Mary-Louise Albert Solo Dances/Past into Present

The Dance Centre presents the Global Dance Connections Series
November 19 – 21, 2020 Scotiabank Dance Centre
December 3-17, 2020 Streaming online

The Dance Centre acknowledges that it is located on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the xwməθkwəy’əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl’ílwəta?/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. It is an honour and a privilege for us to be guests in their lands. We are grateful.

Two generations of Canadian contemporary dance artists come together in this program of vibrant solos helmed by Mary-Louise Albert. Having retired from performing twenty years ago following a distinguished career as a dancer, Albert is reviving three solos she commissioned from leading Canadian choreographers Peter Bingham, Tedd Robinson and Allen Kaeja for a new generation of outstanding female performers – Livona Ellis, Vanessa Goodman, and Rebecca Margolick. Albert herself returns to the stage at the age of 65 for the premiere of Empreintes, a new solo commissioned from Serge Bennathan; and Ellis and Margolick will also share two of their own short solos.

From the Executive Director

Long gone are the days that a dancer’s career ended early: today the value of a life’s worth of experience is widely acknowledged although dance careers remain as precarious! In the midst of a pandemic, performing live has never been as challenging. Thus Mary-Louise Albert’s efforts gains additional importance.

Mary-Louise (one of Canada’s most cherished performers) understands that special bond between dancer and choreographer; how the shaping of the dance arises from the profoundly intimate in studio dialogues; how commissions, creations for a specific artist, a highly individualized process are portraits of both the maker and the performer. In choosing to restage these works, she and the choreographers acknowledge that there will be new interpretations of the original, inspired by the new dancers. This is the ultimate in live performing arts: each performance is unique. This project highlights questions of legacy, the need to transfer knowledge and experience, and open doors for the next generations.

We also witness a most vulnerable moment in a dancer’s career: the return to the stage, as Mary-Louise steps back into the lights. Solos are exquisite sparks revealing the dancer in all their glory but also showing how lonely this career can be – especially now, with dancers left play to the void where the audience usually is and as that special ephemeral connection to audience is threatened.. We are thrilled to be part of this journey that speaks to legacy building, and the resilience and perseverance of dance artists, as dance comes full circle!

Mirna Zagar
Executive Director, The Dance Centre

Artist Statement

Three of the solos tonight – those by Tedd, Peter and Allen – were created and performed during the last years of my professional dance career when I was between 41 and 45 years old.  Commissioned by me during this latter period of my dancing career, when I stopped dancing, these solos stopped with me. I was never interested in choreographing and I didn’t look back. I was ready and wanted to head into the next chapter of my working life which involved business school and ended with directing the Chutzpah! Festival/Norman Rothstein Theatre for 15 years.  BUT… over these past years, I have known it was not right to let these beautiful dances end with me, and I knew they needed to be revisited and given to Canadian dancers with the versatility and desire to develop, enjoy and share them. And so this journey began.

The artistic and intellectual curiosity, generosity, and talent that Livona, Vanessa and Rebecca bring to dance and in particular these works has been personally and professionally inspirational for me. Tedd, Peter, Allen and Serge’s understanding of and unwavering commitment to continue to explore their choreographic and performance artistry well into middle age quite frankly gave me the confidence that I too could continue to explore through dance in this next and final chapter of my life, as a newly-proud member of the senior citizen club!

And not to dwell on my age… in celebration of having two emerging female choreographers in this project and the importance of celebrating new choreographic voices, Mirna and I are so pleased to include two additional solos performed and choreographed by Livona Ellis and Rebecca Margolick.

Mary-Louise Albert

Thank You

Thank you to Mirna Zagar, Serge Bennathan, Mimi Abrahams and Michael Margolick for your wise guidance and support which so contributed to my confidence to get back on stage. To Mirna, Chengyan, Raquel and Heather and everyone at The Dance Centre, thank you for your dedication, endless hard work and impeccable attention to detail during these crazy COVID-19 times.

Thank you to the BC Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts for the financial support.

And again, my sincere gratitude to the generous and uber-talented dance artists in this project, Livona, Vanessa, Rebecca, Serge, Peter, Allen and Tedd.

Solo Dances/Past into Present

Director/Concept: Mary-Louise Albert
Lighting Designer and Production Manager: Mimi Abrahams
Technical Director: Chengyan Boon
Stage Manager: Neil Griffiths
Technical Crew: Anna Brancato, Nathan Kelly, Zach Levis and Julie Wiebe

Woman Walking (away)

Performer: Livona Ellis
Choreography: Peter Bingham
Music: Kein Boarischeer and Harlem in Brünn composed by Christof Dienz, performed by Die Knödel
Created with and commissioned by Mary-Louise Albert
Premiere: Kiss Project, Vancouver 1997

A journey of one, arriving or leaving, listening to memory that is gently propelling what is next for her.  Inspired by the painting of the same name by Mona Hamill.


Performer: Vanessa Goodman
Choreography: Tedd Robinson
Music:  Songs of a Wayfarer – Gustav Mahler performed by Anne Sofie von Otter
Created with and commissioned by Mary-Louise Albert
Premiere: Firehall Arts Centre, Vancouver 1998

A deeply intuitive and somewhat mysterious work that transports performer and audience on an inquisitive journey, via the naïve love and longing of Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer.

Trace Elements

Performer: Rebecca Margolick
Choreography: Allen Kaeja
Music: Germans by Myra Davies and Gudrun Gut
Created with and commissioned by Mary-Louise Albert
Premiere: Norman Rothstein Theatre, Vancouver 2000

There is the wish for this re-imagined solo that this work of memory of persecution was just a source of history uncovered, but unfortunately with the rise of fascism and anti-Semitism worldwide, it is as relevant today as it was 20 years ago.


Performer: Livona Ellis
Choreography: Livona Ellis
Music and Text: Jasmine Sanchez Ziller
Premiere: Dance Deck Trois, Vancouver 2016

Imaginary limitations are often placed on ourselves and when one sees a friend surpassing real challenges, you are given an opportunity to rethink the word ‘impossible’ and your relationship to the concept. A tribute to my friend Jasmine Sanchez Ziller.


Performer: Rebecca Margolick
Choreography: Rebecca Margolick
Music: Nils Frahm
Premiere: Festival Cuerpo Al Descubierto, Mexico City 2019

Memory experienced through the body and generations, this solo was influenced by my archival research on the women who resided at the 92nd Y Residence and The Clara de Hirsch home for Working Girls from 1899-1950 in New York City. Embodying and visualizing memories of these women, as well as my own.


Performer: Mary-Louise Albert
Choreography: Serge Bennathan
Sound Score: Morning on the River and the gentle singing of Spring Birds; Souvenir de Hapsal, Op 2 Tchaikovsky
World premiere

Joining memory and now.


Mary-Louise Albert worked for 20 years nationally and internationally as a solo dance artist and as a company member with the Judith Marcuse Dance Company, Anna Wyman Dance Theatre, and Karen Jamieson Dance Company, as well as apprenticing with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. Albert has performed work by choreographers such as Mark Morris, Crystal Pite, Lar Lubovitch, Robert North, Serge Bennathan, Allen Kaeja, Judith Marcuse, Grant Strate, Peter Bingham, Tedd Robinson, Judith Garay and Christopher House. Transitioning from professional dance at the age of 46, she won the nationally-awarded Eric Bruhn Memorial Award from the Dancer Transition Resource Centre to attend the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s School of Business and Capilano University, graduating with a Post Diploma of Technology in Business Administration and an Advanced Arts and Entertainment Management Diploma. She was the Artistic Managing Director of the Norman Rothstein Theatre and the Chutzpah! Festival from 2005-2020. She is the recipient of the 2011 Canada Council for the Arts John Hobday Award for Excellence in Arts Management, and has received numerous creation and production grants from the Canada Council and BC Arts Council.  Now based in Sointula, on the unceded Kwakwaka’wakw territories of the ‘Namgis, Kwakiutl, and Mamalilikala Nations, Albert has established a dance organization, BC Movement Arts Society (BCMAS), to develop professional dance presentations and artists residencies for rural BC. BCMAS’s first annual contemporary dance series featuring Canadian and international dance artists starts in July 2021.

Serge Bennathan was the Artistic Director of Toronto’s Dancemakers from 1990 to 2006, where twelve works he created received Dora Mavor Moore nominations, with both Sable/Sand and The Satie Project awarded for Outstanding New Choreography. He has also received the Isadora Award 2017, the Canada Council for the Arts Jacqueline Lemieux Award 2014, the Banff Centre for the Arts Fleck Award 2014, and the Rio Tinto Alcan Performing Arts Award 2013. Based in Vancouver, recent productions include Poesía for Ballet BC; Onegin for the Washington National Opera, the Matsumoto Festival in Japan and the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma;  Forêts for Ballet Edmonton; a new work for The Happening Vancouver; a solo work for NW Dance project, Portland; and Empreintes a solo work for Mary-Louise Albert, Vancouver November 2020. As a painter, Bennathan just launched a new website: to serve as a platform for his visual work Paintings for the Soul. His paintings reflect the poetry of the human soul; its dreams, imagination and humour, and have been exhibited in Vancouver, Montreal and Matsumoto, Japan. As a writer, he has written and illustrated four books: Julius le piano voyageur, The Other Moon of Mr. Figlio, Not-a-fear/Peurderien and a book of poetry about dance and dancers, A Few Thousand Miles.

Peter Bingham is the Artistic Director of EDAM and is one of the pioneers of Contact Improvisation, a dance form that emphasizes flow and the cooperative exchange of weight between partners. The “touch and tumble” of Contact is a hallmark of much of Peter’s choreography, lending both athleticism and graceful elegance to his partnering and ensemble work. Bingham has created over 50 choreographed works and performed in hundreds of improvised performances in theatres, dance festivals and universities across Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia. EDAM is renowned for its enduring commitment to presenting dance improvisation as an art form. Many key figures in the Contact world have performed at EDAM’s Studio Theatre, including Steve Paxton, Nancy Stark Smith, Chris Aiken, Ray Chung, Lisa Nelson, KJ Holmes, Karen Nelson, Simone Forti and Andrew Harwood. EDAM, under the direction of Bingham, encourages collaborative creative productions and showcases work by local dance artists. Each season the EDAM, produces a number of shows at its Studio Theatre, premiering new work by guest artists.

Livona Ellis was born in Vancouver on the unceded Coast Salish Territories. She completed her training at Arts Umbrella and after graduating with a Dance Diploma began dancing with Ballet BC.  Throughout her eight years with the company she has been fortunate to perform works by world-renowned artists such as Crystal Pite, Sharon Eyal, Lesley Telford, Johan Inger, William Forsythe, and many others. Livona has performed in international venues such as Sadler’s Wells, Movimentos Festival Wolfsburg, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Fall for Dance NYC, and International Dance Festival Birmingham UK.  Independently she has collaborated with Jennifer McLeish-Lewis for the EDAM Spring Series, and Rachel Meyer and Jennifer Mascall for Dancing on the Edge Festival 2019.  She has created works for Dances for a Small Stage, Dance Deck Trois, Public Salon 2019, Contemporary Art Gallery Gala 2018, and Arts Umbrella Dance Company Season Finale. In 2017 she received the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Artist. Recently she set Medhi Walerski’s Prelude on Staatsoper Hannover in Germany and was a guest artist with Konzert Theater Bern in Switzerland.  Livona is currently a company member with Ballet BC for their 2020/21 season and on faculty at Arts Umbrella. She is a 2021 resident artist at Left of Main and is being presented in July 2021 in a shared show with Rebecca Margolick for the BC Movement Arts Society’s new annual year-round Dance Series.

Allen Kaeja is an internationally recognized and award-winning Choreographer and Dance Film Director, who has created over 180 stage works and choreographed for 28 films. Allen is Co-Artistic Director of Kaeja d’Dance with Karen Kaeja. His stage and film works have been featured in commercials, films and festivals around the world. He has received numerous national and international commissions, and teaches Kaeja Elevations and Dance Film master classes worldwide. Allen co-developed many site-specific and audience interactive engagement performance strategies with Karen over the past 30 years. Allen and Karen recently completed performing/teaching in Japan, Singapore, China, Israel, across Canada, Mexico, USA and the UK. Allen was excited to work with Director Keira Loughran, choreographing Wendy and Peter Pan until COVID closed Stratford Festival. Allen and Karen are creating for their upcoming 30th anniversary next year and have recently received the Dance Ontario Lifetime Achievement Award, and are FINALISTS for the Toronto Arts Foundations-2020 Celebration of Cultural Life Award.  Allen has completed principle shooting of his 29th film, FALLOW with Karen Kaeja, and is so honoured and excited about the re-imagining and premiere of Trace Elements, danced by the incomparable Rebecca Margolick in Vancouver.

Vanessa Goodman respectfully acknowledges that she lives and works on the ancestral and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples including the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Stó:lō, Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm Nations. She holds a BFA from Simon Fraser University and is the Artistic Director of Action at a Distance. Vanessa has received several awards and honours, including: The Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Award (2013); The Yulanda M. Faris Scholarship (2017/18); The Chrystal Dance Prize (2019); The Schultz Endowment from Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity (2019); and the Space to Fail program (2019/20) with partners in New Zealand, Australia and Vancouver. Vanessa’s work has been presented locally by DanceHouse, SFU Woodwards, The Firehall Arts Centre, The Dance Centre, The Chutzpah! Festival and The Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. Presentations further afield include the Fluid Festival (Calgary), Kinetic Studio (Halifax), Fodar (Annapolis Royal), The Dance Made in Canada Festival (Toronto), On the Boards (Seattle), Risk/Reward Festival (Portland), Offset Dance Fest (New York), Living Things Festival (Kelowna), Crimson Coast (Naniamo), L1 Festival (Budapest) and The Bienal Internacional de Dança Do Ceará (Brazil).

Commissions include Springboard Dansé Montréal, the plastic orchid factory (with Ame Henderson), Votive Dance, Lamon Dance, Modus Operandi and the SFU rep class as well as being invited to create, perform and facilitate at Trinity Laban (London, UK).   In the fall of 2020 Vanessa premiered BLOT in Bucarest at Switch Lab and locally at Left of Main presented by plastic orchid factory with co-creator Simona Deaconescu. Upcoming projects include collaborations with, Scott Morgan (Loscil); Caroline Shaw for Graveyards and Gardens premiering January 2021.

Rebecca Margolick is a dancer and choreographer based in Brooklyn NY and raised in Vancouver, Canada. Her multi-disciplinary and solo works have been presented in Poland, Bulgaria, Israel, Seattle, San Diego, Montreal, Vancouver, Wells BC, Mexico City and NYC. Her solo Bunker + Vault won the Jury Prize for “best indoor choreographic work” at the 2019 Festival Quartiers Danse in Montreal. She was a Dance Artist in Residence at The Banff Centre for the Arts in December 2019 and a 2020 New Directions Choreography Lab Fellowship at the Ailey School under the mentorship of Gus Solomons Jr. She was a 2020 artist in residence at the Dance Deck in Vancouver. She received the Conney Conference Fellowship to study the archives of the Clara de Hirsch Home for Working Girls at 92nd St Y and presented her research at the 2020 Conney Conference. She was a 2017 GPS Fund Movement Research Artist in Residence at Derida Dance Center in Sofia Bulgaria, and a 2015/16 LABA Fellow at the 14th St Y in NYC.

Rebecca danced with Sidra Bell Dance New York from 2012-2016, and is currently a member of Chuck Wilt’s UNA Productions. As a freelance dancer she has worked with a number of artists including Kayla Farrish, Allen Kaeja, Patricia Norowol, Jerome Bel (The Show Must Go On), Derrick Belcham, Emily Terndrup, Maya Orchin, Shay Kuebler, Donald Sales and Barak Marshall, among others. Upcoming projects include performing with Kayla Farrish’s Decent Structures Arts in her upcoming film Martyr’s Fiction filming in NYC March 2021 at Gibney Dance Center. Rebecca trained at Arts Umbrella in Vancouver and graduated from New York University, Tisch School of the Arts, with a BFA in Dance.

Tedd Robinson is the Artistic Director of 10 Gates Dancing and an award-winning choreographer. He was given the 1998 Jean A. Chalmers National Dance Award for his solo Rokudo and the 2014 Walter Carsen Prize. Most recently his work Canvas 5X5, commissioned by Mocean Dance, was the recipient of the 2016 Nova Scotia Masterworks Award. Born in Ottawa, Canada, Tedd graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University, and studied at The School of The Toronto Dance Theatre and with eminent British visual theatre artist Lindsay Kemp. Robinson first rose to prominence as Artistic Director of Contemporary Dancers in Winnipeg, Canada (1984-1990), where he created highly theatrical ensemble works. Upon returning to Ottawa in 1990, he joined Le Groupe Dance Lab as a resident guest artist and pursued his solo career. During this time, he made solos and duets for many of Canada’s great dancers, including Mary-Louise Albert. His works have involved collaborations with Margie Gillis, Louise Lecavalier, Ame Henderson, and his regular collaborator Charles Quevillon. From 2007 until 2012, Tedd created new work and presented dance and music in his barn in the Pontiac region of Québec. He then co-directed Centre Q: a centre for questioning, in Quyon, Québec until early 2017, now the centre is based in a Schoolhouse in Bristol, Québec. His work is influenced by his six years as a monk (Hakukaze Soto Zen) in Ottawa. Tedd Robinson is a National Arts Centre Associate Dance Artist.

Mimi Abrahams – Lighting and Scenic design is Mimi’s flow state.  Her history counts 24 years of time in many roles spent backstage, but what matters most to her is collaborating with other creatives. Mimi is currently most prolific as a production manager, technical director and lighting and set designer for performing arts and cultural events.  Her name can be found as a technical, production and creative driver behind Indian Summer Festival, Chutzpah Festival, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver International Burlesque Festival, and many many other organizations that deserve to have their names better known. She has a BFA from Purchase College Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film, with a specialization in lighting design and owns a LED lighting rental and consultation company. She is a renaissance man, taking on projects which suit her infinite curiosity, and desire to invent and engage.


The Dance Centre


Executive Director Mirna Zagar
Programming Coordinator Raquel Alvaro
Associate Producer Linda Blankstein
Member Services and Outreach Coordinator Claire French
Director of Marketing Heather Bray
Digital Marketing Coordinator Lindsay Curtis
Development Director Sheri Urquhart
Venue and Services Administrator Robin Naiman
Lead Technician Chengyan Boon
Comptroller Elyn Dobbs

Board of Directors

Chair Sheila Evani; Vice-Chair Megan Halkett; Secretary Rob Kitsos; Treasurer Annelie Vistica; Directors Carolyn Chan, Julianne Chapple, Rosario Kolstee, Anndraya T Luui, Jason Wrobleski.

The Dance Centre is grateful for the generous support of The Choreographer’s Circle, Anndraya Luui and the BC Arts Renaissance Fund.

The Corporate Leader’s Circle

Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP – Ingrid M. Tsui, Partner
The Holiday Inn and Suites Vancouver Downtown – Angela van den Byllaard, Sales Manager
Jarislowsky, Fraser Limited – Beau Howes

The Choreographer’s Circle

Impresario Charles and Eve Chang Foundation; Moh Faris; Anndraya Luui
Choreographer Anonymous
Artistic Director Anonymous; Linda Blankstein; Marnie Carter; Tony Giacinti (In Memory of Lola MacLaughlin), Anne Hildebrandt; Sorca J. Holmes; Joyce Ozier; Yosef Wosk, OBC; Max Wyman and Susan Mertens
Principal Dancer David Cousins; James Felter; Ken Gracie and Philip Waddell; McGrane – Pearson Endowment Fund; The Andrew Mahon Foundation; Jean Orr; Don and Jane Shumka; Janet and Ron Stern; Wen Wei Wang
Dance Artist Anonymous; Anonymous; Ken Alexander; Santa Aloi; Rosario Ancer; Mary and Herb Auerbach; Gary R. Bell; Andrew and Andrea Benzel; Trent Berry; Noel Best and Barbara Shuman; Matthew Breech and Shino Watanabe; Richard Cavell and Peter Dickinson; Amanda Collinge; Norm and Dorothy Cross; Count and Countess Enrico and Aline Dobrzensky; Jason Dubois and Clayton Baraniuk; Sheila Evani and Jeffrey Ramkellawan; Nicola Follows; Lorna Froidevaux; Mike and Kathy Gallagher; Judith Garay; Peter Harmon; Beau Howes and Genieve Burley; Karim and Christina Jandali; Linda Johnston; Kathy Scalzo; Kemo Schedlosky and Mark Gatha; Betty Scheltgen; Ingrid Tsui and Matthew Heemskerk; Sheri Urquhart; Annelie and Dan Vistica; Denis Walz; Michael Welters; Jason Wrobleski; Mirna Zagar

The Artist’s Circle

Dr. Mary Robertson; Denis Blais and Paras Terezakis; Lynn B. Johnston; Lorita Leung – The Lorita Leung Dance Association; Frank Salisbury; Selma Savage; Brent Belsher; Linda Aristizabal

The operations of The Dance Centre are supported by the Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, the City of Vancouver Office of Cultural Affairs, the British Columbia Arts Council, and the Province of British Columbia

The VDC Dance Centre Society (The Dance Centre) is a registered charity no. BN 11925 8754 RR0001