3 min

Gems in motion

Dance season unearths hidden treasures

Credit: Neil Hodge

The National Arts Centre is dedicating its 2003-2004 dance season to the memory of Jean-Pierre Perreault (1947-2002). A special presentation of Joe, Perreault’s tribute to the working man, is set to top off the season on May 15, 2004. Joe is described as a “not- to-be-missed landmark in Canadian choreography.”

Compagnie Marie Chouinard will kick the season off on Oct 3 with Etude #1, Chouinard’s half-hour solo performance, followed by Opera-Dogma, performed in company.

The ballet series begins on Oct 14 with Ballet British Columbia’s Orpheus – “a tragic tale of love and loss among the gods, performed in Ballet BC’s signature neo-classical style.” Finally, choreographer and dancer Akram Khan has arranged a full-length work for five dancers scheduled for Oct 21 and 22, called Kaash, incorporating multiple themes from India that promises to be “a compelling and hypnotic dance experience that is resonant, dramatic and richly theatrical.”

From Nov 6 to 8 Deja Donne from Prague will dance In Bella Copia, but be warned, it’s described as “no-mercy” and provocative, and contains nudity (need I say more?). Venezuela’s Danzahoy dances on Nov 25, making their debut in Ottawa with “a tango-influenced examination of the exile of the soul.” The NAC Youth Commission for Dance wraps up the month Nov 29 with a special presentation featuring up and coming young dancers and choreographers. The first piece for five dancers will be choreographed by “sensational young Toronto dancer-choreographer Matjash Mrozewski.”

The year comes to a classic finish Dec 3 to 7 with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet presenting The Nutcracker. “With choreography by Nina Menon and Galina Yordanova, scenery by Brian Perchaluk, 175 original costumes by Paul Daigle, and Tchaikovsky’s timeless music, The Nutcracker is a visual and musical spectacle, a holiday confection which preserves the best of the Russian tradition and spices it up with uniquely Canadian ingredients.”

Dance rings in the new year Jan 22 to 24, with the sublime music of Mozart’s The Magic Flute, performed by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, in co-operation with the NAC Orchestra’s Mozart Plus Festival, also taking place in January. Tai-Gu Tales Dance Theatre presents The Life of Mandala Jan 3 to 31, with the choreography of Taiwan-based Hsiu-Wei Lin that is “redolent with primal, sexual and spiritual elements: exoticism, life, birth, death and power, capturing the amazing ability of the human spirit to replenish itself.”

Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal performs at the NAC Feb 7 featuring two master choreographers, Mats Ek and Nacho Duato. On Feb 18, Compagnie Kafig, seven French dancers of Algerian descent, will dance Corps est Graphique, giving a multicultural twist to an exploration of the hip-hop universe.

March is a busy month for NAC Dance with UK-based choreographer Charles Linechan and Company dancing their Grand Junction from Mar 4 to 6. The dance is described as “clean, streamlined, and uncluttered.”

On Mar 13, Bill T Jones and the Arnie Zane Dance company dance a 20th Anniversary Celebration, showcasing postmodern dance in the “uncharted outer regions of modern dance.”

The National Ballet of Canada dances Onegin Mar 18 -20, Pushkin’s unfinished 1831 masterpiece of Russian romanticism. The Beijing Modern Dance Company ends the March series with the first-ever Chinese Canadian co-production of the Snell Thouin Project: Bone/Os, exploring sacred rituals using traditional Chinese instruments with rock music. The production features 12 dancers and choreographer Nadine Thouin with composer Jerry Snell.

On Apr 13 Philippe Decoufle, a French national treasure, collaborating with 30 classically trained dancers of the Lyon Opera Ballet, dances Ticodex, a contemporary dance with multimedia ideas about circus, flying machines, projections and visual arts.

Compagnie Pernette makes its American debut Apr 15 to 17, dancing Le Nid from France: five dancers expressing, confronting and overcoming deep atavistic monsters and fears. From Apr 29 to May 1, Bayerisches Staatsballet debuts in Ottawa with Raymonda, a classic 19th-century erotic and emotional ballet.

So this brings us to May 15 with the performance of Joe, and the season comes to a grand finale Jun 4 to 12 with the 2004 Canada Dance Festival. This is the 10th edition of the festival and will feature the latest creations of Canadian choreographers and the very best in Canadian dance.

* Check out the NAC web site at or call 755-1111.