Open Doors YYC: The Alberta Ballet

It’s been a busy weekend, so this year I was only able to attend one event for Open Doors YYC.  I highly recommend these opportunities and have always learned a great deal about different places in our city.  I was excited, today, to be able to see the magic that is the Alberta Ballet.

I’ve often admired the outside facade and structure of the building that houses the Alberta Ballet, but have never stepped inside.  So today, along with my friend, Pat, I had my first opportunity to explore Studio 1 and Studio 2, as well as the Mezzanine.

There was no need to arrive early.  The organizers just weren’t ready for us.  With the weather being as it was, the 10:00 tour began at 10:15.

Once Tanya Chumak joined us, we were given the history of the building itself, the history of the Alberta Ballet and then introduced to the Master’s lesson we would be observing, conducted by Kelly McKinlay.

The building housed both the St. Mary’s Parish Hall / CNR Station, Calgary, Alberta. The foundation of this neighbourhood is deeply rooted in the Roman Catholic life of Southern Alberta when Our Lady of Peace was established in this area.  Upon the announcement that the transcontinental railway would be thundering through the neighbourhood, missionary Albert Lacombe travelled to Ottawa in 1884 with hopes of securing land to help sustain the French Catholic culture that was beginning to envelope the surrounding area.  Incorporated in 1889, this small parcel of land was known as Rouleauville, where streets were named after missionaries and the St. Mary’s Cathedral stood guard.

To help unify their culture and beliefs, the community decided to build the St. Mary’s Parish Hall in 1905, which is located at 141 18 Avenue SW.  The building was large enough to hold approximately 500 individuals during concerts and theatre productions, in addition to housing the St. Mary’s Boy’s School in the basement.  Unfortunately, performances were short lived in this sandstone building; upon the annexation of Rouleauville to Calgary in 1907, the building was soon sold to Canadian Northern Railway in 1911 and adapted into a railway station in 1913.  Due to the financial restraints during the war, the company decided to modify the existing structure versus constructing a new station.  With the modification came the new addition to the rear of the building and the creation of a wooden canopy in 1916.  Passenger service continued with the Canadian Northern Railway until 1971 when it was terminated.  Calgary acquired the land and buildings in 1978 and although a fire destroyed most of the interior in 1984, the building was lovingly restored in 1985 and the Alberta Ballet became the proud new occupants.

 

I was swept up with the Master Class.  I really truly loved it.  What a relaxing way to spend the morning.  I grabbed a few photos from above because the strength and form were so absolutely beautiful to witness.

Thanks to Pat for coming out to this one with me and for driving.  I feel really fortunate that Calgary offers such wonderful programs and opportunities!  Thank you Alberta Ballet!

Once home, I have to admit that Max and I really truly relaxed for the first time in a long time.  It was nice to put on three layers of flannel and to just hang out.

 

Whirlwind

This is a beautiful day!  I got up early and Max and I headed over to the pond.  I made a decision to attend a later Mass again because light will be fading soon and our pond walks will be later in the day…it is time to soak up the beautiful morning light while it’s still possible.  It is another golden-blue day as tree branches become more exposed and the leaves move into a warmer shade of yellow.

Mass was inspiring.  With my church family, I was able to reconnect with a friend I hadn’t visited with for quite a long time and I felt as though I was able to be really present to her and to the blessed peace of the Mass.  I thought a lot about discipleship…and took pause to consider what direction these thoughts might take me in my community.

Once home, I ate a nice lunch and then visited with Dad on Skype.  Now, I am sitting in my pyjamas, ready to have an afternoon nap.  The sunshine is creating beautiful patterns on the floor near by.  This relaxed feeling that pours over me is quite a contrast to the whirlwind of activity that has been filling up my life since Enriquito’s departure and connecting with Dylan last week.  A few images as an archive…

Dragon Pearl Dumplings and Hot and Sour Soup…a family favourite and great for an art night.

Dragon PearlEsker Foundation autumn opening.  The snacks, as per usual, were amazing!  And it was such a nice thing to visit with Jim and Sue Hill again.  I bumped into people I knew, but it was especially good to share the experience with my daughter, Cayley.  I have to say that this exhibit is a challenge for me.  I’m looking forward to programs that will supplement the visual exhibit over the coming months.  I’m guessing I will learn more about art as communication and installation.  The programs began on Saturday, with an artist talk, but one needs to pace ones self.  Charlotte Moth: living images and Celia Perrin Sidarous: Interiors, Other Chambers will be on exhibit until December 20.

From this gallery setting, we headed over to Pith Gallery, meeting John Will in the center of 9th Ave, where funny enough, he stopped to talk.  Comic Con’t by Ryan Statz, had me in stitches.  Honestly, the work made me laugh out loud.  A great find!  Autobiographical in nature, this work was technically astute and in very good humour.

Lifted from the Pith Comic Con’t public share, I hope that Ryan will not mind me sharing this…sort of gives you the back story.

Ryan Statz – Biography

A native of Montréal Québec, Statz completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the Alberta College of Art + Design in 2000, and received his Masters of Fine Arts degree at Concordia University in 2008. Currently based in Calgary Alberta, Statz’s work has been exhibited across Canada, The United States, and Europe.

Ryan Statz – Artist Statement

I am an idiot.

Anyone who knows me would likely admit that this is neither a stretch of the truth or the imagination – in fact, if I were a gambling man I’d say it’d be a pretty safe bet. Based on a personal, and experiential reality, my work owns up to this; however, because I also do not lead a life that is altogether interesting or exciting, the subject matter of the work references the mundane.

In the production of my work, I employ strategies from performance, executed with a deadpan fervour that includes elements of humour, wit, and humility – with just a hint of self-deprecation. Any self-flagellation, however, should not be taken as an admission of a lowered self-image; it is used primarily as a comedic device that addresses the notion of hegemonic masculinity.

Art History ubiquitously portrays the male artist as an iconic figure, a genius, and a hero. As I often approach things with a great deal of humility, I present the male artist (myself) as an individual who is not the sharpest tool in the shed, whose social status amongst his peers isn’t the highest, and whose success within the local, Canadian and international art context is virtually non-existent. So for my own purposes, and in the context of the male artist-as-bumbling-idiot, failure is always a viable option.

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Cell September 27, 2015 Ironwood, Esker, Pith, Frank's 026

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From Pith Gallery, Cayley and I walked down to the Ironwood Stage and Grill where Steve Coffey and Sheri-D were performing a collaborative piece titled, Tales From the Moonshine Room.  Over a glass of wine, a snack of calamari and conversation shared with a writer out of LA, Cayley and I really enjoyed this performance piece.  On a few occasions, the spoken poetry brought me to tears.

Sheri-D and Steve CoffeeNice to see you again, Paul Forestell!

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Saturday morning began with an early morning pond walk.  Even when life is hectic, having a beautiful border collie (Max-Man) in my circle, causes a connection with nature and required exercise.

Kath's Canon, September 27, 2015 Heron 002 Kath's Canon, September 26, 2015 Heron, Pith, Open Doors 061From there, I headed up north for an Open Door YYC activity.  I had registered to see the warehouse where the City of Calgary stores and cares for the Public Art Collection.  It was fabulous!  Barb and Quinn did an superb job sharing such a ‘magical’ place with us. Articulate and genuinely passionate, their collaborative presentation was excellent. A staff of two, they manage a beautiful space and collection.  I was really glad to have seen this. (No pictures inside…and if you’ve ever attended to such an event, you would understand the logic.)

Kath's Canon, September 26, 2015 Heron, Pith, Open Doors 001 Kath's Canon, September 26, 2015 Heron, Pith, Open Doors 002 Kath's Canon, September 26, 2015 Heron, Pith, Open Doors 003Had I prior knowledge about the density of population that would attend a Pop Up Etsy event, I would not have committed to the 50 minute line up to get to the 97 vendors inside the Golden Acres venue on Saturday.  While I did pick up three Christmas gifts, I find that Market Collective provides a more ‘chill’ experience and as many artisans and creatives.  I missed food trucks and live music.  The crowds were oppressive.  Hmmm…let me see…I’m sure I took a photo of the line up that wove in and out of shelving.  Yes, here it is…

DSC_1357Yes, Dad, I DID do this!  The best part of the line up was that I met up with one of my fans…just love this girl!  Hannah is in one of her dance poses for this photo. :0)

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I decided to opt out of the bus tour of the Shepard Land Fill site and headed home to chill out before sharing the evening with my girls, attending Alberta Ballet’s Balletlujah.

It was nice to sip (or would that be, down?) a gin and tonic at intermission with my daughters, reviewing the experience together and getting some Auld Triangle time (a little name we gave ourselves during a show put on Tom Phillips one night at the Ironwood).

Jean Grand-Maitre

Jean Grand-Maitre

From Avenue Magazine: Photo captured of a moment in Jean Grand-Maitre's choreography for Balletlujah!

From Avenue Magazine: Photo captured of a moment in Jean Grand-Maitre’s choreography for Balletlujah!

Now…it might be that my readers will think that Saturday was over…but, no.  What did we do?  We stopped at the Blackfoot Diner OF COURSE.  We thought we would share a piece of pie.  But instead….this.

Breakfast after Alberta Ballet Kath and ErinI have much to be grateful for…I’m offered up so much in the way of opportunity…good food and drink…friendship and family.  It was quite a weekend!  Late this afternoon, I will drive out to spend time with my dear Ya Yas. But…for now…a snooze!

Whut Cha Been UpTah? Balletlujah With the Alberta Ballet

P1100992 P1100993 It’s been over a week and I am only now sitting down to write about Balletlujah! It was a brilliant  collaboration between Artistic Director of the Alberta Ballet, Jean Grand-Maitre and k. d. lang.  My friend told me that she began to cry during the second half…I cried from the time I saw the magical prairie landscape open up during the first number, Inglewood.  Suddenly, I was flooded with memories of times shared with my grandfather, miles traveled on Alberta roads and my years of painting the landscape I’ve treasured so much the past thirty years.

P1110002I can not possibly capture for my readers, the gist of the performance.  The dancers were exquisite.  The costumes were perfect.  The lights and video effects were spectacular and the music created for me, a narrative that moved me beyond belief.  The images of buffalo, crows, fish and star studded nights were dreamy.  The contrast of prairie and city experiences was so well-developed through the music and the ballet.  I definitely felt that the piece was encompassing themes of place, home and identity…of what it feels like to love completely and without holding back.  A spectacular night!  The second last tune resonates with me personally and so I am going to link to it here.

If given the opportunity to see this ballet in the future, please do.