Posted on 27 Feb 2018 in

Company 605

The SCA's Iris Garland Guest artist this semester is Vancouver's own Company 605. Artistic Directors Josh Martin and Lisa Gelley-Martin have been working with the SCA's dance and theatre areas on a large-scale, collaborative production, Topofilia, which will premiere March 20. Find out more here.

The Iris Garland Dance Program Enhancement Fund was established by James Felter in memory of Iris Garland, professor of dance and founding member of the School for the Contemporary Arts. The fund was developed to bring national and internationally recognized dance artists to the area to work with the dance students in the SCA. We are extremely grateful to James Felter for his continued generous contribution to the School for the Contemporary Arts. Other Iris Garland Artists have included: KT Neihoff (Seattle), Serge Bennathan (Vancouver), Mark Haim (Seattle), Colin Conner (New York), Helen Blackburn (Montreal), Mui Cheuk-Yin (Hong Kong), and Yossi Berg and Oded Graf (Israel).

Company 605 is a Vancouver-based dance company dedicated to producing new dance work through a shared creative process. As part of a generation of creators inspired by the exchange between urban and contemporary dance, Company 605 places emphasis on movement innovation and physically demanding works, valuing collaboration as an essential tool for new directions in the form. With the group’s extreme versatility, the collective creates by using one another as the canvas for their ideas and visions, and invites guest choreographers to make new work with the company. Through constant collaboration with all involved artists and performers, Company 605 continues to push into new territories and awaken a fresh and exciting aesthetic, together building a highly athletic art form, with extreme physicality derived from the human experience.

Posted on 07 Feb 2018 in

Sasha Ivanochko’s new work

SCA MFA Graduate Sasha Ivanochko has been announced as the new Artistic Director of Dancers’ Studio West in Calgary. Here's their announcement in full:

After an extensive 4-month national search by the Board of Directors, Dancers’ Studio West (DSW) announces Sasha Ivanochko as its new Artistic Director, commencing August 2018. Outgoing Artistic Director Davida Monk will complete her tenure in July 2018, following the 2018 Dance Action Lab. Ivanochko, Artistic Director of Ivanochko et cie-projets de performance (Montréal) and who is currently teaching at the University of Calgary and the School of Alberta Ballet, brings a wealth of experience and artistic vision to the role. Her critically acclaimed choreography has toured internationally to renowned festivals and presentations including the International Theatre Festival of Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), Fluid Festival (Calgary), The Canada Dance Festival (Ottawa), DanceWorks (Toronto), 2007 IETM (Montréal) and the visiBIe Arts Festival (Los Angeles). Ivanochko will lead Dancers’ Studio West’s 37th Annual Alberta Dance Festival & Creative Intensive (as programed by Monk) to take place in August/September 2018.

Sasha Ivanochko said “It is with honour and humility that I take up the artistic leadership of Dancers’ Studio West. I’m inspired by the direction the organization has taken in recent years in providing Alberta dance artists with programs in training, creation and performance. I’m looking forward to connecting with artists and collaborating with DSW’s staff and Board of Directors in furthering our mission to provide quality experiences
and resources for artists at every stage of career. I cannot wait to get started!”

Dancers’ Studio West Board President Megan Ballard said “We are delighted that Sasha Ivanochko will succeed Davida Monk, who has led Dancers’ Studio West so adeptly over the last ten years. Sasha impressed the Search Committee with her depth of experience as a mentor, teacher, choreographer and performer, and her passion for developing and inspiring contemporary dancers and choreographers. The Board looks forward to working with Sasha in this next exciting phase of Dancers’ Studio West’s development.”

Congratulations, Sasha!

Posted on 26 Jan 2018 in

Dancers Dancing: Confabulation

The SCA's Judith Garay's Dancers Dancing company is presenting a new work, Confabulation, at this year's Vancouver International Dance Festival, which runs from March 1 to 24, 2018. Choreographed by Judith Garay and performed by Jane Osborne, Bevin Poole, and Garay herself, Confabulation "is inspired by memory including: long term memory; immediate memory; false memory; imagined memory; dream memory; and memoirs including the books Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee and The Old Woman and the City by Vivian Gornick." Confabulation runs from from Thurs, March 7 to 9, at 7pm at the Roundhouse Exhibition Hall, and is one of the "free with VIDF membership" performances that the Festival regularly includes as part of its yearly program of events. Click here for all the details.

Posted on 19 Jan 2018 in

SCA Visual Art Student Union’s annual Seattle Trip

Every year the SCA's Visual Art Student Union (VASU) facilitates its annual 'January Seattle Trip,' inviting students from across the SCA to visit galleries in our closest major American city neighbour. Organized this year by Phoebe Huang and Joni Cheung, students visited the Henry Art Gallery and the Seattle Art Museum, including the SAM's Olympic Sculpture Park, participating in tours lead by curators Nina Bozicnik at the Henry and Catharina Manchanda at the SAM. The January Seattle Trip is one of the most anticipated class activities for Visual Art students (and not only Visual Art students) and faculty. The Henry and the SAM are both large, active galleries with busy exhibition schedules, often featuring work by significant contemporary and modern artists. The trip also provides a valuable and rewarding opportunity for students to interact and connect with each other outside of the classroom, offering a less formal chance to network and engage in active discussions, which ultimately feed back into their ongoing studio and academic studies and explorations.

Photos: Ivan So.

Posted on 19 Jan 2018 in

Diana Bartosh and the Ridiculous Darkness

Chelsea Hunter, the SCA's Professional Development Coordinator, has alerted us to a great 'blog entry' by SCA student Diana Bartosh on the Contemporary Arts CO-OP section of SFU's Our Learning Community website. Diana interned last semeter with Vancouver's Alley Theatre, working as the Assistant Stage Manager for their production of Ridiculous Darkness, which they describe as "Alley Theatre’s largest endeavour to date." We like Diana's account of her internship so much, we've decided to copy it here, too. Read on...

Wandering through the Ridiculous Darkness
By: Diana Bartosh | Alley Theatre Intern

This semester, I interned as the Assistant Stage Manager for Alley Theatre’s production of Ridiculous Darkness. Alley Theatre is an award-winning Vancouver-based theatre company which strives to produce diverse, relevant, and empowering stories that are not usually told, and which seeks to engage the audience and the community in new and innovative ways.

Ridiculous Darkness was exactly the kind of ambitious and socially relevant project that Alley Theatre excels at. Adapted from a German radio play by co-producer and actor Daniel Arnold, the play attempted to determine our role in the horrors happening in the world and here in Vancouver, and, in some ways, to take responsibility for them. It involved seven local community groups, including the DTES Street Vendors Society, East Van Pow-Wow, andTheatre Terrific. The show had a cast of 46, including 6 core cast members, 38 ensemble members, and two live birds.

My job was to assist the stage manager (Anthony Liam Kearns) during rehearsals, and to manage the cast and crew backstage during shows. During the rehearsal period, I was primarily in charge of tracking props and set movements as well as actor entrances and exits; being ‘on-book’ (that is, following along in the script in case an actor forgot a line); preparing the set and props for whichever scene or act we were rehearsing; and, most glamorously, making coffee. During the show, I led my stagehands in pre-setting props and set in the appropriate places; moving them when they needed to be moved; cueing cast entrances; and generally managing the 46-person cast backstage. I was also responsible for quickly and discreetly finding a way to fix anything that went wrong – for example, if a shin light was kicked by a cast member; if a curtain clip covering an entrance came undone; or if we had to switch birds at the very last minute, right before the cue to enter – all of which happened during the show run. In sum – while the stage manager made sure that the show was technically perfect, and the actors made sure it was emotionally perfect, I made sure that it was logistically perfect – and together we created a fantastic, immersive experience for the audience.

One of the things I learned about myself from this semester is that I never want to keep this kind of schedule again. The show itself was amazing, and was surprisingly not stressful – my production team and my stage manager were great at keeping everything on schedule and creating a supportive and calm atmosphere. What made the process difficult for me was that I was also taking a 400-level history class and a 300-level sociology class, both of which were very reading- and writing-intensive. I was also trying to pick up whatever work shifts I could fit into my rehearsal schedule. However, this meant that I had no time to cook, exercise, relax, clean, read, see my friends, or go out for most of this semester. I sincerely enjoyed everything that I was doing – my classes were interesting, the show was great, and I like my work – but I was also exhausted and not taking proper care of my mental health. My wish-list for the end of the semester was to sleep for a week, clean my bathroom, and see my friends – in that order… and when ‘clean your bathroom’ makes your wish-list (ahead of seeing friends, to boot), you gotta reconsider your life choices a little.

Ultimately, this internship fit perfectly with my learning objectives at this point in my career, and has paved the path for scale-jumping in the future. Although I have been stage managing for several years now, I have never worked on a project of this magnitude. Thus, I filled in some gaps in my practical experience, developed new professional relationships, and learned where my work/life balance needs to lie. I also reinforced my desire to be a professional stage manager following graduation. Following some insightful conversations with my production team, my new plan is to spend the next year working as much as possible as a stage manager and technician, and to reevaluate again next December to see how far I’ve come and how happy I am in this industry.

The more projects I work on, and the more time I spend talking to other people in this industry, the more apparent it becomes that there is no single path to success in theatre. Everyone comes from a different background. Some went to school for years; others never went to school at all; and many, like myself, went to school for something entirely different. Sometimes people leave the industry and never come back; other times they return, years later, with an entirely new creative perspective. What matters is finding a lifestyle and a community that works for you and that makes you happy. For myself especially, as someone living with a mental illness, comparing myself to others or attempting to find the ‘right path’ is counterproductive. What I need to do is use experiences like this one to grow my theatre family, learn my strengths and weaknesses, and continually reevaluate how I feel so that I can find a fulfilling and comfortable lifestyle that works for me.

For more about the excellent Alley Theatre, we posted an interview Chesea did with Daniel Arnold and Marisa Emma Smith from the company earlier. Read it here.

If you're interested in an intership through the SCA, read more about it here.

Posted on 17 Jan 2018 in

LandMarks2017/ Repères2017 talk video now online

Here is the video documentation of a presentation in the Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema at SFU by artist and curator Tania Willard, artist Jeneen Frei Njootli, and the SCA’s Jin-me Yoon and Sabine Bitter, with SCA students Sophie Vandenbiggelaar, Roxanne Charles, and Krystle Coughlin (as part of the SCA's special topics course Laboratory Landscapes), on their respective projects that were part of LandMarks2017/ Repères2017. LandMarks2017/ Repères2017 was a 'Canada 150 Signature Project' by Partners in Art (PIA) working with Parks Canada and 16 participating universities and colleges across Canada and held in the context of national parks and historic sites across the country.

Organized to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation, LandMarks2017/ Repères2017 was a series of events, performances, installations, videos, and pedagogical activities initiated by artists, curators, and educators that asked participants to reflect on and address “the legacies of colonialism, the complex relationship between nationhood and cultural identity, as well as our relationship to nature in the face of present-day environmental and climatic crises.”


Posted on 09 Jan 2018 in

Owen Underhill ... and Radiohead?

The SCA's Owen Underhill and Turning Point Ensemble, for which Underhill is both the Artistic Director and conductor, are 'main stage' performers at this year's PuSh Festival, presenting a concert of music by Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood on January 19 & 20 at the Norman Rothstein Theatre. Also on the bill are works by the French composer Olivier Messiaen, a favorite of Greenwood's. Like Messiaen, Greenwood is a fan and proponent of the ondes Martenot, an early electronic instrument invented by Maurice Martenot in 1928 that's known for its beautiful, somewhat delicate and spooky sound. Suitably, Turning Point Ensemble will be augmented by two ondes Martenots for the occasion. To complete the evening, the Ensemble will also be performing Steve Reich's Radio Rewrite, which was inspired by Radiohead's music, as well as a world premiere by Victoria composer Christopher Butterfield.

Click here for the complete details of the concert and to buy tickets.

Photo: Jason Evans.

Posted on 13 Dec 2017 in

Bhangra Flash Mobs!

Gurpreet Sian, an SCA sessional instructor and co-founder, with Raakhi Sinha, of the South Asian Arts Society, ended his semester's version of CA 120: Introduction to Dance Forms: Contemporary and Popular with two Bhangra dance 'flash mobs,' executed and performed with Rayman Bhuller and his LANC 1870 class from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. The first was in the 'atrium' in the Woodward's Building complex, which also houses the SCA, and the second in front of Rogers Arena on the night of a hockey game. Check out videos of the performances here. 

Sian's Bhangra class wasn't the only version of CA 120: Introduction to Dance Forms: Contemporary and Popular that ran for the SCA during the Fall 2017 semester. There was also a Hip Hop version lead by Kim Sato (who also teaches at Harbour Centre Dance and CoreDance, is on the board of the Streetrich Hip Hop Society, and is the founder of both the professional performance crew Project Soul and SOULdiers Company, an audition-based semi-professional hip hop company) and a Jamaican Dancehall version lead by Mikhail Morris and Judy Madarasz (both of the multi-media and dance production company KETCH DI VYBZ), which was recently profiled by our friends at SFU Newscheck it out here.

CA 120: Introduction to Dance Forms: Contemporary and Popular is a popular SCA class open to all students across SFU that changes its instructors and focus each semester it runs. The Spring 2018 semester of CA 120: Introduction to Dance Forms: Contemporary and Popular includes a version of the class on Afro-Caribbean dance lead by Marion Landers and a version on Contemporary dance lead by Shauna Elton. If CA 120: Introduction to Dance Forms: Contemporary and Popular sounds like a class you might be interested in, please make sure to check the current SFU Academic Calendar. But act fast – CA 120: Introduction to Dance Forms: Contemporary and Popular fills up quickly!

Woodward's Building Atrium

Rogers Arena

Posted on 05 Dec 2017 in

Congratulations – again! – to Natalie Murao!

We've profiled Natalie Murao here briefly before (check here) but we're happy to update that quick look with more good news. Natalie's short film, Floating Light, which she completed in her 4th year here at the SCA, has won the Short Work Student Award at the Whistler Film Festival. Congratulations! Read more about Floating Light on Natalie's site here and click through to discover more of her excellent work.

Posted on 17 Nov 2017 in

James O’Callaghan wins the ISCM Young Composer Award

Congratulations to composer and sound artist James O’Callaghan, who completed his BFA in music composition (honours) at the SCA in 2010, for receiving the ISCM Young Composer Award for 2017.

Supported by Music on Main and chosen by an international jury drawn from the membership of the International Society for Contemporary Music, the ISCM Young Composer Award is given yearly to a composer under the age of 35, whose work is also performed in that year's festival. The winner of the award receives a money prize and a commission for a new piece to be performed in a future edition of the ISCM World Music Days.

Here's what the people at ISCM World Music Days had to say about James and his work: "O’Callaghan’s music intersects acoustic and electroacoustic media, employing field recordings, amplified found objects, computer-assisted transcription of environmental sounds, and unique performance conditions. His piece subject/object was performed at ISCM 2017 by Standing Wave Ensemble."

Congratulations, James!

Please give the work a listen here.

Image: Aaron Sivertson