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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Mary-Louise Albert returns to her dance roots

Solo Dances/Past into Present will be presented in-person at Scotiabank Dance Centre on November 19-21 and again online from December 3-17

What do you do after leading one of Vancouver’s premier arts festivals for fifteen years? If you are Mary-Louise Albert, you return to your dance roots.

Mary-Louise Albert returns to the stage at the age of 65 for the premiere of phase one of Empreintes, a new solo work commissioned from Serge Bennathan. Photo by Maxx Berkowitz.
Mary-Louise Albert returns to the stage at the age of 65 for the premiere of phase one of Empreintes, a new solo work commissioned from Serge Bennathan as part of Solo Dances/Past into Present. Photo by Maxx Berkowitz.

Having led the Chutzpah! Festival for 15 years as artistic managing director, Albert recently left the position to establish the B.C. Movement Arts Society. Based in Sointula, it was established by Albert to develop professional dance presentations, artists’ residencies and community outreach activities in rural BC.

But before all of that, Albert worked for 20 years as a solo dance artist, working with such nationally and internationally recognized companies as the Judith Marcuse Dance Company, Anna Wyman Dance Theatre, and Karen Jamieson Dance Company and as an apprentice with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens.

Transitioning away from her professional dance career at the age of 46, a national award allowed her to graduate with diplomas in business technology and arts management from both the British Columbia Institute of Technology and Capilano University before taking on the role at the Chutzpah! Festival.

In one of the first productions to come out of the B.C. Movement Arts Society, Albert is set to present Solo Dances/Past into Present as part of The Dance Centre’s Global Dance Connections series.

Featuring three solo works from a new generation of female dance artists, the dance pieces have not been performed or remounted since Albert commissioned them 20 years ago. In a bonus to the program, Albert will also return to the stage at age 65 for the premiere of the first phase of Empreintes, a new solo work commissioned from Serge Bennathan.

“The process throughout, past and present, attests to the equal importance of dancer and choreographer to the creation of artistic work,” says Alberta in a media release. “As a dance professional, I feel strongly that it is important to revisit them, and put them back in repertoire on Canadian dancers who have the versatility and desire to develop, enjoy and share them.”

The trio of dance pieces from choreographers Peter Bingham, Tedd Robinson and Allen Kaeja will be performed by Livona Ellis, Vanessa Goodman and Rebecca Margolick in what is described as a deeply personal project celebrating the creative fusion of dancer and choreographer.

“The artistic and intellectual curiosity, generosity, and talent that Vanessa, Livona and Rebecca bring to dance and in particular these works have been personally and professionally inspirational,” says Albert. “Tedd, Peter, Allen and Serge’s understanding of and unwavering commitment to continue to explore their choreographic artistry, and their support of this project and these amazing young women, quite frankly gave me the confidence that I too could continue to explore through dance.”

Solo Dances/Past into Present will be presented in-person at Scotiabank Dance Centre (677 Davie St, Vancouver) on November 19-21 and will be available for viewing online from December 3-17.

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