Ballet BC Presents Rite May 7-9

by Richard Wolak on April 29, 2015

Ballet BC closes its 2014-15 season with a program of two extraordinary World Premieres in RITE at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, May 7-9, 2015. This program in two parts is inspired by The Rite of Spring, the ballet and orchestral concert work that premiered in 1913 and is widely considered one of the most influential, and revolutionary, works to shape 20th century art with its bold venturing. These interdisciplinary World Premieres offer new perspectives on design, music and dance.

Choreographer Emily Molnar, Ballet BC’s Artistic Director, collaborates with Omer Arbel, an internationally renowned Vancouver-based designer and Creative Director of Bocci, and recent recipient of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Allied Arts Medal for 2015, alongside Jeremy Schmidt, a member of the band Black Mountain and “Vancouver’s godfather of contemporary space rock”. Molnar’s choreography, combined with Arbel’s set design and Schmidt’s original score, create a hallucinatory, otherworldly homage toThe Rite of Spring. Molnar’s vision to challenge traditional choreographic thinking, together with Arbel’s innovative sense of space and Schmidt’s cosmic exploration of sound, will offer a new way to perceive and discover the unconscious.

The dynamic work of Spanish choreographer Gustavo Ramirez Sansano, featuring set design by Luis Crespo, is a full-company reimaging of The Rite of Spring set to Igor Stravinsky’s complete orchestral score, with a 21st century perspective that explores “…universal awakening.” As Sansano says, “rather than telling a story I am more interested in dance as an expansion of feeling and emotion…an expression of something that is universal and personal at the same time.” Former Artistic Director of the Luna Negra Dance Theater, Sansano has created work for Compañia Nacional de Danza, Hamburg Ballet, Budapest Dance Theatre and the Netherlands Dance Theater, among others. He recently created Lost and Seek, which had its World Premiere with Ballet BC in April 2014.

Molnar describes RITE as an opportunity to provide “a collaborative platform for artists of different disciplines to come together.” She says, “RITE will be a riveting evening that offers a new perspective on dance, music and design through an investigation of the spirit embodied in the experimentation and innovation of a significant period of history that modernized music and ballet. In researching The Rite of Spring as a starting point for this evening, it has been fascinating to draw inspiration from a work of such historic importance and impact.”

RITE runs for three performances at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, May 7-9, 2015 with shows nightly at 8:00pm. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster at 1-855-985-2787 (855-985-ARTS) or online at and range in price from $30 to $80 (including GST and service charges).


FUSE on April 24 at Vancouver Art Gallery

by Richard Wolak on April 21, 2015


Vancouver’s best art party returns on Friday, April 24, 2015 with a new ensemble of inspiring art, cutting-edge performance and experimental music at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Guest curated by David Pay, one of today’s leading classical and contemporary music programmers and Artistic Director of Music on Main in Vancouver, FUSE: The Noise of Silence is inspired by notions of listening, infusing the night with the ever eclectic and dynamic mix of performances that gives FUSE its name.

FUSE: The Noise of Silence features an extraordinary roster of artists and performers, including the following:

Florence Belmore plays the role of the unexpected and historically unwelcome guest in her sister Rebecca Belmore’s installation Wild, enacting a layered redressing of colonial history while finding a comfortable, even luxurious place to rest in a hostile world.

The Dream Bird is a series of informal encounters throughout the evening with experimental theatre performer Conor Wylie, who is a member of new performance collectives O, o, o, o. and Wake of Vultures.

Vancouver-based artist Michael Red (Souns) and pianist Rachel Iwaasa perform a live remix and reinterpretation of Arvo Pärt’s Für Alina, a beautiful and minimalist work that set the world on its ear with a new musical simplicity. They also present a version of Cosmophony, piano pieces that explore the cosmos while performer Conor Wylie tells the story of transcendence.

Created for FUSE, Chance to Dance provides three dance lessons with Claire French (Restless Productions), Kara Nolte (First Dance Vancouver), and Delphine Leroux. Each lesson is followed by a group performance by audience participants.

Performed by Camille Hesketh (soprano) and Guzmán Ramos (theorbo), Il Passaggio Segretofeatures the works of fascinating composers from 17th century Italy, illustrating a triad of unrequited love, obsession and resignation with melodies.

Immerse yourself in an ambient, projected environment as Michael Red and Jonny Ostremcollaborate to fill the Listening Lounge with their souns + Endtask project of sound and light. Slow down, enjoy the view of the city and recharge.

Have a private meeting with leading composers Jocelyn Morlock and James Maxwell and receive an instant composition written just for you.

In addition to performances, FUSE-goers can also see the following exhibitions:
Material Future: The Architecture of Herzog & de Meuron and the Vancouver Art Gallery
Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection
Clair de Lune: 19th and Early 20th Century French Paintings
Andrew Dadson: Over the Sun

The Poetics of Space
Beyond the Trees: Wallpapers in Dialogue with Emily Carr

Tickets: $20 plus tax (free to the Gallery members)


Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

by Richard Wolak on March 27, 2015

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, was a hilarious play with a refreshing script, playing at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Theatre.

Christopher Durang’s witty mash-up of Chekhov characters and smartphones is a delightful new farce for our hyperconnected era. Middle-aged siblings Vanya (Jay Brazeau) and Sonia (Susinn McFarlen) live an angst-ridden, melancholic existence on their family farm. Housecleaner-cum-soothsayer Cassandra (Carmen Aguirre), whose hilariously ambiguous prophecies keep them befuddled, provides the only break from monotony. That is, until their glamorous movie-star sister, Masha (Anna Galvin), swans in for a surprise visit—along with her hunky boy toy, Spike (Robert Salvador). Brilliant performance by actor, Jay Brazeau with so much character from this wonderful cast of characters!

Christopher Durang is the Tony Award–winning author of such acclaimed plays as Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You (1979), Beyond Therapy (1981), and Betty’s Summer Vacation (1999). Durang is an alumnus of Harvard University and of the Yale School of Drama. He is the co-director of the Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program at the Juilliard School. In 2013, he won the Tony Award for Best Play for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.

An Arts Club Theatre Company production: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage (2750 Granville St., at 12th Ave) to April 19, 2015.  Tuesday at 7:30 pm, Wednesday–Saturday at 8 pm, and Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday at 2 pm. Tickets from $29, inclusive of taxes and fees. Call the Arts Club Box Office at 604.687.1644 or visit


KÄFIG BRASIL at DanceHouse on April 10 & 11

by Richard Wolak on March 22, 2015

CCN Créteil et du Val-de-Marne / Compagnie Käfig – dir. Mourad Merzouki

DanceHouse presents Kafig Brasil at the Vancouver Playhouse April 10 & 11, 2015, 8pm. 

What do you get when you combine a French/Algerian choreographer steeped in hip-hop and circus arts, and eleven male dancers from Rio de Janiero’s notorious favelas? The answer is  CCN Créteil et Val-de-Marne / Compagnie Käfig, which combines the energy and movement vocabulary of the street with the rigour and artistic dimensions of contemporary dance.

Käfig Brasil incorporates the work of four innovative French choreographers—Anthony Egea, Céline Lefèvre, Octávio Nassur, and Denis Plassard—in collaboration with the Brazilian dancers, performed to a soundtrack incorporating diverse musical styles from Baroque to electronic music. A must for fans of Grupo Corpo.

Compagnie Käfig is led by Paris-based Mourad Merzouki. The prolific Merzouki has created 21 works since founding the company in 1996. Käfig means “cage” in German and Arabic, yet the energetic choreographer’s style is anything but confined. French-Algerian Merzouki studied circus arts and martial arts before turning to hip-hop and dance; this openness and versatility continues to characterize his work as a choreographer. He has received numerous awards and accolades, including the Prix SACD in 2006, Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters in 2012 and Knight of the Order of the Legion of Honor in 2012.

Pre-show talk: 7:15pm, Upper Lobby of the Playhouse. With Natalie LeFebvre Gnam (Plastic Orchid Factory) and Astrid Toledo (Cie. Käfig).

Purchase tickets here


Mike Shum and his Chan Chan Cocktail

by Richard Wolak Drink

Tweet Local bartender Mike Shum has won a spot in the Bacardi Legacy global cocktail competition, he will be representing Vancouver when he competes against 7 other bartenders from across Canada. The Canadian competition will be held in Toronto on March 23rd where he will have a chance to present his cocktail to the judges. […]

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BC Distilled Spirits Festival April 18

by Richard Wolak Drink

Tweet Artisan distillers from twenty-three of the province’s leading small-batch distilleries, including eleven new to this year’s festival, will showcase their ingenuity through distinctive gins, vodkas, and other fine spirits and liqueurs. Aficionados and curious seekers alike will have the opportunity to sip and taste their way through these unique spirits complemented by locally-made beverages from Bittered Sling Extracts, Walter All-Natural Craft Caesar […]

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The Sonic Boom Festival March 25-29

by Richard Wolak Music

Tweet The Sonic Boom Festival returns for its 28th year of contemporary classical music (new music). This truly unique musical experience will run for only 5 days, from March 25-29th, in two acoustically beautiful venues on Seymour Street in downtown Vancouver – the Orpheum Annex and Pyatt Hall. Sonic Boom Festival 2015 showcases original compositional […]

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Ballet BC Presents Trace March 26-28

by Richard Wolak Dance

Tweet Three internationally-renowned choreographers return to Ballet BC in Trace, a triple-bill program playing at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre March 26-28, 2015. This evening of works includes the Canadian Premiere of William Forsythe’s workwithinwork, a World Premiere by Walter Matteini, and the return of audience-favourite Petite Cérémonie by Medhi Walerski.    William Forsythe galvanized the […]

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What You’re Missing

by Richard Wolak Theatre

Tweet What You’re Missing was an entertaining comedy about yearning and stifling, freedom and control, assets and liabilities, culture and class, and of course, strong dominating mothers. Vancouver-born, UK-based playwright Tamara Micner paints with a smile as she colours the streams of implications for two young people in love, living in the shadows of two […]

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Maria Kong

by Richard Wolak Dance

Tweet Maria Kong (Israel) what an amazing show as part of the Chutzpah festival, non-stop movement, wild, sexy, mysterious, song, beats, performance art, music, dancing, visuals, art, drumming, moving rendition of the Hora, an everyone dance party at The Red Room. The show was a 360 degree immersive theatrical dance experience with live music, theatre, […]

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