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

Picks of the Week – February 20, 2019

As we come to the final weekend of February, we’re usually thinking of spring but this weather has us wanting to stay indoors, good thing this week’s picks have lots to bring us through the doors.

Vancouver TheatreSport Improv Voyage

Ahoy!: For one night only, February 21st, Vancouver TheatreSport is transformed into a comedy Cruise Ship for Improv Voyage, a 3 hour tour de force fund raiser for VTSL.

Opera: The stellar sets Vancouver Opera’s production of La Bohème, really make you feel like you’re visiting 1920’s Paris, catch it for yourself for the last performances February 21 & 24 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Chopin: Early Music Vancouver welcomes German pianist Tobias Koch for a pair of shows at Christ Church Cathedral; Chopin-The Last Concert on February 22, and The Polish Romantics on February 23.

#YaaasAnd: QueerProv brings a pair of improv comedy games to The Junction on Wednesday night; QueerProv at 7:30pm then On This Day at 9:30pm

Comedy: JFL Northwest continues to bring the world of comedy to stages and venues around Vancouver until February 23rd.

Dolly: It’s your last chance to catch the crafty Dolly Levi in action as she manipulates the love lives other characters’ in The Matchmaker (the inspiration for the iconic musical Hello Dolly!) at The Arts Club Theatre Company Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until February 24th.

Crime: Also closing this week, Torquil Campbell delivers a tour de force performance in the criminal biographical play True Crime at the Arts Club Theatre Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre.

Thief: Go behind closed doors to view the interactions between chronic five-finger discounter and store security in Morris Panych’s comedy The Shoplifters plays at The Arts Club Granville Island Stage until March 9th.

Release: Composer and pianist Vede Hille presents a one night only concert to celebrate the release of the cast album of her King Arthur’s Night, hosted by Niall McNeill and Marcus Youssef on February 24th at The Cultch Historic Theatre

Children of God

Festival: The 18th Talking Stick Festival is now on, celebrating Indigenous art, music, dance and culture throughout the city until March 2nd.

Musical: Part of Talking Stick Festival, Corey Payette’s Children of God is playing at The Cultch York Theatre until March 10th

Home: The 2019 BC Home & Garden Show fills BC Place Stadium with all things for your home renovations, spring gardening and more, February 20 – 24.

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

HipHop: Friday night at Rogers Arena join Snoop Dogg & Friends including Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Warren G, Kurupt and Luniz for what’s sure to be a hazy evening of hip-hop and rap.

Pucks: Vancouver Canucks return to Rogers Arena for a pair of games against Arizona Thursday evening and New York Islanders on Saturday

18th Talking Stick Festival Opens

The 18th Talking Stick Festival, presented by Full Circle: First Nations Performance opens today. The celebration of Indigenous culture through the arts runs until March 2nd at various Vancouver venues.

Margo Kane, Artistic Managing Director of Full Circle: First Nations Performance says, “Our 2019 Talking Stick Festival is an open invitation to Explore Indigenous Culture through the Arts and we welcome back some of our favourite artists and companies who are developing international and national reputations of their own.” 

Speaking about the range of works audiences can expect from the 2019 festival, Kane adds, “This festival of extraordinary Indigenous performance and art features some of the best emerging and established Indigenous artists Turtle Island has to offer. It provides a stage for artists from a variety of artistic expressions – theatre, storytelling, writing, music, spoken word, dance, and visual arts. It celebrates the traditional performance of many communities, as well as the contemporary and interdisciplinary work of Indigenous creators.”

Children of God
Children of God

Highlights from the 2019 Talking Stick Festival include: 

Children of God by Corey Payette (an Urban Ink production, co-presented with The Cultch), a musical story of redemption for a family overcoming the history of residential schools, playing February 20 – March 10, 2019 at York Theatre

Wax hoks en Shqalawin (Open Your Hearts) Opening Gala, a evening of music and dance on February 21 at Roundhouse Community Centre, kicking off the Visual Arts Exhibit on view at the Roundhouse Community Centre throughout the festival run.

Indian Acts: Staged Readings Series features play readings of new works from Kevin Loring, Tai Amy Grauman, Taran Kootenhayoo, Lisa C. Ravensbergen, and Margo Kane

Muyuntsut ta Slulum (Immerse Yourself in Music), a musicseries featuring Snotty Nose Rez Kids with DJ Kookum, Emily Wurramara, and DJ O Show performing throughout the run of the festival. 

Reel Reservations Film Series screening of SGaawaay K’uuna Edge of the Knife (2018 Best Canadian Feature – Vancouver Film Critics Circle), Falls Around Here and Anori (Wind) 

Knowledge Sharing events for public and artists run throughout the festival

2-Spirit Series that includes Looking for Tiger Lily from Anthony Hudon (the human vessel for Portland’s premiere drag clown Carla Rossi).

Family-friendly shows Nanabush Stories, Tee Pee Theatre, and Celebration of Dance are Pay-What-You-Can events for all-ages

Festival Closing Night Celebration: Ab-Original Cabaret, a celebration full of music, comedy, theatre, song, and spoken word from the brightest Indigenous talent March 2 at The Ironworks Studios.

For full details of the Talking Stick Festival, including venues and tickets, at talkingstickfest.ca 

Picks of the Week – February 13, 2019

This week brings us St Valentine’s Day as well as the BC Family Day long weekend so there’s plenty of activities to find in the picks of the week

Thank You For Being A Friend

Puppets: Tonight, Thank You For Being A Friend, the ultimate Golden Girls experience brings everyone’s mature, Miami matrons to the stage in puppet form


Cocoa: Warm up from the snow before the Annual Hot Chocolate Festival wraps up for another year, tomorrow, February 14th

Opera: Take your Valentine on a trip to Paris, the setting of Vancouver Opera’s production of La Bohème, playing February 14, 16, 19, 21 & 24 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Love: Find your way to your Valentine’s funnybone as Vancouver TheatreSports presents Romance Week, wraps up its improv fun.

Orphan: Everyone’s favourite orphan is onstage at the Micheal J Fox Theatre in Burnaby, as Align Entertainment presents Annie, until February 16

Circlesongs: The genre-defying, Grammy award winning Bobby McFerrin brings his circlesinging improvisational singing style to the Chan Centre stage on Sunday

Pop: spend your Valentine’s with Justin Timberlake as be brings his The Man of the Woods to Rogers Arena for two shows on Thursday and Friday

Yoga Play at Gateway Theatre

Yoga: You’ll bend over backwards to get into Gateway Theatre for the comedy Yoga Play before it closes February 16th

Hello: Find out Dolly Levi makes her match in The Matchmaker (the inspiration for the iconic musical Hello Dolly!) at The Arts Club Theatre Company Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until February 24th.

Crime: Torquil Campbell delivers a tour de force performance in the criminal biographical play True Crime is now At the Arts Club Theatre Goldcorp Stage at the BMO Theatre Centre, until February 24th.

Five-Fingers: From true crime to a petty-crime comedy The Shoplifters plays at The Arts Club Granville Island Stage until March 9th.

Much Ado About Nothing photo: Emily Cooper

Ado: Catch the final show in The Cultch’s 2019 Femme Series; Much Ado About Nothing, before it closes this weekend.

Lacrosse: Vancouver Warriors return to Rogers Arena on Saturday to play host to Saskatchewan Rush

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

The Matchmaker makes her match at The Arts Club

Say hello to the famed matchmaking busybody Dolly Gallagher Levi as The Matchmaker brings her to The Arts Club Theatre Company Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage. Thorton Wilder’s 1954 comedy served as the inspiration for the iconic musical Hello Dolly!, which turned Dolly Levi into a legendary role.

In The Arts Club Theatre Company’s The Matchmaker, director Ashlie Corcoran, guides an ensemble of 14 actors playing 16 characters through a maze of forbidden love, mistaken identities, madcap adventures and hysterical hijinx, resulting in much spontaneous laughter and applause from the audience throughout the performance.

Nicole Lipman as Dolly Levi
photo: David Cooper

While Nicole Lipman’s Dolly stirs the plot and characters with her cunning charm, it’s cantankerous Horace Vandergelder, played by Ric Reid, who sets the wheels in motion as the other characters seek to avoid or win “the first citizen of Yonkers'” favour. Whether it’s trying to keep his niece Ermengarde (Julie Leung) from marrying artist Ambrose Kemper (Nadeem Phillip), keep his love interest Mrs Molloy on a string whilst there is another potential suitor, or keep his employees in check in spite of their desire for adventure, Mr Vandergelder never quite succeeds with Dolly really pulling the strings.

The Matchmaker
photo: David Cooper

As the characters move the action from Yonkers “where nothing ever happens”, to New York City, Mrs Molloy (Naomi Wright) and her flighty shop assistance Minnie (Georgia Beaty) are the first bold flashes of colour both in character, costume and setting of her millinery shop. When they stumble into the shop, the ladies awaken something within Mr. Vandergelder’s naive shop clerks, Cornelius Hackl and Barnaby Tucker. Played with leading-man charm and charisma by Tyrone Savage and wide-eyed innocence by Daniel Doheny, respectively, the gentlemen were seeking an adventure and found much more than they bargained for, or could afford, but in Dolly’s world everything has a way of working out, for everyone.

Throughout the adventure we meet an assortment of colourful characters each with their own over-the-top eccentricities. The audience becomes a 17th character when many of the characters break the fourth wall to speak directly to the room; sharing their feelings, or words of wisdom albeit when coming from drunkard Malachi Stack, hilariously played by Scott Bellis, they might be taken with a shot of whiskey. With so much happening on stage, the whole performance moves like a dance as players move in, out and over the sets and costumes on their way to happily ever after.

Drew Facey’s beautiful production design creates a world, with four distinct sets, reminiscent of The Gilded Age but with hints of modernity in the set decorations and costumes that make it a world all its own. The set and costumes lends just enough realism to ground the show but the colourful winks and whimsy fit perfectly with the absurdity of the farce. If you listen closely, you’ll also note that the music doesn’t fit the period but does fit the characters, with a short nod to Hello Dolly!, as well.

Experience the laughter for yourself as The Matchmaker plays at The Arts Club Theatre Company Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage until February 24, 2019. Visit artsclub.com for tickets and showtimes.

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