York Dance Ensemble presents Interlock

York University’s Department of Dance showcases its lively young repertory company, the York Dance Ensemble (YDE), in Interlock – Dances of Contact, Partnering & Community. The concert features six works – including four world premieres – that blend contemporary and world dance traditions, choreographed by eminent and emerging dance-makers associated with York. Interlock takes the stage at York’s Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan Theatre April 2 to 4.

"Interlock is a celebration of dances that weave a dynamic culture of compatibility and distinction within diverse creative approaches," says Susan Cash (BFA Spec. Hons. ’78, MA ’07), artistic director of the York Dance Ensemble. "This diversity is a challenge that the dancers in the ensemble have met in spectacular ways. I’m so pleased to work with such a talented group of creators and performers, putting together a highly enjoyable and thought-provoking program."

Right: Susan Cash, a veteran choreographer, is the artistic director of the York Dance Ensemble

Veteran choreographer Cash is contributing a new dance, Path, that completes her trilogy of travelling performance works. Like its earlier companion pieces, Garden and Fence, Cash’s Path explores notions of "space and place", but with a high-tech twist. Charting their paths of movement, the dancers interact with mobile technology such as iPods and cellphones. Audience members are invited to accompany the dance with their own hand-held electronic devices. The stage design includes map projections and the music shifts continually – as if scrolling through an iPod. Following its premiere in this made-for-the-stage version, Path will be performed in unusual indoor and outdoor locations in high-traffic public spaces in Toronto.

Other contributors include York grad Sashar Zarif (MA ’07) one of Toronto’s best-known cross-cultural choreographers, who will deliver a high-energy work rooted in the traditions of central and western Asia.

Further program highlights are pieces by two rising young choreographers who are alumni of the dance program and have now returned to pursue graduate studies in the new MFA in Dance Program at York. Contact dance specialist Susan Lee (BFA Spec. Hons. ’90) remounts Evocation – Gentle Rain Falling, a series of intertwining duets and trios danced prayerfully against a light, fluid, ever-changing landscape. Prolific contemporary choreographer Tracey Norman (BFA Spec. Hons. ’03) premieres a vigorous, athletic piece that looks at how emotion inhabits the body, set to the music of Daniel Bernard Roumain.

Catalina Fellay (BFA Hons. ’99, MA ’03), who’s currently studying in the Dance Department’s new PhD in Dance Studies Program, draws on her diverse professional performance experience, notably with the Esmeralda Enrique Dance Company, to create a new work that explores flamenco’s tension between joy and agony.

Rounding out the program is Tela Bianca, a classic, sculptural piece by talented emerging young choreographer and undergraduate student Alison Smith.

The York Dance Ensemble features outstanding young artists on the brink of their professional careers. Since its establishment in 1988, the ensemble has debuted many works by leading Canadian and international guest choreographers, faculty and students. In addition to its performances at York, the YDE maintains an active touring program, offering workshops, master classes and performances at conferences, educational institutions and community outreach centres around the GTA and beyond.

Interlock – Dances of Contact, Partnering & Community will be on stage April 2 to 4, starting at 7pm, at the Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan Theatre, Accolade East Building. Tickets are $15 and are available through the York University Box Office Web site or by calling 416-736-5888.