A little bit of jig, a little bit of hoop dancing, and a lot of contemporary dance
New Dance Horizons (NDH) is beginning their 29th Season in Regina, and it is a promising line up. The renowned contemporary dance company is based in Regina and is spearheaded by Robin Poitras, an incredible artist who has kept the dance community alive in the prairies.
“Contemporary dance develops new vocabularies to relate realities and fantasies,” says Poitras. “This year’s presentations feature remarkable works by highly original artists, offering a feast of dance encounters and joyously festive events. I invite you to join us in an adventurous season of moving art!”
Not only is there an exciting range of performances from the annual Prairie Dance Circuit and Blueprint Series to the new Men in Dance Festival, there are courses, workshops, and lectures to engage the community in the world of dance. New this year are Métis jigging and square dancing lessons offered (free!) every Monday night.
This year, NDH and the University of Regina are re-entering a collaborative partnership, which means key performances throughout the season will be performed on campus, on the main stage, or in the Shu-Box theatre.
“I think what we hope to accomplish is supporting each other,” says Rae Staseson, Dean of Fine Arts. “It’s good for the students; it’s a good learning experience. It’s a great profiling for New Dance Horizons to an extended audience. It’s a great profiling for the Faculty of Fine Arts and the U of R in the community. I think that it will extend us out there and profile what we can offer.”
New Dance Horizons brings in exceptional artists from across the country. Bill Coleman is one of thirteen men who will be coming to Regina to perform in the 10 days, 9 nights, Men in Dance Festival this January. Coleman is from Toronto, but has been visiting Regina since the 1990s when Poitras first invited him to perform.
“I love the prairies. I love southern Saskatchewan,” says Coleman. “I have a lot of community connections, so that makes it really poignant when you perform to people that know what you’ve been doing.”
Coleman is an exceptional tap dancer who likes to add a bit of comedy to his performance, stating, “I like funny. I like being funny, and it’s nice to bring it back into my dance, and this really is a nice way of doing it.”
In addition to tap dancing, you can expect to see Terrence Littletent hoop dancing, Montreal’s Sylvain Émard Danse perform Ce n’est pas la fin du monde, and many more talented men dance the nights away! From laughing with Coleman to getting chills of awe watching Littletent move with hoops, there is undoubtedly something to interest everyone in the Men in Dance Festival. Though it is the most looked forward to by Staseson, and contemporary dancers Caitlin Coflin and Roxanne Korpan, it is by no means the only event to get in line for.
The Blueprint Series is an event that speaks to the incredible support NDH provides to the artistic community in Saskatchewan. In fact, A Moment in Space was first explored by Coflin and Korpan in the series and is now being presented by NDH in April as part of the House of Dance show.
“I’ve performed in a few blue print series over the years and been to many, and it gives you a really wide variety of work,” says contemporary dancer Coflin. “It’s not always even specifically dance. It’s just any kind of performance art that people are working on and wanting to put in front of an audience.”
“They are also one of New Dance Horizons’, I think, best ways of creating a new platform for emerging artists to present their work in a professional setting. New Dance Horizons is wonderful for supporting emerging artists in the community.” says Korpan. “It’s amazing, the opportunities that have come up for us in just a year. We almost have too many. It will be busy, but it’s really exciting.”
Watch for Coflin, Korpan, Coleman, Littletent, and many, many more talented dancers onstage this season, and be sure to check out the many classes and workshops available to you on the NDH website!