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

March 18, 2014

New dance installation fuses talents of P.E.I.'s Mark Sampson, Christina Bouey, and more. (Charlottetown, P.E.I.) - 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. Co-presented by P.E.I. 2014 and sponsored by Veresen Inc. - PEI Energy Systems, 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," says 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," continues 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 exciting new collaboration will launch the summer festival and is offered free-of-charge from May 31st to June 7th in the Art Gallery. Show dates are May 31 and June 4th to 6th at 7:30 p.m.; and June 2, 3, 4 and 7 at 1 p.m. This production is approximately 30 minutes in length and will be followed by an audience Q&A. Appreciation is extended to the festival's funding partners: Canadian Heritage, the Atlantic Canadian Opportunities Agency; the Province of Prince Edward Island, through the Department of Tourism and Culture; and the City of Charlottetown. Media sponsors are Bell Aliant, The Guardian, CTV, Hot 105.5 and Ocean 100.

Photo Cutline: 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.)

Media contact:
Fraser McCallum, Communications Manager, Confederation Centre of the Arts
T: 902.628.6135 (office) E: | Twitter: @confedcentre