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Toronto Dance Theatre (TDT) unleashes 12 extraordinary dancers in a rare – and radical – showcase. Mining the gems of TDT’s vast repertoire, Rare Mix features masterworks by company co-founder Patricia Beatty, Montreal maverick Jean-Sébastien Lourdais and TDT’s Christopher House, who the National Post hails as “one of Canada’s most gifted and enduringly inventive choreographers.”
The programme includes Beatty’s iconic Against Sleep, a spellbinding duet not seen since 1998, Lourdais’s bold and visceral Étrange (the runaway hit of last year’s Four at the Winch Quebec), and House’s Vena Cava, a tour de force of lightning-fast, rhythmically thrilling dancing. Not to be missed!
Toronto Dance Theatre is one of Canada’s leading dance companies, recognized for the intelligent, provocative vision of its choreography and the exceptional artistry of its dancers. Founded in 1968 by Peter Randazzo, Patricia Beatty and David Earle, and under the artistic direction of Christopher House since 1994, TDT has produced a remarkable body of original Canadian choreography.
TDT performs annually at Harbourfront Centre and its own Winchester Street Theatre in Cabbagetown. The company maintains a regular presence from coast to coast in Canada, and has toured extensively in the USA, Europe and Asia.
Christopher House is one of Canada’s most respected dance artists. Born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland, he joined TDT as a dancer in 1979, was named Resident Choreographer in 1981 and became Artistic Director in 1994.
Christopher House has contributed over 60 works to the TDT repertoire including Glass Houses, Four Towers, Early Departures, Vena Cava and Chiasmata. He has created works for Lisbon’s Ballet Gulbenkian, the National Ballet of Canada, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and Ballet British Columbia, among others, and directed two collaborations with Joel Gibb and The Hidden Cameras and directed several short films and videos. His most recent choreographies include Pteros Tactics (2010), the “annotated remount” Nest Redux (2010) and Rivers, all for Toronto Dance Theatre. Rivers, performed to the celebrated score of the same name by Ann Southam, premiered in April 2012 in Toronto with live music by Christina Petrowska Quilico and set design by Michael Levine, and was subsequently performed at the Canada Dance Festival at the National Arts Centre, Ottawa.
As a performer, House has created roles in works by Sarah Chase, Peter Chin, David Earle, Mark Morris, James Kudelka and Peter Randazzo, and often appeared in his own works. While a guest with Les Grand Ballets Canadiens, he performed the title role in Michel Fokine’s Petrouchka, in Kudelka’s In Paradisum and in Nijinska’s Les Noces as well as in his solo Schubert Dances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Christopher House has participated three times as a dancer in the Solo Performance Commissioning Project with Deborah Hay in Findhorn, Scotland. He premiered his adaptation of News by Deborah Hay in December 2006, and presented five performances of this solo at the Canada Dance Festival in June 2008. He performed his adaptation of Hay’s At Once in London and Brighton, UK, in early December, 2011.
Artistic Advisor of the Professional Training Program of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, House has taught technique, improvisation, mindful performance and creative process at The School of TDT and at such institutions as the Juilliard School, Rotterdam Dansacademie, Jacob’s Pillow, and at Ryerson, Simon Fraser and York Universities.
He has received many awards for his work, including three Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Outstanding New Choreography. He received the Muriel Sherrin Award for International Achievement in Dance in October 2009, was made an honourary doctor of letters by Memorial University in 2010, and received the Toronto Alliance for Performing Arts Silver Ticket Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts in 2012.
Christopher House is an Associate Dance Artist of Canada’s National Arts Centre.
Patricia Beatty graduated from Bennington College with a degree in Modern Dance Choreography and Performance .She studied for 5 years at the Martha Graham School in New York City, dancing with a number of independent choreographers there. Her longest association was with The Pearl Lang Dance Company where she became a soloist and Ms. Lang’s teaching assistant. She returned to Toronto, in 1967 and started the New Dance Group of Canada.
Beatty’s commanding, womanly presence was an integral part of early TDT’s early impact. A pioneering Canadian teacher, she continued to teach at the School of TDT until 1999. Beatty is the author of Form without Formula, an elegant choreographic guide; it is one facet of her mission to bring rigorous study of composition to all modern dance training, as part of an overall regard for the art’s legacy, context and evolution.
Her own choreography has been marked by meticulous attention to detail. First Music (1969), set to Charles Ives’ enigmatic “The Unanswered Question,” was presented at the Joyce Theatre, New York, in November 1991, while Beatty’s Against Sleep (1968) was restaged in November, 1998, for TDT’s 13th anniversary performances.
Collaborations with composers and visual artists have been important to her; Painters and the Dance (1983) brought together artists Graham Coughtry, Gordon Raynor and Aiko Suzuki. Seastill (1979) and Skyling (1980) initiated a phase of increasing concern with “the deep feminine energies emerging at the spiritual forefront of our age.” Gaia (1990), Mandala (1992) and two editions of Dancing the Goddess (1993, 1995) signify her commitment to animating spiritual dimensions. In the fall of 2004, in recognition of her ongoing artistic contributions and advocacy for dance artists at all phases of life, she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada.
After graduating from the Grymda Center, France and the UQAM, Jean-Sébastien Lourdais presented his first piece, Un Beau Matin du 21 juin (2001), followed by Fabrication Danse (2002), which he would eventually name his own company.
From 2004 to 2006, Lourdais collaborated with sociologist Marc Laplante, creating Règlement de Compte, Le lait de la Vache, Toutou Kaputt and Contrôle Réaction. He took part in Research Event Montréal Danse, which led to a group work that will premiere in 2012 at Agora de la danse (Montréal). Lourdais produced his new solo, Vers, in collaboration with the Rencontre Chorégraphiques Internationales de Seine St-Denis, which had its world première in Paris and will be performed as a part of the Agora de la danse 2011-2012 program.
Lourdais not only participates as a choreographer in many festivals, such as the Mettre en Scène du Théâtre National de Bretagne Festival, the 30 30 festival, the Bordeaux rencontres du court, and Les Hivernales d’Avignon festival; he also collaborates as an interpreter with various choreographers. Lourdais is currently beginning work on a new research project, Between Two, which will be created with several performers and will tour Europe in 2013.
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