Face to face with new dance

Skwatta-vincentmantsoe meinrad-heck
Vincent Mantsoe in Skwatta © Meinrad Heck

Cathy Levy, the National Arts Centre’s Executive Producer of Dance, has brought some of the world’s very best dance artists to Canada, such as Germany’s Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch who recently performed two sold-out shows in the NAC’s Southam Hall.

As she travels the globe looking for great dance pieces, she often discovers outstanding works that would not otherwise find a home outside a festival format. That’s why she created the dance series Face 2 Face, which takes place every February at venues both inside and outside the NAC. 

“We were looking to include smaller scale, shorter works that didn’t seem to fit anywhere within our existing programming,” explains Levy. “There’s no set theme for Face 2 Face other than presenting jewels that we’ve discovered. It’s eclectic.”

Now in its third year, Face 2 Face is contemporary, cutting edge, close-up and captivating. Performances generally have fewer dancers than NAC main series productions and fit well into smaller venues, such as Ottawa’s Arts Court.

“This allows us to get outside our building and gives us a great opportunity to partner with arts organizations such as the Ottawa Dance Directive,” says Levy of the nearby dance centre that offers a platform for the creation and presentation of new works.

“We wanted to provide a context within which to discover new voices, both for our patrons and for the artists we invite,” says Levy. This could be as simple as presenting a series of duets or solos, as was done in previous editions of the festival. This year, Face 2 Face presents contemporary works created and inspired by experiences of Africa. 

In an ongoing effort to support dance education and foster creativity, Levy also makes sure to program the festival so that each performer has the opportunity to see all the other shows in the series. Face 2 Face is developing a growing and loyal following, with audiences that enjoy watching dancers experiment and explore.

Face 2 Face takes place February 4th to 7th at Arts Court and in the NAC Studio. 

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