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Theatre & Performance Thirty choreographers in the mix for NAC’s 2014-15 dance season

The Royal Winjnipeg Ballet’s The Handmaid’s Tale will come to the NAC stage next season.

VINCE PAHKALA

The announcement of the National Arts Centre's 2014-15 dance season proves once again Ottawa's commitment to the art. The numbers say it all: 20 dance events, 30 different choreographers, two world premieres, six Canadian premieres and six exclusive Canadian engagements.

The major highlight is the return of Germany's legendary Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch presenting Vollmund (2006). Also of note is Belgium's acclaimed Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and his piece m¡longa for Argentine tango dancers. The maverick Ballet de L'Opéra de Lyon is bringing works by Benjamin Millepied (the Black Swan film choreographer) and William Forsythe. Millepied is also represented by his company L.A. Dance Project, performing his work Moving Parts and Morgan's Last Chug by Israeli choreographer Emanuel Gat. Millepied is the new director of the Paris Opera Ballet.

Ottawa audiences will also get to see the National Ballet of Canada's hit production Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, and Royal Winnipeg Ballet's The Handmaid's Tale, by Lila York. Other important choreographers include superstar Russian/American Alexei Ratmansky and Britain's Richard Alston in works presented by Miami City Ballet.

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World premieres are by Vancouver's Amber Funk Barton and Tedd Robinson (who lives on a farm near Ottawa), both NAC commissions. NAC debuts included Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, L.A. Dance Project, Israel's L-E-V, Sweden's Pontus Lidberg Dance, and Vancouver's Josh Martin. The Face 2 Face Africa-themed miniseries in the Studio features four dance artists also new to the NAC – Qudus Onikeku (Nigeria), Faustin Linyekula (Democratic Republic of the Congo), and co-choreographers Bienvenue Basié (Burkina Faso) and Jennifer Dallas (Toronto).

Canadian leading lights include Louise Lecavalier and Marie Chouinard. The former, one of this country's greatest dancers, is presenting her own choreography, So Blue, a duet for herself and Frédéric Tavernini. The Chouinard program includes two pieces, Henri Michaux: Mouvements (inspired by drawings of the Belgian surrealist) and Gymnopédies, her quirky interpretation of French composer Erik Satie.

Says NAC dance producer Cathy Levy: "Balance is the key to the season. We present the familiar with new projects, plus we take chances by programming new companies. We keep trying to shake things up."

For a complete overview of the National Arts Centre 2014-15 season, visit nac-cna.ca/en.

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