Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Teaching at the Arts Explosion March Break Camp

We talked to Amelia Griffin and Anik Bouvrette of Tara Luz Danse after their inspiring workshops at the Guelph Dance March Break Arts Explosion Camp. Amelia describes the experience from the educators’ perspective.

Amelia: It has been almost two weeks since Tara Luz Danse visited Guelph for the March Break camp and it’s still on my mind. Both Anik (artistic director of Tara Luz Danse) and I agree that our time in Guelph was truly special for us. We worked with each group (Green, Blue and Red), sharing the principles of creation and movement that we teach in workshops in Franco-Ontarian high schools in the Ottawa area with adults, as well Anik’s creative process with the company. It confirmed for us that, regardless of your age, within each person lays a wealth of creativity and unique movement. It was exciting to see that the principles we work with in our daily lives can also bring joy, movement, and connection to another city!
Amelia Griffin at our March Break Arts Explosion Camp. Photo: Randy Sutherland.
The Dance Focus (Green) group was a real treat for us. We rarely have the opportunity to teach class to youth, let alone in our own company! I, personally, was very impressed with how the group adapted their way of moving to Anik’s very fluid and organic movement, which can switch quickly to static or precise movement. Bravo, guys!! Our piece was very full of movement and included so much of what we worked on, and the results exceeded our expectations. I applaud everyone in this group for taking on our collective creation with a fun spirit and wonderful level of maturity. Beautiful work all round!

The Blue group was just as exciting to work with. So much positivity and openness to ideas in one room! We felt like there was no end to the possibilities of choreography, and ended up with a very interesting (including flashlights and voice dubbing!) piece. We were reminded that lots of crazy giggles gave way to endless possibilities of creation. Great work, Blue group!

The last, but very much not the least (29 of you!), was the very energetic Red group. We were very curious to see how our work could translate to a much younger group. All I can say is—success! I found so many new ways of approaching these concepts by working with young kids, as they see the world with such amazement, simplicity and fearlessness. Each child had the opportunity to dance in their own way, as well as copying other people’s way of moving in the Rainbow choreography. It’s rare that I consistently laugh so hard. Thank you Red group for bringing us your joyful energy!

With each group both Anik and I learned that there are still no ends to possibilities within the work that we do. We truly believe that, given the chance, each person has a wealth of creativity and movement to share with the world and it’s worth exploring. Thank you to all the campers for your generosity and openness with us, to all the volunteers for your help, to Adam for the beautiful music, to Janet and Catrina and Guelph Dance for inviting us, to the Case family for giving us a home away from home, and to Guelph in general for being so generous. You all inspired us and filled our hearts with joy. Un grand MERCI!!

Amelia Griffin
(dancer with Tara Luz Danse)

To keep in touch:
‘Like’ us on Facebook:
Follow us on Twitter:

Monday, 18 March 2013

Ritmo Flamenco Heats Up UofG Centre Courtyard

Ritmo Flamenco will be performing in Guelph this week as Guelph Dance and Central Student Association (CSA) partner to present another CSA Nooner at University of Guelph, Centre Courtyard. Join us for this beautiful celebration of dance on Friday, March 22, 12pm. Free.

Angelica Scanurra, dancer and choreographer, talks here about the fine art of bringing flamenco and contemporary dance together.

Angelica: My mother (Valerie’s) most recent work entitled A Paso Lento was created for Ritmo Flamenco’s most recent production Vida Flamenca that was held at the Al Green Theatre in April 2012, and my most recent work Sombras de Locura (Shadows of Madness) was created for Dance Ontario’s DanceWeekend 2013 in honour of the 100th anniversary of Stravinsky’s work Rite of Spring. Both works are very different; you can see tradition, structure and wisdom rooted in Valerie’s piece. It is exactly the type of dancing you will see in a tablao in Spain—namely Madrid, right now. The flamenco guitar by Roger Scannura is also an intrinsic part of flamenco that shows the synchronicity of music and dance.  Roger is able to accompany the dance in a way that inspires us to go beyond our boundaries in both technique and expression. Traditional flamenco was always performed in intimate settings and sometimes just listening to Roger’s masterful playing of flamenco solos is deep and soulful for any audience of any theatre setting.

The goal for my piece was to do something that I was sure had never been done before.  Rite of Spring was always a very inspiring piece of music to me. It’s anti-Flamenco in a sense, because the time signature changes every 5 bars, if you’re lucky. I knew that the power of Flamenco mixed with the strong dynamics of Rite of Spring would concoct something that spanned the whole spectrum of emotions, for the dancer and viewer alike. Most Flamenco companies in Spain right now are becoming more contemporary, abandoning traditional attire and music to create a movement vocabulary that welcomes diversity and experimentation.

At the end of the day, the thing that makes me the happiest is the fact that I get to perform my works and have them be seen. I also love the idea of getting more acquainted with my creation through repetition. The dancers that I worked with are Sachi O’Hoski and Laura Lelievre. Both of them have strong contemporary technique as well as flamenco, which allowed me the freedom to use them as muses and mirrors, as they were representing my alter egos. The pieces are so layered that I discovered something new every time I rehearsed and performed this piece. I feel that it was therapeutic in its invigoration and that no other previous dance piece I performed has ever made me feel this way.  We wanted to use wide, flowing dresses that resembled both traditional and a contemporary “Martha Graham” influence. I am actually a huge of fan of Martha Graham in her ability to delve into the darker side of humanity in such a display of strength and fragility that totally reveals the frailty of existence. I hope to continue along this path of discovery through my dance pieces and look forward to my next creation!

Dance is the thing for me where I feel completely in control and out of control all at once. It helps me to express myself more effectively. One of the greatest joys in my life is evoking a thought, feeling, question or emotion in my audience; whether they were enlightened by a subconscious message that was woven into the choreography or if I simply enabled them to abandon day-to-day life for an hour.

All information regarding upcoming events, classes and performances by Anjelica Scannura, Valerie Scannura and Ritmo Flamenco can be found at and

You can find up-to-date info about them through their Facebook pages by searching Anjelica Scannura or Ritmo Flamenco.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Take a Look at our Arts Explosion Camp!

Guelph Dance hosts our March Break Arts Explosion camp this week! Here are some photos of the creative adventures our campers are enjoying:

Glee Club singing with renowned local performer Joni NehRita

Break time!

Visual Arts with award-winning artist Janet Morton

Contemporary Dance with acclaimed dance artist Anik Bouvrette

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Guelph Dance Attends Dancer’s Health Conference: “When the Artist’s Body Says No”

New Guelph Dance board member, Heather Finn, recently attended PAMA and shares her experience with us here.

Conference venue: 
The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto

Heather: As a new member of the Board of Directors of Guelph Dance, I am thrilled to join an organization with a solid foundation and a vision for the future of Guelph dancers.  

On February 16 and 17, Artistic Director Catrina von Radecki and I attended the Performing Arts Medicine Association's regional meeting, "When the Artist’s Body Says No," at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.  

PAMA is an organization comprised of medical professionals, educators, and administrators with the common goal of improving the health care of both musicians and dancers.

Highlights of the weekend programme included:

     * Tips on implementing a dancer screening program by Gary Galbraith from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio.  Dancer screening helps to collect information on a dancer’s flexibility, strength, technique, nutrition, general health, and wellness.  This information is used to set goals for the year, improve a dancers’ performance, and prevent injuries.
     * Recommendations on the prevention of stress fractures in dancers through exercise and healthy eating habits by Healthy Dancer Canada’s Carolina Rotondo and Stefanie Senior.
     * A panel discussion on “When My Body Said No” with professional dance artists musicians, and health professionals including contemporary dance artist, Peggy Baker (like most of us, her body said “Yes!” to dance, with a few aches and pains along the way).
     * A compelling lecture by Dr. Gabor Mate, physician and author of “When the Body Says No,” on mind-body wellness and how this affects the artist in particular.
I am pleased to report that we will be bringing these great ideas to Guelph; for example the Guelph Youth DanceTraining Program will implement their own dancer screening program.  By engaging in these discussions and conferences, Guelph Dance will meet their mandate to “[create] opportunities for artists to push the boundaries of contemporary dance”; not only creatively but physically, mentally and emotionally.
Anita Vandenberg (President-Elect of Healthy Dancer Canada) and Heather Finn

Heather Finn is a dancer and physiotherapist in Guelph and a proud Board Member of Guelph Dance.