A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.


Jennifer Mascall & The Gracefully Presented Altoids
Friday, October 20, 2006

Wednesday at Brief Encounters at The Anza Club, a woman was sitting to my right. In the dim light, with the help of glasses, she was reading a thick French novel in spite of the jungle driven booming sounds of DJ Jacob Cino. She seemed impervious to it all and in my imagination she could have been British Royalty slumming for the evening. But the woman who opened a little tin and then offered me an Altoid, with the panache that belies the grace of a dancer, was choreographer Jennifer Mascall (left).

There are many fantastic choreographers in town like Cori Caulfield, Susan Elliott, Peter Bingham, Crystal Pite, John Alleyne, Judith Garay, Day Helesic, Emily Molnar and more. But only Mascall (and Crystal Pite) seems to have gone beyond in a wonderful off-the-wall wierdness that manages not only to be in exquisite taste but also happens to entertain while pushing the boundaries of narrative.

It has been a few years since I came to realize that 5 photographs tell a better story than 1. I call them narratives. Mascall has been narrative-driven in her ballets since the first one of hers that I saw, on Emily Carr, called The Brutal Telling in 1998. She had crowds of dance enthusiasts (including this one, with wife, eldest daughter Ale, and two granddaughters) going from one West Vancouver garden to another in her 2004 Garden Dances series. This work even included some swimming and trampoline dance that so appealed to my granddaughters that they tried to emmulate dancer/swimmer Ron Stewart by plunging into the pool in clothes.

But the work that has persisted in my mind as the most challenging work by Mascall was her 2003 Housewerk performed by her troupe at Hycroft Mansion in Vancouver. In the first section the audience was shepherded to one room. After that we were divided into four groups and we all saw the next segments of the dance in different rooms and in different order. The narrative was a narrative that I would simply define as a dance version of hypertext. My Rebecca, who was almost 6 stayed awake through the whole performance that featured the less booming sounds of Jacob Cino. In the large drawing room, jazz pianist Paul Plimley improvised while the dancers finished our version of our finale. In the photo here, from left to right Katy Harris-McLeod,Sophie Allison, (below) Keely Remillard (with broom), Ziyian Kwan, Dean Makarenko, Jen Murray and Ron Stewart (far right).

Mascall Dance Company


Previous Posts
Lauren Elizabeth Stewart - Mezzo-soprano-in-waitin...

Nan Fairchild Sherlock & Matteuccia struthiopteris...

The School For Scandal - Lauren, Christopher, & De...

Dean Paul Gibson - One More Time

Woman In Red

Île de Bourbon & Louise Odier

A Dog & Peter Bentley

April In October At The Safeway Milk Counter

Robert Bringhurst On A Tree

Bruce & Stan Scream - Sam Doesn't

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010