Calgary Herald

Dancing in the dark brings dinosaurs to life

Performers use wires, batteries to create light show


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Wired animation set in motion by dancing in the dark. That’s one way of describing what happens in the very innovative storytelli­ng adventure that is Darwin The Dinosaur.

The family show runs Friday to Sunday at Vertigo Theatre’s Y Stage.

The wordless narrative outlined by a group of five ballet-trained dancers — Corbian Visual Arts and Dance — using electrolum­inescent (EL) wire while moving through otherwise pitch blackness tells of a scientist who creates a dinosaur named Darwin.

Guided by his prehistori­c instincts, Darwin explores his world and the living creatures in it, learning valuable life lessons on the way.

The inspired wired storytelli­ng is the brainchild of New Orleansbas­ed Corbin Popp and Ian Carney, who met while performing in choreograp­her Twyla Tharp’s Broadway show, Movin’ Out.

The EL wire, according to Carney, is neither LED or black light, but instead gives the kind of consistenc­y of line that makes it look like neon.

The flexible wires are attached to custom battery packs made by the group, and are either worn by the dancers or attached to some of the props used for the blackedout sound-and-light show’s “understruc­ture,” such as fishing rods, plumbing supplies, etc. — all of which are easily obtainable at Walmart or Home Depot.

“You use nothing for what it was intended for,” Carney says. “But all the parts are there.”

The concept of running EL wire up and down the arms, legs and torsos of the unseen dancers, who are able to switch from one line of colour to another while on the go, took Corbian Visual Arts and Dance two years to research and develop, and about another two years to perfect, Carney says.

The technology had been used mostly for signs and hats before he and Popp seized upon it for their illuminate­d dance, he adds.

It was simply a matter of discoverin­g what EL wire “would and would not do.”

“If it decides not to ‘do,’ then you just don’t have a character,” Carney says, laughing. “There’s nobody there. It’s just dark. You can’t smile your way out of it.”

The ensemble reveals the secret of it all — the wires, the twist ties and the duct tape — in a Q&A session following the live animation.

“The kids and their parents are all over it,” Carney says.

Darwin The Dinosaur is recom- mended for ages seven and up. Tickets: Call 403-221-3708. Check out a video preview at www.vertigothe­

The western Canadian premiere of former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney’s popular and moving choral work, Ecce Cor Meum (Behold my Heart) comes to Jack Singer Concert Hall on Saturday, courtesy of the Festival Chorus.

“It’s very compelling, sincere and adept music that brings together a bunch of styles he seems comfortabl­e with,” says Festival Chorus artistic director Mel Kirby, noting that the piece reflects McCartney’s interest in the “Anglican choral tradition,” as exemplifie­d in works by Elgar and Vaughan Williams, say.

The work, which premiered in 2002, was originally commission­ed in the mid-1990s and then delayed — and hugely affected, musically — by the death of Sir Paul’s wife Linda in 1998.

According to Kirby, Ecce Cor Meum is in the form of four movements with a central interlude containing the music for oboe and wordless chorus in which the composer himself once told an interviewe­r he poured out his grief over Linda’s death.

Soloist in the Festival ChorusCant­are Children’s Choir performanc­e of the piece is soprano Michelle Todd.

Two of McCartney’s orchestral works (from his Working Classical album) round out the concert.

The concert is at 8 p.m. Tickets: Call 403-294-9494.

The Calgary Pro Musica Society presents its Special Event Family Concert on Sunday afternoon (1 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.) at the University Theatre.

The whimsical show, entitled The Queen, The Bear and The Bumblebee, is a musical stage production of the book by Canadian children’s author and media personalit­y Dini Petty. Assembled musical forces include mezzosopra­no Erin Thrall, Calgary’s La Caravan Dance Theatre, the Calgary Boys Choir, and the 13-member “Bumblebee Symphony Orchestra,” conducted by Claude Lapalme. Tickets and info: Call 403-244-8277.

 ?? photos, courtesy, Corbian Visual Arts and dance ?? Ian Carney, left, and Corbin Popp are the men behind Darwin the Dinosaur, a wordless narrative about a scientist who creates a dinosaur.
photos, courtesy, Corbian Visual Arts and dance Ian Carney, left, and Corbin Popp are the men behind Darwin the Dinosaur, a wordless narrative about a scientist who creates a dinosaur.
 ??  ?? With the lights out, dinosaur images come to life.
With the lights out, dinosaur images come to life.
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