Charlottetown Festival’s ‘Banquet’ celebrates 1864 Conference through interpretation-in-dance

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ew dance installation fuses talents of P.E.I.’s Mark Sampson, Christina Bouey, and more.

A collaboration between two talented young Island artists, dancer/choreographer Mark Sampson and violinist/composer Christina Bouey, has led to the creation of Banquet – The Charlottetown Festival’s newest creation.

P.E.I. native and Juilliard dance student Mark Sampson is leading a new interpretation-in-dance collaboration entitled Banquet. A part of The Charlottetown Festival, this dance installation piece will be presented May 31 to June 7 in the Confederation Centre Art Gallery. Nir Arieli photo

Banquet is an interpretation-in-dance of the experience of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference.

“We want 2014 to not just be a reflection of Canada’s past, we want it to be a first glimpse into the promising future,” said Wade Lynch, creative consultant for Banquet. “Mark and Christina are stunning examples of how talent, hard work and ambition can turn a concept into reality.”

A dining room table, representing P.E.I., stands isolated in a performance space.

Various chairs, embodied by Sampson and three fellow dancers - Daniel Ching, Cleo Person, and Zoe McNeil; all from The Juilliard School in New York - are invited to the table.

Each chair has its own history, needs, and agenda. While Banquet recalls the experiences of the Fathers of Confederation, it also speculates on the experience of contemporary immigrants to the Island who wonder how they will be treated when they are ‘brought to the table.’

Set to a haunting original composition by Bouey, Banquet asks Island audiences to step outside the box – this is not your typical performance, not your typical art installation – this is an innovative exploration of perspective, of experience, and of how community is forged.

“Banquet is an ideal example of the youth-focused programming we foster and support at the centre through initiatives like dance umbrella, the Youth Chorus, and the Confederation Players,” continued Lynch. “These young people are the future of the arts in Canada and the world; it is our job to help them realize their potential.”

This new collaboration will launch the summer festival and is offered free-of-charge from May 31 to June 7 in the Art Gallery.

Show dates are May 31 and June 4 to 6 at 7:30 p.m.; and June 2, 3, 4 and 7 at 1 p.m. This production is about 30 minutes in length and will be followed by an audience Q&A.

Organizations: The Juilliard School, Youth Chorus, Confederation Players

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Canada, Iceland New York

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