FUN FACTS: learn about Indian Classical Dance before you come see Encounter!

FUN FACTS: learn about Indian Classical Dance before you come see Encounter!

 

We are thrilled to be a part of the launch of Diwali in BC; on October 17 we will be kicking off their inaugural year with the opening of an amazing physical theatre piece Encounter from Navarasa Dance Theatre.  Encounter explores dance forms from India we rarely ever get to see in Vancouver; it combines exhilarating physical theatre and dance with elements of Indian classical dance, yoga, martial arts, and folk dances.

You may be interested to know a little more about Indian classical dance (it’s fun stuff to know!), well here is a chance to sound like a pro when you bring your friends to the show.

There are 8 main classical dances generally acknowledged in India:

  • Bharatanatyam, from Tamil Nadu
  • Kathak, from Northern and Western India
  • Kathakali, from Kerala
  • Kuchipudi, from Andhra Pradesh
  • Odissi, from Odisha
  • Sattriya, from Assam
  • Manipuri, from Manipur
  • Mohiniyattam, from Kerala

Here is a little information about six of the main types of Indian classical dance; these beautiful dances are typically what we see in Vancouver:

Bharatanatyam– is a dance of Tamil Nadu in southern India. It traces its origins back to the Natyashastra, an ancient treatise on theatre written by the mythic priest Bharata. Originally a temple dance for women, bharatanatyam often is used to express Hindu religious stories and devotions.

Kathakali– Kathakali comes from southwestern India, around the state of Kerala. Like bharatanatyam, kathakali is a religious dance. It draws inspiration from the Ramayana and stories from Shaiva traditions. Kathakali is traditionally performed by boys and men, even for female roles

Kathak– A dance of northern India, Kathak is often a dance of love. It is performed by both men and women. The movements include intricate footwork accented by bells worn around the ankles and stylized gestures adapted from normal body language.

Manipuri- Manipuri comes from Manipur in northeastern India. It has its roots in that state’s folk traditions and rituals, and often depicts scenes from the life of the god Krishna. Unlike some of the other, more rhythmic dances, Manipuri is characterized by smooth and graceful movements.

By Matsukin – DSC00472, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4085211

Kuchipudi– Unlike the other styles mentioned, kuchipudi requires talent in both dancing and singing. This dance, from the state of Andhra Pradesh in southeastern India, is highly ritualized, with a formalized song-and-dance introduction, sprinkling of holy water, and burning of incense, along with invocations of goddesses.

Odissi–  Is indigenous to Orissa in eastern India. It is predominantly a dance for women, with postures that replicate those found in temple sculptures. Based on archaeological findings, odissi is belived to be the oldest of the surviving Indian classical dances. Odissi is a very complex and expressive dance, with over fifty mudras (symbolic hand gestures) commonly used.

Come experience them!

Photo credit: Christopher Joseph

Encounter runs at the York Theatre Oct 17-22. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

CONTEST: Win a night at the theatre with a $200 prize pack from The Cultch!

CONTEST: Win a night at the theatre with a $200 prize pack from The Cultch!

Single tickets for our 17/18 season go on sale on August 8th! We just cannot wait for you to see all of the wonderful shows that we have in store for you this coming season!

A little summer celebration is in order – LETS HAVE A CONTEST!

PRIZE

FOUR seats to any performance in our 17/18 season ($192 value) and four drink tickets ($36 Value)

CONTEST

One winner will receive FOUR seats to any performance in our 17/18 season ($192 value) and four drink tickets ($36 Value).

TO ENTER, for your chance to win a $200 prize pack from The Cultch, do at least one of the following – one entry per action!

  1. WATCH our season trailer (below) and leave a COMMENT on this blog-post telling us what show you’re most excited to see this season (1 entry)
  2. SHARE our season video https://youtu.be/OREBFrVwraE on Facebook (1 entry) with the hashtag #CULTCHCONTEST
  3. TWEET the following (1 entry)

Contest entries will be accepted from the time and date of publishing until 11:59 pm on August 8, 2017 (when Cultch single tickets go on sale). One winner will be chosen at random and contacted through the platform they used to enter.

Thank you to our Cultch audiences for a triumphant close to our 16/17 Season!

Thank you for a wonderful 16/17 season!

What an amazing year it has been! The 16/17 Season was one of The Cultch’s most successful thanks to the continued patronage of all of our amazing supporters!

With 21 theatrical shows in our three venues, as well as countless amazing rental and festival shows; 11 Gallery shows; plus three nights of great music including, The Sicilian Project, DakhaBrakha, and the inaugural East Side Live, 16/17 was a great season for us, and we are so glad that you joined us for it!

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We had many grand adventures together; here is a look back at a few of the many highlights:

We joined together to watch a version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night completely in Hindi (Piya Behrupiya).

Piya Behrupiya

Photo by Company Theatre

We saw paper fights break out between audience members and bendy contortionist performers (The Pianist)…maybe we threw a few pieces ourselves…

‘The Pianist.’ Photo by Roaming the Planet

We saw the dawn (dusk?) of a new era in US politics ushered in as we sat in the dark Historic Theatre and did a little voting of our own (Fight Night).

Cast of Fight Night

Together we raised money for Cultch Connects, bringing over 1,200 people into the theatre who might not be able to attend otherwise; including families who are struggling to make ends meet, caring for a child with a serious illness, or who are new to Canada.

Cultch Connects brought over 1,200 people to the theatre with your help!

We joined together with our friends and families to make the fourth installment of East Van’s favourite holiday tradition the biggest selling show in The Cultch’s history! (East Van Panto: Little Red Riding Hood) Go Panto Go!

YAY Panto! Photo by Emily Cooper

We celebrated the powerful work of creative women for an entire month during Femme February!

Femme February included Mouthpiece, NeoIndigenA, am a, and the book launch of Girl Positive

We chuckled, chortled, and cackled together as we paid tribute to the 30+ year legacy of a local restaurant with a big heart, while singing along to catchy hits like ‘Testosterone’ and ‘Let a Girl Eat’ (Elbow Room Cafe: The Musical).

Elbow Room Cafe: The Musical cast members sing ‘Testosterone’. Photo by Tina Krueger Kulic

We spent time with old and new friends as we gathered to watch some of The Cultch’s favourite performers like: Esme Massengill, Mrs. Edna Rural and everyone’s favourite flightless fairy -Schnitzel (The Daisy Theatre).

No one is immune to the cuteness of Schnitzel! Photo by Alejandro Santiago

We felt the spray of ice on our faces as we gathered on the ice of Britannia Ice Rink to see Vertical Influences.

Audience members sit on the ice during Vertical Influences. Photo by Roaming the Planet

We mourned together as we watched heartbreaking and poignant Children of God, and then we sat together in the theatre to discuss how to respond to the dark legacy of residential schools.

Children of God cast members lead a discussion after the opening night performance. Photo by Roaming the Planet

And, after so many shows and fabulous events – we joined together to share meaningful conversation over many a glass of wine!

Sharing a drink with friends in the York Theatre. Photo by Roaming the Planet

We would love to hear some of your favourite memories of the 16/17 season; what are your favourite moments? 

Don’t forget to buy your subscription for our 17/18 Season soon. Shows are already filling up, get the best seating while you can! Click here for the full lineup.

Thank you for choosing to make The Cultch and the arts a part of your life!

Box Office Summer Hours:

Monday- Saturday: 12-4pm

Sunday: Closed

Also, open 2 hour prior to all performances

Rave Reviews for Vertical Influences!

Rave Reviews for Vertical Influences!

The cast of Vertical Influences take a bow! Photo Credit: Roaming the Planet

The Cultch celebrated the opening of a very special show on April 18. Montreal’s Le Patin Libre brought down Britannia Ice Rink with an unprecedented performance – unlike any ice dancing you are likely to have seen! No sparkles, no fuzzy costumes, just pure and beautiful skating!

Check out some of these AMAZING REVIEWS for Vertical Influences:

“Do your body a favour: GO SEE Vertical Influences” – Colin Thomas

“In Vertical Influences, we get five young dancers on skates, wearing ponytails, dreads, and baggy street clothes, VIRTUOSICALLY reinventing the form and PLAYFULLY using it to upend notions of time, space, and physics. With equal amounts of sass and technique, THEY TEAR UP THE SHEET OF ICE” – Janet Smith, The Georgia Straight

Vertical Influences is a STUNNING combination of figure skating and dance” – Mark Robins, Vancouver Presents

Vertical Influences is a BEAUTIFUL MASH-UP of sophisticated figure skating with contemporary street dance” – Carly Whetter, Vancouver Magazine

“Five Performers…DAZZLED us with straight ice skating with no tu-tus, or schmaltzy music” – Alex Waterhouse Hayward

VERTICAL INFLUENCES runs at Britannia Ice Rink, April 18-30. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

How to Be: Q&A with Choreographer Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg

How to Be: Q&A with Choreographer Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg

How To Be, a new creation by Vancouver’s iconic dance & theatre creator Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg, opens April 12 at The Cultch Historic Theatre! Produced by Tara Cheyenne Performance, this piece was presented as part of Boca Del Lupo’s Micro Performance Series and at Dancing on the Edge. We are excited about its premiere at The Cultch! We had a chance to ask Tara a few questions and learn more about the inspiration for How To Be:    

 

L to R: (top row) Kimberly Stevenson, Tara Cheyenne, Josh Martin, Bevin Poole, (bottom row) Marcus Youssef, Kate Franklin. Photo by Wendy D

Hi Tara! We’re thrilled that your piece, How To Be, will be premiering at The Historic Theatre April 12-15. The image for the show expresses a dynamic relationship between the performers – what is the relationship between them?  The photos were a riff on bad family portraits. Family often being the first place we learn “how to be” for better or worse. We are playing with the relationship between how we feel about ourselves and how we feel about others. It’s a great quagmire of heartbreak and comedy.

Does this piece contain your signature comedic style? What are some of those comedic elements? Well I think it’s funny! The performers/collaborators are all extremely talented and funny people. They each bring hilarity and vulnerability as we track “how to be.” Comic elements? I think it’s possible to find comedy everywhere; our pain, our loneliness, our egos run amuck. Certainly our endless cultural obsession with defining the correct ways to be is absorbing and funny.

What inspires you about exploring the topic of “how to be”? My own futile desire to find the right way to be. And of course as I’ve explored this I find we are all wrestling with the question, and frustrated with ourselves for not knowing the answers. Of course there are no answers. What does it even mean to “be yourself”?

The show seems to explore a fine line between fragility and persona – can you talk more about this? We are all uniquely ourselves, one in the universe and composites of every personality and experience that has touched us. Asking the question “how should a person be?” opens us up to our own vulnerability, our own fragile tentative fumbling. Where does my persona begin? Where does the “self” end? Can I find the answers in a Facebook questionnaire? What does my answer to number 7 really say about me?

If we fail at how we think we should be, what’s left? I think we fail all the time at this. Our emotions, our bodies, our minds betray our ideas of how/what we should be all the time. But isn’t  that wonderful? Fascinating and infuriating? Failure is possibility.

How to Be runs from April 12-15 in The Historic Theatre. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Vertical Influences comes to Britannia Ice Rink April 18-30

Vertical Influences comes to Britannia Ice Rink April 18-30

After a sold-out European tour the award-winning Canadian ice dance group Le Patin Libre makes their debut in Vancouver. From Apr 18-30 they will be performing their unique show Vertical Influences at Britannia Ice Rink (1661 Parker St) – Don’t miss your chance to see them!

Vertical Influences has been getting amazing reviews all across Europe

“It is JOYFUL, uplifting, creative, and inspiring.” The Age

“Liberating, EXHILARATING, breathtaking” – The Stage

“One of those rare shows I could willingly have sat through all over again…A PURE BODY RUSH. Astounding ★★★★★” — The Guardian (UK)

Check out this great video showing the “Making of ‘Vertical Influences’.

Vertical Influences has been described as a form of “contemporary dance on ice”.  Rising stars Le Patin Libre, a fresh and inventive group of former championship skaters, are creating a new kind of ice dancing, far beyond the confines of traditional figure skating. Electronic beats, melodic lyricism, and refreshing dance moves mean maximum fun for the whole family!

Vertical Influences runs from April 18-30, 2017 at Britannia Ice Rink. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363.

Thank you for making Mouthpiece a huge success!

Thank you for making Mouthpiece a huge success!

The reception that Mouthpiece has received is incredible! We were so thrilled to be able to bring Quote Unquote Collective to Vancouver to present their amazing show. Mouthpiece is a powerful piece of theatre that portrays one woman (played by two women- Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava) as she struggles to find her voice in the wake of her mother’s death. If you were lucky enough to manage to get tickets to this SOLD-OUT HIT, then we want to thank you for spreading the word and making this show the amazing success that it is.

 

We would also like to acknowledge the amazing support of our community partner for Mouthpiece, West Coast Leaf. For each show presented at The Cultch we try to find a matching community partner – A company with a similar mandate, and with similar values. West Coast Leaf has been an amazing community partner and we are so grateful for all their work helping us get the word out for Mouthpiece. If you haven’t heard about West Coast Leaf and their amazing work in the community, we recommend that you check them out. “[Their] goal is to achieve equality by changing historic patterns of systemic discrimination against women through BC-based equality rights litigation, law reform, and education.”

Our Community Partners for Mouthpiece – West Coast Leaf. Jessica Lithwick, Clea Parfitt, and Robyn Trask pose with The Cultch’s Executive Director, Heather Redfern. Photo Credit – roaming-the-planet

Mouthpiece is a part of Femme February at The Cultch. For the whole month of February we are presenting shows and events created by women. Now more than ever we think it is important to promote the things we believe in, and so all month long, events at The Cultch will highlight the strength and power of the female voice and experience. We couldn’t do these kind of things without the generous support of our sponsors, donors, community partners and our patrons. So thank you everyone -we truly couldn’t do it without you!

We especially want to thank Charlotte and Sonya Wall. It is their generous support that has made Femme February possible, and we are so grateful.

Heather Redfern poses with Femme February sponsors, The Walls, at the opening night reception for Mouthpiece. Photo Credit – Ric Lam

If you weren’t able to get tickets to Mouthpiece (and even if you were!), consider checking out some of the other events coming up for Femme February. NeoIndigenA (Feb 15-19), Women in the Arts Panel Discussion & Girl Positive Book Launch (Feb 9 – FREE EVENT), and am a (Feb 21- March 4)

Femme February runs all February long at the Historic Theatre and the Vancity Culture Lab. Book tickets online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363

Not Your Average Dance Show: All Hell is Breaking Loose, Honey

Not Your Average Dance Show: All Hell is Breaking Loose, Honey

Photo credit: Grouped’ArtGravelArtGroup

Photo credit: Grouped’ArtGravelArtGroup

If you come to see All Hell is Breaking Loose, Honey, be prepared to leave with lots to think about. This is not your average dance show. When it played in Ottawa, the Globe and Mail reported that, “Audience members lingered so long in the theatre, discussing the work that the… ushers, who wanted to lockup, had to ask them to leave.”

Created by Frédérick Gravel, All Hell is Breaking Loose, Honey is a tale of distraught men, the ordinary run-of-the-mill North American male – beer, T-shirts, baseball caps, cowboy boots, beer bellies and their hesitations, outbursts of violence, confusion, brusque changes of mood, right left, front and back, lurching in a drunken haze of beer and powerlessness.

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Frédérick Gravel has been active in the Montreal scene for over 10 years and graduated from the dance faculty of Université du Québec à Montréal in 2009. An interdisciplinary artist with experience as a choreographer, dancer, musician and a lighting designer; it is no surprise that Frédérick Gravel’s work embraces a mixture of styles and disciplines. He has become known for pushing the boundaries of dance choreography and turning it on its head. Says the Ottawa Citizen, “Gravel’s work dances the fine line between rock concert, trailer park party and dance performance. He certainly likes to push the boundaries of what dance can be – taking pleasure in obliterating stereotypes.”

Merging rock music and performance art into his dance performance, Frédérick Gravel’s work is emotionally gripping and hard hitting.  All Hell is Breaking Loose, Honey is described as being part dance, part performance art, and part rock show. Be prepared to leave this show feeling as though you have just experienced a particularly exhilarating rock concert.

les-bonobos

But don’t be scared away.  Just because All Hell is Breaking Loose, Honey deals with some heavy things, doesn’t mean it isn’t accessible. In fact it is known for skirting the line between the serious and the comic. This is dark comedy at its best. In an interview with The Dance Current Philip Szporer says, “Gravel has good patter… with wicked timing. He doesn’t hesitate to reinforce, constantly, the idea that contemporary dance is “waaay” too serious, and why not have a good laugh?”

Check out the trailer.

All Hell is Breaking Loose, Honey runs Nov 8 – 12, 2016 in the Historic Theatre. Tickets from $20 are available online or by phone by calling The Cultch Box Office at 604.251.1363

Century Song: Five reasons you need to see this groundbreaking show

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 Century Song, presented with the PuSh Performing Arts Festival, is one of the most unique shows of The Cultch’s 15/16 season! The multimedia show provides a thrilling look at 100 years in black  history from a women`s perspective. The piece, a “music recital” study of ephemeral aspects of the Black Canadian experience over the past century, is completely wordless. The story is a survey from servitude to sexuality; pop culture to protest. Here are five reasons you should watch this groundbreaking piece of art. For an interactive experience click here.

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  1. Black History Month:  With February being Black History Month, Century Song provides a great opportunity for  Vancouver audiences to educate themselves, from a Black woman’s perspective, about Canadian Black history. Here’s what Ross Manson, Director of Century Song, says about this dynamic, “I learned the distinction between white and black feminism in my research into the 1970s. White feminism called for equality. Black feminism called for justice. The difference is vast. In short – I learned that as a country there is much under the surface of our history that most of us aren’t aware of. And so the question formed: why does what is taught in our schools omit so much?_MG_7652
  2.  Modern Dance: Neema Bickersteth and choreographer Kate Alton (Dora Award winner and K. M. Hunter award winner) co-created a unique body of modern dance movement featured heavily in Century Song. Alton creates thought-provoking, emotionally engaging theatrical dances that are as much explorations of the mind as of the body, working with writers, directors, and vocal coaches to develop inter-disciplinary performance works that pack an intellectual and emotional punch._MG_7774C
  3. Classical Music: The performance utilizes the UBC Opera-trained and Dora Nominated Neema Bickersteth on vocalise (wordless vocals) and music by some of the past 100 years’ most adventurous composers– 1912: Sergei Rachmaninoff (Russia); 1935: Olivier Messaien (France); 1950: John Cage (USA); 1978: Georges Aperghis (Greece); 2012: Reza Jacobs (Canada); 2016: Piano, Gregory Oh (Canada) and 2016: Percussion, Computers, Composition, Music Co-Direction, Debashis Sinha (Canada)._MG_6798C2
  4.  Innovative Video: The show’s projections were made by Germany’s fettFilm known for their innovative video production. By combining video with other media the video artists Momme Hinrichs and Torge Möller primarily create multifaceted works of art which do not merely decorate the stage or coexist with it but instead blend various artistic levels.They develop and realise their ideas, from the initial stage to the final presentation, in close cooperation with directors and artists. For amazing video of the performance click here. _MG_7291 - Copy
  5. Internationally Acclaimed Theatre Company:  Century Song has been developed by the Toronto-based, international award-winning performance company, Volcano Theatre, in partnership with Crooked Figure Dances, and the Moveable Beast Collective with direction by Dora Award-winning director Ross Manson. “One of those companies that every great theatre city needs – bold, experimental, and bubbling with ideas.” – Toronto Star

Century Song is at The Cultch’s  Historic Theatre until February 6. Tickets are from $20. Get your tickets here.

Images:  Photos of Neema Bickersteth by John Lauener

Q&A with The Dancers of Damelahamid: Cultch Artist-in-Residence

As part of their artistic residency here at The Cultch, the Dancers of Damelahamid are currently workshopping their upcoming production, ‘Flicker‘. We chatted with Margaret Grenier, Executive and Artistic Director of the Dancers of Damelahamid, about the role of dance in her heritage, the power of reconciliation through art, and the creative process of workshopping a new performance.

Hi Margaret! Can you tell us a little about the Dancers of Damelahamid? 

The Dancers of Damelahamid are an Aboriginal dance company based in Vancouver, BC. Our mandate is to advance the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the art, history, language, and traditions of First Nations’ culture through story dance and song; to educate the public about and increase cross-cultural understanding of First Nations’ heritage through dance performances at festivals, in educational institutions, and at other venues and public spaces; and to advance education by providing instructional workshops on traditional First Nations’ dance to students at elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools.

What role does dance play in your heritage?

Dance plays an integral role in our cultural heritage. It is an intergenerational practice, strengthening ties between elders and youth. The art form carries forward language, story, song and dance as well as being a platform to share from as a community and on many levels.

What is Gitxsan masked dance?

Dance on the Northwest coast has always brought together all aspects of coastal art. The masks, as well as the narratives portrayed through movement and song support the underlying story and themes. The art form is a reflection of a way of understanding and seeing the world, indigenous to our home territories.

Gitxsan songs and dances were banned by the Canadian government for several decades. The Dancers of Damelahamid emerged, in part, as a response to this – to ensure that the Gitxsan heritage was preserved and not lost. What role can art play in reconciliation and healing?

Storytelling through movement has been an integral part of defining our unique identities as indigenous peoples on the Northwest coast. There is a healing authority to the dances. Through continual and dedicated practice we strengthen our ability for reconciliation within ourselves as well as offer this understanding through performance. Therefore our collective consciousness can move forward, bridging our differences and celebrating our distinct identities.

Your upcoming production, ‘Flicker’, is a part of The Cultch’s 15/16 season. Can you describe the show?

Flicker is an innovative dance piece by the Dancers of Damelahamid in collaboration with multi-media artist Andy Moro that combines Northwest coast graphic designs with projected environments. Vividly rich imagery represents the ‘spirit world’, the mystical realm portrayed through Gitxsan masked dance. Just as light shimmers, Flicker represents the moments through which one can cross space and time, as the dancers journey in and out of the ‘spirit world’ of their ancestors.

In creating a new work during your residency here at The Cultch, what has your creative process been like?

It has been an intensive creative process and a wonderful opportunity to bring together the multilayered aspects to the production, making for a very full and productive month. We have worked for a year to prepare for the residency, beginning with a short research residency last summer at The Cultch. All aspects of the production are coming together from the choreography and song composition, the regalia and set creation, as well as the supporting soundscape, video projection, and lighting design.

‘Flicker’ will be on at the Historic Theatre May 25 – 29, 2016.

For more information about the Dancers of Damelahamid, visit their website: www.damelahamid.ca