020 is the first look at Votive Dance’s Strike Tone, a piece for seven dance artists choreographed by Vanessa Goodman within a unique sonic and physical landscape. The dancers taking part include Julie Robert, Lydia Zimmer, Kathleen Doherty, Jessica Lowe, Anastasia Wiebe, Gillian Seaward-Boone and Michèle Slattery.
“It is essential to me that I made something that Kathleen could feel really proud of for herself and her company, and that represented them,” said Goodman in the announcement. “I have been experimenting with loop pedals and sound equipment in my work over the last three years. I wanted to expand that outside of generating live sound just myself to see if I could translate it to a group of artists that I was working with.
“Since I had previously been working on the piece, the process was quite efficient when I got to working with Votive. By the end of the first two weeks, we had the nuts and bolts of the work.”
The in-person performance of Stike Tone takes place on Friday, Aug. 21 at 8 p.m. at King’s Theatre, tickets $20, general and $10, youth. Then the free livestream happens on Saturday, Aug. 22 at 8 p.m. via the website fodar.ca and the festival’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Tickets and reservations for FODAR 2020 events can be obtained from the King’s Theatre box office at kingstheatre.ca, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 902-532-7704.
Health and safety remain priorities at all FODAR 2020 events, with the observation of physical distancing, and masks will be required for King’s Theatre shows (which also have limited seating).