Far at DanceHouse September 26 & 27

by Richard Wolak on September 15, 2014


England’s most celebrated choreographer returns with FAR, a fascinating creative journey which draws on a radical cognitive research process. Inspired by the Age of Enlightenment and by the 18th century French philosopher Diderot’s very first set of encyclopedia, the resulting choreography is physical and immediate, with an underpinning of intellectual curiosity. Jaw-dropping visuals, including a computerized pin board of 3,200 LED lights, make this an absolute must-see.

A prolific dance maker, and the first Resident Choreographer of The Royal Ballet to come from contemporary dance, Wayne McGregor has delivered world premieres for international companies including Paris Opera Ballet, New York City Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet and Australian Ballet, and choreographed movies (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire) and music videos (Radiohead’s Lotus Flower). In January 2011, McGregor was awarded a CBE in the New Years Honours List.

Purchase Tickets here


20.20.20 September 24 -27

by Richard Wolak on August 31, 2014


Locals and visitors will have the opportunity not just to see, but to feel Vancouver come to life onstage, with performances of20.20.20 this September 24 -27 at the Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. A collaborative effort and co-presentation with Dancers Dancing and SFU Woodward’s, the show captures the vibrant atmosphere of urban Vancouver in all of its complexities, from a uniquely authentic lens.

Celebrating 20 years of working in Vancouver, choreographer  Judith Garay looks at 20 intersections in the city to set 20 dancers in motion inspired by interactions of  architecture, pigeons, overpasses, green spaces, mountain views, skateboards and especially the people – old and young. Contrast and contradiction drive the work to be physically exhilarating and thoughtful, pedestrian and emotionally charged.

The artists have dug their heels into the world of Vancouver, and are continuously collaborating to create the most authentic ambiance achievable. The artists have brought their experiences and observations back to studio, where it has been a process of utilizing pedestrian research and full body articulation to create beauty in otherwise mundane and overlooked aspects of city life.

As the team continues to organically replicate the city life to stage, they have been surprised in how the process is revealing Vancouver in its entire beautiful dichotomy. Contrasts keep resurfacing, like urban and green, rich and poor, young and old and the infamous weather that changes a sky of gray clouds to one of blinding sun. These balances reflect the ever-evolving city from day to day, and naturally begs for a creative portrayal of the city that is full of movement and life. What better medium then dance?

With music by Stefan Smulovitz, lighting by John Carter and costumes by Margaret Jenkins “20.20.20” will steer away from a traditional tour of Vancouver, instead providing multiple ways to emotionally experience the city in its full richness.

Tickets Available Online at www.sfuwoodwards.ca


Scotiabank Dance Centre Open House September 13

by Richard Wolak on August 31, 2014

From contemporary and flamenco to bellydance and swing, the annual Scotiabank Dance Centre Open House offers the chance to sample a host of dance styles in a day of free open classes, studio showings and events. Participating companies and artists include Shay Kuebler/Radical System Arts, Kinesis Dance somatheatro, Karen Flamenco, TomoeArts and a diverse selection of local dance artists and companies working across many different dance traditions.

Full Schedule of Events 

11am – 5pm Vancouver Ballet Society Library + Dance International Magazine: explore the library’s extensive book and magazine collection, and pick up a free back issue of Dance International magazine (limited quantities available). www.vancouverballetsociety.ca www.danceinternational.org

11am-12 noon Class: Ballet Fit with Suzy Kaitman. This ballet-inspired workout uses the principles of classical dance to tone and sculpt the body and includes elements of barre work, cardio, core and flexibility.  www.balletfitclasses.com

11am-12 noon Demonstration/Workshop: TomoeArts introduces nihon buyoh – Japanese classical dance. Artistic Director Colleen Lanki and company member Ryan Caron will demonstrate dances, talk about nihon buyoh as an art form, and teach participants some gestures and steps.www.tomoearts.org

11am-12.30pm Lecture/Workshop: Healthy Dancer Canada physiotherapist Stuart Anderson and educator Andrea Downie discuss Anxiety and Movement Memory. www.healthydancercanada.org

12 noon-1pm Class: Flamenco with Karen Flamenco. www.karenflamenco.com

12 noon-1pm Class: Contemporary dance with Linda Arkelian. Linda’s class focuses on alignment, core strength, release work, breath and flexibility.

12noon–1:30pm Class: Classical Ballet with Debbie Lee of Debbie Lee Dance. www.debbieleedance.com

12:30–1:30pm Studio Showing: Butoh. Kokoro Dance’s Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi host a showing of work created by participants in a recent intensive workshop and discuss the art of Butoh. www.kokoro.ca

1-2pm Class: Nia, a blend of dance, martial arts and healing arts, with Jasjit Rai of Joiworks. www.joiworks.com/nia

1-2pm Class: Contemporary dance with community-based performance group Polymer Dance. www.polymerdance.com

1-2pm Class: Middle Eastern Dance introductory class with bellydance teacher and performer Negma. www.negmadance.com

2-3pm Studio Showing: Glory. Shay Kuebler and Radical System Arts give a sneak peek of Kuebler’s hotly anticipated new work, set to premiere in 2015. There will be an artist talkback after the showing. www.shaykuebler.com

2-3pm Class: Afro-Cuban dances with Kenny-Davis Ntolla of Okokan Entertainment. www.okokaninc.com

2-3pm Class: Pow-Wow with Nyla Carpentier. The class will follow a natural flow of warm up, pow-wow cardio and cool down, while exploring pow-wow basics, themes and history. www.ravenspiritdance.com

3-4pm Studio Showing: things near and far. Performers Ziyian Kwan, Anne Cooper and Ron Stewart give a sneak preview of excerpts from an evening of contemporary choreography by Tedd Robinson and Josh Martin, premiering at the Firehall Arts Centre in December. Followed by an artist talkback.

3-4pm Class: Ukrainian Folk Dance with the Dovbush Dancers/Association of United Ukrainians. www.auucvancouver.ca

3-4pm Class: Hip Hop with Kim Sato of Project Soul Productions. www.projectsoulproductions.com

4-5pm Showing/Discussion: Project CPR. Now in its fifth year, Project CPR (Choreographic Practice and Research) is an initiative of choreographer Claire French and Restless Productions focusing on research and creation for contemporary dance artists.  Featured choreographers Jacinte Armstrong, Caitlin Griffin and Jamee Valin will show work in development, followed by a discussion. www.projectcpr.wordpress.com

4-5pm Demonstration/Class: Swing Dance with Port-O-Swing. www.portoswingvancouver.com

4-5.30pm Workshop: Dance Out Loud with Kinesis Dance somatheatro. Artistic Director Paras Terezakis and company dancers lead Dance Out Loud, the company’s signature workshop which is a dynamic blend of voice, physical movement, and improvisation.  www.kinesisdance.org

Regarded as Canada’s flagship dance facility, Scotiabank Dance Centre was designed by Arthur Erickson and opened in September 2001. “Our annual Open House is an opportunity to celebrate a wonderful building which has become a home for dance of all kinds, and also to discover the excitement and diversity of Vancouver’s dance scene,” said Mirna Zagar, Executive Director of The Dance Centre, the organization which spearheaded the development of the facility.

Information: 604 606 6400 www.thedancecentre.ca


arturo sandoval

Cuba lost out on one of its greatest jazz talents when Arturo Sandoval defected from the Communist nation to the US while on tour in Spain in 1990. Sandoval has since gone on to receive numerous accolades for his music, including 10 Grammy awards, 6 Billboard Awards, and even an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Music Composition” for the biographical film treatment of his own life (“For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story”). In 2013, Sandoval received the ‘Presidential Medal of Freedom,’ the highest civilian award one can receive in the United States where he resides and has been a proud citizen since 1999.

As a headliner for the Vancouver International Jazz Festival, Sandoval filled the Vogue Theatre to capacity playing rapid-fire licks on the trumpet like few other trumpeters can—though many try to emulate his style and abilities. It’s a tall order because Sandoval is an immense jazz talent, both as a soloist, composer, and band leader, supported by a group of talented musicians from a drummer and double bassist, to pianist, sax player and another percussionist.

Sandoval entertained the crowd with foot-tapping works full of complex rhythms, revealing a great sense of humor in the process as he shifted seamlessly between banter about travel and his personal life with performances on trumpet, keyboards, grand piano, drums, and his own singing voice.

Cuban and Latin rhythms filled the evening in an energetic concert that kept members of the audience on the edge of their seats, with a few slower works to display Sandoval’s skills on the grand piano and to showcase his own vocal stylings. Sandoval’s musical versatility was unmistakable with advanced keyboard ability fused with percussion, trumpet, and vocalization in familiar jazz classics and his own compositions.

Although renowned the world over for his trumpet skill, he humorously revealed his actual preference for the piano and a love/hate relationship with the brass instrument that is his main claim to fame. Despite his love-hate relationship with the trumpet, few can play it as well as Sandoval, who hit notes with rapid-fire precision in all conceivable registers. Combined with the rest of his musical talents (keyboard, percussion, and vocal), Sandoval more than proved why he deserved all of those Grammy Awards and other accolades.

Sandoval closed off the evening with two encores—‘Smile,’  a melody composed by Charlie Chaplin and lyrics added by others years later, and an epic rendition of Dizzy Gillespie’s jazz classic, ‘A Night in Tunisia,’ with samples of what sounded very much like ‘Hava Nagila’ towards the end of the jazz standard composed by his former mentor, proving what hardly needed proving—Sandoval’s seemingly unmatched mastery of the trumpet and the consummate performer’s innate ability to leave an audience wanting more.

While Cuba may have lost a huge talent, the international musical stage—which included the Vogue Theatre on Monday night—ultimately derived the greatest benefit because Sandoval’s ability to entertain is undeniable.


Vancouver Folk Music Festival July 18-20

by Richard Wolak Music

Tweet The 37th Annual Vancouver Folk Music Festival gets underway mid-July, starting off on Friday evening with musicians performing from all over the world thru Sunday night. This is one of my favourite music festivals, I have attended 31 festivals over the years! Each year, as much as I look forward to the music I also […]

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Chris Botti with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

by Arthur Wolak Music

Tweet Renowned trumpeter and Grammy Award winning instrumentalist, Chris Botti graced the Orpheum stage tonight in a performance that had everyone on their feet during both ends of the intermission. Together with his talented core ensemble—a pianist, drummer, guitarist, and bass player—backed up by the skilled performers from the VSO, conducted by VSO Assistant Conductor […]

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TD Vancouver International Jazz Fest June 20 – July 1, 2014

by Richard Wolak Music

Tweet The 29th annual TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival begins on June 20 and takes place in multiple venues all over the city. There are so many amazing musicians performing through-out the festival. From free shows downtown opening weekend to more shows on Granville Island and in David Lam Park during closing weekend. There are […]

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Chris Botti with the VSO on June 11

by Richard Wolak Music

Tweet One of the world’s most famous instrumentalists makes a much anticipated return to the VSO stage for a special concert on Wednesday, June 11.  Famed smooth Jazz trumpeter and multi- Grammy® winning trumpeter, Chris Botti, joins the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and Assistant Conductor Gordon Gerrard, for an evening of famous Jazz standards as well […]

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VSO’s first annual Spring Festival Wowed Audiences

by Richard Wolak Music

Tweet The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra presented their first annual Spring Festival this past April which packed the concert hall for each of their concerts. This inaugural Festival celebrated the works of Sergei Rachmaninoff with sensational pianist Alexander Gavrylyuk and Maestro Bramwell Tovey. Alexander Gavrylyuk performed all five of Rachmaninoff’s works for piano and orchestra, the […]

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Kim’s Convenience a Winner on the Granville Island Stage

by Richard Wolak Theatre

Tweet During their run in Vancouver, this was a play that I enjoyed immensely, Mr. Kim, performed by, (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), the Korean owner of a convenience store in Toronto’s Regent Park area, grappled with both a changing neighbourhood landscape and the chasm between him and his second-generation offspring. This journey of a fractured but […]

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