jan lauwers has run NeedCompany since 1986. i saw one of their first shows - Need to Know - in the late 80s in toronto, and it was enormously influential. here was a use of space and time on stage that seemed entirely new to me. dance merged with music merged with text - chaos and extreme precision coexisted. it was my introduction to belgian work, and to a whole new way to conceive of performance.
jo strømgren is a norwegian choreographer turned theater-maker. his company’s works are unique - devised pieces often with invented languages and wonderfully inventive movement. he casts actors, then has them dance - and the resulting combination of heart, lack of training and ingenious choreography is actually quite moving.
adelheid is the company founded by canadian choreographer heidi strauss. heidi is a canadian treasure who - like so many ground-breakers in english canada - doesn’t get nearly the acknowledgment she deserves. her choreography is idiosynchratic, sometimes acrobatic, often surprising, and always adventurous in its deep exploration of where the individual meshes with the societal.
ubumuntu arts festival, kigali: an invention of hope azeda, ubumuntu is a new festival for rwanda. i met hope when i first traveled to east africa during a research phase for the africa trilogy, and we’ve stayed in touch since. connections between east african work and western presenters (especially canadian presenters) are weak - so this is a platform to be aware of when looking for the vibrant work being made in the African subcontinent.
the forest fringe is the invention of volcano associate artist deborah pearson and her co-artistic director andy field. winner of the peter brook brook award in the UK for innovation, this is not so much just a company, but a dynamic ecology of presentation and experimentation that is now crossing borders.