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Face 2 Face: Four solo artists, 12 fantastic shows, one amazing dance series

By Alejandro Bustos on January 30, 2014

Following last year’s smashing success, the Face 2 Face dance series is coming back to Ottawa with a roster full of first-rate performances.

Programmed by the National Arts Centre, the 2014 series brings together the work of four solo artists from Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom.

“We wanted to have an addition in our (dance) program in Ottawa of works that do not require a full stage,” explains Cathy Levy, executive producer of dance at the NAC.

Running between February 5 to 8, this series of intimate shows will take place at the NAC Studio, Arts Court Theatre and the ODD Box at Arts Court.  While last year’s series focused on duets, this year’s Face 2 Face offering consists of purely solo works.

“While each of the four works is a solo, each has a personal story that is different,” says Levy.

If you enjoy slapstick or quirky performances, then German Clément Layes will likely appeal to you.  His award-winning show allege offers a humorous perspective, along with physically-demanding routines.

“Clément is more circus trained and theatrical artist,” says Levy.  “We wanted to invite him because watching him is a delight.”

Photo of Anne Plamondon by Michael Slobodian

Photo of Anne Plamondon by Michael Slobodian

Canadian Anne Plamondon, meanwhile, will be presenting Les mêmes yeux que toi, a highly personal show that was inspired by her father’s struggles with mental illness.

Co-created with actress, writer and director Marie Brassard, this performance looks at mental illness with unflinching honesty, while also offering a tender perspective on the fragility of the human mind.  Among other things, this piece explores the difficulty that many of us have when witnessing someone fall into madness.

For her part, German choreographer Helena Waldmann will be presenting Get a Revolver which looks at dementia.  Brit Rodemund, a classical trained ballerina, will be dancing this work.

“It’s interesting that we have two pieces that are exploring mental illness,” says Levy.

Finally, if you enjoy the work of Akram Khan, and in particular his magnificent show DESH, then you should check out Aakash Odedra’s performance of Rising.  Born in the United Kingdom, Odedra asked first-rate choreographers Akram Khan, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Russell Maliphant to help him put together this show.

“(Aakash) inspires us so much,” says Levy, when commenting about this exciting piece.

Together, all of these these artists offer dance lovers an exquisite selection to pick from.

Face 2 Face runs from February 5 to 8.  Shows will take place at the NAC Studio, Arts Court Theatre and the ODD Box at Arts Court.  Check series schedule for venues and times.  Packages to see all four shows start at $68, while you can also get tickets for individual performances.  Student discounts are also available.