Who says feminism also says frustration, or so the stereotype goes, along with its mascot in the form of the man-hating woman. It can be easy to forget that the feminist movement evolved from the 70’s and the dream of achieving gender equality. Though feminism’s public persona seems to have turned sour, the truth is that the initial claim, for women to be equal to men, has remained unchanged, and this claim is being put forward in many thoughtful ways. Bye Bye Princesse is one of the voices in the movement, and their language of choice is dance-theater.
When a dance show sells out, you know the company is good. When the entire week sells out, you know the company is great. What do you know then when the entire week of performances by emerging artists has sold out so far in advance that the show organizers have had to release extra tickets with limited viewing in an attempt to meet the demand? We’re on to something that is really going to blow your mind. If this is your first time hearing about the electric, conceptual hip hop duo that is Tentacle Tribe, let me start by saying you’re welcome. You can thank me for introducing you later.
Ontario-born Emmanuelle Lê Phan and Swede Elon Höglund had worked together for several years dancing for Cirque du Soleil and as part of RUBBERBANDance. In 2012, they took their partnership to the next level in founding Tentacle Tribe. I’ve been a fan of their urban-inspired contemporary journey since experiencing the work-in-progress version of Nobody Likes a Pixelated Squid at Tangente exactly one year ago, and finally got the chance to revel in the good vibes of Emmanuelle and Elon’s company in the garden oasis behind Montreal’s Café Santropol last week. Over mint tea and a latte (but not the one in a big bowl, Elon petitoned with vivid gesturing), they generously shared the ideas propelling their booming project ahead.
We all have friends who are major sports fans, fashion addicts or foodies, yet not everyone knows a true dance lover… But why not? Longtime dance photographer Michael Slobodian has never taken to dancing himself, but loves this art as much as any Canadian loves their hockey team. Having built his career documenting moving human bodies, he is proof that dance is really for everybody, and if you open yourself to the experience of it you just might fall in love.
With the world’s major dance companies constantly hunting for funding as they oscillate between varying levels of poverty, it seems like there wouldn’t be much hope for newcomers to get the capital boost they need to share their projects with the world. Dancers and choreographers are forced to be more creative than ever to find financial backers in a society where everyone feels entitled to a diverse arts scene, but no one feels the need to pay for it.
Valleto is one of these new companies that, for the last 10 months, has been completely invested in a project aimed at translating diversity, tragedy and acceptance into movement for the stage. Originally decided to carry the cost-burden of this production on her own, for her passion of sharing a message of truth with the largest possible audience, Valleto’s founder Valeria Gonzalez has now turned to Kickstarter for financial support from a broader community.
Melbourne-born Cass Mortimer Eipper was based for several years in Perth, dancing and choreographing for the West Australian Ballet as well as for personal projects, including multidisciplinary dance and media company Ludwig. One of only a handful of dancers to be awarded a contract in Australia in 2013, Cass made the move to the east coast to join Sydney Dance Company in January of last year. I got to chat with Cass about his journey as a dancer and choreographer as he embarks on his second season with the company. Continue reading