Grace under fire: Wen Wei Wang

 

November 23, 2017

Wen Wei Wang’s latest choreography, Dialogue, which opened the Dance in  Vancouver biennial last night, continues his explorations of themes of inter-human interchange, our need to make connections with others and our anxiety  when attempts to connect are misunderstood.
Six male dancers lay their bodies and souls on the line in a linked series of solo, duo and group pieces that approach this universal human dilemma from various skewed viewpoints, some of them wryly comical, some of them bittersweet. They give us glimpses of human creatures in all their flawed grace.
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Edouard Lock: showman or shaman?

A presentation to the Royal Society of CanadaNational Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, November 19, 2004

© Max Wyman

In the late 20th and early 21st century, dance has been shaped by a few great artists with the vision and the audacity to exploit and explore the possibilities of the artform in a new fashion. Two of them have spent their careers working in Europe: Pina Bausch, who is German and works in the area of neo-expressionist theatrical modernism, and William Forsythe, an American also working in Germany, whose interests lie in expanding the expressive potential of classical ballet. A third is Canadian: Edouard Lock. Continue reading

A night of torrid tango

December 4, 1987: Always sensitive to the shock of the new, I make my way to Graceland—bare concrete floor, bare steel pillars, “Vancouver’s sleekest nightspot”—for Vancouver New Music’s Tango Cabaret: “a night of torrid tango nouveau.”

US pianist Yvar Mikhashoff, bushy-haired and bespectacled, has asked 100 composers to create tangos and he plays us some of them: one by novelist Anthony Burgess, very English and subtle in its decorations, another by the astrologer who played John the Baptist in The Ten Commandments. There’s a little nothing of a tango by John Cage, one by a composer who never wrote anything but this one piece, and one by a composer who didn’t actually know what a tango was. Continue reading

The truth is out there

In the 1990s Vancouver became a significant centre for TV and film production—for a time it was dubbed Hollywood North—and in the spring of 1997 our house-sitter Laura McFadzean, who lived down the road and helped run Liz Bell’s modelling/acting talent agency, mentioned that the movie people were always looking for new faces and suggested I try out for a cameo role on The X-Files. They wanted a defecting scientist with a thick Russian accent and Laura thought that because I spoke a bit of Russian I might fit the bill. Continue reading

European theatre festival at Pilsen, 2015

September, 2015: The curators at this year’s International Theatre Festival in Pilsen, in the Czech Republic, deny they intended to identify trends in the region or to present a series of plays contributing to a common theme. So it must be the spirit of the times—the zeitgeist, we might say—that created the sense of moral purpose, existential significance and joyous life-force that permeated this tumultuous week. Continue reading