From JoeInk, and Vancouver dance luminary Joe Laughlin, comes the world premiere of ‘Joe: A Solo Show.’ The performance features three distinct solos from three diverse choreographers, skilfully woven together with voiceover by the artists to create a tapestry that encapsulates Laughlin through the eyes of each of his esteemed colleagues.
Amber Funk Barton
Silas Amber Funk Barton, for whom Laughlin has been a mentor, taps into humanity’s agricultural connection to land in an exquisite and uplifting work set to Arcade Fire music as interpreted by Vitamin String Quartet.
Born and raised in Vancouver, Amber received her training with Goh Ballet Academy, Arts Umbrella, The Banff Centre Dance Training and Ballet British Columbia’s Mentor Program. Upon completion of her training, she established herself as a professional dance artist in Vancouver and has danced for various companies and choreographers, including: Joe INK, LINK dance, Judith Marcuse Projects, and Lola Dance among many others.
As a choreographer, Amber has had her work presented across Canada and internationally at the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff, Wales and the NW New Works Festival in Seattle. She is a recipient of The Dance Centre’s Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Award, Holy Body Tattoo Emerging Artist Award, and a People’s Choice Award-winner for her work with Shay Kuebler in the creation of Status Quo for the Dancing on the Edge Festival.
Long Story Short Laughlin’s long-time friend, collaborator, and Montreal choreographer Gioconda Barbuto has created an intimate and deeply personal solo based on photographs from throughout Laughlin’s life, with music by composer Owen Belton.
Gioconda is an internationally esteemed Italian-Canadian dancer and choreographer. She trained in the professional program at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, The Banff Centre, and under the tutelage of Gladys Forrester in Toronto. She was a long-time member of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, dancing with the company for sixteen years and Nederlands Dans Theater III, where danced for eight years. Her performances have highlighted Jiří Kylián’s dance films Birth Day and Car Men, Robert Wilson’s 2Lips and Dancers and Space, Margie Gillis’s M.Body.7, and most recently Joe Laughlin’s 4OUR.
Since 1996, she has unflaggingly pursued her choreographic calling, creating detailed, dynamic friezes of full-bodied gesture, marked by her innate musicality. Her oeuvre now counts over fifty works, among them solos, duets, group pieces, and films. Her work has been commissioned by internationally acclaimed dance companies including Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Ballet BC, Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal, Alberta Ballet, Ballet Kelowna, TU Dance, Oregon Ballet Theatre and many others. She is a former nominee for The Kennedy Center Fellowship, a past recipient of The Banff Centre’s Clifford E. Lee Choreography Award and was selected as the 2015 McKnight International choreographer in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
GIYA Internationally-renowned South African choreographer Vincent Mantsoe transforms and layers traditional dances over the sensual strains of tango music in a contemporary and highly physical celebration of life.
Vincent’s recognition as a choreographer demonstrates that to be successfully integrated into the performance arena as a contemporary artist, one does not have to disavow one’s cultural heritage. He grew up in Diepkloof, one of the South Western Townships outside Johannesburg known as Soweto. His innately musical understanding of movement and its transformational potential was founded in the early years, when he would assist in the dancing and drumming that his grandmother, his mother, and two of his aunts performed in their capacity as ‘Sangomas’, which is the Zulu term for traditional healers.
Vincent’s first formal training was in the Moving Into Dance Mophatong (MIDM) program, one of the first integrated dance companies in South Africa. He became an ambitious student, immersing himself into dance and would eventually work himself into the role of Associate Artistic Director.
As his choreographic commissions increased through the 1990s, so did international demands on his solo performances and workshops, leading him to pursue his international career from a base in France. He has since gone on to international acclaim and awards, including multiple nods as FNB Vita Choreographer of the Year (South Africa) and Black Theatre Alliance Awards for best Choreography in Music and Dance (Chicago).