Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dance the weekend away in Niagara

I have not written much about dance the last little while, which is strange, really, as I have always loved dance - especially ballet. Back in the late 70s I began attending performances of the National Ballet of Canada in Toronto and fell in love with classical ballet the moment I first saw it. I went to everything - full-length classical ballets to shorter, more contemporary offerings. I always found the language of body movement to be very descriptive and, well, frankly sexual at times. The saying that all guys who dance ballet must be effeminate, which I regularly heard in those less-enlightened times, would certainly be put to rest the moment you got past your preconceived notions and actually watched them dance. These people (both male and female, incidentally) are true athletes who prepare for a dance programme just as hard as a football player, for example, prepares for the next big game.

I had a long association with the National Ballet that lasted well into this century (boy, that makes me feel old!) as well as the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and various and sundry other companies from around the world who would visit the Toronto area. Alas, I have not been in several years, and I do miss it. The ballet for me is simply the perfect blending of brain and brawn; the intellectual and the sexual. One of these days I will have to go again and enjoy the experience all over again.

This weekend, in fact, you and I can enjoy two superb Canadian solo dancers come together for a shared programme of contemporary dance and music. From different generations and different training backgrounds, Peggy Baker and Nova Bhattacharya explore the intersections of east and west in "Whole Wide World", a world premiere from Peggy Baker Dance Projects and Ipsita Nova Dance Projects.

On the programme, Baker will present her 2006 choreography "Krishna's Mouth", set to a haunting cello score by the noted Japanese-American composer Karen Tanaka, and "Strand", performed to music for piano written by Canadian composer Ann Southam. Bhattacharya, meantime, will present "Map of the Known World", choreographed for her by Peggy Baker, as well as her latest work, "Unspoken", both featuring original music from Toronto tabla virtuoso Ed Hanley. The programme will conclude with both performers in the world premiere of "Aleatoric Solo Duet."

There are two performances this weekend at the Sullivan Mahoney Courthouse Theatre in downtown St. Catharines: Saturday evening at 7:30 and Sunday afternoon at 2:30. Anyone who has attended a performance at the Courthouse Theatre knows it is an intimate space, so as such it will be limited seating this weekend. You can try at the door, but it might be best to call the Brock box office for tickets to either performance: 905-688-5550, ext. 3257, or order online at

Enjoy the weekend!

February 5th, 2011.

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