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What to See Ottawa

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Performs at the National Arts Centre

The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet performs Last, just one of three routines they present at the National Arts Centre on May 23. (Photo: Rosalie O'Connor)

The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet performs Last, just one of three routines they present at the National Arts Centre on May 23. (Photo: Rosalie O’Connor)

MAY 23 An independent troupe based in New Mexico and Colorado, the Aspen Sante Fe Ballet‘s adventurous repertoire and regular acquisition of new pieces has made it a mainstay of contemporary-classic dance. The company performs three of its commissioned works: Last, a romantic routine choreographed by Alejandro Cerrudo; Norbert De La Cruz III’s Square None, a piece set to electronica and Handel’s arias; and The Heart(s)pace, an original piece by Nicolo Fonte that’s washed in red light.
•National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St., 866-850-2787. nac-cna.ca
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Ottawa Weekend Calendar for May 22 to 24

Singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman brings her solo act, The Weather Station, to the Black Sheep Inn.

Singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman brings her solo music project, The Weather Station, to the Black Sheep Inn on Friday night.

Friday, May 22

With her solo project The Weather Station, Toronto singer-songwriter Tamara Lindeman composes songs with detailed, metaphorically-rich lyrics and powerful, understated melodies. She performs at the Black Sheep Inn on Friday night in support of her latest studio album, Loyalty. Tickets start at $12.

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Canadian Icon Alex Colville at the National Gallery of Canada

(Photo: Alex Colville, Church and Horse, 1954, glazed oil on hardboard, 41.2 x54.2 cm. Art Gallery of Hamilton, Gift of Dominion Foundries and Steel Limited (Dofasco), 1957. © A.C. Fine Art Inc. Photo: Robert McNair)

Many of Alex Colville’s paintings give a sense of danger or foreboding. (Photo: Alex Colville, Train and Horse, 1954, glazed oil on hardboard, 41.2 x54.2 cm. Art Gallery of Hamilton, Gift of Dominion Foundries and Steel Limited (Dofasco), 1957. © A.C. Fine Art Inc. Photo: Robert McNair)

Alex Colville‘s paintings portray two extremes: the warmth and safety of family life, and the foreboding sense that danger is just around the corner. Many images that seem straightforward or pastoral belie an element of unease, be it between humans, man and nature, or man and animal. It’s a dichotomy that has inspired filmmakers, writers, and other artists of all stripes, and the exhibition pairs their work with Colville’s to highlight his impact on culture not just in Canada, but around the world. On display at the National Gallery of Canada until September 7.
•National Gallery of Canada, 380 Sussex Dr., 613-990-1985. gallery.ca
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Rowan Corkill at La Petite Mort Gallery

The elevation of everyday objects into symbols of the occult is at the heart of Rowan Corkill‘s work. Taxidermy animals, skulls, human hair, teeth from various creatures, and cockroaches are just a few of the elements the artist incorporates into his pieces, as he explores the role fantasy and fiction play when we question our place on this planet. On at La Petite Mort Gallery until May 31.
•La Petite Mort Gallery, 306 Cumberland St., 613-860-1555. lapetitemortgallery.com
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Festival Season Kicks Off with Ontario Scene

Shad

A rapper and newly-minted host of CBC’s Q, Shad performs at Ontario Scene.

 

APRIL 28 TO MAY 10 Ontario Scene is the latest addition to an ambitious festival series hosted by the National Arts Centre (NAC). With a goal of showcasing the best artists that each region of Canada has to offer, over the past 12 years the NAC has brought in artists from Atlantic Canada, Quebec, the Prairies, Alberta, British Columbia, and Canada’s North. This year, it’s Ontario’s turn. (more…)

In the Spotlight: April Theatre

The story of Baby and Johnny, made famous by Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in the movie of the same name, comes to life on the stage. (Photo: David Scheinmann)

The story of Baby and Johnny, made famous by Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze in the movie of the same name, comes to life on the stage. (Photo: David Scheinmann)

From comedies to dramas, to tragedies and Broadway musicals, we bet you’ll have the time of your life at one of Ottawa’s many stages. The National Arts Centre hosts two productions throughout the month of April, including the timeless classic Dirty Dancing, which follows the love story of Baby and Johnny at a resort in the Catskill Mountains. On from April 14 to 19. From $39.
•National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St., 866-850-2787. nac-cna.ca
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Ottawa Weekend Calendar for April 10 to 12

Synth-pop artist Valery Gore performs at the National Arts Centre on Saturday night. (Photo: Valery Gore)

Synth-pop artist Valery Gore performs at the National Arts Centre on Saturday night. (Photo: Valery Gore)

Friday, April 10

Jane Urquhart is one of Canada’s most beloved writers, and her novels and poems touch on themes of love, loss, family attachments, art, and war. At the Writers Festival’s Literary Luncheon, Urquhart chats about her latest novel, The Night Stages, in which a woman reflects on her affair with a man obsessed by the disappearance of his brother. Tickets are $85, and includes lunch at the Metropolitain Brasserie and a signed copy of The Night Stages.

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Down the Rabbit Hole: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

The National Ballet of Canada brings Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to the capital. (Photo: Bruce Zinger)

The National Ballet of Canada brings Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to the capital. (Photo: Bruce Zinger)

APRIL 9 TO 12 Using puppets, cinematic projection, and other optical illusions, the National Ballet of Canada breathes new life into Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Part of the charm of the production is its breathtaking special effects — thanks to a team of dancers (made invisible by their black leotards), the Cheshire Cat can detach its limbs and head and put them back together again.
•National Arts Centre, Southam Hall, 53 Elgin St., 866-850-2787. nac-cna.ca
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Windows to Memory at La Petite Mort Gallery

The Windows From Prison Project portrays locations that hold meaning to U.S. federal inmates. (Photo: Mark Strandquist, Windows From Prison Project, Courtesy of La Petite Mort Gallery)

The Windows From Prison Project portrays locations that hold meaning to U.S. federal inmates. (Photo: Mark Strandquist, Windows From Prison Project, Courtesy of La Petite Mort Gallery)

In 2012, artist Mark Strandquist embarked on a project called Windows From Prison, with a goal of showing inmates in a more humane light. He asked them one simple question: “If you could have a window in your cell, what place from your past would it look out to?” Photographers then went out to capture those places, and the resulting images — both surprising and touching — ranged from supermarkets to hallways in childhood homes. On at La Petite Mort Gallery from April 3 to 26.
•La Petite Mort Gallery, 306 Cumberland St., 613-860-1555. lapetitemortgallery.com
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M.C. Escher Distorts Reality at the National Gallery of Canada

(Photo: M.C. Escher, Relativity, July 1953, lithograph on cream laid japan paper, 39.3 x 40.3 cm; image: 27.9 x 28.9 cm, Gift of George Escher, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, 1990, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. M.C. Escher’s “Relativity” © 2014 The M.C. Escher Company-The Netherlands. All rights reserved. www.mcescher.com. Photo © NGC)

(Photo: M.C. Escher, Relativity, July 1953, lithograph on cream laid japan paper, 39.3 x 40.3 cm; image: 27.9 x 28.9 cm, Gift of George Escher, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, 1990, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. M.C. Escher’s “Relativity” © 2014 The M.C. Escher Company-The Netherlands. All rights reserved. www.mcescher.com. Photo © NGC)

Dutch graphic artist M.C. Escher is one of the world’s most recognizable illustrators, and his portfolio has been influential on science, art, and pop culture. Many of his works turn perspective on its head and portray impossible realities; others play with the idea of 2-D and 3-D, sometimes combining the two into trompe l’oeil images. On at the National Gallery of Canada until May 3.
•National Gallery of Canada, 380 Sussex Dr., 613-990-1985. gallery.ca
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Self-Portraiture at the Karsh-Masson Gallery

Three Ottawa-area artists explore self-portraiture.

In Selfie, three artists explore self-portraiture.

Selfies get a bad rap in today’s society, but self-portraiture has been a popular mode of expression for millennia. Frida Kahlo, Albrecht Dürer, and Vincent Van Gogh are just a few famous artists who frequently immortalized themselves in paint; if you go back further, to antiquity, you’ll even find a self-portrait by Bak, the pharaoh Akhenaten’s chief sculptor. In Selfie, three artists explore how the self-portrait has evolved over the years, and investigate how it figures into their own bodies of work. On at the Karsh-Masson Gallery from March 17 to April 19.
•Karsh-Masson Gallery, City Hall, 110 Laurier Ave. W., 613-850-2424 ext. 14167. ottawa.ca/arts
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Feel the Beat: Kodo Drummers

One of the most esteemed taiko troupes in Japan, the Kodo Drummers bring their Mystery tour to Ottawa. (Photo: Takashi Okamoto)

One of the most esteemed taiko troupes in Japan, the Kodo Drummers bring their Mystery tour to Ottawa. (Photo: Takashi Okamoto)

MARCH 9 Kodo is the Japanese word for “heartbeat” and “children of the drum”, so it’s only appropriate that the world’s most successful and influential taiko drumming troupe should carry the name. Created by famed Kabuki actor Tamasaburo Bando, Kodo One Earth Tour: Mystery explores percussion as the source of all rhythm and movement.
•National Arts Centre, 53 Elgin St., 866-850-2787, nac-cna.ca
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