Gioconda Barbuto is an internationally esteemed Italian-Canadian dancer and choreographer. She was a long-time member of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, dancing with the company for sixteen years, and of Nederlands Dans Theater III for eight years. Recognized by many for her exceptional versatility and magnetism as a performer and soloist, she boldly embodied work by the most influential ballet and contemporary choreographers of the past few centuries: Kylián, Naharin, Balanchine, Fokine, Limón, van Manen, Duato, Nault, Morris, Tudor, and theatre director Robert Wilson. During her company career, she worked with essential Canadian makers including Judith Marcuse, Brian Macdonald, Christopher House, Ginette Laurin, Paul-André Fortier, Jeanne Renaud, and James Kudelka. Her synergy in studio with Jiří Kylián, in particular, led to a fruitful body of work, including Birth Day and Car Men, two celebrated dance films.
Iris Garland Guest Artists
The Iris Garland Dance Program Enhancement Fund was founded in 2002 in memory of Iris Garland (1935-2002), who was a professor of dance, a choreographer, a dance scholar, and a founding member of the Centre for the Arts at SFU, now the School for the Contemporary Arts. As a charter member of SFU, Garland established and was involved in the growth of the contemporary dance program, which began as components of the Recreational Program in the Faculty of Education, and ultimately grew to become an academic degree program in the SCA. The Iris Garland Dance Program Enhancement Fund supports bringing visiting dance artists, choreographers, and other artists working in dance to Vancouver to engage with the students and faculty of the School for the Contemporary Arts through classes, workshops, and performances.
Adam Basanta is an independent artist, composer, and performer of experimental music. Born in Tel-Aviv and raised in Vancouver, he currently lives and works in Montreal.
His installation and sculptural works have been recently exhibited in galleries and institutions including Fotomuseum Winterthur (CH), National Art Centre Tokyo (JPN), American Medium Gallery (NYC), Carroll/ Fletcher Gallery (UK), New Media Gallery (CAN), V Moscow Biennale for Young Art (RUS), Serralves Museum (POR), Edith-Russ-Haus fur Mediakunst (GER), Villa Brandolini (ITA), Vitra Design Museum (GER), York Art Gallery (UK), and The Center for Contemporary Arts Santa Fe (USA). His installations have been awarded several prestigious international prizes, and have been reviewed in publications such as Artforum, Hyperallergic, ETC Media, Neural magazine, Blackflash magazine, Musicworks, Creator’s Project, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He is currently represented by Ellephant Gallery (Montreal, CAN).
His experimental concert music has been presented worldwide, including appearances in the MATA Festival (NYC), Gaudeamus Musicweek (NL), CTM Festival (GER), Akousma Festival (CAN), and Mutek Festival (CAN), and have been awarded multiple national and international prizes. His music has been released on Kohlenstoff Records (Montreal), Farmacia901 (Italy), Important Records/Cassauna (USA), and Tsuko-Boshi (FR).
Serge Bennathan was the artistic director of Toronto’s Dancemakers from 1990 to 2006. Twelve works of Bennathan for Dancemakers have received Dora Mavor Moore nominations with both Sable/Sand and The Satie Project receiving the award for Outstanding New Choreography. Also known for his extensive work with opera companies and directors, Bennathan directed his first mainstage opera, Rossini’s Tancredi, at the COC in 2005 and in June 2008 he directed Renard for the COC ensemble.
Serge Bennathan lives now in Vancouver where he created Les Productions Figlio. Since its founding in 2006, Les Productions Figlio has produced seven full-length works: The Invisible Life of Joseph Finch, a play with actor Jonathon Young premiered in 2007 in Vancouver. It was also performed at the Fringe Festival of Singapore in January 2008 and toured Canada in January/February 2009. Manga, a duet for Susie Burpee and Linnea Swan, premiered in Vancouver and Toronto in November 2007. Slam for a Time Traveller was commissioned by Dancing on the Edge Festival on the occasion of its 20th anniversary in July 2008. The Strange Adventure of Myself, a solo performance for Sylvain Senez, premiered the 15th October 2009 at the Firehall Theatre in Vancouver. Conversations, a play about an imaginary encounter between Federico Garcia Lorca and his murderer Juan luis Trescastro was co-produced by The Dance Centre and the Chutzpah! Festival, and premiered in 2011.
Yossi Berg and Oded Graf started collaborating in 2005, and they have since built a reputation for work that is supremely physical, sometimes provocative, and by turns poignant and witty. Having performed with world-renowned troupes ranging from Batsheva Dance Company and DV8 Physical Theatre to others, they mix their masterful physicality with their dynamic research of theater, text, and voice. Responding to the social and political realities of contemporary life, the choreographers propose onstage alternatives laced with a disarming humor that surprises audiences, inspires deeper reflection, and offers hope.
Since 1983, Hélène Blackburn's bold choreographic voice has been heard both in Canada and abroad. Discovering dance at the age of five, it was only after pursuing studies in ethnography and drama that she returned to her first passion, finding it to be the best medium in which to develop and express her perceptions of human behaviour, a subject she finds inexhaustible. She received her professional training at the Linda Rabin Dance Studios (now LADMMI - School of Contemporary Dance) and at the University of Quebec in Montreal (B.A. in 1984, M.A. in 1996). At UQAM, she met Jean-Pierre Perreault, participating as dancer in the creation of JOE. She then danced with the Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault from 1983 to 1989 in Stella, Nuit, Les lieux-dits and Piazza. As an artist committed to the advancement of her discipline, a sought-after choreographer and respected teacher, Hélène Blackburn has also distinguished herself outside of Cas Public. She receives regular commissions from various companies, including Bare Bones and Diversions in the UK and Panta Reis in Norway, for which she has choreographed works for the general public as well as for young audiences. As teacher or choreographer, she also collaborates with the main centres for professional dance training in Canada and Europe, including LADMMI, Concordia University, UQAM, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, École supérieure de ballet du Québec, École de Danse de Québec, the Laban Centre in London and the Accademia di Danza in Venice. In 1990, Canada Council for the Arts recognized the originality and quality of her approach by awarding her the Jacqueline Lemieux Prize. In 1999, the prestigious Laban Centre in London presented her with the Bonnie Bird Choreography Prize for North America. CAS PUBLIC received the OFQJ Creation Award at RIDEAU in 2001 and the Rideau Touring Award in 2002.
Charlotte Boye-Christensen, a native of Copenhagen, Denmark, lived a number of her childhood years in the Middle East, as well as in the Netherlands. These early experiences combined with time spent in Brunei and Australia in her adolescence contributed to her cultural and aesthetic curiosity. This curiosity has been a guiding force in her development as an artist.
She received her formal training at London Contemporary Dance School and at the Laban Centre in London (where she won the annual choreography award) and completed her MFA Degree at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University.
Sarah is a B.C.-based, Canadian independent dancer and choreographer. She established her reputation as a solo dance artist, presenting her works on tour across Canada and Europe. She also performed in Europe with Montreal-based Benôit Lachambre’s Dance par B. Lieux, for Belgian choreographer Alexander Baervoets and German choreographer Raimund Hoghe. She has created commissions for Toronto Dance Theatre, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Andrea Nann and Dreamwalker Dance, Robin Poitras and Ron Stewart, Heidi Strauss and Darryl Tracy, Montreal Danse, and Theatre Replacement.
Sarah was the recipient of the Jaqueline Lemiuex award in 2004 and in 2006 she received the “Prize of the Festival” at the Munich Dance Biennale for her piece “The Passenger”.
Mui Cheuk-yin – choreographer, dancer, artistic director - has been at the forefront of dance in Hong Kong for over thirty years. After early training in Chinese classical and ethnic dance, she joined the Hong Kong Dance Company in 1981, where she was a principal dancer until 1990, excelling in lead roles in productions such as The Yellow Earth, Jade Love, and Rouge. Her choreographic journey began in 1985 when she won the Hong Kong Young Choreographer Competition which took her to New York to study modern dance. On her return to Hong Kong she created Awakenings in a Dream, Cursive Script, and the Diary Series, the most recent of which was created (and performed by her in 2010).
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.
Born in London, England, Mr. Connor’s dance career spans performing, teaching, choreographing and directing dancers. He was appointed as the Artistic Director of Limón Dance Company in July, 2016. He has always been committed to the idea that dancers are creative artists and that dancing is the act of drawing from a large range of influences, musical, literary, sensory, social and scientific, to bring attention back to the visceral communicative power of the human body.
Paul-André Fortier entered the world of dance in the 1970s. As a member of Groupe Nouvelle Aire, one of the country’s most innovative choreographic ensembles, he, along with other exceptionally creative artists in the group, contributed to building the reputation of Quebec dance from the 1980s until today.
Fortier first distinguished himself as a dancer. A “natural” dancer - as self-taught dancers were described at the time - he was known for his strong stage presence and elegant, refined interpretations. He soon became a leading figure on the Montreal dance scene, then on the Canadian stage, a position he has retained. He was involved in all of the innovative projects at the time, with his mentors (Martine Époque and especially Françoise Sullivan, whom he called his “artistic mother”) and his peers (including Edouard Lock and Daniel Léveillé), who began to create their own works, as did he.
Born in New York City, Mark began studying classical piano at age 6, and attended the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division, where, in addition to studying piano with Rosetta Goodkind, he studied theory, composition and chamber music. He was accepted to the Dance Division of The Juilliard School on an honorary scholarship, graduating with a BFA degree in 1983. There, he performed in works by Paul Taylor, Antony Tudor, Jose Limon and Anna Sokolow. He received his MFA in Dance in 2006, in the first graduating class of the Hollins/ADF MFA program.
Andrea Nann is the Founding Artistic Director of Dreamwalker Dance Company. Originally from Vancouver, she is a Toronto-based contemporary dance artist and creator of The Whole Shebang, a multi- disciplinary arts performance.
Andrea creates works for the stage, film, and outdoor sites. Her work investigates contemporary approaches to creation that interpret human experiences through collaboration with artists and producers from all artistic disciplines.
Over the course of her 30-year career in contemporary and modern dance, Andrea has established core values and skill-building strategies that are essential to her work. Inclusiveness, transmission, synchrony and equanimity are essential to her artistic vision and she currently shares these values and strategies through three interrelated, collaborative creative processes called The Conscious Body, Actions of Compassion and The Shebang Process.
KT Niehoff is an artist whose focus is the complex relationship between bodies and space. She creates multi-sensory, multi-dimensional, immersive performance environments, with highly crafted audience participation. These experiences both integrate and transcend choreography, music, design, film and technology, narrative and audience/artist proximity.
Born in Vancouver, Simone Orlando received her early dance training at the Carisbrooke School of Dance, the Vancouver Academy of Dance, and the Goh Ballet Academy. She completed her training at the National Ballet School in Toronto and subsequently joined the National Ballet of Canada in 1989 under the direction of Reid Anderson where she danced a wide range of repertoire from the ballets of John Cranko and Kenneth MacMillan to those of George Balanchine and Glenn Tetley. In 1995, Robert Desrosiers invited her to join Desrosiers Dance Theatre, where she originated roles in several new productions and toured to Brazil and Aruba. In 1996, Orlando joined Ballet British Columbia under the direction of John Alleyne where she danced for twelve years as principal artist, joining the reorganised Ballet BC as Artist in Residence for 2009–10. She has performed in theatres and festivals around the world including The Kennedy Centre, The Joyce Theatre, The Bayerische Staatsoper, The Hong Kong Cultural Centre, Cervantino Festival, Canada Dance Festival, and Ballet Expo Seoul. While dancing with Ballet BC, Orlando was prominently featured in new creations by John Alleyne, garnering accolades for her performances as Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Desire, Puck in The Faerie Queen, Fate in Carmina Burana, and the Elder in The Rite of Spring. She has also created roles with James Kudelka, Crystal Pite, Dominique Dumais, Mikko Nissenen, and Jean Grand-Maitre and has been featured in the works of William Forsythe, Paul Taylor, Nicolo Fonte, Jiri Kylian, Martha Graham, and Twyla Tharp, among others. Orlando also taught and set repertoire on the dancers of Ballet BC and the pre-professionals in the Ballet BC Mentor Program. She is currently Artistic Director and CEO of Ballet Kelowna.
Gabriel Salomon Mindel is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar whose research considers the ways that people produce and struggle for space using sound to extend beyond the limits of their bodies, particularly in formal and informal modes of protest. In additon to his scholarship he has spent nearly two decades exhibiting artwork, performing improvised music and composing for dance and film. He received an MFA from Simon Fraser University.
Lesley Telford is based in Vancouver, Canada as choreographer and director of Inverso Productions as well as on Faculty at Arts Umbrella's Professional Dance Program leading the Performance Research Project (PReP).
Lesley finished her studies in Montreal at L´École Supérieur de Danse du Québec before joining the company Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. She went on to dance with Nacho Duato´s Compañia Nacional de Danza in Madrid, Spain. Most recently she danced with Netherlands Dans Theater 1 where she worked with choreographers such as Jiri Kylian, Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, William Forsythe, Ohad Naharin, Johan Inger, Crystal Pite and others and performed in major theatres worldwide. She has set and staged the work of Jiri Kylian as well as Lightfoot/Leon.
As a choreographer, she has created for Ballet BC, Netherlands Dans Theater 1, Hubbard Street Dance Company 2 (US), Compañia Nacional de Danza 2 (Spain), Ballet Vorpommern (Germany), International Project for Dance in Rome- DAF (Italy), Butler Ballet (US), University of Utah (US) and Arts Umbrella Dance Company. She won the Pretty Creatives choreographic competition at Northwest Dance Project in 2014. Her work has been presented in the CaDance Festival and Korzo Theatre in the Netherlands, International Festival Madrid en Danza and the Reina Sophia Museum in Spain, Chutzpah Festival, the Banff Festival of the Arts, The Gothenburg Dance and Theatre Festival and the Schmiede Festival. She is the founder of Inverso Productions, a platform for interdisciplinary performance, through which she produced and choreographed a full-length work: Brittle Failure which has been a part of tours and festivals in Spain, the Netherlands and Canada. Inverso is presently developing Spooky Action.
Troika Ranch creates hybrid performances that unite dance, theater and new media. Our aim is to question the deepening entanglement between human beings and new technology.
Most of us rapidly invite the latest technological developments into our lives. Our bodies are changing because of this. Technology affects more than the way we move or hold ourself. Very often, it fundamentally shifts our experience of physical presence.
As artists, we do not automatically label this evolving relationship as good or bad. Instead, we integrate body and machine on stage in an effort to understand these shifts and how they effect the human condition.
Vancouver West Side Theatre Society
Megan Walker Straight
Wen Wei Wang