A great weekend for design, dance and theatre

Three artsy activities to keep you warm on this autumn weekend.

Cool, functional world of Karim Rashid on display at the Ottawa Art Gallery

Karim Rashid reclines on one of his creations at Cultural Shaping, a survey of his design at the Ottawa Art Gallery. (Sandra Abma/CBC News)

Here are three artsy activities to keep you warm on this autumn weekend.

Cultural Shaping

In 1982, armed with a degree in industrial design from Carleton University, Karim Rashid set out to shape a better world.

More than 30 years later, Rashid is an international cultural influencer, renowned for his redesigns of functional household items and interiors — from waste paper baskets to champagne bottles to hotel rooms.

"Design has the power to completely change social behaviours," said Rashid on a media tour of the exhibition.

"We physically change the world and in turn we shape culture."

A survey of his award-winning designs entitled Cultural Shaping, now on at the Ottawa Art Gallery, is a cool stroll through a world of colour and forms designed for utility, comfort and beauty. 

A survey of the designer's influential work at OAG 1:01
  • Where:  Ottawa Art Gallery, 50 Mackenzie King Bridge.
  • When:  The exhibition runs until Feb. 10. Gallery hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. 
  • Cost: Free.

Last Dance

Acclaimed British dancer and choreographer Akram Khan hurls himself into his work with a forceful energy and muscularity that leaves audiences breathless. Khan is on stage at the NAC this weekend for what he says will be his final feature-length solo work, citing the effects of severe training and inevitable aging on his body.

For a dancer who has described his body as his voice, it's a turning point.

"Between mid-30s on, your body starts to speak back to you," said Khan.

"The doubt starts to seep through the cracks ... and there's the fear I won't be able to finish the show."

None of those doubts were on display in Khan's electrifying performance on Thursday night in the North American premiere of XENOS. The theatrical dance work is a tribute to the more than 1 million soldiers from India who fought for Britain in the First World War, a contribution Khan says was "erased out of history."
Akram Khan explains the history behind XENOS, his last full-length solo worK. 1:16
  • Where: Babs Asper Theatre, NAC, 1 Elgin St.
  • When: Curtain rises at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday nights.  Those who arrive early will be treated to a performance of Indian music before the show.
  • Cost: Tickets start at $35.45 and run to $71.25 and can be purchased here.

Fresh Theatre

Monica Bradford-Lea and company present Beth-Anne at the Fresh Meat Theatre Festival. (Fresh Meat)

Born and bred in Ottawa, the annual Fresh Meat Theatre Festival was the brainchild of five young theatre grads who were looking for opportunities to perform in Ottawa. The solution was to create a small weekend festival that has grown into a launching pad for bright new productions for local theatre groups. 

Expect 20-minute pieces of freshly minted drama, poetry, puppetry, clowning and music over the next two weekends in the Arts Court Theatre lounge.  And talk about cosy — some of the works will be performed in a broom closet that can squeeze in 10 audience members.

  • Where: Arts Court, 2 Daly Ave.
  • When:  Friday and Saturday starting at 7:30 and running past 11 p.m. The festival continues next Thursday.
  • Cost: Tickets are $20, $15 for students and can be purchased here.