Footnotes Dance Victoria’s subscriber newsletter
ISSUE 58 • SUMMER 2018 • Special Issue + Choreographic Lab + Chrystal Dance Prize + Choreography Walk + more…
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Ana Lopez and Florian Lochner. Concept by Alejandro Cerrudo.. Photo © Quinn B Wharton
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Special Summer Issue
Developing the Art of Dance
2 Footnotes • Issue 58 • Summer 2018
Now in its 22nd Season, Dance Victoria, a non-proﬁt charitable society, brings the World’s Best Dance to the Royal Theatre and supports the development of new dance for the international stage from its studios in Quadra Village. DanceVictoria.com
Dance Seen Big and Small BY STEPHEN WHITE
Vice President René Peloquin Treasurer
Kristen Kitchen Kari McLay Andrew Newcombe Colin Nicol Kirsty Thomson Emily Zeng
Staff: Executive Producer
Bonnie Light Advertising
Events Manager Pamela Sanderson Hire a Somm If you’d like to volunteer for Dance Victoria please visit DanceVictoria.com and complete the online volunteer form. Studios and Office: 111 – 2750 Quadra Street Victoria, BC V8T 4E8 250-595-1829 DanceVictoria.com for trailers, tickets and more information This special issue of Footnotes is written by Stephen White and edited by Anne Moon.
AS USUAL, MY SUMMER has been ﬁlled with dance performances. On our hosted tour to New York in May we saw an “All Robbins” program performed by New York City Ballet. The standout was a piece Jerome Robbins had choreographed in 1969 to a dozen of Chopin’s Mazurkas and Waltzes entitled Dances at a Gathering. A solo piano on stage and ten dancers conﬁgured as couples, and small groups danced with deftness, beautiful line and commitment. Robbins wasn’t striving for deep meaning when he made this piece. Instead, he was interested in creating beautiful movement in response to Chopin’s music. The result was transformative. We’ve always included American Ballet Theater’s Spring Gala at the Metropolitan Opera House on our NY tour. Half the fun is arriving at Lincoln Center early to watch New York Society: Attractive women in beautiful gowns and handsome men in expensive suits strutting up the red carpet. But this year, the sparkle in the lobby didn’t transfer to the stage. The evening was ﬂat even though it included the world premiere of a new piece by Wayne McGregor. Set to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, McGregor’s AfterRite is a dark piece with a Sophie’s Choice story; an odd selection for a gala. The true highlight in NYC came on the last day when our group visited the impressive studios of Ballet Hispánico on the Upper East Side. After a short tour of the facility, we were ushered into a studio on the top ﬂoor where three members of the company (in full costume) danced sections of the company’s Carmen choreographed by Gustavo Ramírez Sansano. The intimacy of the studio, coupled with the dancers obvious skill and passion made this an unforgettable experience for the group. As we left the building, everyone was asking, “When are you bringing that to Victoria, Stephen?” Three nights later, a new tour group in tow, we sat shoulder-to-shoulder in a tightly packed tablao in Madrid enthralled by a passionate ﬂamenco performance by Marco Flores. Flores is a unique dancer who stretches the classic form of ﬂamenco, elongating movements and varying the tempo, bringing more texture and dimension to the dance. He also has a wink in his eye and slight smirk on his face while performing that seems to say “Gotcha!” Like he has ensnared us and we are submissive to his talent. We saw three more ﬂamenco shows on our Spanish tour. One, at a gritty neighbourhood bar in Sevilla, another on a large stage in a big hall in Jerez de la Frontera. In Granada we dined on an enormous patio, with the Alhambra towering above, and afterwards squeezed into a small theatre where we saw the most expressive guitarist whose instrument seemed to be melded with his body. In Madrid we also saw a triple bill performed by Compañia Nacional de Danza that included works by important choreographers Galili, Kylián and Duato. Each piece was so individual, it allowed us to not only marvel at the dancers’ technical skill but also their range. Soon after returning to the west coast, Bernard Sauvé and I attended Vancouver’s Dancing on the Edge’s 30th anniversary festival. The knockout piece for me was Wen Wei Wang’s Ying Yun, a tribute to his mother danced by ﬁve agile women. Another favourite was an intricate, gestural duet by Mahaila Patterson-O’Brien, a graduate of our ﬁrst Choreographic Lab. Famous for its mixed programs, the Edge has given many young artists their ﬁrst platform to show small works. While the pieces, in general, were uneven (they always are) I’m happy to say that there is a new and exciting generation of dancers, graduates from three strong training programs that are populating the stages of Vancouver, making it a very dynamic scene. We felt the potential. FN
Stephen White photo © Don Craig Photography
Dance Victoria Board:
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Dance Victoria’ s Second Annual Choreographic Lab change in her focus and approach to the work after the lab. I know she is also grateful for how much you pushed her and worked with her. She was recently accepted out of thousands of applicants around the world as one of the 25 dancers starting the contemporary dance program at SEAD, Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance in Austria this fall.”
I was recently copied on an email sent from a choreographer who participated in Dance Victoria‘s inaugural choreographic lab (July 2017) written to Artistic Director Wen Wei Wang: “I just wanted to take a moment to let you know how much of an impact the lab has made and you have made on my life. I have grown so much as a choreographer and teacher since then. There have been many pieces this year that I have created that I never thought possible. Sometimes I even hear your voice in my head giving me advice while I am choreographing. The lab as a whole has been such an influential part of my successes this year. You and Stephen created a safe and supportive environment for me to thrive and evolve in as an artist. “I am not the only one who has benefited from this incredible opportunity. I have witnessed first hand the growth in Pearl (Edmonds) as a dancer and choreographer. I saw an immediate
Chrystal Dance Prize Update The late Dr. Betty “Chrystal” Kleiman wanted western Canadian dancers and choreographers to have the opportunity to train and work with international artists. When she passed away she left a very generous bequest to ensure Dance Victoria would fulﬁll her dream. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously. Since 2009, Dance Victoria’s Chrystal Dance Prize has awarded $229,000 over two annual programs. One is a scholarship program for young dancers continuing their training at an international institution. The second supports projects proposed by western Canadian dance artists working with an international partner. In May 2018, a group of three dance professionals met to consider eight candidates for the scholarship program. The group commented on the strength of the applicants this year. In the end they selected Holden Cole from Port Alberni, who was recently
Personally, this is exactly the kind of impact I hoped the lab would have. A dream of mine for a few years, it wasn’t until I had secured funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Royal Bank of Canada Foundation, that we had the resources to pay the artists and other expenses (accommodation, travel and per diems) involved in producing the intensive program. This year we hired seven dancers and contracted with three choreographers to participate in the Choreo Lab. Following the format established in 2017, each day started with a professional class led by Wang. Wang, a celebrated Canadian choreographer, was was recently appointed Artistic Director of Ballet Edmonton. He has devoted his life to dance. At the end of class each day, Wang presented the choreographers with a task. They then split the company of dancers in three and spent the afternoon generating material that was shared at the end of the day. The challenge for the choreographers and the dancers was to push forward without thinking. The dancers were in service to the choreographers, and the choreographers were in service to the task, everyone bringing his or her interpretive skills to each process. The growth of all the artists, as cited above, has been tremendous. Already, those involved are discovering new opportunities, approaching creation with a newfound conﬁdence. It is our belief that such programs as the Choreo Lab plant seeds that grow over time. We hope we can continue to provide experiences like this to BC’s creative community. FN
accepted into The Juilliard School (New York). Cole trained at Canada’s National Ballet School and DanzMode Productions. He hopes to dance with a contemporary/modern company in Europe after his training at Julliard. Dance Victoria awarded $3,000 towards his tuition. For a second year, Dance Victoria will support local dancer Adrian de Leeuw, who recently completed his ﬁrst year at the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program in San Francisco. Before LINES, de Leeuw was a student in the Bridge Professional Training Program at the Victoria Academy of Ballet. He hopes to dance in Europe and hone his choreography skills. Dance Victoria awarded $3,000 towards his tuition. In an interesting side note, de Leeuw is one of the dancers participating in our summer Choreographic lab. We wish both dancers our best as they pursue their dreams of becoming a professional.
4 Footnotes • Issue 58 • Summer 2018
Organizing to the End
Plaza de España, Sevilla, Spain
We had been to this remarkable hotel in Sevilla twice before. Located in the heart of the old Jewish quarter amidst its maze of narrow cobbled streets and picturesque squares, Las Casas de la Juderia comprises 27 traditional houses. The hotel (as described on its website) has “134 rooms linked by 40 patios, gardens and a labyrinth of small passageways.” It’s not unusual to get turned around or completely lost on your way to the reception area. And many of the 33 folks travelling with us on our ﬁnal Dance Victoria Hosted Tour through Spain this June did lose their way. After settling into our rooms, we gathered in the square across from the hotel before heading off to a ﬂamenco bar around the corner. The group was super animated, each describing the unique design of their rooms to others. One of our travellers said, “We should do a room tour on Monday!” I thought to myself, “Monday is a free night. Good idea!” So I asked the group, “How many of you would be interested in touring the hotel?” Every hand shot up in a nanosecond. And that’s the moment I started planning. At the ﬂamenco show I was distracted. How am I going to pull this off? The next morning I sent an email to the group asking who would like their room to be included in the tour. I did some quick ﬁguring and decided six rooms, 15 minutes per room, 90 minutes total. Seemed about the right amount of time. My partner Bill concurred. I was feeling the pressure. Monday was just a day away. With the six rooms selected, I started the detailed planning. We’d start with sherry in our room, then move across the courtyard to Sue and Rowena’s where they would have cheese and olives. I told another room to have wine, and another to have snacks and sparkling water.
At the ﬁnal room it had to be cava. To make sure my plan was solid I arranged to meet with the woman who originally suggested the tour. Did I mention the hotel has a rooftop pool? There, by the bar, under the slanted shade of a pergola, I ran through all the details before she said, “Chill, buddy, chill. You’re over-thinking. I thought it would just be a casual, come-see-my-room sort of thing.” She was right! Yikes. What is the root of this compulsion to organize everything? I can’t stop myself. It’s proven to be a valuable skill, over the years, but when does it stop? I’ve noticed in recent years that my dreams, the most satisfying ones at least, are all about ﬁnding order. Putting things in little boxes, ﬁlling cups, organizing piles of clothes, over and over again. I don’t have a brain I have an internal Tetris game. I must create order. In the end, it was a fabulous evening. One of the highlights of a mighty great tour. I eased off on the organization and relaxed after my mild admonishment and remarkably it all came together the way I’d hoped. We will always remember that (not so) spontaneous room tour in that incredible hotel in Spain. It’s with a heavy heart that we are saying adios to touring. We had a heck of a time taking hundreds of people on 26 tours over the past 15 years. We had many great experiences together with people we now count as our best friends. FN
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Survey Results We are grateful that so many of you completed our annual subscriber survey in May. Your responses are very helpful, providing us with some things to consider as we plan our coming seasons. The general level of engagement impressed us: More than 40% of subscribers we contacted by email completed the survey. Here is a sample of some results: • A full 85% said that Dance Victoria met or exceeded their expectations in 2017/18 • 98% said it was easy to ﬁnd the information they needed on our website • 84% prefer the 7:30 pm curtain time We continue to get requests for more classical ballet (6.5% of those who participated in the survey). I wanted you to know that we would also like to program classical ballet but the truth is, it’s just not touring. But we are reaching out to ballet companies and hope that we might ﬁnd a way to bring them to Victoria, even a reduced company. In the meantime, Ballet West in our upcoming season (Feb. 1 and 2, 2019) should excite the balletomane. Some of the repertoire is danced en pointe and there is one Balanchine piece on the program. Of all the positive comments from our subscribers we liked this the best: “Dance Victoria is a fantastic asset to Victorians and the arts community!” FN
Subscription Reminder If you haven’t bought your subscription for our 2018/19 season, you have until September 4 to ensure you get the best seats before single tickets go on sale. If you’re not buying because you’re pretty sure you’ll be out of town for one or more of our presentations, you might consider purchasing a Flex Pass. The Flex Pass provides you with four vouchers that you can use in any combination for any of the shows in our season (excluding Nutcracker). PLUS, you’ll save money and enjoy all the subscriber beneﬁts including: • Free ticket exchanges • Free reprints of lost tickets • Three issues of Footnotes mailed directly to your home (or your inbox — your choice) • Invitations to exclusive subscriber events • Opportunities to buy additional tickets to any presentation at a special subscriber discount throughout the year • First chance to renew for the 2019/2020 season Subscribers are like family to us. We look after you because we want you to have the best experience.
NEW! Choreography Walk In January 2019, look out for Dance Victoria’s first ever Choreography Walk. Devised by Vancouver’s Justine A. Chambers, this 60-minute walk through downtown Victoria focuses on the participants’ attention to the ways in which their specific environment moves their body in relation to architecture, urban planning, and natural topography. Four Victoria-based choreographers selected from a proposal call by Chambers will participate in the walk, adding to and enhancing the experience for the walkers. During the walk you may notice your movements being shadowed by a group across the street, or perhaps you’ll turn down an alley to discover a dancer responding to the environment around her. Chambers created a similar walk in Vancouver two years ago and it was the talk of the town! Or should I say “walk of the town!”
6 Footnotes • Issue 58 • Summer 2018
Royal Winnipeg Ballet Nutcracker Auditions Symphony. Successful dancers will be selected by a Royal Winnipeg Ballet artist via the audition process and receive weekly professional training over a two-month period starting in late September and culminating with on-stage rehearsals and performances the week of November 26 through December 2. Rehearsals are scheduled on Sunday mornings and will take place at Dance Victoria Studios. For more information and online registration, please visit DanceVictoria.com starting mid-August 2018. FN
Dance Victoria Library
Sunday, September 9, 2018 Dance Victoria Studios, 2750 Quadra Street 250-595-1829 Ensemble roles include Polar Bears, Mice, Angels, Reindeer, Mounties and Party Children • 11:30 am – 12:45 pm – Check in for all dancers • 1:00 – 2:00 pm – Audition class for 7-8 year olds • 2:15 – 4:15 pm – Audition class for 9 years and older Dance Victoria will host auditions for its presentation of Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Nutcracker accompanied by the Victoria
The South Vancouver Island Dance Archives, housed in Dance Victoria Studios lobby is home to a growing library of dance books. In recent years, members of the community have donated their collection of dance books to the library. Biographies, critical writing and books focused on the history of dance make up most of the collection and they are available for borrowing. Already, I have enjoyed reading about American impresario Sol Hurok and dancer/choreographer Agnes de Mille, a collection of reviews by long-time New Yorker critic Arlene Croce, and (for me) the best of them all, Jennifer Homan’s Apollo’s Angels. If you’re interested in borrowing a book or if you’re downsizing and wondering what to do with your dance books, please give us a call at 250-595-1829..
How it Works at Dance Victoria Increasingly, arts organizations have to be entrepreneurial. Luckily, from its inception, Dance Victoria has always been tilted in this direction. Year after year, it is vital that we prove ourselves at the box ofﬁce. Ticket sales account for a whopping 65% of total revenue. This reliance creates an interesting tension for us when we are planning an upcoming season. We have to ﬁnd companies that we know, or at least we believe, will sell. At the same time, these companies also need to be of the highest artistic standard. In these pages, I have written previously about how we have diversiﬁed our sources of revenue to bring stability to the organization, but the biggest story in recent years has been sponsorship. Board Member Kari McLay whose astonishing network of local business owners has opened doors, helped bring signiﬁcant
support to the organization. Today, with sponsorships, donors, our spring rafﬂe and other activities we receive more than $340,000 annually in contributed revenue; a ﬁgure that is much larger than the $235,000 in total public funding from all three levels of government. As you can see, sponsors and donors are very important to Dance Victoria. That is why we acknowledge them from the stage, in our house program and on our website. And truly, what touches us most is their motivation for supporting Dance Victoria. Gwen Howey and Franc D’Ambrosio, long-time subscribers and donors to Dance Victoria conﬁrmed their contribution for 2018/19 and added, “We feel strongly about dance as an expression of human experience.” Thank you to the sponsors, the donors and to you, the foundation of Dance Victoria, our growing subscriber base. FN
Chenxin Liu and RWB School Students. Photo © David Coope
or Sponsors and Donors Make It All Possible
DanceVictoria.com • 7
Kidd Pivot’s Next Project
Crystal Pite and Jonathon Young, co-creators of Kidd Pivot’s Betroffenheit (Royal Theatre, Spring 2016) are already at work on their next project, Revisor (working title). The story is loosely based on Nikolai Gogol’s 1836 play, The Inspector General. Adapted by Young, the piece will be directed and choreographed by Pite. The core artistic team of designers from Betroffenheit has been reassembled. Revisor will be given an extended development period this fall, and premiere in Vancouver in Spring 2019. Dance Victoria will present the work at the Royal Theatre in February 2020. Presenters around the world are already lined up to include Revisor
on future seasons following on the phenomenal success of Betroffenheit. It was given almost 100 performances over three years in Asia, Australia, North America and Europe’s most prestigious venues. With her recent commissions from London’s Royal Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet and Nederlands Dans Theatre, Pite is working at an entirely new level. It’s a success story that began in Oak Bay. In 2016, Dance Victoria brought together a small group of investors to assist Dance Victoria in commissioning Betroffenheit. Recently, we began asking you to assist us in reaching our $20,000 goal to commission Revisor. Your contribution will help hire a young BC apprentice dancer while Pite develops the work: An excellent (life-changing) experience for an emerging artist. All contributors will receive a charitable tax receipt as well as acknowledgment in Dance Victoria’s 2018/19 and 2019/20 house programs. Contributions of $500 and more include tickets to the February 2020 performance and invitations to a special reception. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity and Crystal’s approach to the development of the work, please contact Stephen White directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-595-1829. FN
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Yes! I want Dance Victoria to thrive! Please accept my donation of:
o Visionary o President’s Circle o Patron o Supporter o Associate o Friend
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Please recognize my/our name in the house program as:
Revizor. Photo © Michael Slobodian
How to donate: Thank Mail: Return this form with a cheque to: you! Dance Victoria Society 111 – 2750 Quadra Street, Victoria, BC V8T 4E8 Phone: 250-595-1829 with your credit card in hand Online: Donate over our secure page at DanceVictoria.com In Person: at Dance Victoria Studios (we’ll give you a tour) or at the Royal and McPherson Box Ofﬁces Dance Victoria is a federally registered charity and will provide a tax-deductible receipt for all donations $20 and over. Charitable # 87377 5522 RR0001
8 Footnotes • Issue 58 • Summer 2018
Cherish: A Glamorous Evening of Fashion and Philanthropy that will benefit Victoria Women’s Transition House and Dance Victoria Society Thursday, October 4, 2019 Fairmont Empress Crystal Ballroom Doors: 6:45 pm Tickets Now on Sale! DanceVictoria.com Cherish will take place on Thursday, October 4, 2018 at the beautiful Fairmont Empress Crystal Ballroom and Palm Court at 6:45 pm. There’ll be fabulous food and drink, a silent auction, and 16 of Victoria’s favourite dancers will groove down the runway in the latest fashions. This event sold out quickly in 2017! Kirsty Thomson of Willow Wealth Management is the title sponsor of Cherish. Tulipe Noire Clothing, hughes clothing, and Outlooks Menswear will provide the fashions with hair by Carreiro The Studio and make-up by Beautycounter. Dance Victoria and Victoria Women’s Transition House feel strongly that Cherish is an important fundraising collaboration reﬂective of a healthy community that values both social supports for vulnerable individuals and cultural enrichment through the beauty of dance. The Victoria Women’s Transition House and Dance Victoria Society also support one another through initiatives like the annual Nutcracker Kids campaign that brings Transition House staff, clients and their families to the opening night of Nutcracker at the Royal Theatre each year.
Tickets to Cherish are $85 plus service charges with a charitable tax receipt provided for a portion of the ticket cost. For tickets, call the Royal Theatre or McPherson Playhouse Box Ofﬁces at 250386-6121 or visit DanceVictoria.com
Dance Victoria's Footnotes 58 (Special Issue) features Choreographic Lab + Chrystal Dance Prize + Choreography Walk + more.
Published on Jul 12, 2018
Dance Victoria's Footnotes 58 (Special Issue) features Choreographic Lab + Chrystal Dance Prize + Choreography Walk + more.