Q&A with the stars of DVOTE, Noam Gagnon and Nova Bhattacharya

Everybody at The Cultch is thrilled to welcome Noam Gagnon from Vision Impure (Vancouver) and Nova Bhattacharya from Nova Dance (Toronto) for the world premiere of their show DVOTE! The last show of our 13/14 season promises to be memorable! DVOTE offers an intimate world where longing and hope are magnified by the effort to find a connection between what was, what is, and what will be. In this first collaboration, Noam and Nova investigate the topics of spirituality and sexuality. We got a chance to catch up with two of Canada’s most innovative dance artists for an interview about their artistic process and chemistry.

We know you come from completely different worlds with different dance genres and inspirations, how did you decide to work together?

Nova & Noam: Yes, we are both from galaxies far, far away! Seriously though, we are both dance artists and we aren’t the first ones to boldly go into the studio with the assumption that as such we could communicate with each other and with an audience. We had a choreographic idea, we played around with it in the studio, and we decided that there was something there worth pursuing.

What do you like the most about each other’s dance style, and were you following each other’s work before beginning to create this show together?

Noam: I had heard lots about Nova as she had worked with a few of very close colleagues of mine but I had never seen her work. What I liked about her when we first met is her humour and her wit.

Nova: I’ve been watching Noam since the 90s. I love his explosive energy and how visceral and passionate his dancing is.

As shown on the poster, you will wear masks during your performances, which will make you blind from each other. What does it symbolize and how did you manage to dance while being blind?

Nova: The masks started as a device to bring the two of us onto the same page. If we were both “blinded” and destabilized, we hoped it would create a common ground. They then evolved into a metaphoric statement: when are we hiding? When are we revealing? When is it voyeuristic?

Noam: As Nova said the way it started was to create a common state beyond our known personal style of dance. Dancing with it is probably one of the hardest and most challenging tasks I have had to do. It’s an untamed beast with a life of its own, unwilling to be tamed. As for the metaphor for me, it is to reveal what is behind “the mask” and attempt to express what is invisible to the naked eyes.

What was the hardest thing about working together coming from such different backgrounds (contemporary dance and Bharatanatyam)?

Noam: Our very different views on how to generate and develop the theme of a work, and having to face a world of opposites in regards to our methods of accumulating movements into phrasing, and into creating structure. We created a work independently from one another since we were in different cities and that was a new experience for me.

Nova: My technical training is in bharatanatyam but for well over a decade I have been immersed in contemporary practice and have collaborated with many artists including Peggy Baker, José Navas, Louis Laberge-Côté and others whose techniques are different from mine. So the hardest thing about working together was not about background, but probably just the fact that we were trying to create a work while living in two different cities. We had a series of residencies in B.C., Ontario, and Quebec – it’s a challenging way to work – only coming together for short intense bursts.

The show investigates subjects such as spirituality and sexuality, what kind of audience do you think would enjoy this dance piece?

Noam: I honestly have no idea on this one, as this process could not have been farther from anything I have ever known; but that said there is a lot of HEART in this work and I hope it connects with theirs.

Nova: Spirituality and sexuality are not so much the subject matter as they were elements of conversation and inspiration that we drew on amongst others. I hope that anyone who has loved, or has wanted to love, will be moved by the images in the work.

DVOTE starts tonight and runs until May 31 at the Historic Theatre. Tickets arts at $18 and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 604.251.1363.

An interview with Heather Redfern, Executive Director at The Cultch

Mies Julie has been playing for almost three weeks and has been the breakout hit of our 13/14 season! This love/hate story between Julie, the daughter of a landowner and John, her father’s favourite black servant, in a conservative area of South Africa, is powerful and intense. Yael Farber, writer, and director of the play, is a multiple award-winning director and playwright of international acclaim.

The reviews from both patrons and critics are coming in and they are all unanimous about the show: they love it! We caught up with Heather Redfern, Executive Director at The Cultch, to get some insight about her decision to bring the show to The Cultch’s 13/14 season.

Heather RedfernWhen and where did you see Mies Julie for the first time?
Edinburg Festival Fringe 2012

7What made you pick the show for The Cultch’s 13/14 season, and how did you know it would be a good fit for audiences here in Vancouver?
It is one of the most powerful pieces of theatre I have ever seen and I knew Vancouver audiences would appreciate the quality and excellence of the artists involved and the importance of having this conversation about where we belong in our societies, how we treat each other when we do or do not have power, and how the ownership of land, or being disenfranchised from land, affects all societies everywhere causing wars and disenchantment. Because freedom was won 20 years ago it is important for people outside of South Africa to see just where the country is now. Mandela was a great man but he is only one story.

2Mies Julie is a multi award-winning show that got sensational reviews from New York to London. How does it feel to bring the Canadian premiere of the production to The Cultch?
It is a privilege for those of us who live in the Lower Mainland to have the Baxter Theatre and the wonderful artists who create this production in Vancouver. I am overwhelmed and honoured.

pic3_highres_cmykWe know that another South African play is coming to The Cultch for 14/15 season, Cadre by Chicago by Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Richard Jordan Productions Ltd in association with the Market Theatre of Johannesburg. Is there a reason why you’ve decided to program two South African production in two consecutive seasons?
Yes, it was very deliberate. I believe that one of the things we do here at The Cultch is stimulate dialogue over multiple seasons; that productions do not live in isolation but bounce off of each other and resonate throughout a season and across several years. Having Cadre in the season will deepen the dialogue we have with audiences that we began Mies Julie.

6How would you describe Mies Julie in three words?
STEAMY, BRAVE, STUNNING

Mies Julie runs at the The Historic Theatre from until April 19, 2014 at 8 pm. Tickets are from $31 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 604.251.1363 or online.

 

Announcing: ‘The Underbelly’ cocktail!

We are delighted to present our new cocktail! Underbelly started this week and we decided we needed to celebrate by creating a unique drink: ‘The Underbelly’ cocktail!
Maureen Fleming, our Business Development Consultant and friend, used the inspiration of The Beats to make this delicious drink!

The drink is composed of:
– 1/2 ounce vodka
– 1/2 ounce tequila
– 1 ounce triple sec
– splash of coke and squeeze of lime – served in a martini glass with a wedge of lime

“This drink is based on the drinking patterns and favourites of Burroughs -actually all the Beat poets favoured red wine the most – but when they deviated, they deviated hard. When Burroughs was in Mexico and Texas he was a big tequila drinker – later in life he switched to vodka and coke as soon as it was 6 pm.  So we have married his favourites into the Underbelly.” – Maureen Fleming, Business Development Consultant

This drink will be available at the bar at The Cultch until the last performance of Underbelly for the price of $9!
Come try it before you see the show!

Underbelly runs at The Cultch until March 30, 2014 at 8 pm in the Vancity Culture Lab. All tickets are just $31 and can be purchased by calling the box office at 604. 251. 1363 or online.

GRILLIN’ & CHILLIN’ AT THE CULTCH VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION BBQ!

By Jenn Graham, Head Front of House Manager & Volunteer Coordinator

Our annual Volunteer Appreciation BBQ

Christie (Volunteer Usher) and Nathalia (Volunteer Receptionist)

The end of the season brings a mix of emotions: Relief that we made it through another busy season. Sadness that it’s all over and we’ll not see our cracker-jack volunteers for a few months. But perhaps most importantly…that happy-happy-joy-joy feeling that comes from knowing it’s time for the annual Volunteer Appreciation BBQ!!

Karen Shimokura (Volunteer Usher) Jenn Graham (Head FOH Manager and Volunteer Coordinator) & Nena Pierre (Volunteer Usher and Receptionist)

This year, the sun smiled on us & the BBQ fairy graced us with a brand new grill to help celebrate the end of the season!

‘Griller-in-training’ Nicole (Director of Patron Development)

'Grill Master' Kathryn Kirkpatrick (FOH)

Once again, Choices Markets generously donated the BBQ spread and a gaggle of gifts were donated by local businesses and Cultch supporters.

Wonderful BBQ spread provided by Choices

We’d like to thank The Georgia Straight, Mogiana Coffee, Grandview Lanes, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Science World, Vancouver Aquarium, Long Live Cats & Dogs, The Reef Restaurant, the Arts Club, Bard on the Beach, Safeway on E. Broadway,  Red Bug Bijoux, Kris Boyd & Isa Szeto for their wonderful prize donations. We couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers & we couldn’t show them sufficient appreciation without you!