Monday, March 28, 2011

Celebrate International Dance Day, Friday, April 29th at the Denman Island Community Hall!

 International Dance Day (World Dance Day) has been celebrated on April 29 through promotion by the International Dance Council , an umbrella organization within UNESCO for all kinds of dance. The holiday was introduced in 1982 by the International Dance Committee of the UNESCO International Theatre Institute. The date  commemorates the birthday of French ballet dancer Jean-Georges Noverre. Among the goals of the Dance Day are to increase the awareness of the importance of dance among the general public, as well as to persuade governments all over the world to provide a proper place for dance in all systems of education, from primary to higher. While dance has been an integral part of human culture throughout its history, it is underprioritized by official establishments in the world. 

Jade de Trey

This April 29th Denman Islanders can celebrate World Dance Day together in the 'Back' Hall with a show featuring local and visiting dancers performing a variety of dance styles including; modern, Flamenco, hula hoop, experimental, ecstatic, folklorick, fusion and improv dance! The show will feature Denman Island dancers; Gillian Saxby, Laurie Montemurro, Laura Bushiekin, Cathy Stokyo, Luna, Sheelagh Mackenzie, among others. We will also be blessed with performances by visiting dancers; Lynette Harper from Nanaimo, Jade de Trey, Methuselah Dance, Linsey Spencer, Lisa Hamilton aka the SpinJinny, Tomomi Ozaki and, Edith Jacobs from Courtenay. Following the show there will be dancing for all with DJ sista Karmalita and drummers are welcome to come and play along to the global beats. 

The show starts at 8Pm, doors at 7:30, $10 suggested donation goes to cover expenses. Any profits will go to support future dance events on Denman Island. Maybe this will become an annual Denman tradition! For more information and/or if you would like to dance call Cathy at (250) 335-1964

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bhangra to Bollywood

    On Saturday April 16th I will be teaching a 'Bhangra to Bollywood' dance workshop at the Abbey in Cumberland. We will learn some technique and a choreography that I created for a group to music by the UK group the Dhol Foundation. Because what we know as Bhangra and Bollywood dance today is a fusion I wanted to provide some basic info about these dance styles.  Here is some information about Bhangra I found on Wikapedia-

   Bhangra is a form of dance and music that originated in the Punjab region of India. Bhangra dance began as a folk dance conducted by Punjabi Sihk farmers to celebrate the coming of the harvest season. The specific moves of bhangra reflect the manner in which villagers farmed their land. This hybrid dance became bhangra. The folk dance has been popularised in the Western world by Punjabi and is seen in the West as an expression of South Asian culture as a whole. Today, Bhangra dance survives in different forms and styles all over the globe – including pop music, filmsoundtracks, collegiate competitions and cultural shows. 

Here is an example of a Bhangra dance with some 'Bollywood' influnce. It is performed by white Sihks for a friend's wedding and it is one of my favorite Bhangra videos on Youtube-

About Bollywood Dance
       The dancing in Bollywood films, especially older ones, is primarily modelled on Indian dance: classical dance styles, dances of historic northern Indian courtesans, or folk dances. In modern films, Indian dance elements often blend with Western dance styles . Bellydance has also influenced Bollywood dance and many of the big Bollywood stars study Bellydance with world reknowed teachers, often in the West. The hero or heroine will often perform with a troupe of supporting dancers. Many song-and-dance routines in Indian films feature unrealistically instantaneous shifts of location or changes of costume between verses of a song. If the hero and heroine dance and sing a duet, it is often staged in beautiful natural surroundings or architecturally grand settings. This staging is referred to as a "picturisation".  Songs typically comment on the action taking place in the movie, in several ways. Sometimes, a song is worked into the plot, so that a character has a reason to sing. Other times, a song is an externalisation of a character's thoughts, or presages an event that has not occurred yet in the plot of the movie. In this case, the event is often two characters falling in love. The songs are also often referred to as a "dream sequence", and anything can happen that would not normally happen in the real world.
(Some of the above info is also taken from Wikapedia)

    The video clip below is from 'Aaja Nachle'- Come Dance With Me, a very popular Bollywood movie starring diva Madhuri Dixit. I will also be teaching some bollywood dance combinations to this song that I learned when I was studying dance in India. The movements relate to the lyrics and the dancer will often 'lip synch' along with the song. 

Class size is limited, call (250)335-1964) to register. Also, visit the 'classes/workshop' page on this blog for more info.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mary Wigman's Witch Dance

Strong and convincing art has never arisen from theories.
-Mary Wigman
Witch Dance
Choreographed in 1914 and filmed in 1930!

I just discovered this video and find it very compelling and powerful. 
Very inspiring!

The revised Witch Dance made explicit what had been implicit in the identically titled solo presented twelve years earlier on her debut program. As in the earlier solo, the choreographer does not impersonate the character of a witch but rather embodies the quality of “witchness.” However, her self-transformation is intensified and made more complete through her use of a facial mask, designed by Viktor Magito. As a review described the effect: ‘She emloys a small face mask, which doesn’t hide all of her cheek, nor does it cover her hair. The eye openings of the mask allow her eyes to be seen… (Her) partially covered body…lives no longer, but withdraws so far from life that each movement extinguishes all thought of human existence.’
… Wearing a mask, the female dancer objectifies herself rather than allowing herself to be objectified by the (male) spectator. Wearing a mask, she turns the gaze back on the spectator.”

-from Ecstasy and the Demon: The Dances of Mary Wigman, by Susan Manning

Some basic info about Mary Wigman- 
 Mary Wigman (13 November 1886 – 18 September 1973) was a German dancerchoreographer, and instructor of dance. A pioneer of expressionist dance, her work was hailed for bringing the deepest of existential experiences to the stage. She became one of the most iconic figures of Weimar German culture and is considered to be one of the most important figures in the history of European dance
(above info from Wikapedia)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Las Quirkus and the Bolting Brassicas coming to Denman Island

Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of all Ages, Step Right Up

Bright eyed and bushy tailed, fresh from the back woods, backwards world of Lasqueti Island, “LasQuirkus” a troupe of 25 circus performers, musicians and freaks will be rolling off the ferry and on to Denman for one night only at the D.I. Community Hall on Saturday April 23rdth 2011 at 7 pm. Bring out the whole family for a Vaudeville Variety Show featuring stilters, clowns, jugglers, musical slapstick, storytelling, hula-hoop spinning, dancing marionettes, giant puppets, general merriment, and a gorilla... or two? The night will be hosted by Ring Master & Mistress of Ceremonies: the Infamous Jenny V and portable live soundtrack will be provided by our house band: The Bolting Brassicas. There will be plenty of home grown acts from the LasQuirkus Circus Works, plus performers from the greater Salish Sea and extra special guests:  your Denman friends and neighbours (including dance performance by Blue Lotus)!
Still need more? Dance on into the evening with a live set of west coast, high energy, raw brass gypsy funk-punk music from The Bolting Brassicas Marching Band. The Bolting Brassicas had the dance floor on fire at the hall last Fall when they came to Denman with  Orkestar Slivovica for 'Harvest Brass' and are back by popular demand! And cap it all of with Lasqueti's dj beatfarmer who will spin up world beats for your dancing pleasure. Bring the kids, your juggling balls, dance shoes, and a sense of wonder. Come one, Come all! Doors Open at 6:30, Show starts at 7pm, Dance to follow. Tickets available at the door, show night only! Cost 15$ per person. 30$ family rate. No one turned away fro lack of funds. Non alcoholic beverages and light snacks will be available for purchase.
For more information: email or check out or call (250) 335-1964

LasQuirkus is a inclusive, do-it-yourself, not for profit, completely volunteer based event aimed at having good clean (yet wacky and wild) fun for everyone from toddlers to great-grandparents and everyone in between. Inspired by long running The New Old Time Chautauqua, we're building our circus skills while inspiring, promoting and bringing together performers, communities and the arts around the Salish Sea.

Bolting Brassicas

Friday, March 11, 2011

Moving in Circles, the latest news

The 'Happy Love Hoop Show' is coming soon to the Old Church Theatre in Courtenay.
The creatrix of this event, Tracey Mantha is literally a mover and shaker in the Comox Valley; she is the founder of Nova Fire Spun Arts, teaches 'hulahoopla' fitness/dance classes, designs costumes and props, creates interesting fun events and so much more.
The fabulous Lisa Hamilton aka the SpinJinny is one of the performers featured in the show, Lisa also dances with Blue Lotus (see page above).

Be there or be square, ha ha!

Dancing Ancient and New

Rock painting of Neolithic dancers, Algerian Sahara
 I've recently been re-reading the book, Lady and the Beasts and, I am once again inspired by the following passage;
   "...Dancing grew out of observing the movements of animals and implies human identity with them. Dance gave rise to rapture, which led to consciousness, the realization of death, and the hope of rebirth. Out of this art is born."
Buffy Johnsn- Lady and the Beasts
    It takes me back to the time when I was pregnant with my son Roman and one evening under a full moon I felt magically inspired to create the 'Animal Spirit' dance.

The 'Animal Spirits' dance was performed in the 2001 production of 'Anima Mundi' 
at the Denman Island Hall and 'Axis Mundi', the story of the Witches at the 
Sid Williams Theatre, Courtenay B.C. 2003