On the blog today, we hear from Guelph Dance Co-Artistic Director Catrina von Radecki and Hillside Festival Executive Director Marie Zimmerman on the groovy ways that dance will be woven throughout the weekend-long festival.
Marie: We've been co-presenting dance at Hillside Inside since 2011 when the Fab 5 had the idea that we would do a collective "Art Attack" at the River Run Centre in the lobby. The aim was to take people completely off-guard, and it worked beautifully: 700 or so people entered the lobby at intermission and were suddenly surrounded by music, dance and spoken word. It was the buzz around town for weeks afterward!
Now, five years later, we are thinking that since people are used to us taking this surprise approach that we should now shift toward more formal introductions of the performances. So, this year, we have advertised both intermission performances instead of just springing them on people. We are excited about the intermission pieces because they mark our fifth year of getting contemporary dance in front of Hillsiders, who are well known for their love of movement and their veneration of the body. Most Hillsiders are familiar with African, Middle Eastern, Celtic, and Afro-Cuban dance styles because we have a Drum & Dance program at the summer festival. But contemporary dance is less familiar, and yet it is so overwhelmingly gorgeous.
The piece for intermission at the Oliver Mtukudzi and Alex Cuba show is choreographed by Megan O'Donnell, a Guelph dancer. I have seen her work in the Guelph Shebang and I was really impressed by how grounded her poetry is.
Catrina: Her piece entitled A Time to Come Home will be performed by an amazing line-up of local dancers: Suzette Sherman, Georgia Simms, Kristine Muth, Jordana Deveau, Lisa Bush, Susan Oxley, and Jenna Oxley. The dancers will sweep through the Canada Company Hall, bringing the audience into the woods with them until...it is time to come home... and to go back into the theatre for the rest of the show.
Marie: When I saw Frog In Hand perform Cafe Noisette at Guelph Dance's CSA Nooner at the University of Guelph, I knew the piece would work well for the STARS and Hey Rosetta! show. It's got the kind of high-energy cheekiness and rebellion that STARS has played with in the past - flirting with gangsterism as it clashes with innocence. The piece will contrast just enough with the music on the bill that it will seem like a breath of fresh air. I hope it sparks lots of questions about the Dance Festival. It would be great if people could glean from this performance that contemporary dance is not the brooding, highfalutin' stuff that mainstream culture makes it out to be. It's relevant; it's athletic; it's in-your-face; and it's exciting.
For the first time ever, the Guelph Dance Festival is offering a dance workshop at Hillside Inside. We are glad that they can keep it alive, as it is an audience favourite. The Dance Festival has stepped in with Frog In Hand who will do a swing workshop on at DanceTheatre David Earle Studios on Quebec Street. We are thrilled. Imagine: swing in the winter! We can't wait for this one!
Catrina: It is not often you get to let it all out on the dance floor, so don't miss this chance! We know Hillsiders love to have fun, and performers/teachers Mayumi Lashbrook and Mateo Galindo Torres will bring it!
The Guelph Dance Festival is able to program dance at other performing arts festivals thanks to the Guelph Fab 5, a partnership between the Guelph Dance Festival, Hillside Festival, Guelph Film Festival (FOMM), Guelph Jazz Festival, and Eden Mills Writers' Festival, and thanks to support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
It is our belief that our audiences share our passion for the arts and that by presenting dance at Hillside, we will expose new audiences to our incredible art form and we will be able to support more local and national artists. We also hope you will be enthralled by what you see and will come join us at the Guelph Dance Festival this June 4-7th, 2015. Not only will you see Frog In Hand perform in our In the Park series, you will also see artists from across Canada and many artists from right here in Guelph, perform in our parks, streets, studios, and theatres!