There’s going to be a huge celebration of the performing arts happening in downtown Peterborough on Saturday, May 25th — including a party at Market Hall Performing Arts Centre (140 Charlotte St., Peterborough) — as Public Energy Performing Arts wraps up its 25th anniversary season.
Public Energy, the not-for-profit charitable organization and supporter of innovative contemporary performing arts in Peterborough, announced the details of “The P(art)y Ball” earlier today (April 3) in the atrium at Peterborough Square in downtown Peterborough. The announcement featured former Cirque du Soleil choreographer Debra Brown, ballet dancer and contortionist Lisbeth Mikoleit, champion hoop dancer Nimkii Osawamick, and more.
The 25th anniversary celebration in May will feature artists from every era of the history of Public Energy, which executive director Bill Kimball founded in 1994 as Peterborough New Dance to fill the void after Artspace was forced to abandon its performance programming component due to a lack of funding. Kimball later expanded the organization’s mandate from dance to also include theatre and other forms of performance and changed the organization’s name to Public Energy.
The May 25th event will feature pop-up performances throughout the day in downtown Peterborough, including the world premiere performance of a piece involving 50 community members choreographed by internationally celebrated choreographer Bill Coleman.
Free Afternoon Pop-Ups
As well as the ticketed main stage performance at Market Hall, there’s also a full afternoon of free pop-up events on Saturday, May 25th in downtown Peterborough (sponsored by the Peterborough DBIA):
- “Transcendence”, an outdoor dance piece performed by an ensemble of 30+ community members at 12 p.m. at the corner of Hunter and Queen Streets (if it rains, the performance will be moved to Peterborough Square)
- “Utki”, a celebratory performance of classical Indian dance and Bollywood by Mithila Ballal and Ensemble at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. in the atrium at Peterborough Square (lower level, bottom of the escalators)
- “Served: Counter Culture”, a performance of female shapes from classical paintings and experiences from the serving industry by Naomi Duvall, outside eye Anne White at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. in the Peterborough Square Food Court
- “Elements: Air and Water”, an aeriel silk performance by Jennifer Elchuk (Opal), Kayla Stanistreet, and Nicole Malbeuf at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. at the Millennium Park fountain (if it rains, this performance will be cancelled)
- “Crutch”, a duet between a dancer and his crutches acts as a farewell to trauma and addiction (mature content), performed by Wes Ryan with accompaniment by Patrick Walsh at 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. at 172 Simcoe Street (the alleyway next to Buck or Two Plus just west of George St.).
Free Late Night Party
There will also be a free late night after-party from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. at The Theatre on King (171 King St., Peterborough) featuring a remix by veejay Lester Alfonso of 25 years of dance and theatre video from the Public Energy archives, a protechnic performance by The Peterborough Academy of Circus Arts, and Deejay Helen-a spinning vinyl.
At 6:30 p.m., there will be a VIP reception at the Market Hall, which includes a meet-and-greet with former Cirque du Soleil choreographer Debra Brown, followed by a performance at 7:30 p.m. in the lobby.
The main event will begin at 8 p.m. on the Market Hall stage (details below), followed by an after-party at 10 p.m. at The Theatre On King (171 King St., Peterborough), where veejay and filmmaker Lester Alfonso will use 25 years of historic performance footage to create a spectacular visual effect.
Here are the confirmed artists who will be performing at The P(art)y Ball at Market Hall on May 25th:
Debra Brown, known around the world as the original choreographer for Cirque du Soleil, won an Emmy in 2002 for her choreography on the 74th Academy Awards. She is also a dancer and performed in Apogée, a work she choreographed and directed that was co-commissioned by Public Energy as its first-ever presentation in 1994. Debra will bring some new circus dance acts never seen before.
Evelyn Hart and Bill Coleman
Evelyn Hart and Bill Coleman will perform a duet choreographed by James Kudelka from Kudelka’s full-length work Love, Sex and Brahms. Hailing from Peterborough, Evelyn Hart, is the former prima ballerina for the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and continues dancing on international stages. Bill Coleman has been bringing his dance works to Peterborough since before Public Energy was founded, and was the 2018 winner of the most prestigious dance award in Canada, The Walter Carsen Prize. James Kudelka, one of Canada’s greatest living choreographers, has had his work presented by Public Energy on numerous occasions, most memorably with his collaboration with opera singer Daniel Taylor in 2006.
Anandam Dancetheatre will reprise its site-specific work Divergent Dances Peterborough, first performed on the outside of Peterborough Square during Artsweek in September 2018. This combination of aerial dance and ground work is being reimagined for the Market Hall’s main staircase by its choreographer, Brandy Leary, with collaborators from Peterborough’s circus arts community including Thomas Vacarro and Jen Elchuk.
Cherish Violet Blood
Cherish Violet Blood (Blackfoot) will perform her powerful monologue Be a Babe. Cherish’s wide-ranging career as an actor, musician, and writer has taken her around the world, including appearing as Annie Cook in the Peterborough production of Rez Sisters in 2009.
Deepti Gupta, one of Canada’s most innovative South Asian choreographers, will perform her solo Kathak dance Static, with video by Peterborough’s Lester Alfonso. Deepti’s most recent appearance with Public Energy was with the world premiere of her newest work Snowangels in 2018.
Ryan Kerr and Kate Story
The Theatre On King’s Ryan Kerr and Kate Story will remount Snow Day, their hit dance work from the Emergency #11 festival in 2003. Among the most prolific artists working in Peterborough’s independent theatre and dance scene, Ryan and Kate’s most recent collaboration with Public Energy was 2017’s hit play-with-song-and-dance damned be this transmigration.
Nicole Malbeuf, a Peterborough-based aerial artist with Trellis Arts & Entertainment, will perform her newest aerial hoop routine. Nicole has performed her imaginative aerial and circus work with numerous groups in Peterborough, Toronto, and smaller circus communities around Ontario. With Public Energy, she performed in the 2018 Max’s Cabaret and took part in the Alternating Currents development process for new work in 2017.
Old Men Dancing
Old Men Dancing will perform a new dance made specially for the P(art)y Ball. This talented group of men of a certain age got its start through Public Energy in 2002, have had some of Canada’s best contemporary dance creators create work for them, and have performed in Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo as well as Peterborough.
Nimkii Osawamick (Odawa, Wikwemikong Unceeded Reserve, Wolf Clan) is a Peterborough-based singer, hoop dancer, and champion powwow dancer. Nimkii will perform his powerful high-energy dance accompanied by one of Canada’s leading deejays. He has danced extensively with indigenous artists, inclouding cellist Cris Derksen’s Trio and Orchestral Powwow, and was last seen with Public Energy performing in Kaha:wi Dance Theatre’s The Honouring in 2015.
Peterborough slam poet Wes Ryan will perform a new spoken-word piece created specially for Public Energy’s 25th anniversary. Wes’s track record with Public Energy is the longest in duration of any artist on the P(art)y Ball program, with more than 15 shows to his credit going back to the very first season. His first Public Energy work was “Kitten on a String with Fish Hooks” for the Emergency #3 festival in 1995, and his most recent was “The Caregiver” with Becca Partington for Emergency #22 in 2018.
Peterborough documentary filmmaker Lester Alfonso (Birthmark, Twelve) will draw on 25 years of video documentation from Public Energy’s archives to create visuals for the dance party.
Tickets for The P(art)y Ball are $25 general admission ($75 for the party and the VIP reception) and are available in person at the Market Hall box office, by phone at 705-749-1146, or online at markethall.org.