27 November 2011

Surprise Birthday

We had the honour of participating in an amazing private surprise party in October organized by the fantastic event planners at Cava Rose. This contract was so much fun; the dancers were awesome and everyone was such a pleasure to work with. They really made us feel at home. We don’t want to give away too much about this really special event, so we’ll let the pictures and video speak for themselves. Stay tuned, these will be up soon.

27 November 2011

Breaking Boundaries

In Artmistice’s efforts to put dance everywhere and in everything, we’ve experienced a breakthrough…by bringing dance to the kitchen! We had the pleasure of serving inspiration in the form of dance before a Thai culinary class at La Guilde Culinaire. It was a delicious experience and we hope to put dance in more untraditional and unique spaces soon.

27 November 2011

Hitting Broadway

We had the wonderful opportunity to go on another study trip to New York in October and it truly is a great season for Broadway right now. On our list of “not to miss” shows were Follies, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Book of Mormon, Memphis, and Chinglish. They were all fantastic and we strongly recommend you see this shows if you have a chance.   Luckily, thanks to Dancap Productions, more and more Broadways have been making their way to Toronto, including Memphis which will be running from December 6 to 24. Other great musicals making their way to Toronto are The Addams Family (currently running), American Idiot, In The Heights, and more.

06 November 2011

Cross-Training, a Question Of Survival

After only 4 seasons on air, the show So You Think You Can Dance Canada announced there wasn’t going to be any further seasons and the show was cancelled. I have to say that I’ve always had mixed feelings about the show. While it did put dance back on the map and created more demand for dance in most live performances, my experience with certain clients made me realize that the show had created unrealistic expectations for those who do not work within our industry. For instance, the rehearsal footage gave the impression that choreographies could be put together fairly quickly and with little rehearsal time. It’s take time to create a piece of work and it’s difficult to justify this to potential clients when they have little or no reference. It’s even more difficult for them to consider paying for the hours of preparation and rehearsals. Nonetheless, one thing I was grateful for was the emphasis put on the importance of cross-training in different styles.   So You Think You Can Dance functions on the basis that the best dancers are those that can assimilate and perform in various styles of dance. It’s all about the survival of the fittest and one-trick ponies, or so-called “specialists,” are quick to be eliminated. However, these expectations are not exclusive to the show, nor are they new. For decades, unless a dancer was fortunate enough to be picked up by a company, in order to keep the contracts coming dancers were expected to be skilled in more ways than one discipline. Despite these rather obvious standards and the show’s emphasis on the importance of being competent in several styles, I have noticed that there has in fact been a drop in dancers who cross-train in Montreal. One dancer I spoke to, a believer in cross-training, confessed that she has had to drop classes in order to focus on her specialty as a result of having to balance a full-time job, teaching, contracts, and her participation in two dance crews. It is a valid point. However, it is sad when a dancer’s full-time job is not actually dancing.   As an independent choreographer, I have been fortunate enough to work with dancers who are absolutely exceptional in their specialty. So you can imagine my frustration in having such an extensive roster of incredibly talented individuals that I cannot hire when it comes to creating a piece, or even an entire show, that incorporates a fusion of styles. I can only dream of creating work like The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers, where each dancer has equal opportunity to showcase their specialty, while being just as skilled in group choreographies.   When training in New York, Los Angeles, or London, I’m always encountering the same dancers in different classes. They get it. There is a hunger and a drive that is unfortunately not felt so much here. A friend who has returned to Montreal after living and dancing in New York shares my frustration. She believes that our dancers are simply not encouraged or educated on the importance of cross-training in the same way they are in more competitive cities. She states that “if they should leave Montreal and go to Toronto, Vancouver, the US, or Europe, they will be surrounded by dancers who are ready and able to perform whatever is asked of them.”   My friend did put an interesting spin on this discussion. It is not only about competition and competence in fulfilling contracts, but also about longevity. She has observed that a large number of those who do not cross-train are ballet dancers and urban dancers. Given the physical strain of classical dance and breakdance specifically on the human body, no one would benefit more from cross-training than them. The career of a ballet or breakdancer is relatively short given how physically demanding these styles are, but by cross-training, one is able to use his or her body to its full potential, physically and artistically. When the body is no longer able to sustain such unforgiving styles as classical and breakdance, there is a life and career beyond that stage in finding strength in other styles.   In the dance world, the law of the survival of the fittest dictates that one cannot afford to focus on a single specialty. It is not only a question of how much work a dancer will get, but how long a dancer will dance. So to all of you specialists out there, get out of your comfort zone and try something new!