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footNOTES 2015 Summer/Fall Edition

Dance in a Small World Brain Dance

20 Years of Free Flow Dance An Interview with Jackie Latendresse

Inspired by Nature Fashion and Choreography

Diversity and Changing Times

Dress Design by Eva Vas of Opinion Atelier Article on page 18 Front Cover Dark Faerie Tale 2008 Free Flow Dance Theatre Photo Credit - Marcia Provenzano Article on page 14

Celebration of National Dance Week, Page 5 Photo Credit - Ken Greenhorn



6 Dance in a Small World: Brain Dance Written by Ashley Johnson

10 Divesity and Changing Times

Co-written by Adrienne Collins Bretell, Linda Coe-Kirkham and Flo Frank

14 20 Years of Free Flow Dance

main STAGE

table of CONTENTS

An Interview with Jackie Latendresse

18 Inspired by Nature Fashion and Choreography


Written by Eva Vas

4 a note from the Executive Director 5 a look BACK

2015 National Dance Week Celebrations

dsi member CONTRIBUTIONS 9 Having Fun with Old (and New) Traditions

Submitted by Barbara Stehwien of German Junior Folk Dancers

20 Three Decades of Dancewear

Submitted by Jennifer Daily of Dancer’s Den Dancewear



a note from the Executive Director s Dance Saskatchewan moves into its next three year funding cycle, we are all eager to expand on a growing number of partnerships within the arts and cultural sector. Most recently Dance has become a complimentary addition to a number of core initiatives of the Saskatchewan Craft Council. It’s a new partnership that strives to develop awareness of dance in communities at the same time as enhancing the market potential for fine craft.


mote and encourage cultural and spiritual education, treaty rights and responsibilities, and reconciliation and healing among the people of Saskatchewan. The Office of the Treaty Commissioner, with Corrections and Policing share the vision that all people in Saskatchewan will live in harmony based on a sound knowledge and understanding of cultural traditions particularly as they relate to the Treaty relationship.

Dance Saskatchewan is also building external partnerships outside the sector to broaden interest in cultural expression as a healing and wellness tool. The process of working with educators and family service and support agencies for collaborative program development and delivery is very exciting.

Arts and cultural activity is highly valued as part of this process. Dance Saskatchewan is thrilled to have the Office of the Treaty Commission as a naming sponsor for continued presentation of ‘Silent Survivors’ as part of our diversity work.

On Wednesday, June 24th, the Office of the Treaty Commissioner signed a Strategic Alliance with Corrections and Policing, which is part of the Ministry of Justice. The strategic alliance will mean the two work together to pro-

Join the fun, ‘For the Love of Dance’

German Junior Folk Ensemble Shoemaker’s Dance Celebration of National Dance Week, Page 5 Photo Credit - Ken Greenhorn



Linda Coe-Kirkham Executive Director

a look BACK Celebration of National Dance Week April 22nd - April 29th 2015


ance Saskatchewan celebrated National Dance Week and International Dance Day by bringing together a diverse group of dancers and performers. On April 26th we had a fanatastic evening of dance, and interaction between audience and performers at the Dance Saskatchewan Centre in Saskatoon.

The evening began with introductions from DSI President, Kathy Bond and SaskCulture President, Pat Grayston. After a few words the night kicked off with an amazing line up of performances and ended with a round dance that involved the entire audience. Here are some photos highlighting several of the performances. Photo Credits - Ken Greenhorn

T.L. - Jabba Emily Belliveau, Madison Laughren, and Mike Mirlin Choreography and Music Remix by Mike Mirlin T.R. - Violet Naytowhow Singing Indian Women B.L. - Tanzania Nya Uddin B.R. - Ironeagle – First Nations Drum Group Representing Northern Cree and Dakota First Nations



Dance in a Small World: Brain Dance

Written by Ashley Johnson


he world is changing and now, more than ever, our children move less. They spend hours in stationary positions in front of electronics and less time outside. This equates to less exploration of their environment; less time climbing trees, hopping fences, and scraping knees. We live in the age of interference, of better safe than sorry, and the aptly coined, helicopter parenting. But what if all that safety, all that time inside in front of the screen is actually what is hurting our children the most? Children learn as they move. The body and brain are built as a unit; the separation of the two is a myth. As a baby rolls, crawls, and locomotes through space she discovers the world. In turn increases her physical strength, builds new relationships, and develops an implicit understanding of her needs. This is the foundation for a well-functioning brain and body. This is Brain Dance. Brain Dance was developed by dance educator Anne Green Gilbert and originates from the earlier somatic



practice of Bartieneff Fundamentals (BF). BF is a partner practice to Laban Movement and looks at whole body organization. Teachers and dancers train in Brain Dance to support their creative dance education as well as to cultivate connections between learning, living and moving. In short, Brain Dance is a series built on the eight developmental movement patterns a baby goes through in his first year of life. Each pattern links to a social, emotional, physical and intellectual aspect of development.1 The repetition of this series later in life assists children and adults in filling in patterns that were not fully integrated at an earlier stage. As we know, the brain is plastic. At any age it is possible to go back and re-establish the foundation and find that as a result, life is easier. Dance education is an integral part of Arts Education and Physical Education curriculums in Saskatchewan, and one of the benefits of this is that students learn to think creatively and to find joy in movement from a young age. A

“Young children are natural movers, they play, explore and interact through movement. The job of caregivers and educators is to facilitate this inquiry as well as encourage creative expression when possible.” creative thinker finds a number of solutions to a problem, employs innovation, and asks questions. As with critical thinking, creativity is a skill that can be developed with intention. The more time allocated in a day to inquiry, the more innovative our students become. What if all our children were trained to be creative adults? With the complex issues (climate change, globalization, the rise of technology, to name a few) facing our next generation, this is a skill that cannot be underestimated. Living Sky School Division, in northwest Saskatchewan, has shown innovation through leadership in assisting teachers as they carry out creative dance lessons in their classrooms through four years of programming, as supported by the Saskatchewan Arts Board and SaskLotteries.2 Ashley Johnson, led several ArtsSmart projects in schools, followed by two years of Creative Partnership residencies and was able to make a strong impact in these schools by providing PD to teachers and building

a strong resource base for the classroom teacher. Thanks to ArtsSmart, in 2015, Ashley returned to the division to provide a targeted approach for prekindergarten classrooms. The programming in these classrooms is aimed at children aged 3 and 4 years who may be identified as at-risk or vulnerable. In many cases, these children have limited access to a wide-range of developmental experiences. Saskatchewan prekindergarten curriculum aims to be holistic in nature, and to provide students with a widerange of social/emotional, physical, spiritual, and intellectual opportunities for growth.3 This mandate makes it a perfect environment for daily creative dance and Brain Dance. Together, Johnson and Arts Education Consultant Sherron Burns and Early Learning Consultant Angela Yeaman, developed ‘Dance in a Small World: PreK Environments’. This project served to deepen teacher’s understanding of creative movement, institute routines for brain breaks and



movement discovery stations in order to support their students’ development and learning. Among the challenges faced by the Division’s prekindergarten teachers and educational assistants is how to use limited classroom space and even more limited school hours to enhance their students’ well-being and access to art and movement. A solution they came up with is to start with what is possible. Even five-minute periods of Brain Dance within the existing space in their classroom can deeply enhance spatial and body awareness. This innovation requires considerable creativity on the part of the teachers, and is slightly different in each prekindergarten classroom. Following the ‘Dance in Small World: PreK Environments’ project teachers saw an obvious and almost immediate improvement in children’s fine and gross motor skills. Through the connection between mind and body students paid better attention to educational tasks and become more balanced emotionally and physically.4 The original phase of program has been completed and Johnson is no longer directly involved, however teachers continue to integrate creative dance and Brain Dance tools into their classroom routines with intention and creativity. Young children are natural movers, they play, explore and interact through movement. The job of caregivers and educators is to facilitate this inquiry as well as encourage creative expression when possible. As we integrate more daily dance into both our lives and our children’s lives we become more joyful individuals. We see that there is always risk, both physical and socially, involved in exploration and we face it head on because without risk there is no growth.u



Footnote: ArtsSmart is a program funded by the Saskatchewan Arts Board that offers project grants to schools with the goal of supporting learning and inquiry in the arts through working with professional artists. Deadline to apply is November 1st. Ashley Johnson is a dancer, dance educator and Mitzvah Technique/Itcush Method teacher living in Saskatoon. She balances her time between performing and creating, working with clients one to one on alignment and body function and teaching dance to diverse populations from infant to senior. She is currently available for consultation and booking for institutions and individuals. Her interests lie in understanding and exploring our own movement potential. Along with Living Sky School Division she developed a resource site for Dance Education in schools http://learning.lskysd.ca/danceeducation/ and manages her own Mitzvah Technique and Itcush Method blog https://itcushmethod.wordpress.com. 1 “Brain Dance” Creative Dance Center, accessed May 10. 2015, http://creativedance.org/about/braindance/ 2 Saskatchewan Arts Board, accessed May 10, 2015, http://www. artsboard.sk.ca/grants 3 “Prekindergarten Curriculum” Saskatchewan board of Education, accessed May 10, 2015, http://www.education.gov.sk.ca/ELCC/Prekindergarten 4 Brian Quinn, ‘Brain Dance Increases Emotional Balance.’ The Battlefords News Optimist, February 18, 2015. http://learning.lskysd.ca/danceeducation/ Photos Credits: Sherron Burns and Angela Yeaman

The Saskatoon German Junior Folk Dancers in Heritage Dress Photo Credit - J. Lovering


Having Fun with Old (and New) Traditions

olkdance, also known as cultural, or heritage dance, is the main focus of the independent heritage community group, the German Junior Folk Dancers (GJFD) of Saskatoon. European folkdance, or the German term Volkstanz, means simply ‘dances done by the people, or the folks - as per definition in the Winter 2012 feature article in footNOTES. But is there a specific type or defined age of dance that qualifies? We don’t think so, and have been watching with interest what folks are dancing in our heritage country from afar. Having done extensive research into the more than 100 year old dances to help keep alive the old traditions, we also looked forward and discovered interesting new folk dancing going on. Longtime folk dancer and GJFD Member, Evan, found and taught the very upbeat ‘Jumpstyle,’ a European streetdance, popular less than 20 years ago.

Our young men in Vancouver ‘breaking the rules’with the unscheduled performance of the modern ‘Jumpstyle’ in heritage outfit. Photo Credit - B. Stehwien

Soon after learning about the Jumpstyle, GJFD Member Sarah, discovered a fun German comedy dance/skit genre and found a great version of the Strumpfhosentanz (Dance in Tights), probably less than 5 years old. German Junior Folk Dancers got in touch with the songs creators, the southern German group Hiss, to get the music rights, but the choreography proved more difficult to trace to its origin. To date, we have had no success tracking down the choreography, regardless, our members worked together passionately to put this ‘Black & White dance’ on stage anyway including the fun costuming. It’s been a big hit so far and the lyrics of Tanz, although in German, are very appropriate for what “the dances done by the people, or the folks” represents: Fun for everyone, good for the body, the soul and spirit.u For more information, find us online: https://twitter.com/Saskatoon_GJFD www.GermanJuniorFolkDancers.ca

Performing the Black & White dance at Saskatoon Folkfest Photo Credit - W. Stehwien footNOTES SUMMER 2015


Pictured - Photographer, Ken Greenhorn and Dancer, Samantha Fynn Photo Credit - RenĂŠe Blom

Diversity and Changing Times

Co-authored by Linda Coe-Kirkham, Adrienne Collins Bretell and Flo Frank





askatchewan is not new to changing demographics. The very fabric of the province is woven with a mix of Aboriginal peoples and Newcomers, many who originated in Eastern Europe more than Britain or Western Europe. We have a long history captured in stories, movies, names of towns and museums focused on the evolution of culture in the province. Some of that history should make us proud but some requires reflective thought about how we could have done better. In part the historic transition involved waves of newcomers (from one or two ethno-cultural groups) arriving at or close to the same time, and no real plan to help include or assimilate them into what was then the mainstream. In recent years, due in part to immigration policies (with an emphasis on Asia including the Middle East, Africa and India) and high birthrates in Aboriginal populations, we are seeing demographic change unequaled in the past. While this is reminiscent of the settlement era, it is different, in that it is primarily urban based, there are very large numbers of people involved, it is happening now, and for better or for worse, this change is taking place very rapidly – and it is very visible in all walks of life. The media is full of stories about newcomers and First

Nations, Métis and others who are included in the population transition. Opinions are being formed about the many based on the activities of the few, and positive stories are in the minority of things we hear about. Given the changes taking place, it is time to reconsider and improve our approach to multiculturalism, diversity and inclusivity. And - that is exactly what SaskCulture and the organizations it funds are doing. We are looking at what pulls us together rather than what pushes us apart. We are creating venues for dialogue, hosting a range of opportunities to build understanding and trust and we are focusing our efforts on being inclusive, representative and able to learn from each other by doing things together. In seeking out the things we have in common, and by working together, stronger relationships are forged, better communication takes place, and our communities become healthier, happier and more diverse. One of the things we hold in common around the world is creative expression – specifically dance. All cultures dance in one form or another – and today in Saskatchewan we have an opportunity to showcase the different forms of dance as being unique as well as having ideas and inspiration to blend and develop something together that includes a range of cultural dance influences together– a synergy

for the Love of Dance


“Dance reflects a way to be connected to our culture and therefore give us a sense of belonging. It is a way that we can share a part of ourselves with family and those who bear witness to our story through dance. It builds bridges between cultures because inevitably the beat of the music resonates with that of our heart. This is why we dance.” JANNICA | METIS DANCE DSI MEMBER

for the Love of Dance

everyone can dance.”


for the Love of Dance

“Sometimes words are not The The “Sometimes words are enough. not enough. stories we we have, the experiences to be able stories have, the experiences to be able to communicate beyond differences, to communicate beyond differences, beyond language barriers, beyond any kinds beyond language barriers, beyond any kinds of misunderstanding is through dance because of misunderstanding is through dance because everyone can dance.”



“I enjoy music, I have always loved music. I dance purely for the loved fun of it.” “I enjoy music, I have always music.

developed by mixing and blending. A metaphor of human interaction. The inclusion of cultural expression through dance, as well as a welcome for all at Dance Saskatchewan as part of our Diversity Plan, enables the creation, celebration and presentation of unique and different types of expression. This becomes a great source of interest, intrigue and excitement as well as a way to promote inclusion, change and positive evolution. In 2013 SaskCulture Inc. challenged its cultural funding beneficiaries to expand their focus to increasing cultural diversity in their organizations as a part of a 3-year pilot program. Dance Saskatchewan Inc. raised their hand, we were ready, able and already on the right path. The changing communities in Saskatchewan points to the need for cultural organizations, and the community sector as a whole, to focus on expanding programming, vision, mission and representation to include First Nations, Metis and newcomers. In taking on this challenge, one of the key considerations was the willingness of board and staff to commit additional time to undertake stakeholder consultation, explore the expansion of partnerships and

for the Love of Dance


for the Love of Dance

SHERI-LYNN | LYRICAL DANCE I dance purely for the fun of it.” DSI MEMBER

engage a growingly diverse population in a process that ensures that Dance Saskatchewan is both inclusive and diverse in all aspects of its mandate to advance dance in Saskatchewan. The program is not structured. SaskCulture has encouraged each of the 5 organizations to identify their own priority areas and has provided the assistance of Flo Frank, Diversity Project Consultant. Even the organizations involved are diverse. The Saskatchewan Writer’s Guild was a leader in undertaking inclusion and a focus on diversity long before SaskCulture formalized a Diversity Pilot Project. Joining the Writers’ Guild and Dance Saskatchewan in the initial pilot are the Saskatchewan Band Association, the Saskatchewan Libraries Association and the Saskatchewan Multicultural Association. Each of the 5 organizations participating in the pilot were asked to identify their priority areas, and with the help of consultant Flo Frank, Board and Staff undertook to set strategic priorities that ensured diversity, inclusion and equity. Dance Saskatchewan had commenced the process prior to starting the pilot project. The process focused on a comprehensive assessment of the Board of Directors to ensure that the leadership itself was inclusive and diverse. “Through Lion Dancing I’ve had an opportunity to learn about my parents’ culture and through extension, my own culture. Growing up in Canada, you aren’t always exposed to that. Dance is one way for me to partake in culture.”




for the Love of Dance


“Dance is a way for me to express myself and “Dance is aI just waylisten for meto to the express myself and be happy. rhythm of the be happy. just listen thestress rhythm of the music and it Itakes awaytoany I have.” music andDitE Ktakes away any stress I have.” ONTEE | AFRICAN DANCE D E K O NDT S E EI M | E AM F RBI E CR AN DANCE DSI MEMBER

f oror the Dance f the Love Love ofDance

Although the SaskCulture priority for its organizations was the inclusion of First Nations, Metis and Newcomers, both in decision making and programs, the Dance Saskatchewan board broadened its focus to also address age, gender and persons with a disability. The board also assessed access to dance with an assessment of opportunities in both urban and rural areas. At the January 2015 strategic planning session, both board and staff worked to ensure that they were satisfied that both financial and human resources were in place to support the celebration of diversity through increased performance opportunities, an expansion of outreach programming and increased efforts to partner with other organizations outside of the arts and culture sector. Dance Saskatchewan’s key priorities included: - Board and staff that are leading by example with formal policy changes that invite First Nations, Metis, Newcomers, youth leaders and seniors into the decision making process. - Engagement of First Nations, Metis and Newcomers in an active role within the organization’s program planning and delivery. - An emphasis on partner development with arts educators working within the school system to support dance education that is collaborative and inclusive. - Undertaking a visual awareness campaign that identifies our commitment to inclusion and diversity under the name of ‘for the love of dance’.

katoon as well as part of our website and social media. - A formal partnerships has been formed with the ‘Global Gathering Place’ to expand Newcomer involvement in a governance role as well as enable the organization to utilize space for dance program initiative. - Dance Saskatchewan has undertaken a successful school based residency within Living Sky School Division for the delivery of programs that enhance Treaty Education as part of the curriculum. - Dance Saskatchewan has partnered with Live Arts to deliver a school based collaborative program with a partnership between a First Nations artist and a contemporary dancer in northern Saskatchewan. - Dance Saskatchewan has formalized a partnership with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and Sunchild Law for the continued presentation of Silent Survivors through the next year. - Dance Saskatchewan has collaborated with the Saskatchewan Craft Council and the Saskatchewan Children’s Festival for the inclusion of diverse dance programming at other events where family and communities gather together. At the present time, a total of 32 different dance genres are represented within the Dance Saskatchewan membership. A focus on collaboration, sharing and celebrating our diversity will remain our priority as we move forward, for the love of dance.u Visit the Dance Saskatchewan Inc. website, www.dancesask.com, and the Dance Saskatchewan Centre, 205A Pacific Ave, to see more im-

After year one of Dance Saskatchewan’s involvement in the project, we are pleased to have completed the following: - Dance Saskatchewan has launched the ‘for the love of dance’ campaign and is shared at the DSI Centre in Sas-

ages of DSI members. Photo Info - Photographer - Ken Greenhorn, Director - Adrienne Collins Bretell, Stylist - Kelly Van Damme, Design - Steph Gilchrist and Adrienne Collins Bretell



Witch Hunt 2007 Photo Credit - Marcia Provenzano

20 Years of Free Flow Dance An Interview with Jackie Latendresse

Interview by Dance Saskatchewan’s Adrienne Collins Bretell




met with Jackie Latendresse at her dance studio in Saskatoon on an early spring day. I had been to the space before but on that day I knew I was going to get a full tour, which was almost as exciting as the interview. Free Flow Dance Centre is an old church, just off the beaten path in downtown Saskatoon, which has been converted into fabulous dance and performance space. Upstairs the walls have been painted lilac purple and a light blue and canary red curtains are hung over the windows. Jackie shows me several nooks upstairs, one being her office and another being a space they can serve drinks and snacks from. I’m lead to the Centre’s basement, which serves as a gathering area for performers and also Jackie’s personal space. As you walk in, a large church kitchen is in one corner and a plethora of costumes and props line most of the walls. Years of creative expression make themselves known as I take a quick mental inventory of the costumes: colourful and patterned bras, Santa suits, sequence and feathers. Jackie also shows me her personal space, which is just tucked away behind a curtain. I immediately know that we have moved into a place of relaxation – where a creative mind goes to recharge. We sit down to chat and Jackie comforts me “don’t worry I’ve done hundreds of these!” So we begin. Dance Saskatchewan - Could you introduce yourself and your dance company for the readers? Jackie Latendresse - My name is Jackie Latendresse and I

am the Artistic Director and founder for Free Flow Dance Theatre. Free Flow Dance was founded in 1995 and this year we are celebrating our 20-year anniversary. We’re pretty excited about that. DS - How would you describe what you do in Free Flow Dance Theatre? JL - Free Flow is a contemporary dance theatre company. We focus on creating original works and also presenting other people’s work, mostly Canadian and local Saskatchewan artists. We like to work collaboratively in the community so we work with lots of other groups as well. We have a community workshop program that is a large part of our programming, where we do an educational component along with our performances. We aim to produce professional contemporary dance performances in the city of Saskatoon and beyond when possible. DS - Can you speak a little bit about your anniversary events? JL - We have a ton of events, some days I wonder how we fit them all in! We are really excited about sharing our history with the local community. We have planned a number of things including the Moving Pictures Archive Launch at Dance Saskatchewan.

Triptych 2010 Photo Credit - Marcia Provenzano



Harridan Plexus 1996

We’ll be doing a number of specialty workshops throughout the year - including The Brain Body Connection, which is a 12-week, free workshop for dancers, performers and movers of all types to get a little deeper into their idiom and work a little more personally in finding origins of authentic movement. That’s a special one that we are doing this year, we have started the workshop and it’s going really well and it’s been well attended so far. We also have Retrospective Remount program going on this year, where I’m gifting my choreography to the local community to use in their own shows. We will also be presenting the groups at our weekend dance celebration in the fall. DS – Can you speak a little bit more about your Retrospective Remount Program, what’s been happening with that? JL – Sure, it’s really just getting started! We’re working with a few different groups in the community, including Dance on the Prairies Youth Company, Desert Beats Belly Dance Company, Saskatoon Salsa Company, as well as Ashley Berrns’ Dance Ink. We also have the Free Flow Dance Theatre students involved in one of the remounts. We are remounting pieces from the company repertoire from the past 20 years – going as far back as 1995. It’s a variety; it’s like a little snapshot of all the different sort of



styles and types of work that has been presented over the past 2 decades. For me it’s been a really exciting process to go through my material and deciding what piece will be suitable for what group and what piece they might be interested in remounting. Also making selections to give a bit of a timeline for the company for the final dance celebration weekend. DS – You mentioned it earlier, can you talk a little bit about the archival process, partially funded by The Sask Archives Board, at Dance Saskatchewan? JL – It started last year, we began the process of sorting through and archiving the photography from not only the performances but also the promotional photography, company photos, a few from fundraisers. Getting a general overview of things that have happened, events, parties, and performances and using that as a starting point for archiving the company. Now that that initial part has been completed we were really excited to launch that part of the process at the Dance Saskatchewan Centre. Obviously there will be more photographs; we’re still a functioning company. It’s been interesting and very valuable, for me as an artist, to go through my body of work. It’s affirming to know how much work has actually been generated. Luckily I’m a bit of an amateur archivist. I keep everything, programs

and pictures of us having a pit stop on the road. I feel very fortunate to be able to go through that material and remember my roots and accurately reflect on how far the company has come over the past 20 years. The archival process, for me, has been really valuable in seeing what direction we are heading in for the future. DS – In your eyes, how is the dance community different now than it was 20 years ago when you were just starting your company? In general I’m a little concerned about the funding for dance, it actually use to be a lot higher. Some of the major companies can’t get funding anymore; they are capped for funding. It is a little worrisome that some of our historical and senior artists are in danger of disappearing. That being said there have been leaps and bounds in terms of new companies emerging and new ways of connecting, the biggest one being the Internet. I think as far as connectivity between choreographers, dancers and other artists, the Internet has made a huge impact in the last 20 years that would be one of the main things. One of the things that I do find is that contemporary dance as a label for dance, it’s almost obsolete, the definition of it changes weekly and daily so we find that the terminology when we are trying to promote is that people want you to be much more specific now in terms of what you are doing. Which is partially why we use the word theatre in our dance company name because we work with theatrical performances. One of my influences as an emerging choreographer was the traditional German dance theatre and how they pare it down to the essential dance elements. I’ve always loved that type of work and

I’m sure it’s influenced me over the years as a choreographer. Looking back as some of my original works, a few decades ago, there are hits and misses. It’s a great learning tool; you look at the pieces that are still totally socially and politically relevant today, even though they were created almost 20 years ago. Some of them definitely have a dated feel to them, but in a way I think that’s interesting to people who are not familiar with the historical aspect of dance and the development of contemporary dance in Canada. Some of them are influenced by choreographers that were really famous at the time. I’m remounting a piece entitled “Laughing,” heavily influenced by Yvonne Rainer who was very popular when I was at University and quite inspirational to me. Of course I was heavily influenced by Danny Grossman as well, I was taught by one of his company dancers Judith Miller, and he visited the University and his company came on a regular basis. The first time I ever saw his piece “Triptych” it just blew my mind, and here we are two decades later and we have licensed his work and we performed it on National Dance Day – it’s an international renowned piece, it’s just extremely exciting to see where I started and the influences I have had are still cohesively following me throughout my career.u For full details of Free Flow Dance Theatre events, including the Gala on Nov 6,7,8 at the Refinery Theatre in Saskatoon, please visit www.freeflowdance.com Free Flow’s 20 years of archived marterials are available at the Dance Saskatchewan Centre in Saskatoon

Back Alley Antics 2007



Inspired by Nature Fashion and Choreography Written by Eva Vas



et’s begin this short article with a source of inspiration for my work as fashion designer and choreographer: the beautiful King bird-of-paradise. When you look at this miracle of Mother Nature, blessed with bright colours and desire to perform its rhythmic dance on stage, you cannot help but be amazed. What I find truly satisfying, however, is the effect on the viewer; to please and delight people with a swirling palette of bright hues is to transmit something special indeed.


member the moments when you feel most comfortable and smile the most genuinely? This is the true touch of Mother Nature, and the feeling that I hope to pass on to the audience. At these moments, we are transported away from everyday problems and exist totally in the present. As a designer, I create for my own satisfaction, but I also believe what I present can become an inspiration for the audience and customer. Every relationship is one of giving and receiving.

This is one of the reasons why I enjoy being a costume designer and choreographer at the same time. Let’s take a closer look at this bird and how he takes to his role on the stage. He is an engineer of sorts, as he chooses and prepares the location for his courting ritual. He cleans the area of stray twigs and grass, grooms himself and waits for the audience to arrive. When I select fabrics for costumes I design, as I touch them I might imagine a carnival in Venice or a lively salsa beat. Who wouldn’t love to prepare and perform a dance like this bird-of-paradise does, with no inhibition or fear of rejection? Although we cannot fly, we are fortunate enough to have the ability to change our costume.

For me, dance and costume is not only a display of beauty and the power of attraction, but also a invitation to healthy, whole way of living. The king Birdof-paradise is a vibrant example of nature in all its power and purity...who can remain unmoved by this powerful elixir of life? Just as we are able to admire nature’s works, so should we be free to inspire young and old with our own version of this dance of life.u

Truthfully, it is nature who is the great designer. Re-

Eva Vas Opinion Atelier / fashion designer opinionatelier.com Latin Soul / choreographer & dance instructor latin-soul-dance-studio.ca



Three Decades of Dancewear By Jennifer Daly I

It was way back in 1985 that Dancer’s Den Dancewear originally opened its doors. Yes, the mid-eighties, think scrunchies, acid washed jeans and boom boxes – a long time ago. “It’s been an interesting journey”, says Jim Ritenburg the original owner and operator. “Being in business for thirty years, you get to know a few things about the dance scene in Regina and Saskatchewan.” Jim and his Dancer’s Den staff have witnessed many changes over the years: dance studios have opened and closed, competitors have come and gone, some long-time suppliers have been out-lived, dance trends have risen in popularity and then faded, some trends like square dancing, breakdancing, clogging are just waiting to be rediscovered. (And when they are, Dancer’s Den will undoubtedly be the first to start stocking crinolines and clogging shoes again). Through it all Dancer’s Den Dancewear has evolved to match the changes in the industry and meet the needs of their customers. It’s likely accurate to say that Jim Ritenburg “just happened” into the dancewear business. It was not part of a long term plan. The store started out in a 500 square foot space, a room really, on the second floor of a building in Regina’s old warehouse district. Cash, cheques and the occasional “Chargex” card were the primary forms of payment. With a combination of a little luck and a great willingness to learn what the customers wanted, a few years later the store was able to move to the main floor of the same building, a space with significantly more retail exposure. Those were the “aerobic days”– Jane Fonda, Richard Simmons, Jazzercise – to name just a few. Hum a few bars of “Let’s Get Physical” to help you remember the matching headbands, legwarmers, paisley printed bodysuits and coordinating tight pants. Most of the sales growth in those days was related to aerobics. Dancewear was still a significant part of the business, but the aerobics craze was leading sales. By the time Dancer’s Den moved to its current location in the early 90s, the market was changing and aerobic wear as a fashion statement was fading. The dancewear business, like dance itself, has always been marked by things that change constantly and things



that never change. For example, pointe shoes and ballet slippers haven`t really changed at all in 30 years, maybe even 100 years for that matter. They really are made today essentially the same way they were made then. There certainly have been new models and designs, but for the most part they are unchanged. On the other hand, thirty years ago Lycra was just being introduced. Shiny stretchy Lycra tight pants were the fashion. Manufacturers were just learning how to blend Lycra with cotton. Now it is an everyday fabric blend, but it was quite new then. Thirty years ago nylon body suits were the order of the day, hot and itchy! Now we have microfiber choices that have replaced those old nylon suits, much nicer, and much more comfortable. When asked how he has stayed in business so long Jim admits that it has been a challenge, “probably the greatest single challenge going back 10 to 20 years was just staying in business. The economy in the 80’s and 90’s was tough, not anything like it has been in the last few years. It was a struggle to stay in business; determination and perseverance were the order of the day”. And today? He says, “I think the greatest challenge going forward for Dancer’s Den Dancewear is remaining relevant and valuable to our customers. That sounds a bit lofty, but it’s really true in today’s world of cross-border and online shopping”. It is important to Dancer’s Den to help their customers understand that the store and the staff add value to all transactions. It is knowledge, experience, a willingness to help, and on-hand inventory that add value to each and every purchase. While Dancer’s Den admits they may not always have the cheapest price, they do always offer the very best value. Whether it is product support and service or simply as a source of advice, Dancer’s Den Dancewear really does strive for excellence with every sale. Dancer’s Den has kept up to technology advances over the years and recognizes that technology today plays a vital role in doing business. The store has provided online service for over a decade now. While it has changed the way customers are reached, it hasn’t changed the level of service. The staff are just as likely to pick up the phone to

clarify “You ordered online a particular shoe, but do you need the taps too?” For Dancer’s Den Dancewear online shopping is just another avenue for service. From a personal perspective for Jim and many of his longtime staff members, the most significant and meaningful aspect of the last thirty years has been the relationships that they have developed. Certainly with customers, but also with many of the store’s suppliers. They have come to know the suppliers and their families personally and understand what they as suppliers struggle with and in the end have come to count them as friends. Jim also credits as equally significant the relationship between ownership and staff. Early on Jim learned “I cannot do it without our staff”. The store has been blessed over the years to have a dedicated and loyal staff. In this day and age, that is in and of itself a remarkable and significant part of the business.

a rich history of dance in many forms from ballet right through to square dancing, along with lots of different ethnic forms. It is the teachers that help fulfill the dreams of the young up-and-coming dancers. Without them there would be no classes, no dancers and no need for dancewear. Jim says that, “Saskatchewan has produced an extraordinary number of dancers and performers over 30 years. I was once told that per capita the number of dancers in Saskatchewan was the highest in the country. We have a tendency to celebrate our successful performers and artists a little more than other places. We are proud of our dancers.” Dancer’s Den is proud to serve a new crop of those young dancers every year. The enthusiasm they have to start out their dance careers keeps Dancer’s Den ownership and staff young and each new dance season renews their own passion for the industry and all of its wonderful qualities. Dancer’s Den Dancewear is located at 1630 Albert Street, Regina. u

The other great relationships developed over the years have been with the dance teachers. Saskatchewan has



DSI Information

Dance Saskatchewan is a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of dance. www.dancesask.com Our Vision

To create a viable, unified organization which represents and advocates dance interest. To foster a respect and acceptance of dance which encourages free expression of cultural identity. To establish a vibrant environment for dance which cultivates performance opportunities, stimulates employment, and celebrates heritage and cultural diversity.

Our Purpose To support and enhance the development of all dance forms. To preserve, promote, and represent dance in Saskatchewan. To educate about dance. To encourage a passion for dance. To provide a multidisciplinary centre that focuses on dance, integrates related art forms, with expanded opportunities in a wellness environment.

Membership Information Dance Saskatchewan offers many benefits to its members. If you are an amateur or professional dancer, a dance club or studio, or someone involved in the dance community with an interest in any style of dance, there is a reason for you to consider becoming a member. Members receive the footNOTES publication twice a year and have opportunities to submit articles and advertising to the magazine. Members also receive discounts on all of our services, as well as on DSI sponsored workshops and events. Our members have access to the DSI resource centre which is the largest lending library of dance materials in Canada. Members are eligible to apply for grants and scholarships, reduced rates on SOCAN license fees (www.socan.ca), Canadian Dance Assembly (www.dancecanada.net) and much more! Visit our website for more information, www.dancesask.com. For a complete list of DSI Staff and the Board of Directors visit www.dancesask.com Hours of Operation Monday - Friday 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM Evenings and weekends scheduled around studio rental

205A Pacific Avenue Saskatoon, SK S7K 1N9 (306) 931-8480 dancesask@sasktel.net

This publication was lovingly designed and edited for you by Adrienne Collins Bretell, Marketing & Communications Director of Dance Saskatchewan Inc. If you are interested in contributing to footNOTES with an article about dance or information that is relevant to dance professionals and enthusiasts, we’d love to hear from you. If you or your company is interested in advertising in footNOTES, please contact DSI for availability and fees. Thank you for reading and for your committment to the advancement of dance!




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Dance on the Saskatchewan Mark your calendars and plan to attend one or ALL of these events at the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan site in Saskatoon this summer. Monday July 13th – Dance Party Extravaganza Come join us for a dance party on the river bank! This social dance evening will feature live bands and a DJ! Sets will include Big Band sounds, Latin, Swing, Jive, Line Dance, and more! Come ready to DANCE! Monday July 20th – That’s Entertainment! An evening devoted to celebrating the magic of Musical Theatre Monday July 27th – Welcome to the Bazaar A night of Oriental and Asian, Tribal Fusion and American Tribal Style Belly Dance fused with live music and acrobatic interludes. Monday August 10th – Embracing Diversity A night celebrating the diversity of dance in Saskatchewan featuring a cultural mosaic of a variety of dance genres. Monday August 17th – For the Love of Dance Featuring the work of emerging and professional choreographers and dancers in Saskatchewan. A variety of new contemporary works, established cultural genres, spoken word, live music and more!

All events at 7:30 pm with Pre-Show entertainment at 6:45 pm Adult Tickets $20, Seniors and Youth $15 Tickets available at the Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Festival box office or by calling the box office 306-652-9100 Image - 2014 Dance on the Saskatchewan Photo Credit - Ken Greenhorn

Profile for Dance Saskatchewan

2015 summer footNOTES  

footNOTES is a biannual publication that highlights and celebrates the advancement of dance in Saskatchewan, Canada, and internationally.

2015 summer footNOTES  

footNOTES is a biannual publication that highlights and celebrates the advancement of dance in Saskatchewan, Canada, and internationally.


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