Tag Archives: Donna Spencer

Circle Game: Reimagining the Music of Joni Mitchell At The Firehall Arts Centre April 29 – May 20

10 Apr

Circle Game-Joni Mitchell by Asylum Records Public DomainThe Firehall Arts Centre is bringing the music of a Canadian icon and renowned singer-songwriter, Joni Mitchell, to the stage with the production of Circle Game: Reimagining The Music of Joni Mitchell.  Artistic Producer and local talent, Donna Spencer, has created an energetic musical experience. Circle Game features six quadruple-threat talents including Rowen Kahn (Superman: Man of Steel), Scott Perrie (Godspell), Adriana Ravalli (Rock of Ages), Kimmy Choi (Avenue Q), Sara Vickruck (Love Bomb), and David Z. Cohen (Heathers: The Musical). Together they play eighteen instruments, creating modern variations on themes by Joni Mitchell.  One of the most influential female recording artists of the late 20th century, Joni Mitchell often featured social and environmental issues in her music. Mitchell’s music stands the test of time and once again she is the voice of a generation. The heartbreak of a failed love affair in “River”, the fear of imminent ecological disaster in “Big Yellow Taxi”, and the promise of a generation gathering to ‘get back to the garden’ in “Woodstock” are topics that resound as heavily today as they did fifty years ago. Donna Spencer states, “As I look back on the powerful impact Joni Mitchell’s songs had on the Baby Boomer generation, I am excited the Firehall will premiere this reimagining of her music in this production conceived and created by Millennials Andrew Cohen and Anna Kuman. Issues that Mitchell sang about in the ‘60s and ‘70s are unfortunately still relevant today. Audiences will not only be reminded of this, but given the opportunity to enjoy her beautiful poetic lyrics and masterful melodies.”  Circle Game runs from April 29th to May 20th. Tickets are available online from $23 at The Firehall Centre with several Pay What You Can Performances on Wednesdays at 1:00 pm on May 3, 10, & 17. If you are interested in a post show talk, be sure to grab your tickets for the evenings of May 4, 11, or 18, 2017.

Photo Credit: Tyler Branston

“I have to admit I felt a bit of apprehension attending Circle Game.  It bills itself, essentially, as an exploration of how music written is by and for the baby boom generation but it  speaks loud and clear to millenials. As a Gen Xer, was I going to feel skipped over? Would the dreaded auto-tune make an appearance?

In fact, I had nothing to worry about and it was a terrific show. The re-framing of Joni’s music featured tunes that were still very true to the spirit of the ‘60s – perhaps even more accessible than the originals in some cases, since Joni’s jazz-influenced rhythms were often replaced with a steady classic rock beat.

There’s an attractive set, well-choreographed dance routines, and a lot of emoting to help carry the message of each song. The 6 performers who deliver this material are all amazing triple-threat talents. Quadruple threats, in fact – I think every one of them got a chance to demonstrate their skills at singing, dancing, acting, and playing one or more musical instruments. Even though there’s no spoken lines, the delivery is very emotionally effective. I was wiping away a few tears for Little Green and grinning through Raised on Robbery.

In short, whether you listen to the oldies station without a second thought or whether it’s a bit of a guilty pleasure, you’ll thoroughly enjoy this show. If you’re a fan of musicals or enjoy watching Glee, you’ll LOVE this show, which is a lot like a musical without all that  plot getting in the way.”

Review By Tiva Quinn

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Dancing On The Edge Festival Firehall Arts Centre July 3 – 12

26 Jun

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The Firehall Arts Centre presents the 2014 Dancing on the Edge Festival July 3rd – July 12th. The festival presents innovative art in unexpected places with six site-specific, by donation performances around Vancouver during the 10-day contemporary dance festival. Whether it’s following performers and musicians around the waterfront Portside Park at dusk, getting entangled in a giant interactive dance machine, Japanese Butoh at Wreck Beach, a moveable feast in the Firehall Arts Centre Courtyard or dance in the outdoor SFU Woodward’s Atrium, the festival is challenging audiences to think outside the black box.

“It’s about taking dance off the stage and showing it can happen anywhere. I believe it adds a level of excitement to experience live performance in a non-traditional setting where wouldn’t expect it and for the artists, it allows them to test how a piece works in a different environment,” says Festival Director Donna Spencer.

New to Dancing on the Edge this year is a ‘Dance Passport’, which allows you to participate in a live performance ‘scavenger hunt’ to the five site-specific shows downtown and collect stamps along the way. Once you have three stamps, you are eligible for a free ticket to a show at the festival.

SITE SPECIFIC PERFORMANCES BY DONATION

DUSK DANCES: July 4 – 6, 7pm | Portside Park
A magical evening with live music featuring a Japanese Butoh-inspired work by Denise Fujiwara, the hilarious synchronized mini pool swimming champs, an ode to the West Coast rain forest and a fusion of contemporary dance and traditional Cree dance from Compaigni V’ni Dansi.

DANCE MACHINE: July 8 – 12 | The Hopbopshop (Maclean & Powell)
Come out and play! Explore the giant interactive dance machine created by Lee Su-Feh, Justine Chambers & Jesse Garlick. FREE, drop-in.

CRUMBLING: July 11, 8:15pm | Firehall Arts Centre Courtyard
A Butoh piece choreographed by Vancouver’s Barbara Bourget (Kokoro Dance) for Mathew Romantini.

FEAST: July 12, 8:15pm | Firehall Arts Centre Courtyard
A visceral, dream-like moveable feast of performance by Katie Devries starring 10 of Vancouver’s finest dancers.

VERITAS. TRUTH: July 9 – 11, 12.15pm + 1pm | SFU Woodward’s Atrium
Developed with Modus Operandi dancers, this piece looks at the human desire to seek out unity & order.

WRECK BEACH BUTOH: July 12, 11:45am | Wreck Beach #4 Trailhead
What better place for Butoh then on the beach?! A clothing option performance for audiences.

For more information about the festival and the artists, visit Dancing On The Edge.

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