Donna Spencer on Vincent Mantsoe

Vincent small

Welcome Back, Vincent!  In honor of Black History month, internationally acclaimed choreographer and performer Vincent Mantsoe returns to the Firehall from February 11th -14th .  Vincent first performed on the Firehall stage in 2001, with three solo pieces created under the title, Meetlo, which in the Sesotho language means ‘traditions’.   This amazing work was Vancouver’s first introduction to the power of his work and audiences loved it. We invited him back in 2005 and once again his work was mesmerizing.  His ability to blend global dance forms while connecting to his heritage and honor his past in a manner that suffused the work with potent spiritual power brought audiences to their feet.

We are delighted that Firehall audiences will get the chance to see two solos, NTU// and Skwatta as part of his pan-Canadian tour to Montreal, Toronto, Peterborough and Ottawa’s National Arts Centre.  NTU// springs from the desire to embody the essence of personhood while Skwatta addresses the squalid hopelessness of life in the informal settings of the camps of South Africa’s townships.  Both are animated by Vincent’s connection to the Soweto culture of his childhood and are influenced by lessons taught by his mother and aunt, all ‘sangomas’ or traditional healers.

Vincent, who now lives in France with his wife and two children, is a artist with a unique talent to blend traditional African, contemporary Western, martial and Asian dance forms in his creations of artistic works that resonant in a meaningful way with his audiences.

– Donna Spencer, Artistic Producer, Firehall Arts Centre


“when Danceworks curator Mimi Beck writes that Vincent Mantsoe … is a dancer of “breathtaking virtuosity,” she’s just stating the facts. He’s incredible.” Mooney on Theatre, Toronto

“Mantsoe’s stage charisma is huge. Though relatively short and solidly built, he can move with gentle, feline grace or explode in a frenzy of flashing feet and combative arms.” – Toronto Star

NTU and Skwatta are on at the Firehall Arts Centre from February 11 – 14. Click here for more info.

Image – Vincent Mantsoe, credit Meinrad Heck.

INK returns to Vancouver with Inside Creation


A beautiful work of dance that debuted at the Firehall Arts Centre a decade ago is being revisited once again, this time at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.

From the creators:

In 2003 choreographer Andrea Nann collaborated with pottery artist and Chinese ink painter Wayne Ngan (Hornby Island) and contemporary dance artists Alison Denham (Vancouver) and Kate Holden (Toronto) to create INK, a 40 minute dance performance inspired by Wayne Ngan’s holistic and embodied creative process of ‘making the invisible visible’.  The piece was conceived on the beaches of Hornby Island, but has always been presented in theatrical venues.  Now, 10 years later, the artists re-open the creation process during a 5-day artistic residency at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden.  Here they will explore the deeper connections to nature and culture that are embedded in the work, excavating intersections where dance, visual art, classical landscapes and contemporary culture can interconnect and transform. 

On July 25th, Dreamwalker Dance will dive deeper into INK, featuring the work of Wayne Ngan, Kate Holden, and Alison Denham.

Tickets for this event are $25.00, and can be purchased either by phone (604-662-3207 ext. 200 or 206 ) or online (click here).
Admission is free for Dreamwalker Dance members who renew their memberships, and for new members.

You can learn more about this piece on the Dreamwalker Dance website:

Check this out!

Check this out!  If you are into seeing what is going on the world stage, you won’t want to miss Arkadi Zaides ground-breaking work, Land-Research opening April 24th at the Firehall.  Through highly physical movement, projected images, overlays of texts and music and different styles of performance , five performers from different cultural backgrounds explore how their  inner landscapes are affected by and affect the outer landscape surrounding them and how the current realities in Israel  impact society.

Featuring Palestinian artist and actress Raida Adon; dancer Yuli Kovabasnyan, who immigrated alone as a young girl from Russian to Israel; Ofir Yudilevitch, a dancer with an extensive background in acrobatics and Capoeira; performer and video artist Sva Li-Levy and dancer/acrobatics practitioner, Asaf Aharonson, Land-Research gives voice to each of the artist’s personal relationship to land and landscape – internal, external, conceptual, symbolic, historical, textual and emotional.

What drew the Firehall to Arkadi Zaides work as a choreographer was the high quality of his work and his belief that art is meant to challenge and inspire viewers and to reach out and bring different communities and different sectors of society together.  His commitment to working in diverse communities, including the Arab sector in Israel was illustrated in the highly successful Quiet, which played at the 2011 Dancing on the Edge Festival and is again shown in Land-Research.

“ Zaides excellent performers provide an original dance interpretation of the lyrical idea “ I have no other country” or the saying “ man is born in the mold of his country”  Zvi Goren/ Habama

“Land-Research is a fine work with an experimental nature: it’s potent in its directness, with a monastic finery of taste. The distress projected by the body is simultaneously global and domestic.  The performance demands intense observation, and is suitable for those who are looking for a different type of performance that is beyond the comfort of the pleasantly familiar.”  Ruth Eshel/ Haaretz

Arkadi Zaides was born in the Soviet Union and immigrated to Israel in 1990.  He danced in the Batsheva Dance Company and the Yasmeen Godder Dance group and since 2004 has been working as a free-lance choreographer.  In 2008 and 2009, he was awarded the Israeli Ministry of Culture Prize for young artist in the field of dance and in 2010 received the prestigious Kurt Jooss award for his choreography, Solo Colores.

Push the envelope and join us in welcoming this powerful work to Vancouver.

Contemplative Dance Class taught by Denise Fujiwara


Saturday, January 19
Firehall Arts Centre

10am to 12:30pm

In addition to choreographing and performing next week in No Exit and Lost & Found, Denise Fujiwara will be teaching a Contemplative dance class as well!

Using Japanese Butoh and creative post-modern dance improvisation principles, participants will work towards becoming more present and creative while expanding movement vocabulary and conditioning the body for strength and agility.

This work can be done at many levels and challenges both the beginner and professional dancer. If you can walk, you can do this dance work.

$15/ $10 for CADA members


Space is limited, so call 604.689.0926 to secure your place in the class!


Looking for Gift Ideas?

The holidays can be stressful, trying to find the perfect gift for friends and loved ones. Let me offer some ideas: what about tickets, a pass or a gift certificate to the Firehall?

We still have many shows left in our 2012-2013 Season: TJ Dawe’s Medicine in January, the incomparable Mary Walsh in Dancing with Rage and Zee Zee Theatre’s My Funny Valentine in February, the new play from Drew Hayden Taylor, God and the Indian, in April, not to mention our dance productions from Fujiwara dance inventions and Arkadi Zaides!

Click here to buy now!

So go forth, relax and enjoy the holidays, now that your quest for gifts is over. Go tobogganing, drink some eggnog or mulled wine and cuddle down by the fire.

You’re welcome.


Changes to Saturday evening show times

We’re making a change!

For the 2012-2013 Season, the Firehall has eliminated Saturday 2pm matinees and has added a 5pm evening performance in its place. We’re also moving the 8pm performance to 9pm to accommodate this development.

Trying to make it to an 8pm show often leads to patrons having a hurried meal before hand, or alternately, getting out at 10pm and finding it’s too late for dinner.

Our aim is to help Firehall patrons have a terrific Saturday night: join us at 5pm for one of our great shows, and be out for dinner around 7pm. Or, enjoy a leisurely meal at one of the wonderful restaurants, bistros or bars in the neighbourhood and come to the Firehall for a 9pm performances.

No rush, no fuss.


Season Brochures on their way!

We know you’ve been waiting to get your hands on a copy of the Firehall’s 2012-2013 Season brochure, and I’m here to let you know that they will soon be arriving at the Firehall! We will be mailing them out to subscribers and distributing them around town.

We have a very exciting and full season to help us celebrate our 30th anniversary, and we hope to see you all here throughout the year!

For a PDF of the Firehall’s 2012-2013 Season Brochure, click here!



Firehall Fact #22: Dance!

From Portraits and Scenes of Female Creatures, December 2011 at the Firehall. Photo by Chris Randle

The Firehall has always been keen on dance, presenting exciting works by local, national and international choreographers throughout its 30 years. We liked it so much that we started a dance festival! The Dancing on the Edge Festival came out of the dance community’s need for presentation support, and even though the Edge has been incorporated as its own society since 1998, that hasn’t stopped us from continuing our support and love of dance!

The Firehall presents a number of dance shows each season and provides residency support to local artists, by providing  rehearsal space, technical support, input and encouragement. Past residents have included Amber Funk Barton of the response. as well as The Contingency Plan.

BC Buds, the Spring Arts Fair, has been one method the Firehall has had for presenting new work and finding local artists to work with in residencies. The Contingency Plan was the recipient of the 2010 BC Buds Silver Development Award, which provided the opportunity of a Firehall residency, and led to the development of their piece Adhere, seen as part of The TCP Show in January of this year.

To donate to our $30 for 30 Campaign on our website,click here! To donate via Canada Helps, visit them here.

From The TCP Show, at the Firehall January 2012. Photo by Jane Osborne