Dance: Made in Canada/Fait au Canada Paula Citron Award 2011

Background

In 1996, Toronto dance critic Paula Citron inaugurated a prize to recognize the accomplishments of independent choreographers at fFIDA. Since then, the Paula Citron Award has been variously conferred on dance artists selected from Moving Pictures Festival of Dance on Film and Video, Fresh Blood, a showcase of emerging choreographers, and now the mini-festival dance: made in canada/fait au canada.

Ms. Citron’s very subjective criteria chooses a work that compels attention for any number of reasons, be it highly sophisticated craftsmanship or unusual subject matter. The object of the Paula Citron Award is to congratulate a choreographer on his or her artistry.

The 2011 winner is Keiko Ninomiya. As an interesting side note, Ms. Ninomiya won the Paula Citron Award in 2003 for the joint piece she created with Louis Laberge-Côté for fFIDA.

Keiko Ninomiya’s Kanan-Kiri

Ninomiya is of Japanese heritage, but in this piece, she explores Balinese dance. The exquisite beauty of this choreography reflects the homage and respect she pays to another dance tradition, while, at the same time, adding intriguing elements of menace and surprise.

The well-known, stylistic vocabulary of Balinese dance is present, but beneath the lyrical grace lurks a provocative subtext. Toward the end of the piece, Ninomiya’s highly agitated muscle manipulations and body contractions evoke the image of a black widow spider luring her prey for the kill.

This mysterious, seductive work is of the whole cloth – choreographically and theatrically. Nami Sawada’s set is a gorgeous spider web overlaid by crystalline sparkles with a large moon above. Sharon Hann has costumed Ninomiya in a tight-fitting, black velveteen gown that evokes Balinese national dress. John Carnes’ score is anchored in the gongs of Indonesian gamelan orchestras, but modernist in sound. The totality of the work – the care in which all the elements have been put together – deserve kudos.

The King Edward Tea Society (KETS) Awards

The King Edward Tea Society (KETS) Awards for 2011 were compiled on Friday, Dec. 30, 2011, during high tea in the Sovereign Ballroom of Le Meridien King Edward Hotel, Toronto.

The jury members were Paula Citron and Lynn Slotkin.

They Brought Glory To The Stage Category

The Coalminer Meets Ballet Award:
BILLY ELLIOT (directed by Stephen Daldry, produced by Mirvish Productions)

The First Arab Spring Award:
HALLAJ (directed by Soheil Parsa, produced by Modern Times Stage Company)

There’s More to Kitchener than RIM Award:
THE LAST 15 SECONDS (directed by Majdi Bou-Matar, produced by MT Space and Theatre Passe Muraille)

Beware the Help Award:
THE MAIDS (directed by Brendan Healy, produced by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre)

Sorry, Did You Day Something? Award:
NAME IN VAIN (directed by Richard Rose, produced by Tarragon Theatre)

The Truth Shall Finally Be Revealed Award:
OUR CLASS (directed by Joel Greenberg, produced by Studio 180 and Canadian Stage)

The Paper Roses Award (Neither Cuts Nor Thorns):
PAPER SERIES (directed by Nina Lee Aquino, produced by Cahoots Theatre Company)

The Mail Finally Got Through Award:
THE POST OFFICE (directed by John Van Burek, produced by Pleiades Theatre)

Someone’s Junk is Someone Else’s Gold Award:
THE PRICE (directed by Diana Leblanc, produced by Soulpepper)

The Off-the-Wall/Death Can Be Fun Award:
RIDE THE CYLONE (Directed by Britt Small and Jacob Richmond, produced by Theatre Passe Muraille, Acting Up Stage Company and Atomic Vaudeville)

The Übertalented Thespian Category

He Can Teach Us All a Lesson Award:
JOHN CLELAND (Edward The Crazy Man, produced by Workman Arts)

She’s Everywhere and Is Always Good Award:
DIANE D’AQUILA (The Maids, produced by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and Saint Carmen of the Main, produced by NAC and Canadian Stage Company)

His Greatness Award (A Tie):
RICHARD DONAT (His Greatness, produced by Independent Artists Repertory Theatre);
JIM MEZON (Red, produced by Canadian Stage Company)

More Bang For Your Buck Award:
DAVID FOX (The Price, produced by Soulpepper)

The Salty Broad Award:
KATE HENNIG (Billy Elliot, produced by Mirvish Productions)

The Cross Dressing Award (A Tie):
RON KENNELL (The Maids, produced by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre);
SPIRO SCIMONE (La festa, produced by Spotlight. Italy, Canadian Stage Company)

There Always Has To Be A Yanna McIntosh Award:
YANNA MCINTOSH (Ruined, produced by Obsidian Theatre and Nightwood Theatre)

They Caught Our Eye Award:
JESSIE AARON DWYRE (The Ugly One, The Cherry Orchard)
GREG GALE (His Greatness, Highway 63: The Fort Mac Show)
GEMMA JAMES-SMITH (The Glass Menagerie)
GREGORY PREST (Ghosts, White Biting Dog, A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Artistic Directors Who Are Making A Difference Category

BRENDAN HEALY (Buddies in Bad Times)
MATTHEW JOCELYN (Canadian Stage Company)
JACKIE MAXWELL (The Shaw Festival)
ANDY MCKIM (Theatre Passe Muraille)
GUY MIGNAULT (Théâtre français de Toronto)
ARKADY SPIVAK (Talk is Free Theatre, Barrie ON)
JOHN VAN BUREK (Pleiades Theatre Company)
ROBERT WINSLOW (4th Line Theatre, Millbrook ON)

Good Stuff – Stratford Shakespeare Festival Category

He Can Make Bad Productions Look Good, and Good Productions Look Better Award:
BEN CARLSON (Twelfth Night, The Misanthrope)

Free Trade Import Award:
AARON KROHN (The Homecoming); CLAIRE LAUTIER (Titus Andronicus)

Heartache Award:
IRENE POOLE, THE ACTING ENSEMBLE, AND DIRECTOR CHRIS ABRAHAM (The Little Years)

A Standout In Atrocious Productions Award:
TOM ROONEY (Twelfth Night, The Merry Wives Of Windsor)

She’s Fulfilling Her Promise Award:
BETHANY JILLARD (The Little Years, Richard 111)

Good Stuff – Shaw Festival Category

A Fresh Take for the 21st Century Award:
DEBORAH HAY, BENEDICT CAMPBELL, PATRICK GALLIGAN, THE ACTING ENSEMBLE, AND DIRECTOR MOLLY SMITH (My Fair Lady )

The South Shall Rise Again Award:
JIM MEZON, GRAY POWELL, THE ACTING ENSEMBLE, AND DIRECTOR EDA HOLMES (Cat On A Hot Tin Roof)

There’s More To Australia Than Kangaroos Award:
THE ACTING ENSEMBLE AND DIRECTOR PETER HINTON (When The Rain Stops Falling)

Unearthing A Treasure Award:
DRAMA AT INISH – A COMEDY BY LENNOX ROBINSON (as executed by Thom Marriott, Corrine Koslo, the acting ensemble, and director Jackie Maxwell)

Paula Citron FRESH BLOOD Award 2010

For FRESH BLOOD 2010, Malgorzata Nowacka was honoured to be asked by Ms. Citron to select the recipient for the award in her absence.

The 2010 winner of the Paula Citron FRESH BLOOD Award is Paul Charbonneau

Paul Charbonneau’s “A Duet For Merideth” was a highlight of the evening, showing the choreographer as both performer and creative artist. Charbonneau is an expressive dancer who is strong both technically and artistically. His duet with dynamic dance partner Merideth Plumb was outstanding in the clarity with which it developed his concept of “exploring themes of dependence and need, specifically a person’s dependence on another individual”. Paul Charbonneau began the work as the focal point, as he almost sleepwalked through the initial part of the space neutrally accepting Plumb’s physical manipulations. His passive, drained of energy minimal movements and gestures contrasted with the forceful presence of his dance partner. As the piece developed, Charbonneau became increasingly active, furthering the complex power dynamic between the two dancers.

The most memorable aspect was the subtly unpredictable nature of the work. Smooth movements would explode in unexpected lifts beautifully executed by both dancers. There was a clear development in the structure of the work, in pacing, the use of space and the change that slowly took place in Charbonneau as he reluctantly committed to progressively giving more energy and self-direction to his movements, but somehow failing at the same time. As the work unfolded, it created a nagging desire in the audience to see Charbonneau fully take charge of himself instead of being maneuvered and directed by his dance partner.

Paul Charbonneau articulates his ideas through physicality with wonderful results as both dancer and choreographer.

Honourable mentions (in no specific order) are Carlos Rivera for an exquisite energy build and unpredictable structure, Niki Wozniak for beautiful execution, Anjelica Scannura for bringing a unique flair to the fire of Flamenco and to Jasmyn Fyffe for impressive commitment to exploring a unique movement vocabulary.

The recipient of the inaugural Paula Citron FRESH BLOOD Award in 2009 was Erin Cowan.