FODAR is bringing dance to centre stage

Take a trip to the 3rd Festival of Dance Annapolis Royal.

click to enlarge FODAR draws prima ballerina Greta Hodgkinson, William Bonnet and The Man in Black cast. - JOHN LAUENER
John Lauener
FODAR draws prima ballerina Greta Hodgkinson, William Bonnet and The Man in Black cast.

Festival of Dance Annapolis Royal

Thursday, August 25 to Sunday, August 28

King's Theatre, 209 St. George Street, Annapolis Royal

Individual shows $18 and $12

The Festival of Dance Annapolis Royal—that's FODAR to you—is growing up. With this weekend's edition, it celebrates three years of bringing contemporary dance to the valley. Running Thursday through Sunday at the King's Theatre in Annapolis Royal, the dancefest that is FODAR 2016 will showcase movement at its most innovative, featuring talent from Halifax, across Canada, and beyond.

Randy Glynn is artistic director at the festival. He saw an appetite for dance in the area after packing theatres with his own performance at Arts Unleashed, filling the 200-seat theatre for three nights. FODAR began as a community based festival, and gradually moved closer to this year's full roster of professional dance shows.

"What we're presenting is a curated program that blends current work with works from the past," says Glynn, referring to a remount of the classic modern piece, Curious Schools of Theatrical Dance. It's a work by Toronto choreographer Danny Grossman which premiered originally in 1976, and will be performed in Annapolis Royal by Dora-nominated dancer Michael Caldwell.

FODAR is also showcasing a mixture of four contemporary works. The Man in Black, danced by Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie dance company and choreographed by James Kudelka, is a work set to songs by the late Johnny Cash; the fest brought the performance back by popular demand—last year, many festival attendees came to see the show twice because they loved it so much.

Live From The Flash Pan is presented by Halifax company Mocean Dance: It's a "tongue-in-cheek look at pop culture's peaks and valleys" by Cory Bowles, with solo dance work by Rhonda Baker, and music from Radiohead, Gorillaz and more.

Being and Nothingness, performed by National Ballet Principal Dancer Greta Hodgkinson, choreographed by National principal dancer and choreographic associate Guillaume Côte and set to a soundtrack by Phillip Glass, explores existential philosophy.

Last but not least is LEO, a co-production by studios in Montreal and Berlin. A solo work featuring William Bonnet, the dance is based on a character developed by German acrobat Tobias Wegner, and it is a show that defies gravity—literally.

The festival is the little engine that could: FODAR is showcasing internationally sought-out choreographers and dancers in a small theatre, in a town of 500 people. "Dancers like to come here, because they spend most of their time travelling around to big cities" says Glynn, who is based in Ontario but has a summer home in the area. "We feel we've had some pretty big success here."

Sheila Duggan, one of the original festival organizers and director of communications, agrees. "This is an amazing festival just in its own right," she says. "But the fact that we're presenting it in rural Nova's amazing that we've been able to do that."

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