Thursday, January 8, 2015


And with Miriam Khalil's piece we say farewell. We'd like to thank all of our in-house writers, our guest writers (like Miriam), the many publicists and collaborators and - especially - our readers, for making the four years of The Charlebois Post such a magnificent experience!

Estelle Rosen, National Editor
Gaëtan L. Charlebois, Publisher

The Moment... Soprano Miriam Khalil

The Moment - Elvira in #UncleJohn (Against the Grain Theatre)
by Miriam Khalil

I will talk about Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni or her new incarnation in #UncleJohn as just Elvira.

The moment is Mi tradi quell'alma ingrata- the big second act aria that is very often cut because it can seem like an add-on and somewhat out of nowhere. In this new English trans-adaptation this aria is called 'He betrayed me and abused me'.

Leading up to this moment, Elvira is jaded and hurt. In act 2, she is tricked into thinking that Uncle John is in love with her through misleading texts. She later discovers that these texts are actually from Leporello and not Uncle John. This is where her character takes a huge shift. The realization that she has been tricked should in fact make her more jaded and more angered and hungry for vengeance, but it doesn't. For some reason, she forgives him and wants to save him instead. 

How and where does this shift begin? 

Captured, January 8, 2015

Photo courtesy of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, coming to Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Theatre, January 24

First-Person: Dancer/Choreographer Vincent Mantsoe

(photo by Meinrad Heck)

I am Listening, I am Watching, I am Learning, I am Mu-Ntu
by Vincent Mantsoe

Growing up in Soweto, South Africa, Vincent Mantsoe learned to dance through youth clubs, street dancing and music videos. In 1990, Mantsoe won a scholarship to Sylvia Glasser's Moving Into Dance Company (MID) in Johannesburg. There, he began to explore the possibility of merging street dance with traditional dance. From 1997 until 2001, Mantsoe was associate artistic director of MID. His choreography combines traditional African dance with contemporary, aboriginal, Asian and ballet influences in a cross-cultural Afro-fusion style. He acknowledges the influence of spirituality in his creative work. Describing a process of “borrowing” from the “ancestors”, he notes the importance of understanding and appreciating the sources of his traditional movements. Mantsoe, now based in France, has toured internationally, performing at venues including The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, the Dance Umbrella in London, England, and Canada's National Arts Centre in Ottawa. He has also won many awards, including top prize at the Vth and VIth Rencontres chorégraphique  de Bagnolet (officially the Rencontres chorégraphique internationales de Seine-Saint-Denis) in 1996 and 1998. In 1999, he received the Prix du Peuple at the Festival international de nouvelle danse in Montréal, Canada.

I am Listening, I am Watching, I am Learning, I am Mu-Ntu:
The notion ‘NTU’ is saturated with the idea that even if nothingness pervades, there is always something taking form. It talks about what may be created in your own mind, yet there can be nothing else inside NTU except the path it is destined to take on its own.

The Moment.... Dancer/Choreographer Stéphanie Morin-Robert on For Body and Light

The Moment...Multidisciplinary Artist
by Stéphanie Morin-Robert

When Dena Devida (co-founder and co-artistic director Tangente) called me to ask if I was interested in possibly presenting a full-length piece as their mainstage programming, I was over the moon.  I proposed the work I was currently creating with Ian Ferrier, even though we didn’t actually have a show put together yet.

She explained to me that I would be replacing Lise Vachon and that I would be sharing a double bill with Kimberley De Jong.  Both very well-known and well-respected artists.  I  knew I was at a different level and had less experience than them, but I was still ready to give it a try and kept telling myself that I have nothing to lose.  I really didn’t want to miss out on the great opportunity and I was motivated to make it work. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Interview: Dancer Emma Hawes, on The Nutcracker, National Ballet

(photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic)

Plumming in The Best Nutcracker
by Ramya Jegatheesan, Senior Contributor
Emma Hawes was born in Delaware, Ohio and trained at the BalletMet's Dance Academy in Columbus, Ohio and Canada’s National Ballet School. She joined The National Ballet of Canada as a member of the Corps de Ballet in 2011. Ms Hawes’ repertoire includes Swan Lake, Giselle, Romeo and Juliet, The Sleeping Beauty, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, La Fille mal gardée, Cinderella, Nijinsky, The Seagull, The Four Seasons, Theme and Variations and Carmen. In 2012, Ms Hawes represented the National Ballet in The Tenth International Competition for The Erik Bruhn Prize with Second Soloist Brendan Saye and won the Audience Choice Award. The Charlebois Post - Canada Senior Contributor Ramya Jegatheesan spoke with Emma Hawes.
CHARPO: When was the first time you ever saw The Nutcracker? 

HAWES: I was probably around seven-years-old. The first one I’d ever seen was actually one I was involved in. So it’s been a lifetime of Nutcrackers. 

CHARPO: What was that experience like, and what role were you playing?

HAWES: At that point, in my very young career, it was the most exciting thing I had ever been involved in. I was a party girl. I got to wear a really frilly and glam big dress. I was the Mother Ginger’s child. That was the highlight. It was really really exhilarating. To this day, when I hear the music I still think of the first time I ever danced The Nutcracker and it still brings that excitement back. I’ve been involved in a couple of different productions of The Nutcracker. That one was in Ohio, and I was in a couple of other ones. From then until now I was actually never involved in The Nutcracker until after I was in the National Ballet Company so this is kind of exciting.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Review: (Toronto / Opera) #UncleJohn

(photo by Darryl Block)

Mozart a Little, Mozart a Lot
by Beat Rice, Editor

#UncleJohn is the title character of Against The Grain Theatre’s modern  translation/adaptation of Mozart’s Don Juan. The well-known story of the womanizer who causes trouble and eventually pays for it in the end, has had its libretto re-written in English by Joel Ivany. Ivany, who is also the stage director, has envisioned the opera to take place in the here and now-literally, in the Black Box theatre, on Queen West in Toronto, the day before a winter wedding. Mozart’s complex score, with new musical arrangement by Stephen Hargreaves, generally remains the same, with a few hilarious pop culture interludes in the second act. The characters and the story also do not veer far from the original, sharing the same Italian names and relationships. Uncle John (Cameron McPhail) arrives to crash the wedding of young couple Zerlina (Sharleen Joynt) and Masetto (Aaron Durand) with his wingman Leporello (Neil Craighead), and runs into two ex-lovers, Elvira (Miriam Khalil)  and Anna (Betty Waynnne Allison). Sexual tension, miscommunication, and chaos ensue.