She's our dancing queen: Gwen Noah

Contemporary dancer celebrates 20 years of moves.

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In arts terms, 20 years of surviving is its own tiny miracle. This weekend Gwen Noah Dance is celebrating two decades with Here, a performance at Neptune Studio Theatre (nightly at 8pm, May 13, $50, May14-15, $25). Not a typical retrospective, Noah sorted through years of contemporary dance pieces, pulling select movements and excerpts into what she refers to as a “moving painting.”

“It was a massive amount of material,” says Noah, recalling it was an emotional journey to go through such a full professional and personal history. But rather than just recreating the choreography as it originally existed, Noah mixes things up: turning some solos into duets and trios, and by bringing in a new generation of dancers—-Susanne Chui and Lisa Phinney—-to dance alongside her.

Noah’s retrospective isn’t just about dance: her history is also intertwined with Halifax’s contemporary and experimental music scene (it's also Upstream Music’s 20th anniversary weekend). As he has been doing since 1996, cellist Norman Adams will play live alongside Noah, with original compositions by Adams, Gordon Laurin, Sandy Moore, W.L. Altman, Paul Cram and Sean Haire.

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