News / Vancouver

Music and dance make interesting pairing for Small Stage Canada's Vancouver debut

So some writer in The Economist - you know, the magazine that regularly reminds the world it exists by trolling cities and journalists with those meaningless "most liveable cities" lists - called Vancouver (and some other "most-liveable" places) "mind-numbingly boring."

Cue the outrage.

Of course, most people won't bother reading said offending blog post. If they did, well, they'd probably be less offended.

Here's what the writer was getting at: "Cities strive to become nicer places in which to live. Yet the more they succeed the less interesting they become."

Interesting conundrum. And most likely true, particularly if your definition of "interesting" is getting stabbed during a botched drug deal, or if you like to watch a pile of tires burn on a litter-strewn street in front of a bullet-ridden warehouse with "Anarchy" spray-painted on one of its many boarded-up windows.

Oh, look, a pig-sized rat. Interesting.

Which reminds me: Chinatown. Historically, one of the most-interesting neighborhoods in Vancouver, even without all the opium dens and gambling rooms that thrill-seeking Economist staff writers surely frequented back in the day.

These days, of course, it's home to The Emerald lounge, which next week hosts an avant-première for Small Stage Canada, a new program of paired music and dance that the Vancouver-based series will present at Ottawa's National Arts Centre in June.

"It a dream and a privilege to present Small Stage Canada to a national audience at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival," says artistic producer Julie-anne Saroyan. "For Small Stage Canada - my biggest undertaking in 10 years - this highly-theatrical program, performed by a national line-up of performing artists, will offer a bold, no-holds-barred comment on Canada's political climate."

The Vancouver preview will feature an eclectic mix of talent, such as Patrick Pennefather, Chengxin Wei, Vanessa Goodman, Dayna Szydrowski, Burgundy Brixx, Jonathan Ryder, and Karissa Barry. And the evening will be emceed by the always entertaining Billy Marchenski.

Also of note: Small Stage Canada gets its inspiration from Weimar Cabaret, a performance style made popular in Germany in the late-1920s, which, after decades of decades of repressive government, embraced liberal ideas and new forms of expression.

It was, reportedly, a very interesting time.

Small Stage Canada is a The Emerald (555 Gore Avenue) in Chinatown from June 2-4. Tickets $20. More information at

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