Summer may be the slow season for our regular dance houses, but it’s the hot season for the festival track. After big Montreal titles like Festival TransAmériques and Fringe Festival, there is another world-class happening just outside the city limits. Celebrating a quarter century this year, the Festival des Arts de Saint-Sauveur brings together dance and music in an oasis for artists and spectators alike. From August 3 to 13, intimate encounters with top performers take place in this quaint village at the foot of the picturesque Laurentian mountains.
Crossing the country to Montreal, Vancouver’s own Company 605 was at the Agora de la danse last week presenting brand new work. Premiering at the Vancouver International Dance Festival in March, they performed their latest piece, Vital Few, across western Canada before embarking on the eastern phase of this country-wide tour. Company 605, previously Collective 605, is know for blending urban and contemporary dance to create athletic work that uses the body language of the millennial generation. They make no exception in Vital Few, inspiring themselves from break dancing that blends seamlessly with the dancers’ more formal dance training.
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.
These are the words of Ivan Putrov, former principal with The Royal Ballet and the mind behind the programme of the male-centric show Men in Motion. First performed in 2012, this show remixes a century of choreography, from L’Après-midi d’un Faune to Volver, shifting the classical focus from the prized prima ballerina to the strong and sleek male dancer. Returned to the stage in 2014, recent reviews of this and other male-only performances have sparked a renewed interest in the slow shift in gender politics happening in contemporary dance.