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


Alison Denham - Taped Together - Almond Butter Toast
Saturday, February 02, 2008

Rosemary and I watched Alison Denham dance in Taped Together with a clear plastic raincoat last night at Dances for a Small Stage. She was terrific. The very special icing on the cake was that she replaced, at the very last moment, the intended Nureyev for Patrick Pennefather's The Deconstruction of the Dancer. It would seem that Nureyev declined at the last moment. And if that was not all we saw a bit more than twice performances by the exciting duo of Crystal Pite and Cori Caulfield in Farther Out There and Even Further Out There. Dave Brubeck would have been entranced.

The above performances coincided with the publishing of VLM's February issue containing what follows:

AB fab

Last December I watched a performance of Wei Dance's Three Sixty Five at the
East Vancouver Cultural Centre with my 10-year-old granddaughter. It featured six dancers including Wen Wei Wang. But my granddaughter singled out dancer Alison Denham and shouted into my ear, "Look at those abs!"

When I asked Sunshine Coast-born Denham, 29, if her body was due to genes or excercise (I have not seen any other dancer with a similar body), she answered, "Genes mixed perhaps with some excercise."

Denham started dancing recreationally when she was 10. When she was 12 she met retired National Ballet of Canada ballerina Lois Smith, who at the time was living in the Sunshine Coast, and for Denham it all changed. "Through her I saw how serious dance could be and how one could have a life at it. From then on I had classes with Smith every day. By age 14, when Denham finished a Royal Winnipeg Ballet summer program she knew dance was going to be her life. She pursued it at Arts Umbrella and the Ballet BC Mentor Program. She has performances for Judith Marcuse, Paras Terezakis, Judith Garay, Alvin Erasga Tolentino, Serge Bennathan and many others under her belt. She is part of Wen Wei Dance and of Company Erasga.

Suspecting that diet might have something to do with her strong physical condition I asked Denham what she eats on a normal day. "For breakfast I might have a cup of Orange Pekoe tea and toast with almond butter. For lunch it could be sushi, rice with kale, chicken or some meat product. For dinner I would have pesto pasta, avocados and a glass of wine."

After the performance of Three Sixty Five I asked Wen Wei Wang what role Denham played in his company. His answer was short, "She is my mother." Denham explained, "I don't know Wen Wei's mother but I think that he gives me roles that are based on emotion as opposed to physicality. In some way I seem to represent all women for him."

Alison Denham will be performing in May 2008 with the new modern dance company Move: The Company directed by Josh Beamish.

© 2008 VLM/Alex Waterhouse-Hayward


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