FUSE on April 15 at Vancouver Art Gallery

by Richard Wolak on April 8, 2016

The city’s favourite art party FUSE will come back to transform the again on Friday, April 15, 2016, turning the Gallery into a space for live happenings and unexpected encounters. Guest-curated by Joyce Rosario (Associate Curator, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival), this edition of FUSE is in conjunction with the Gallery’s current exhibition MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture, taking a look at “mashup” as expressed by the body, through movement, dance and live performance. Enjoy dance by Justine A. Chambers, Natalie Tin Yin Gan, Project Soul and RARUFU, experience immersive installations by Milton Lim and Remy Siu, check out the dance and music mashup lounge by Kareem Abdul Jabaastard and Deanna Peters/Mutable Subject, catch a feature-length dance music video by Jacob Krupnick with music by Girl Talk – the evening’s dynamic program will bring your art-viewing experience to another level.

Highlights of the evening:

Back it Up by Justine A. Chambers – In this performance, contemporary dance artist Justine A. Chambers brings the back-up dancer to the forefront by prioritizing individuality using a step, a touch and a snap as a shared movement. Every movement is given equal rhythmic value, and over time, the distinctive movement of each dancer engulfs the initial choreography.

Chinese Vaginies by Natalie Gan (Hong Kong Exile) – Described as “soft and fluffy”, this campy and playful dance performance aims to address the interconnected issues of food, consumption, exotification and violence on the female body.

Dancers from Project Soul will roam the Gallery space and create ciphers in various locations, these dancers bring energetic pop-up hip-hop dance up and close to the audience.

SQUIN by RARUFU– Ralph Escamillan (aka RARUFU) is no stranger to FUSE, having performed with House of Ladouche, Out Innerspace and Company 605. In this collaboration with sound designer Stefan Seslija, RARUFU serves up what it means to be grande, iconic and alluring with sequins, sound and the body.

okay.odd by Milton Lim (Hong Kong Exile) – Based on the tenets of concentration, mindfulness and visualization, okay.odd is a multimedia meditation session that guides participants through a stream of consciousness. Part spiritual retreat and part commentary on our image-inundated affect-obsessed society, this performance/installation invites you to encounter the version of you that you feel, but do not know.

New eyes – study #2 by Remy Siu (Hong Kong Exile) – An audio-visual performance and a generative light sculpture, this piece seeks to subvert the standard relationship between player and instrument by creating consequence and complication for every action.

Girl Walk  // All Day (2011) by Jacob Krupnick – This feature-length dance music video, set to tracks of an entire Girl Talk album, is a tale of urban exploration, following three dancers across New York City as they turn the city’s sidewalks, parks and architecture into an evolving stage. Expanding the boundaries of the single-track music video, this project is an epic musical film about self-discovery and love, about finding community and vitality in shared public space.

Throughout the evening on the Gallery’s 4th floor pavilion, FUSE-goers can relax and get their groove on to a mashup-inspired playlist ranging from Missy Elliott to Joy Division’s Ian Curtis, designed by Kareem Abdul Jabaastard, with dance by Deanna Peters/Mutable Subject and guests.

FUSE-goers can also see MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture, the Gallery’s largest exhibition to date, featuring 371 artworks by 156 artists from around the world.

Tickets: $24 at the door | Free for Gallery Members
Website: http://vanartgallery.bc.ca/events_and_programs/fuse.html


Companhia Urbana de Dança at DanceHouse April 1 & 2

by Richard Wolak on March 18, 2016

dance house april 2016

Team up eight extraordinary dancers from the Brazil’s notorious favelas, with of one of the dance world’s most innovative choreographers and you get the wild, brilliant Companhia Urbana de Dança.

Audacious and dynamic, Companhia Urbana de Dança unleashes stamina-testing solos and jaw-dropping group movement in a rarely seen combination of styles. Drawing on urban and Brazilian dance, artistic director and choreographer Sonia Destri Lie has created a new genre – a high-­energy fusion of hip-hop, samba, capoeira, and contemporary dance that has stunned audiences and critics alike.
For this special, two-night only engagement, Companhia Urbana de Dança will perform two pieces. Signature work ID: Entidades was inspired by the life stories of the company’s dancers, and Na Pista explores the joyful influence of pop culture and sizzling social dance. Both are set to pulsating scores by Brazilian composer Rodrigo Marçal.

Alternately mesmerizing and rippling with adrenaline and raw energy, these two works promise to bring DanceHouse’s 2015–16 season to a stunning close.

Purchase your tickets online or call us at 604-801-6225 (Monday to Friday, 10AM to 4PM).

Purchase tickets here 


Ballet BC Presents Program 2 March 17-19

by Richard Wolak on March 8, 2016

Ballet BC Dancer Tara Williamson. Program 2  Photo by Michael Slobodian

Ballet BC continues its dynamic 30th Anniversary season at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, March 17-19. Under the artistic leadership of Ballet BC Artistic Director Emily Molnar, PROGRAM 2 features a world premiere by rising French choreographer Medhi Walerski. Walerski’s work (Petite Cérémonie, Prelude) has wowed dance lovers throughout Europe and North America. So, in this 30th anniversary season, it seemed fitting to commission a new work – his first full-length – from a choreographer who has had tremendous impact on both our artists and our audiences.

“Dance as a natural expression of the human being is liberating,” says Walerski. “It is with a sense of happiness and excitement that I embrace this new chapter of my career and this commission for Ballet BC that celebrates the creative and collaborative spirit of art and our humanity.”

This world premiere builds on the themes Walerski established with Prelude, seen on our stage in 2014, and celebrated for its poetic, complex, imaginative, and unpredictable choreographic language. It begins with the question of how to balance order and chaos; the individual and the collective. In explosive and dynamic contrast, the work will also look at the human need for celebration—be it a birth, a death, a change in history, or a reunion. Celebrations, and the energy they create through dance, life, and art, will permeate the theatre with sublime poetry, blurring the lines between the audience and the stage.

For this special commission, Ballet BC is joined by artists of the Arts Umbrella Graduate Dance Program to expand the cast of dancers to more than 25. Award winning Canadian designers, including Nancy Bryant (costumes) and James Proudfoot (lighting), will help Walerski realize his vision. “Each time I visit Vancouver I marvel at the beauty of the city and its wonderful artists,” says Walerski. “With this new work I want to create an experience beyond a traditional dance show, one where the audience enters a new world, all senses stimulated, to celebrate together.”

PROGRAM 2 plays the Queen Elizabeth Theatre at 8:00pm March 17-19, 2015. Tickets range from $30.00 to $90.00 (including service charges) and can be purchased through Ticketmaster at 1-855-985-2787 (855-985-ARTS) or online at ticketmaster.ca.


Chutzpah Festival February 18 – March 13

by Richard Wolak on February 6, 2016


In their 16th year of showcasing world-renowned artists in a vibrant celebration of the performing arts, the Chutzpah! Festival has unveiled another amazing the line-up of electrifying music, theatre, film and breath-taking dance scheduled for presentation at various venues around Vancouver.

An eagerly anticipated highlight of Vancouver’s dance season is the Chutzpah! Festival’s Dance Series. The 2016 Festival presents some of the most sought-after contemporary choreographers in the world. This year’s performances again offer high calibre, challenging and gorgeous dance delivering innovative and spell-binding work including Canadian and North American premieres from Italy’s brilliant Spellbound Contemporary Ballet; the incomparable Israeli dance company Maria Kong performing their much lauded Open Source; New York-based Gallim Dance in their repertory work Wonderland by choreographer Andrea Miller, which Dance Magazine praised as

“Gutsy. Wild. Smart. Original.”; new to the international scene, New York City’s hot all male company MADBOOTS and a world premiere from our resident dance company, the acclaimed Shay Kuebler Radical System Art (BC) in a spectacular double bill; and Ballet Kelowna presents works by Artistic Director Simone Orlando, James Kudelka, Heather Myers and John Alleyne, with Toronto’s Continuum Contemporary Music accompanying (Chutzpah!PLUS).

Chutzpah! Festival 2016 presents outstanding internationally-celebrated music, including leading world music pioneers. The rich global landscape of music presented this year showcases some of the world’s most exciting musical performers from Israel, Mexico City, Germany, USA, Cuba and Canada.  Highlights include Israel’s sister group A-WA, whose sweeping and uncompromising creation will take you on an exciting journey. From the first time they took the stage, they’ve been dropping jaws, raising eyebrows, making people dance: from hipsters to families, from festivals to clubs, young and old alike; Juno Award winners Odessa/Havana in an exhilarating, unprecedented project of musical discovery, the Jewish-Cuban connection. Trumpeter and composer David Buchbinder and Cuban piano master Hilario Durán joins forces with a team of top Jazz and World musicians,  taking the audience on a journey that consistently engages, challenges and delights; a remarkable band out of Mexico City Klezmerson, seamlessly combine melodies and rhythms from Europe’s Jewish tradition and blend with Gypsy and Mexican influences, creating a unique fusion of rock, funk and jazz; with its members hailing from Berlin and Tel Aviv, Baladino offering fresh, yet deeply authentic interpretations of Sephardic and Ladino melodies, with Mediterranean-Gypsy grooves,  extended technique, subtle electronics, improvisation and stunning vocals;  the inspired work of Israel’s Victoria Hanna depicts her ongoing experimentation with the vocal and conceptual boundaries of language.  Accompanied by three world class musicians, this vocal artist enacts in her work a unique presentation of sacred Hebrew texts and spirituals in an entirely modern context, integrating music, spoken word and video; described by DownBeat Magazine as “a remarkable talent and a welcome new voice on the scene”, Israel/New York Jazz trio Rotem Sivan Trio; one of his generation’s premier mandolinists and clarinetists, New York’s Andy  Statman with his trio featuring Jim Whitney (bassist) & Larry Eagle (drummer and percussionist); and Israel’s Avishai Cohen Quartet featuring award-winning trumpeter Avishai Cohen, who has earned renown as a musician with an individual sound and a questing spirit, an ever-creative player-composer open to multiple strains of jazz and active internationally (Chutzpah!PLUS).

Chutzpah!’s thought provoking theatre and hilarious comedy lineup is always at its best. Theatre highlights include a world premiere from Israeli-Canadian BC based playwright, performer and lighting designer Itai Erdal in collaboration with Maiko Yamamoto (Theatre Replacement) and Anita Rochon (The Chop Theatre)  in a humorous and moving site specific play A Very Narrow Bridge, that reveals the complexity of living between cultures and family relationships. Joining Erdal onstage are local favourites Patti Allen, Tom Pickett and Anton Lipovestky; two much anticipated stand-up comedy performances from NYC’s one-of-a-kind Jessica Kirson and Canada’s own Jon Steinberg will get you laughing.  Jessica Kirson’s unique and captivating stage presence and wide variety of characters capture the attention of audiences everywhere she performs. Comedian Jon Steinberg draws material from his unique and twisted view of the world and is a perennial favourite on CBC radio’s The Debaters. Jon has been entertaining audiences across North America for over a decade.

NEW this year, as part of Chutzpah!PLUS is a memoir book reading and interview with Jennifer Teege in conversation with Marsha Lederman, the Western Arts Correspondent for The Globe and Mail.  Teege is the bi-racial granddaughter of Nazi commandant Aon Goeth, portrayed by Ralph Fiennes in ‘Schindler’s List’.   In her memoir My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me, Teege reveals the horrifying moment she discovered her ancestry after being given up for adoption and recounts how this discovery shook her life to the core (co-written with journalist Nikola Sellmair and newly translated from German).

Celebrating our 16th year, Chutzpah!’s Artistic & Managing Director, Mary-Louise Albert says, “Another great year with world premieres by BC dance and theatre artists and a focus on the continuation of our established, and well warranted excellent reputation of bringing numerous outstanding international music, dance, and comedy to our audiences!”

Single tickets for Chutzpah! are $21 to $36 and can be purchased online at chutzpahfestival.com, by phone at the Chutzpah! Box Office: 604-257-5145 or Tickets Tonight: 604-684-2787. Chutzi Packs are also available: see 4 different shows of your choice for only $89.

Tickets will also be available in-person starting January 25th at the on-site Chutzpah! Box Office at the Jewish Community Centre, 950 West 41st Avenue, just 2 blocks west of the Oakridge Skytrain Station (for hours please see our website: www.chutzpahfestival.com)


Over The River and Through the Woods

by Richard Wolak Theatre

Such a great cast sees Nick, a young single man from New Jersey, is the only member of his family who’s still geographically convenient to his two sets of Italian-American grandparents. He loves them and sees them every Sunday for dinner, but they drive him a little crazy. When Nick announces that he wants to […]

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Arts Club Theatre presents In a Blue Moon on Tour

by Richard Wolak Theatre

A visually beautiful tale about creating a new life in a new landscape. When Ava (Anita Wittenberg) and her daughter, Frankie (Emma Tow), move to an inherited cottage near Kamloops, they discover that Ava’s late husband’s brother (Brett Christopher) is already living there. What starts as a tense relationship develops in unexpected ways as Frankie finds […]

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Vancouver Opera and PuSh present Macbeth in 2017

by Richard Wolak Music

Vancouver Opera and PuSh International Performing Arts Festival are excited to announce they will together present the Canadian premiere of a stunning take on Verdi’s Macbeth by one of South Africa’s most exciting producing companies. Macbeth will open the 2017 PuSh Festival on January 16, 2017 for five performances at the Vancouver Playhouse and will […]

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VSO Kicks off 2016 with Exciting Concerts

by Richard Wolak Music

The New Year, 2016, begins with a favourite tradition:  A Salute to Vienna, with members of the VSO in the company of the Strauss Symphony of Canada, vocal soloists and ballroom dancers for an enchanting selection of waltzes and operetta highlights. Take a trip down the Danube right here at home, New Year’s Day at […]

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SnapShots: A Musical Scrapbook

by Richard Wolak Theatre

SnapShots is one of the musicals that will have you humming along throughout the show as I did during opening night last night. It’s funny, well played out and has a great cast. Starring Stephen Aberle, Annabel Kershaw, Steve Maddock, Jocelyn Gauthier, Daniel Johnston and Georgia Swinton; each actor complements the other so graciously and […]

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Hofesh Schechter Company at DanceHouse November 13 & 14

by Richard Wolak Dance

For the opening of its 2015/16 season, DanceHouse is pleased to announce the return of the Hofesh Shechter Company. The internationally renowned UK-based troupe is bringing its new work, barbarians, to the Playhouse this November. The trio of pieces premiered this summer to great acclaim at Berliner Festspiele as part of the illustrious international performing […]

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