3 years ago

Volume 26 Issue 2 - October 2020

  • Text
  • Classical
  • Artists
  • Choral
  • Concerts
  • Performances
  • Choir
  • Jazz
  • Musical
  • Toronto
  • October
Following the Goldberg trail from Gould to Lang Lang; Measha Brueggergosman and Edwin Huizinga on face to face collaboration in strange times; diggings into dance as FFDN keeps live alive; "Classical unicorn?" - Luke Welch reflects on life as a Black classical pianist; Debashis Sinha's adventures in sound art; choral lessons from Skagit Valley; and the 21st annual WholeNote Blue Pages (part 1 of 3) in print and online. Here now. And, yes, still in print, with distribution starting Thursday October 1.

in a theatre in the

in a theatre in the Netherlands and sent to FFDN as a polished, edited film. The final two, Terra, from Calgary’s Decidely Jazz Danceworks (DJW) choreographed by Kimberley Cooper, and Fool’s Gold, choreographed by Canadan tap expert Lisa LaTouche, will both be recorded at DJW’s studio probably in more of a livestream performance capture style. YEHUDA FISHER September 26 and 27: “Nuestra Leyenda” in CSC’s Dusk Dances, in High Park oneself, or as advanced, yet, as a Star Trek-like Holodeck, this new invention, Ibrahimof hopes, will “remind us that one day we will be able to dance together, again, hip to hip and hand in hand.” Live premieres: Also performed live, but streamed to audiences, will be three of the six world premieres in FFDN’s Signature Program in a gala-like show from Harbourfront’s Fleck Dance Theatre on the afternoon of October 3, with Ibrahimof and a number of surprise celebrity guest hosts welcoming the virtual audiences and introducing each new work. Despite the need to reinvent, Ibrahimof told me he ‘really wanted to still be able to present a show in the theatre even if it meant we produced it simply for a camera crew,’ as the signature shows have always been the heart of the festival, bringing together exciting new and cutting-edge choreographers from across Canada and around the world. Although the planned program changed “probably 10 to 15 times because of the need to meet all the safety protocols and travel restrictions”, they still ended up with six world premieres to showcase.” The three live premieres will be Flow, choreographed by Jera Wolfe, danced by award-winning Indigenous dance company Red Sky to a projected video and audio recording of the score as played by Chicago’s Third Coast Percussion (who were not allowed to cross the border); Poema Ibérico, choreographed by Vanessa Garcia-Ribala Montoya of Les Grand Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, and performed by National Ballet of Canada star Sonia Rodriguez with fellow NBoC dancers Piotr Stanczyk and Spencer Hack; and Dialogue with DNA, choreographed and performed by Mafa Makhubalo, a new work in the percussive gumboot dance style which emerged as a form of communication among workers in the inhumane mines of South Africa where they were forbidden to speak. Of the three other premieres, Proximity, choreographed by Netherlands-based Joshua Beamish and performed by Beamish with regular Crystal Pite dancer Rena Narumi, will be filmed Joshua Beamish, Proximity Kimberley Cooper, Terra Lisa LaTouche, Fool’s Gold Watch party solace: To make up for having to watch the show on a screen, FFDN have come up with a fun way to enhance the experience. You can buy individual tickets or organize a watch party complete with personal host and gift bag. “For the past five years,” Ibrahimof told me, “we have been meeting so many people in our audience who have been making it a tradition to come to our shows with certain friends every year, saying ‘It became my thing with my grandparents,’ or ‘I always come with my bridge club,’ that we wanted to give them an opportunity to create a similar environment at home (or even at a distance), and so came up with this idea. About 50 artists associated with us have signed up to be hosts, and ticket buyers can choose from the list on the website. Your chosen host will connect with your party by Zoom both before the show and after for a post show Q&A. Watch party buyers will also receive a gift package including printed programs, a tote bag and other goodies.” Dance through the ears: Perhaps the most radical innovation this year is that FFDN invites us to experience dance and dancers through our ears instead of our eyes, through the exploration of some ideas Ibrahimof and his team had had on the “back table” for several years, but had never had the chance to fully explore due to the demands of producing their usual live shows. One of these was to have a festival podcast. However, he didn’t want a podcast that was just dancer interviews, he was looking to create “something a little more journalistic, a little more on location.” Accordingly, back in 2018 what he did as an experiment was “invite my neighbour Eric, who is a sports guy, to go to his first-ever dance show at FFDN, and I asked him to take me to my first-ever baseball game. We recorded the whole experience then and are using the recordings this year for our first podcast episodes, including a follow up interview I recorded this year.” The new FFDN podcast, Mambo, debuts on September 29 with another new lighthearted, if not downright goofy, episode: Lost Objects, inspired by the New York podcast Everything is Alive where every week the host chooses an object, hires an improv actor to play that object, and then interviews him or her. This episode will bring actors from Second City into the festival family to take on the roles of objects which now, thanks to so much of the festival being online, are “lost and forgotten,” such as staff festival badges, the company car, or the sharpie used by dancers to sign posters. Clearly a lot of fun to create, this expands on Ibrahimof’s wish to introduce audiences to aspects of dance that they might not know or think about. “There is something really special 14 | October 2020

about audio storytelling that can connect with our audience in a very different way.” Online album: Another new audio project dear to the artistic director’s heart is [in]verse, a collaborative online album featuring poems chosen and read by celebrated Canadian and International dance artists, set to classical music selections arranged and performed by Canadian cellist Arlen Hlusko. Hearing Ibrahimof talk about the impact this project had on him personally made me want to listen to it right away. “I had never heard these people that I know so well in this light before,” he said,’and it really made me know them better. From the poem that they chose, the way that they delivered it, the way I could tell it meant something important to them, it revealed something new to me about them as artists and as people. I think getting to know the people behind the art form, their stories and inspirations, their connections to the wider world is really important, and this year gave us the opportunity to dig deeply into that.” With such a passionate and enthusiastic artistic director and such an ambitious innovative program, the Fall for Dance Festival is growing at a good pace into the role it aspires to, of being a true nexus for dance in Canada in an international context. FFDN runs from September 28 to October 18. All streamed content will remain available online on demand until the end of the festival only. Everything is free except the Signature Program for whichsingle tickets are ; watch party packages are 0. For more information and a full schedule please see the FFDN website at Jennifer Parr is a Toronto-based director, dramaturge, fight director and acting coach, brought up from a young age on a rich mix of musicals, Shakespeare and new Canadian plays. Red Sky at Canstage High Park Red Sky Performance performs October 9 to 11 in High Park, premieres Jara Wolfe’s Flow at FFDN (October 3 livestream) RED SKY PERFORMANCE October 2020 | 15

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