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ISSUE • MARCH • Alonzo King LINES Ballet + / Season + Night Moves + more
Alonzo King LINES Ballet Resin + Scheherazade March 9 + 10 • Fri + Sat • 7:30 pm Royal Theatre
LINES Ballet’s Victor Mateos Arellano. Photo © RJ Muna
Running time (including intermission): Approx. 2 hours
Videos, + photos fo in e r mo web on the
Footnotes • Issue • March
Scheherazade, Master Storyteller
Known primarily for the mid-to-large scale classical and contemporary dance it brings to Victoria each season, Dance Victoria is also very active in its community as producer of Dance Days each January and by oﬀering bursaries, scholarships, workshops and the annual Chrystal Dance Prize from its headquarters at the distinctive Dance Victoria Studios. Dance Victoria is governed by a Board of Directors that includes: President
Dr. Jennifer Charlesworth
Carlos MacDonald Helen McAllister Jean McRae Gail Maier Deborah Wakeham
Administrator Bill Hamar Development Tony Cheong Manager Production Manager
Dance Victoria Studios: Suite – Quadra Street Victoria, BC VT E -- DanceVictoria.com Footnotes is written by Stephen White (unless otherwise noted) and proofed by Anne Moon.
of the same name. Scheherazade is the “frame” story for One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of Arabic, Persian, Indian, Turkish and Egyptian folk tales written over several centuries. In the story, the King of Persia marries a new virgin each day and the next morning has her beheaded, motivated by the hurt and anger he felt when he learned of his first wife’s infidelity. Scheherazade, a young, well educated woman, arranged to spend a night with the King. After love-making she asked that she be able to bid farewell to her sister in the King’s chambers. The sister had been secretly coached to ask for a final story from Scheherazade. As she told her story, the King lay awake and became fascinated, but just before dawn, Scheherazade broke off the story, saying she would have to continue the following evening. Her life was spared. And so it went for , nights, until in the end, the King fell in love with Scheherazade. Alonzo King does not try to replicate this narrative in his forty-five minute ballet. Instead, he says, “My intention was to grapple with the metaphysical meaning behind Scheherazade and present that meaning in its essence.” For King, the protagonist is a saviour figure. He says, “She weaves stories not to save her own life, but to save humanity from its unending retributive response to injury.” Threads of the story are present in King’s work, especially in the beginning. The first scene opens with a pas de deux: A woman dances for her life as the King overpowers her. She is carried limp and lifeless from the stage. Moments later, the upstage curtain parts: A woman enters walking downstage where she is met by three other dancers. In the dance that follows, the women come together in a circle of light. Scheherazade emerges, empowered. The king enters and an intensely dramatic dance ensues—a kind of cat and mouse, provoke and respond. Zakir Hussain, recognized as a master tabla (Indian drum) player, has composed a score that is inspired by the Rimsky-Korsakov symphonic suite (). As is usual with all of King’s choreography, the dance is very responsive to the music. The other piece on the program, Resin (), features a haunting, somewhat exotic score set to Sephardic music: Judeo-Spanish songs with Moroccan and Arabic influences. Early-music artist, Jordi Savali was a collaborator on this project and has interwoven some rare field recordings of singers with more available tracks. The music helps create an atmospheric “otherworld” that is largely unfamiliar but compelling and rich to the western ear. King himself was interested in resin, a much valued product in middle-eastern cultures. He says, “When people harvest resin, they wound the trees repeatedly to bleed them of their gum, slashing the bark and allowing the exuded resins to bleed out and harden. The harden resins are called tears.” (We know it as amber.) In this work, the tears are manifested in the most extraordinary way at the end of the piece as two hundred pounds of salt rain down on two dancers, cascading over their moving bodies, shattering into shards of light that engulf the stage. Together the two pieces demonstrate King’s interest in pushing the limits of ballet as we know it. More than any other living choreographer, he uses ballet as an expressive dance form, in other words he choreographs ballet as if it were modern dance. It is as far removed from the rigid codified movements of the French court as it can be. FN
LINES Ballet’s Michael Montgomery in Resin. Photo © RJ Muna.
LINES Ballet’s Scheherazade () takes its inspiration from the ancient story
Make Up Your Mind, Dance Victoria!
Dance Victoria Studio News January and early February were humming here at Dance Victoria Studios. Our favourite day was Wednesday, February . At mid-day a posse of dedicated volunteers helped us transport the Ballet Nacional de Cuba dancers from the Empress Hotel to the studios so the company could do a class. Dancers at this level must train everyday regardless of whether they are performing that night, so their muscles remain stretched and limber. Our volunteer chauffeurs’ only reward was to sit around the edges of the studio and watch class. First the men and then the women stood at their portable barres, sinking into deep pliés, reaching and bending at the waist, extending first their arms and then their legs, feet and toes to the ceiling. Our ten or so drivers came out of the studio two hours later with eyes as big as saucers, one of them saying “Now I have truly lived!” Meanwhile in the adjacent studio, our Koreans (Kyung Eun Lee and Ryung Eun Kwan) were in the final rehearsals of a new piece they were creating with Victoria-based dancer Jung-ah Chung, supported by Dance Victoria’s Chrystal Dance Prize. And downstairs, in Studio , our company in residence, Vancouver’s Science Friction, was also rehearsing. I stood for a moment alone in the upper lobby to take it all in. In that moment, I saw the future and I told myself. “It is possible to make Victoria an international destination for the support, creation and development of dance!” As lofty as the ambition sounds, for these few hours it seemed to be very real indeed.
Science Friction. Photo © Chris Randle; Alonzo King. Photo © RJ Muna
Staring into the Chrystal Dance Victoria is now accepting applications for its annual Chrystal Dance Prize. It’s a sizeable award ($14,000), which will be provided to one applicant. The Prize was developed to support a proposal from either an emerging or a mid-career dance artist who has a plan to work or train outside Canada. Emerging dance artists who have been accepted at an accredited institution can apply to have their cost-ofliving and tuition subsidized. Mid-career artists are encouraged to develop a unique project with an international artist. Go to DanceVictoria.com to read the guidelines and download an application form.
It’s like a crummy relationship. On again, off again. I am referring to the news about our newsletter. In our Spring House Program and in email correspondence with many of you last month we told you there would be no more newsletters this year. We decided to cut costs, save trees and move into the 21st century. But then a little time passed. We got thinking, Tony and I. We both feel very strongly that the newsletter is a very important way for us to keep you informed of our plans, thoughts and ideas and to share our interest in the art form and the milieu. We think that over the years, the printed newsletter has created a sort of culture around our organization so we are very reluctant to give it up even though it’s old fashioned. Besides, if we stop printing this newsletter who else will ever publish me? (Stephen) The amazing part of this story is that when they heard of our intention to cancel our newsletter this season, two of our most important partners stepped forward to help us out—Rayola Creative (which designs each newsletter) and Fastrac Mail Service (who mails it for us) agreed to design, print and prepare this last issue of / free. A huge thank you to both of these companies. Clearly Tony and I will need to be dragged, kicking and screaming into the new world of iPhones and apps. FN
Pre-Show Chats Join us in the lobby at 6:50 pm prior to both performances of LINES Ballet for a pre-show chat with Alonzo King and learn more about the two pieces on the evening’s program and King’s approach to making ballets. There will be time, also, for your questions.
Footnotes • Issue • March
/ Subscription Season Afraid to Commit?
All Subscribers Save %
Have you ever bought season tickets and then had to skip half the shows because something unexpected came up? Introducing the new 100 Flexible 2012/13 Dance Victoria Subscription. Can’t make it to a show? Call us and with at least 72 hours notice we can exchange your ticket for another show or give you a full refund. Yes, that’s right, a refund.* So now you can buy your subscription and get the best seats available with confidence knowing we’re standing by to take care of any changes you need to make at any time throughout the coming 18 months.
Our Ensemble Subscribers (those people who buy all five performances in our season) will soon be receiving letters in the mail inviting them to renew their seats for our exciting / season. Ensemble Subscribers get the added benefit of retaining their seats year to year. Our Design-Your-Own-Series subscribers (those who buy three or more performances) will be able to begin buying their subscription packages on Tuesday, March but once again this season, you’re invited to jump the queue….
*Exchanges and refunds must be completed 72 hours prior to the first performance. Returns subject to a small handling fee.
This year we have crafted a season like no other, ﬁlled with dynamic choreography from Canada, Israel, Spain, New Zealand and the U.S. Our presentations have stunning production values, and the world’s best dancers—quality you can’t experience anywhere else on Vancouver Island.
Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (Montréal) November + , • : pm • Royal Theatre 40th Anniversary Program (12 dancers) Les Ballets Jazz broke with convention when it exploded on the Montréal scene 40 years ago. In Victoria, the company will present three dynamic works choreographed by Spain’s Cayetano Soto, Vancouver’s Wen Wei Wang and Israel’s Barak Marshall.
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Dance Days February Dance Victoria’s annual celebration of dance includes 10 days of free classes workshops, premieres and performances in studios all over town.
(Montréal) February + , • : pm • McPherson Playhouse Gravity of Center (5 dancers) When RBDG played the Mac in it sold out and brought the audience to its feet with its fusion of ballet, contemporary dance and break-dancing. Gravity of Center explores the tension between scarcity and abundance and the need for the individual to belong yet remain aloof. A cascade of movement. Powerful.
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(Vancouver) February + , • : pm • McPherson Playhouse 25 Years of Dance • featuring Ballet Victoria (16 dancers) Choreographer Laughlin has been crafting award-winning dance works for a quarter of a century. Here he will remount three of his favourite short pieces as well as premiere a new work commissioned by Dance Victoria to be created on Ballet Victoria dancers. Humorous, touching, dark and tender.
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Jump the Queue Saturday, March 24 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm Dance Victoria Studios 2750 Quadra Street (near Hillside) FREE Parking Our popular pre-sale event at Dance Victoria Studios gives you the chance to grab the best seats before they go on sale. We’ll have two McPherson Box Oﬃce personnel on site to help you with your seat selection and process your order. DV staﬀ will be on hand to answer questions you might have about any of the shows on the upcoming season. We’ll have coﬀee, tea and treats.
A World Awaits
Paciﬁc Northwest Ballet
(Seattle) February + , • : pm • Royal Theatre Balanchine, Robbins, Wheeldon (16 Dancers) One of North America’s finest ballet companies returns to Victoria with a stunning program that includes signature works by Balanchine (Apollo, Agon), Robbins (Afternoon of a Faun) and Wheeldon (After the Rain). Perfect poise and technique.
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(Auckland) March + , • : pm • Royal Theatre Mixed Repertoire (12 Dancers) New Zealand’s leading contemporary dance company fuses Maori and Samoan traditional dances with modern dance to create an extraordinarily dynamic form. Percussive, masculine, powerful—like thunder rolling across the sky.
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Vancouver’s Goh Ballet + Victoria Symphony with Special Guest Stars Nov. to Dec. , • : pm // Dec. + , • : pm • Royal Theatre Back by popular demand—opulent costumes, gorgeous sets, local dancers and guest appearances by renowned dance artists and Tchaikovsky’s brilliant score played live by the Victoria Symphony. This is the Nutcracker dreams are made of.
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Footnotes • Issue • March
Dance Seen By Stephen White I crave rich conversations about dance and the state of the art form. That’s why over the past eight years the Presenter Weekend event that we produce in Victoria has become my favourite weekend of the year—better even than Christmas, my birthday and yes, my half-birthday (November , if you must know). This year there were fourteen of us. It was the morning of February . My colleagues, dance presenters like me, had flown into Victoria from across the country. We had people from Montreal, Toronto, Regina, Edmonton and of course Vancouver. Two special guests from Berlin also joined us—one a cultural attaché at the Canadian Embassy and the second a mentor for emerging dance artists who gives choreographers their first professional experience. Our weekend here in Victoria would comprise a series of studio showings—west coast dance artists whose work excited me, selected and brought to Victoria because I wanted to share them with my colleagues. There would be six showings at the studios over Saturday and Sunday, and then on Sunday evening, we would see premieres of new works by local artists whom Dance Victoria had supported through its LOLA Projects and Chrystal Dance Prize programs. So here we were, on that Saturday morning, crowded elbow to elbow around my extended dining room table. We had just gorged ourselves on a beautiful brunch prepared by Bill and the plates were being cleared from the table. I had been thinking for some weeks what we needed to talk about as a group so I launched in. It went something like this: I asked my colleagues how we, as presenters, as tastemakers in our communities, could be generous in this current culture of scarcity. The public may see us as promoters who buy and sell shows, but our responsibility is much larger. There are a lot of dance artists in this country but few presenters. As presenters, therefore, we have an incredible influence on an artist’s career if we choose or choose not to include them in our seasons.
How can we ensure that the art form continues to develop and grow (thrive even) and that Canadian artists are supported? The landscape has shifted so dramatically: A collision of forces really, the advent of the digital age; a growing Groupon mentality (nothing is valued except the deal); recession; shrinking government budgets; rising costs. In Canada, we presenters feel squeezed from every side. It was terrific to have our Berlin colleagues at the table to bring their perspective to the conversation. Over the past decade, in that city, the federal and city governments have invested heavily in arts infrastructure, building theatres, dance studios, galleries and whole arts complexes in industrial yards and factories that had been long abandoned by the communist regime of East Berlin. The city itself is bankrupt and has little direct funding to offer individual artists but what Berlin has is dedicated, beautiful working space, exhibition venues and performance space. And culture is thriving. The dance milieu is vibrant. The work is exciting. In our current situation, I thank our lucky stars that Dance Victoria has its studios. At least there is a house or home for dance creation. With that part of the puzzle in place, the rest is just ingenuity and money. The weekend that followed was as rich and full as the conversation that got us started. We spent two days here at the studios and saw exciting work from young Vancouver companies, Out Innerspace and The Collective. Dance Victoria’s / Artist in residence, Joe Laughlin talked about plans for his retrospective show next season. The Koreans, Kyung Eun Lee and Ryung Eun Kwan danced a beautiful contemporary interpretation of a traditional Korean dance. Seattle’s Olivier Wevers, former principal dancer with Pacific Northwest Ballet, showed some outrageous and overtly sexual work danced on point and Science Friction, our resident company, presented sections of the work they had been developing in our studios. The whole piece, called Something(s) Relative, premiered in Vancouver two weeks later. The notion of generosity in a culture of scarcity and of ingenuity over money will be with us for several years to come. It will be interesting to look back in five years and see what progress we’ve made as a community. FN
At Dance Victoria’s Annual General Meeting on Sunday, November 27, the members voted to nominate new Board member Gail Maier as a Director. We’re very excited to have Gail working with us. She has 25 years of senior management experience in advertising, marketing and ﬁnancial services, having held leadership positions with Grey Advertising, Young & Rubicam, GE Capital and Bank of
America. She escaped the “big business” life and moved to the Cowichan Valley ten years ago. She enjoys gardening, travel, cycling and the performing arts. Gail is joining returning Board members Colleen Gibson (President), Jennifer Charlesworth (Vice President), Valerie Clarke (Treasurer), Jane Tice (Secretary) and Directors Carlos MacDonald, Helen McAllister, Jean McRae and Deborah Wakeham.
Photo: Benjamin Moore Photography
New Board Member Gail Maier
Tutu on the Tube By Anne Moon While little can surpass the thrill of a live dance performance, there are ways that we balletomanes can get our fix on the tube or the big screen, while we wait for the next Dance Victoria presentation. Knowledge Network recently showed the documentary, Les Ballets Russes, but you don’t have to wait for re-runs. Pic a Flic on Cook St. has the DVD—a glorius look at how Ballets Russes, made up primarily of exiled Russians, brought the art of ballet across borders and to America in the s, inspiring hundreds of little girls to take up their pointe shoes. Pic a Flic has the Royal Ballet’s Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Tales of Beatrix Potter and Romeo and Juliet and The Kirov’s The Sleeping Beauty. Tired of tutus? Try the Alvin Ailey or Dance Theater of Harlem films. But phone first to make sure they are in a format you can watch. Some of the older ones are only on video. Netflix.ca has a good selection of dance themed movies. There is the over-heated bio-pic, Margot, which implies that an affair between the married prima ballerina Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev put a new spring in her step, so to speak. Whatever… you see some fine dance performances as the story unfolds.
You can also find The Red Shoes with the fiery Moira Shearer on netflix, along with Black Swan and Mao’s Last Dancer. The Bolshoi’s splendid magnificence is on view on the big screen. Silver City at Tillicum Mall is running Le Corsaire on March . This is the ballet with the solo—man in blue with feathered headband—that usually stops the show when done in theatres. On April it offers Bright Stream, about life on a collective farm. According to a article in the Guardian, this is a ballet Stalin should have loved, with its dog on a bicycle and its dancing farmers. But “the ballet’s co-librettist, Adrian Piotrovsky, was sent to a gulag and never heard of again, while the creative career of its choreographer, Fedor Lopukhov, was all but terminated. (Dmitri) Shostakovich’s music was never again played during the Soviet era, beyond a heavily edited suite of his most popular tunes.” The comic ballet was exhumed a decade ago by red-hot choreographer Alexi Ratmansky (currently artist in residence at American Ballet Theater), and has been performed by ABT, among others. On June Silver City offers Raymonda—a classic from the th century, known for its glorious scenery and costumes. Finally, you can watch The Royal Birmingham Ballet’s version of Cinderella on line, at http://knowledge.ca/program/cinderella
Dance Victoria’s Raﬄe: Buy it On Line! We’ve taken a page from the BC Government and are now encouraging you to gamble on line! I’ve never seen a raffle with odds like this. As I write we’ve only sold tickets. Great odds for you—not so great for us. The money we raise from the raffle funds the bursaries we provide young dancers and other community programs. Tickets are only or a book of five is . You can purchase them online at www.DanceVictoria.com or call Tony at our office at --. The prizes are terrific. Top prize is five nights, return air, accommodation, daily breakfasts, architectural tours, event tickets in the great city of Chicago. Our trip organizer Bill has put together a lot of tours for us over the past seven or eight years. We’ve been to New York (many times), San Francisco, London, Paris, Cuba and now Spain, but honestly, our best organized and most fun has been Chicago. I mean it. Did you know Chicago claims to be the birthplace of the skyscraper? Our trip includes an architectural boat tour and a day in the Frank Lloyd Wright neighbourhood Oak Park, home to many of the houses he designed over several years. Second and third prize are not too shabby either: A Vancouver getaway compliments of Helijet Airways and the Rosedale on Robson and a Comox Valley weekend at the Old House (spa treatments, dinner, accommodation). We wish you all luck—but remember—you can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket! Go to www.DanceVictoria.com.
Pack Your Bags Dance Victoria’s popular travel raﬄe is back! This year’s prizes include: • Chicago: ﬁve nights in May . Includes return air, accommodation, daily breakfasts. Highlights include a day long tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s neighbourhood in Oak Park; an architectural boat tour on the Chicago River; tickets to the Joﬀrey Ballet; entry to the Art Institute of Chicago and more. • Vancouver Getaway: Fly Helijet to Vancouver and enjoy an overnight at the Rosedale on Robson and tickets to a fantastic dance performance from our friends at Dance House. • Comox Valley Getaway: Two nights in a deluxe studio room at The Old House Village Hotel and Spa including a one hour massage for two and a $ dinner voucher. Tickets are 10 each or a book of ﬁve for 40. Buy your raﬄe tickets on-line or call us at 250-595-1829 and order over the phone.
Footnotes • Issue • March
Victoria Really is Dedicated to Dance
With Regan McGrath
Dedicated to dance is the name we gave to our capital campaign when we launched it last August. The campaign was developed to raise the funds to outfit one of our studios with stage lighting, curtains, projection and enhanced sound. We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of this community. As of just a few weeks ago, we have reached and exceeded our goal of $100,000. We are very grateful not only to the many donors who stepped forward with their gifts but also the Department of Canadian Heritage, which committed over $38,000 to the project. And wouldn’t you know—it’s never enough! Once we reached the goal, Tony Cheong, our Development Manager, decided we should actually shoot for $110,000. No, it’s not that he’s never satisfied; It’s because after a little more research and consultation with the community he decided we really should purchase a more expensive high definition projector. It’s state of the art, not readily available in the community but soon to become the standard. It seemed nonsensical to buy a cheaper projector only to have it declared obsolete in two year’s time. So if you have been thinking about contributing to the development of this community asset, our new performance lab, there’s still time. Call Tony at 250-595-1829. We’d love to give you a tour. Work is already underway!
Over the past few months, inspired by research and investigation into how other major arts organizations reach out to young audiences (25 – 45 years old), DV supporter Lorna Harris has been laying the groundwork for an initiative we’re now calling Night Moves. Harris has brought new people to our organization to help organize events and recently, working with a graphic designer, developed a “brand identity” for Night Moves. Below are some notes prepared by Regan McGrath, one of the smart young professionals helping us make this happen. • The event: to gather together young people to introduce them to Dance Victoria, and encourage them to become avid patrons of dance. • Our group’s mandate: to engage our guests to support arts in Victoria, to energize the vitality of the Victoria dance scene, and ensure its sustainability. • The guests: the young audience group (as we were formerly known) asked invitees to attend because they stood out to our group as being arts leaders and appreciators in Victoria. We had dance as well as culinary, fashion and general arts appreciators in our midst at the first event—a post-show party following a Random Dance performance last October. The guests targeted were between 25 & 45—not your general idea of ‘young’ but when you consider the average person attending Dance Victoria shows are retired women over 55 years of age, our ‘young’ crowd is what we must look to properly achieve our mandate. • General points: Victoria was voted as one of the number one places in Canada to see dance. This prestige for our city is due to Dance Victoria’s existence and awesome delivery on their promise—to identify and enable the best dance shows in the world to perform on the stages of our city.
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• Next event: March 10. Our committee is refining an invitation list of who’s who in the younger crowd. Participants will be invited to a party after LINES Ballet at an undisclosed trendy spot. DJ, cocktails and the company’s dancers—great dance, great conversation—hip, downtown, what’s not to like?
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Dance Victoria's Footnotes 39 features Alonzo King LINES Ballet "Resin+Scheherazade" + more.