Vancouver International Dance Festival brings dance to city stages

From March 4th to 30th, the 2019 Vancouver International Dance Festival (VIDF) brings the world of dance to Vancouver venues. From across the country, across the Pacific, and right here at home, VIDF proudly presents a 2019 festival season, showcasing exhilarating performances by both internationally revered artists and lauded Vancouver performers, engaging workshops, and a host of interactive dance activities.

Dairakudan’s Pseudo Human Super Human by Hiroyuki Kawashima

The 2019 Dance Festival’s program showcases Canadian premieres from Japan’s sensational Dairakudakan — a VIDF audience favourite — as well as Taiwan’s Tjimur Dance Theatre, appearing in Vancouver for the very first time; three world premieres from Vancouver’s own Vision Impure, Olivia C. Davies, and Lesley Telford; and three West Coast premieres from East Coast artists Daina Ashbee (Montreal), Manuel Roque (Montreal), and 10 Gates Dancing (Ottawa), among many others. With 27 days of free and ticketed events, the VIDF program is sure to include something for every dance fan.

Vision Impure’s Pathways by Erik Zennström

“Dance is a unique and powerful medium that communicates and expresses our deepest, innermost thoughts and emotions, transcending the cultural and geographical constructs of today’s world,” says Barbara Bourget, Co-Producer of VIDF. “The VIDF is a platform for an array of international artists to showcase their vision, honour their customs and traditions, remove barriers, and spark dialogue amongst us. Through a thoughtful, curated program showcasing globally renowned artists from Canada and abroad, our goal is to be a catalyst for meaningful expression, connection, and conversation.”

Vancouver International Dance Festival runs March 4 to 30, 2019 at venues around Vancouver, for the full performance schedule, tickets and more information visit vidf.ca

No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks comes to Chan Centre

In recognition of Black History Month, The Chan Centre for the Performing Arts is bringing No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks to the Chan Shun Concert Hall on February 24th. 

As part of the Beyond Words series, this multimedia work from innovative art-collective Manual Cinema in collaboration with Chicago-based poets Eve L. Ewing and Nate Marshall, featuring a live six-piece band and original score by Jamila Woods and Ayanna Woods, creates an inspiring biographical narrative, of Gwendolyn Brooks. The late poet was a radical and disruptive presence within the national literary scene, becoming the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1950.

Photo of Manual Cinema by Julia Miller

“Manual Cinema creates magic, pure and simple. Through the unlikely pairing of high-tech digital equipment and old-school overhead projectors they are known for completely captivating audiences,” says Wendy Atkinson, Programming Manager at the Chan Centre and curator of Beyond Words. “Two years ago they performed here to rave reviews and when I heard about their most recent project — a biography of poet Gwendolyn Brooks that also includes a live band — I couldn’t resist inviting them back!”

Born in 1917 in Kansas and raised in Chicago, Gwendolyn Brooks worked for decades as an acclaimed artist, mentor to aspiring poets, and advocate for schoolchildren. Gaining much acclaim, she became one of the most widely read authors in America, using her poetic eloquence to convey the black experience.

No Blue Memories traces the political arc of her career and the development of her craft. Manual Cinema’s production uses a combination of shadow puppetry, vintage overhead projectors, multiple screens, actors, live feed cameras, multi-channel sound design, and live music. Written by Ewing and Marshall — also known collectively as Crescendo Literary, a name taken from a Brooks composition — the evocative performance poetically explores her legacy. Fellow Chicago-based soul singer Jamila Woods collaborated with multi-instrumentalist Ayanna Woods for the original score, which will be performed live. 

No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks takes the stage at The Chan Centre for Performing Arts at The University of British Columbia at 7pm, Sunday February 24, 2019. For information and tickets visit chancentre.com

Picks of the Week – January 9, 2019

The holidays have past but still a few remnants of the season live on to keep up feeling a bit festive into January

Lake: This week is the last to visit Harrison Hot Springs Village’s Lights on the Lake sasquatch-themed illuminations.

Lights: Hop the Millenium SkyTrain Line to Lafarge-Douglas Station and enjoy the last weeks of Metro Vancouver’s largest winter light display – Lights at Lafarge until January 20th.

Laughs:  with a new year, comes a new venue for Vancouver’s queer improv comedy troupe, as they move Queerprov Fruit Bowl  to The Junctioni for an evening of laughter tonight, Jan 9th

Bowie: The 4th Annual Bowie Ball – A Celebration of the Life & Music of David Bowie brings an evening of bands benefitting the Canadian Cancer Society to the Rickshaw Theatre on Saturday night

Pucks: The Vancouver Canucks return to home ice, hosting Arizona Coyotes, on Thursday January 10th

Soul: British alternative R&B singer NAO takes the stage at The Vogue Theatre on Saturday with her funky vocals

The Full Light Of Day
photo: Don Lee

Electric: The Electric Company Theatre, in association with the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, presents the world premiere of a provocative new work, The Full Light of Day, at the Vancouver Playhouse from January 7 – 12

Comedy: Just For Laughs Presents Bert Kreischer – Body Shots World Tour for two shows at The Vogue Theatre on Sunday, at 7pm and 9:30pm

Improv: Beat those post-Holiday blahs by beating it with laughter as Vancouver Theatresports presents Throwdown – International Theatresports Festival, until January 27th.

Warriors: Saturday night at Rogers Arena, Vancouver Warriors Lacrosse host the Saskatchewan Rush.

Country: Before it takes off on a USA Tour, get a preview of the story behind country music’s biggest love story as Kitty Night Productions Johnny and June a toe tappin’ musical story of June and Johnny Cash on January 12th at Biltmore Cabaret

 

 

The Sun Will Come Out when Annie takes the stage

Cast of Align Entertainment’s Annie
photo: Emily Cooper

The Sun Will Come Out when Align Entertainment presents the positively perky adventures of everyone’s favourite little orphan. Annie takes the stage at the Michael J. Fox Theatre in Burnaby, February 1–16, 2019.  Following the successful fall production of A Christmas Story: The Musical, Align Entertainment closes the 2018/2019 season with the story of that plucky, optimistic red-haired 11-year-old, Annie.

The Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical is set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, throwing into sharp relief the beauty of the spirited character’s hopefulness in dire times. Featuring a fresh cast of young local talent, the production is a heart-warming antidote to the long grey days of winter.

Annie is a touching and timeless musical with a strong core message that money can’t buy you happiness,” says director and co-producer Chad Matchette. “Oliver Warbucks is the richest man in the country and yet his life is unfulfilled until he meets Annie. This delightful little girl reminds us about the power of love and inspires people to hold onto their dreams against all odds.”

The original Broadway production from 1977 is based on Harold Gray’s widely read comic strip Little Orphan Annie. The 1924 comic was popular for its poignant political commentary, and subsequent adaptations maintained this feature. The story follows the adventures of Annie, who longs to find the parents who left her as a baby on the steps of a New York City orphanage. Tired of matron Miss Hannigan’s cruelty, Annie escapes into the city and befriends the abandoned but loveable mutt Sandy. Upon her return, she is selected to spend Christmas with local billionaire Oliver Warbucks. He is soon won over by her bright outlook and even introduces her to President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Along the way, Annie helps inspire the New Deal, learns the truth about her parents, and finds a loving home to call her own.  

Annie played by Camryn Macdonald
photo: Emily Cooper

With a book by Thomas Meehan (The Producers, Hairspray) and lyrics by Charles Strouse (Bye Bye Birdie), Annie earned seven Tony Awards and seven Drama Desk Awards, and brought the world the iconic songs “Tomorrow” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life” and others. Align Entertainment’s production brings the musical to life with a live 12-piece orchestra under the direction of Kevin Woo and a talented ensemble of a dozen young actors, who were selected from auditions by more than 100 children. 

Several cast members will be making their Align Entertainment debut, including the bright-eyed Camryn Macdonald (Veruca in Delta Youth Theatre’s Willy Wonka Jr.) in the role of Annie and Arne Larsen (Dom Claude Frollo in Secondary Characters’ The Hunchback of Notre Dame) as Oliver Warbucks. Erin Matchette (Mrs. Schwartz in Align’s A Christmas Story) will play Miss Hannigan, and Laura Cowan (Fairy Godmother in Theatre Under the Stars’ Cinderella) will be Grace Farrell, Warbucks’ assistant who first finds Annie. Next week, Align Entertainment begins the Search for Sandy, auditions for the real dog to fill the role of Sandy the dog. If you think your pooch can fill the role, check out alignentertainment.ca for audition information.

Align Entertainment’s Annie runs February 1 – 16, 2019 at Michael J Fox Theatre, 7373 MacPherson Ave. Burnaby

5 Picks for PuSh Festival 2019

Every winter the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival brings together the world of Arts and Performance. This year’s 15th Annual PuSh Festival runs January 17th – February 3rd, 2019 and tickets are selling fast.  Don’t wait, check out the line-up and book your shows now.

The 15th Anniversary festival kicks off January 17th at The Beaumont Studios with a performance by D’BI, the free Opening Night Party, features djs, dancing and pop-up performances by Vancouver’s Kimmortal & Immigrant Lessons.

“We launched in 2003 as a three-show series that drew 2,500 people to 21 performances at three Vancouver venues,” says Roxanne Duncan, PuSh Festival’s Interim Executive Director. “The inaugural festival opened a short two years later in 2005. Now as we prepare to celebrate our 15th anniversary, PuSh has welcomed more than 300,000 people to 366 productions from 30 countries.”

The opening performance Attractor by DanceNorth Australia,  January 18th & 19th at Vancouver Playhouse
The show begins with two musicians and eight dancers onstage. Indonesian duo Senyawa plays music spiced with ritual and folk idioms from their native country while choreographers Lucy Guerin and Gideon Obarzanek work with Dancenorth Australia and the band to create a wild experience: as the music builds in power, the dancers increase their abandon and pre-selected members of the audience join in.

Some other highlighted picks for PuSh Festival 2019 include:

Marginal Consort by Marginal Consort (Japan) : January 20 at Performance Works
Four musicians, play a multitude of instruments, create ambient, heavily manipulated music, far apart and fully independent of each other.

PALMYRA by Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas (France/UK) : January 22–24 at Performance Works
Named after a Syrian city that has changed hands several times during the current fighting, this show slowly builds to the level of violence, creating and sustaining moral ambiguity along the way.

salt. by Selina Thompson photo: Bryony Jackson

salt. by Selina Thompson (UK) : January 24–26 at Roundhouse Community Centre
In this performance Selina Thompson recounts her journey along one stretch of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle route by cargo ship.

Bicycle Thieves by Joelysa Pankanea (Canada) : January 26 & 27 at Performance Works
A special commission for Push Festival, composer and musical director Joelysa Pankanea guides a group of six musicians and four actors as they provide live musical and voice accompaniment to director Vittorio De Sica’s landmark 1948 neorealist film Bicycle Thieves.

These are but a few of the international performances scheduled for the 2019 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. Visit pushfestival.ca to find the full festival schedule and book your tickets and Push Passes now.

 

Picks of the Week – January 2, 2019

Happy New Year! We hit 2019 running away with more Vancouver entertainment picks of the week.

Lights: It’s your last chance to view the Canada’s North light display and the historic Woodward’s department store windows as Port Metro Vancouver presents the annual Christmas at Canada Place holiday event, until tomorrow January 3rd, 2019.

Ladies Dancing at Burnaby Village

Village: Celebrate a Heritage Holiday with traditions from a century ago at Heritage Christmas presented by Concord Pacific at Burnaby Village Museum until Friday January 4th.

Comedy: The Vancity Comedy Extravaganza brings laughter to the Vogue Theatre Stage on Friday, January 4th

Bright: Bring a twinkle to their eyes, as Bright Nights at Stanley Park brings a twinkle to the park and miniature train until January 5th

IIHF World Junior Hockey

Hockey: the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships 2019, moves into the knock-out rounds in Vancouver and Victoria heading to the medal games on January 5th.

Garden: Sunday, January 6th is your last day to wander through the spectacular Festival of Lights at VanDusen Botanical Garden

Wiz: Take off to see the Wizard as The Cultch and Theatre Replacement present East Van Panto: The Wizard of Oz at the York Theatre until January 6th

Belle:  Join your favourite characters as a tale as old as time, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, returns to the Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage,  until January 6, 2019

Improv: Starting tonight, beat back the winter blahs with laughter as Vancouver Theatresports presents Throwdown – International Theatresports Festival, until January 27th.

Picks of the Week – December 26, 2018

Boxing Day is filled with activity as people hit the after-Christmas sales but if you’re not ready to brave the crowds and hustle of shopping, there’s plenty of festival entertainment to wrap up your week

Hockey: the holiday hockey tradition, IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships 2019, unfolds in Vancouver and Victoria starting today, until January 5th.

Life: Look in on the life of George Bailey as Gateway Theatre presents It’s a Wonderful Life, a new musical adaptation featuring tunes from the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s, running until December 31st

Pride: Catch the follow up to Pride & Prejudice with Miss Bennet : Christmas at Pemberley at The Arts Club Granville Stage until December 30

Dorothy & friends are off to see the Wizard in
East Van Panto – Wizard of Oz
photo: Emily Cooper

Wiz: Take off to see the Wizard as The Cultch and Theatre Replacement present East Van Panto: The Wizard of Oz at the York Theatre until January 6th

Date: Until December 30, spend your date night watching Blind Date at The Arts Club Goldcorp Stage, each night is a unique show as a new audience member is the date in each show.

Jazz: Tyrant Studio’s Friday Jazz  offers up Bebop Saxophone Jazz with the Sam Baglier Quartet at the Tyrant Studio Lounge upstairs from The Penthouse

Thieves: American electronic act The Thievery Corporation plays the Commodore Ballroom on Saturday

Year: Recap all the improv madcap madness of 2018 with Vancouver Theatresports Year In Review until New Year’s Eve

Aurora Winter Festival

Festival: Aurora Winter Festival, Canada’s Largest Winter Festival, brings a a skating rink, a tube park, light displays, Christmas Market, amusement rides, food gardens, and many more activities to Concord Pacific Place November 23 – December 30

Belle:  Join your favourite characters as a tale as old as time, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, returns to the Arts Club Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage,  until January 6, 2019

Lights: Many of the Festival light displays around the city continue to light up the nights into January like; Bright Nights, Van Dusen Festival Of Lights, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park Canyon Lights, Glow Langley, Lights at Lafarge and many more

Laughs: Saturday nights Tyrant Studio’s Comic Strip brings stand-up comedy to the Studio Lounge Stage with Aaron Charles Read and Robert Peng with Headliner Ivan Decker

EDM: wrap up your year with one of the city’s biggest music festivals as Skrillex and The Chainsmokers headline the two day Contact Music Festival at BC Place Friday and Saturday.