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October 24, 2002 Dance open house showcases students' creativity and flair



Teoma Naccarato and Stéphane Gladyzwsky perform one of their own works.

Photo by Andrew Dobrowolskyj


by Nora Gombos

The Contemporary Dance Department open house held last Sunday provided a taste of what could be in store for future students, and gave them a chance to participate and ask questions.

The day started with a contemporary technique class with Sandra Lapierre, followed by a creative process/choreography workshop with Jacques Brochu and Marie-Stéphane Ledoux, both graduates of the program who are now professional choreographers.

It concluded with a presentation of three original dance pieces, performed and choreographed by some of the current students. The student works illustrated the talent and stylistic diversity of the dancers in the program.

“The students tend to have really varied backgrounds, ranging from gymnastics to ice skating to ballet, hiphop and African dance, so it’s all over the place,” said Teoma Naccarato, a second-year student who, together with Stéphane Gladyzwsky, choreographed and danced in one of the pieces.

Michael Montanaro, the chair of the department and choreographer of Cirque du Soleil’s recent production Varekai, explained that there is no specific departmental style, and that all the creative works for students are choreographed by students. “We try not to pigeonhole people,” he said.

Students are encouraged to find and develop their personal style.

The outstanding technical level of the performances demonstrated the importance placed on dance technique, but what truly sets Concordia’s program apart from similar programs is the strong emphasis on choreography and the creative process.

“Montreal has a lot of venues and dance companies with a high artistic level. Though this provides more opportunities, there is also tough competition, as many dancers come here to work,” Brochu said. He explained that it is important to branch out to survive, and that there are good prospects for independent dance choreographers in this city.

Montreal is what Montanaro calls the “international centre for contemporary dance in Canada,” and with 13 part-time teachers who also work professionally within the field, the students are constantly in touch with what goes on in the outside world.

The student works presented on Sunday were extracts from the department’s end-of-the-year show at Moyse Hall, 853 Sherbrooke St. W., April 11-13. The next audition for the Contemporary Dance program is on April 26. For more information, visit
http://dance.concordia.ca or call (514) 848-474