I recently had an opportunity to witness Chinese dancer/choreographer Gao Yanjinzi teach a class in Halifax. Wow!  Phenomenal strength and control married with explosive energy were the qualities that were readily apparent. Every hand gesture and limb movement was so precise, and seemingly butterfly light. It was thrilling to watch our local dancers tackle her movement and see it translated into their occidental bodies.

It really makes me wonder what we are going to see tonight, when Wen Wei Dance and the Beijing Modern Dance Company take to the Rebecca Cohn stage in Under the Skin, a work co-choreographed by Vancouver-based Wen Wei, and Beijing-based Yanjinzi. Each created work on the other’s dancers, creating a culture clash that I strongly suspect will be thoroughly enjoyable to witness.

Read Andrea Nemetz’s preview here.

Depending where you live, you will have more or less access to performance opportunities born of spices not indigenous to your locale. Forgive the spice commentary – I’m making a dal as I write this – but the analogy is not so far off. After all, how much cultural trading has taken place along the spice route?

OK, maybe I’m just hungry… but one thing is for certain: I am definitely turned on by cultural differences found in food and art!

That’s why I am so excited about this weekend’s show at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium. Vancouver-based Wen Wei Wang became an instant favourite a few years ago when he and his company performed Unbound. His highly anticipated return, with the Beijing Modern Dance Company, brings a whole new flavour to the Halifax dance scene, one that we are not likely to have again for a number of years!

Wen Wei’s latest work, Under the Skin, co-signed by BMDC choreographer Gao Yanjinzi, with dancers from each of their companies performing alongside each other, will be flavourful indeed!

One of the best compliments I’ve heard about the Salt Truck Follies from peers & colleagues who also do fundraising activities is: “We may make more money than you, but yours is waaaay funner”!

While the goal of the Salt Truck Follies is definitely to raise funds to supplement our annual programming activities, putting on a great show is integral to the equation! Luckily, Halifax is chock full of amazingly talented (and generous) individuals willing to donate their time and energy. This really helps put the fun in fundraising!

This year’s edition is no exception and we are super excited to count on the incomparable Cathy Jones as our Maîtresse de Cérémonie! Opening acts by Maria Osende Flamenco, Hot Mess, and Greg Thomey will warm up the audience for the highly anticipated Dancing with the Halifamous. This reality tv spin-off connects 4 local celebrities with some talented dance artists to produce a series of short numbers. This year’s brave contestants are (drum roll please!!): composer/musician, Dinuk Wijeratne, CTV host, Maria Panopalis, vocalist extraordinaire, Heather Rankin, and Fid chef, Dennis Johnston. With choreographic contributions from the Halifax Salseros, Concrete Roots, Veronique MacKenzie and Sara Harrigan, the show will be rich in talent!

A competition is not complete without judges! Adjudicating this year’s performances will be the wonderfully insightful Chris Shore, Greg Thomey, and Laura Penny!

O my!

Not to be missed!

Salt Truck Follies goes live Saturday March 5th at 8:30PM at the Meinertzhagen Theatre (945 Tower Rd, Halifax Grammar School, doors open at 7:30)

Paul-André Fortier and company arrived in Halifax last night and are set to transport their Cabane to three different performance sites in Halifax. While using three locations triples the work for Live Art and Fortier’s crew, it also becomes a bit of a game for audience members… each new location provides a unique perspective through which to watch the fun unfold and stimulates specific reactions to the environment.

Fortier appears as a the straight man to Rober Racine’s comic. Not that this is a comic duo, but it does suggest a little Beckett here and there, with their sense of play and deliberate mocking of each other. There’s a great interview with Paul-André in yesterday’s Chronicle Herald, check it out here!

I also just read a great preview in The Coast. Both provide excellent background on the motivation behind the creation of this work.

As the Canada Games get set to kick off in Halifax, Live Art Dance is leading the charge for the cultural component. No, I”m not talking about the National Artist Program that is affiliated with the games, but Cabane, a site-specific performance installation performed by the totally delightful duo of Paul-André Fortier and Rober Racine. Their quixotic relationship evolves throughout the 50 minute work (anchored in, on, and around a portable shack) and provides each with their moments to shine. Fortier is as elegant and energetic as ever (which is thoroughly impressive given he surpassed 60 years of age a few years ago), and Racine is quite simply mesmerizing. They have a wonderful Straight Man/Funny Guy/Potso & Lucky thing going on… as if they”ve forgotten about waiting (for Godot, or anyone else) and are captivated with living life as one moment of creation after another.

Inspired by ideas of shelter, Cabane was created to be performed in site-specific locations… and Live Art Dance chose to push the idea a little further: each of the three performances in Halifax will be performed in a different location! Talk about micro/macro organisation!!

For a (sur)real good time come join us Feb 17-19!

As the Canada Games get set to kick off in Halifax, Live Art Dance is leading the charge for the cultural component. No, I”m not talking about the National Artist Program that is affiliated with the games, but Cabane, a site-specific performance installation performed by the totally delightful duo of Paul-André Fortier and Rober Racine. Their quixotic relationship evolves throughout the 50 minute work (anchored in, on, and around a portable shack) and provides each with their moments to shine. Fortier is as elegant and energetic as ever (which is thoroughly impressive given he surpassed 60 years of age a few years ago), and Racine is quite simply mesmerizing. They have a wonderful Straight Man/Funny Guy/Potso & Lucky thing going on… as if they”ve forgotten about waiting (for Godot, or anyone else) and are captivated with living life as one moment of creation after another.

Inspired by ideas of shelter, Cabane was created to be performed in site-specific locations… and Live Art Dance chose to push the idea a little further: each of the three performances in Halifax will be performed in a different location! Talk about micro/macro organisation!!

For a (sur)real good time come join us Feb 17-19!

As the Canada Games get set to kick off in Halifax, Live Art Dance is leading the charge for the cultural component. No, I”m not talking about the National Artist Program that is affiliated with the games, but Cabane, a site-specific performance installation performed by the totally delightful duo of Paul-André Fortier and Rober Racine. Their quixotic relationship evolves throughout the 50 minute work (anchored in, on, and around a portable shack) and provides each with their moments to shine. Fortier is as elegant and energetic as ever (which is thoroughly impressive given he surpassed 60 years of age a few years ago), and Racine is quite simply mesmerizing. They have a wonderful Straight Man/Funny Guy/Potso & Lucky thing going on… as if they”ve forgotten about waiting (for Godot, or anyone else) and are captivated with living life as one moment of creation after another.

Inspired by ideas of shelter, Cabane was created to be performed in site-specific locations… and Live Art Dance chose to push the idea a little further: each of the three performances in Halifax will be performed in a different location! Talk about micro/macro organisation!!

For a (sur)real good time come join us Feb 17-19!

As the Canada Games get set to kick off in Halifax, Live Art Dance is leading the charge for the cultural component. No, I”m not talking about the National Artist Program that is affiliated with the games, but Cabane, a site-specific performance installation performed by the totally delightful duo of Paul-André Fortier and Rober Racine. Their quixotic relationship evolves throughout the 50 minute work (anchored in, on, and around a portable shack) and provides each with their moments to shine. Fortier is as elegant and energetic as ever (which is thoroughly impressive given he surpassed 60 years of age a few years ago), and Racine is quite simply mesmerizing. They have a wonderful Straight Man/Funny Guy/Potso & Lucky thing going on… as if they”ve forgotten about waiting (for Godot, or anyone else) and are captivated with living life as one moment of creation after another.

Inspired by ideas of shelter, Cabane was created to be performed in site-specific locations… and Live Art Dance chose to push the idea a little further: each of the three performances in Halifax will be performed in a different location! Talk about micro/macro organisation!!

For a (sur)real good time come join us Feb 17-19!

There are two dance events going on in Halifax this week that merit big attention: on Wednesday evening, Jacinte Armstrong unveiled her latest work (Falling off the Page) at the Bus Stop Theatre, and on Thursday, George Stamos premiered his latest work, Troglodyte Plastique, created for Montréal Danse, at the Sir James Dunn Theatre.

Both works remind me what I love so much about dance, that being its ability to stimulate the imagination on very personal levels. Both works are gorgeously danced (Suzanne Chui and Armstrong in the former, and Elinor Fueter, Rachel Harris, and Stamos, joined onstage by musician/composer Jackie Gallant, in the latter), and both take the audience on dreamy, physically charged rides into the abstract.

Time figures prominently in both works. While Stamos grapples with themes of evolution (in a broad stroke kind of way, ie. how HAVE our primal instincts developed over the years) and loss, Armstrong reminds us that dance happens in fleeting moments, that once it stops the only residue left behind is what we carry in our memories.

I want to see both shows again… I want to relive those dreamy landscapes before they’re gone for good.

Both shows run until Saturday night – catch ’em while you can!

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