Louie Villanueva/the Gauntlet

Mainstage Dance

Publication YearIssue Date 

This year’s Mainstage Dance production features two firsts: it is the first Mainstage Dance from the newly formed School of Creative and Performing Arts and the first time that Wojciech Mochniej is the artistic director for the production.

Two of the four performances include original music from University of Calgary graduate students.

The first performance celebrates the 30 years since Decidedly Jazz Danceworks began at the U of C by Vicki Adams Willis, Michèle Moss and Hannah Stilwell. Curated by Deanne Walsh, the performance features excerpts from six of Stilwell’s original works.

“We are honouring a legacy of choreography in the jazz realm that takes its routes from West African afro-cuban as well as funk, soul and everything in between,” says Walsh.

The second performance, Twice Told, choreographed by Melanie Kloetzel, is based on Charles Dickens’s book: A Tale Of Two Cities. Kloetzel says she was interested in exploring Dickens’s doubled sentence structure — “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” — in a visual way.

“All the characters are doubled in the work,” Kloetzel says. “I played with how the doubles can function together and separately in the canon.”

She says the performance follows much of the plot from the novel. Twice Told features the original music by Carmen Braden.

The third performance, Moon in the Fox’s Garden, choreographed by Davida Monk, is inspired by Japanese netsuke sculptures and explores stillness and explosive motion.

The fourth performance is In The…Night(Steel)AIR, choreographed by Mochniej with an original musical score by Ilkim Tongur. The dance choreography is based around collisions between absurd images to produce emotional reactions.