Mary-Louise Albert can’t wait until the Chutzpah! Festival is nearly over.
Albert, artistic and managing director of the 13th annual Lisa Nemetz International Showcase of Jewish Performing Arts, is keen to let off steam at the Yemen Blues performance March 2.
“I just love when I have the opportunity to go to a club and dance for two hours straight, so I am so looking forward to the Yemen Blues,” Albert said. “Just to be able go out and dance non-stop to this great band, we’re all looking forward to it.”
The band that mixes traditional Yemenite melodies with blues, jazz, funk and West African grooves returns to Vancouver after its 2011 sold out Chutzpah! show, and expands the festival to a new spot, Venue.
But before Albert dons her dancing shoes, the former contemporary dancer of 17 years who performed at the first Chutzpah! Festival in 2000 and graced the poster for the inaugural event, looks forward to catching performances by the high-calibre choreographers, dancers and companies she’s booked.
The festival opens Feb. 7 with an evening of dance at the Norman and Annette Rothstein Theatre. The showcase features Brittle Failure by Vancouver-born Lesley Telford with Japanese scenographer Yoko Seyama and When You See God… Tell Him by Israeli choreographer Itzik Galili, as well as a performance by The 605 Collective.
Albert’s daughter, Rebecca Margolick, who graduated from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University last year, will appear at Chutzpah! for the first time in two shows. She’ll perform with Sidra Bell Dance New York and in a duet with Vancouver’s James Gnam that’s been choreographed by Israeli-American choreographer Barak Marshall.
“It’s a wonderful project of connecting Vancouver emerging, established with international,” Albert said.
San Francisco’s LEVYdance will present three short works alongside Sidra Bell Dance New York, and The Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company from Israel will present a North American premiere of its theatrical work If At All.
“I have a very high standard,” Albert added. “I would honestly say, and have a professional background to back it up and history to back it up, that I’m looking forward to all three [dance shows] equally.”
The Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra will present its new work War, Love and Loss with the Pacific Baroque Orchestra.
Touchstone Theatre will present Haunted, written by Daniel Karasik, winner of the 2011 Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition, and directed by Katrina Dunn.
“Katrina Dunn is one of Canada’s top directors so it’s always very exciting when that level of professionalism in theatre is here in a nice seven-show run and, again, being able to support a Canadian theatre playwright with a world premiere,” Albert said. “World premieres can be risks and that’s one of the important things that festivals can do, is that you can support new work… And we do that a lot.”
Three Hysterical Broads Off Their Medication will perform a stand-up show, and the festival will screen the 1918 silent film The Yellow Ticket in a multimedia concert featuring one of the word’s foremost klezmer fiddlers performing her original score. The evening includes a talkback with film aficionado Leonard Schein.
Chutzpah! runs Feb. 7 to March 3. Tickets at ticketstonight.ca. More info at chutzpahfestival.com.