NAC's new dance season covers classical to cutting edge

The NAC's executive producer of dance chooses five essential shows from the 2016-17 season, ranging from classical to cutting edge and featuring both Canadian and international artists.

2016-17 program promises 'window into very broad spectrum' of dance

From classical ballet to contemporary tap to the muscular physicality of modern dance, the National Arts Centre's 2016-17 season promises "a window into the very broad spectrum of what dance is today," according to Cathy Levy, executive producer of the NAC's dance program.

International choreographers and dance companies will bring new works to Ottawa, but Canadian talent will also be celebrated with an eye to the country's sesquicentennial in 2017.

With so much to choose from, Levy struggled to winnow the list down to just five highlights:

  1. Dorrance Dance: Levy says Michelle Dorrance is "taking the dance world by storm" with her electrifying reinvention of tap, the classic American dance form. Dorrance's high-octane performances have been compared to Savion Glover, but Dorrance is blazing her own trail. (Oct. 14-15, 2016)

  2. Gauthier Dance/Dance Company Theatrehaus Stuttgart: Levy says the next season will focus strongly on Canadian artists, wherever they live. Eric Gauthier is a Canadian dancer/choreographer who lives in Stuttgart, Germany, and a prime example of homegrown talent making it big on the international stage. He brings his inventive, entertaining contemporary dance company to the NAC for the first time. (March 11, 2017)
  3. ENCOUNT3RS: A unique collaboration between the NAC Orchestra and three Canadian dance companies to create new works. Teams of dancers and choreographers from Alberta Ballet, Ballet BC and Toronto's National Ballet of Canada will combine forces with conductor Alexander Shelley and the NACO to develop three distinctive Canadian pieces that will be debuted in a showcase next spring. (April 2017)

  4. Eastman/Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui: Cherkaou is one of the most celebrated choreographers in modern dance. Dubbed "The Bendy Man" for his astounding flexibility, the Flemish dancer will perform Fractus V, a new work commissioned by the NAC. The piece is a melting pot of different dance styles and formations, performed to live music by artists from Japan, Korea and India and based on the political philosophy of Noam Chomsky. (Nov. 18-19)
  5. Batsheva Dance Company: Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin brings his dancers to Ottawa with a new piece call Last Work. Naharin is know form what he calls "Gaga" movement. "It's about giving dancers the freedom to go beyond the familiar. It's about thinking of movement as something that can heal," he explains.