Performance Place and Politics by Peter Dickinson
"...The Paris Sessions, which together with Lesley Telford's Only who is left, was the highlight of the evening for me."
"...Telford also knows how to mass dancers' bodies on stage. But if Pite's work here is about harmonious flow, Telford leans (quite literally) toward the off-axis. In Only who is left, she sends her dancers out in matching shimmery shifts and has them strut and preen and pose in a horizontal line like so many Atlases come to life from a Greek frieze. Later she'll clump the dancers together and have them jerk and stutter step their heels noisily into the floor as they move as a unit across the stage, the thoroughly ungraceful and off-beat movements providing a compelling counter-image to how dancers are expected to move and sound. The corralling or herding of bodies in Telford's work is compounded even further by the fact that at one point Constant appears with a bull horn; he mostly just whistles into it whimsically. But the device's appearance, especially when read alongside the epigraph Telford includes in the program, reminds one that as is so often the case these days when bodies gather together in public--and often in protest--there is almost always someone who wants to disperse them.
For now, however, let's just celebrate the fact that Telford and Pite have both decided to make Vancouver their dance homes, and that these two talented home-grown choreographers are sharing their gifts with the city's next generation of dancers."
"Standouts include short pieces from some acclaimed names. Lesley Telford, back in Vancouver (after stints at Les Grands Ballet Canadiens, Compañía Nacional de Danza, and Nederlands Dans Theater), is an exciting voice on the scene who's crafted work for Ballet BC and Arts Umbrella. I love the way her detailed My tongue, your ear seems to deliriously defy time and space, with bodies leaning and spinning off their centre of gravity or moving backward like some higher being is reversing the clock. Here, she creates a dreamlike duet for former Ballet BC bright light Darren Devaney and Maya Tenzer, set to Nico Muhly’s haunting, pulsing Etude 1A, featuring angular viola, and the disjointed excerpts of Polish poet Waslawa Szymborska’s ironic portrayal of parting, “The Tower of Babel”."
by Janet Smith on February 13th, 2016 at 2:54 PM
Ballet B.C.’s season opener No. 29 impresses with challenging works and new dancers | Georgia Straight, Vancouver’s News & Entertainment Weekly.
“The magic that Telford achieves with her 11 dancers is something akin to suspended time, like we enter “an instant”, then rewind, then freeze, then enter it again from a different perspective. Dancers hurtle backwards like they’re being pushed by some unseen force, then fall on the floor and lie still. New corps member Emily Chessa, in one intense scene, rushes toward something unseen then runs backward, again and again, drawn and repelled by powers we can’t fully understand. Telford pushes the dancers off axis, bends them over backwards, and sends them leaping in reverse. Amid them all wanders the always magnetic Rachel Meyer, sometimes stepping through their frozen, fallen bodies, as if she is somehow looking at what could happen or what could have happened. Heady stuff, yes, but strange, haunting, and thought-provoking, the mood helped, as ever, by James Proudfoot’s atmospheric lighting and shadows.”
by Janet Smith on November 7th, 2014 at 5:52 PM
Ballet BC’s No. 29 opens the 14/15 season with superb dancing | Vancouver Observer.
“Vancouver-born choreographer and dancer Lesley Telford’s An Instant is based on Wislawa Szymborska’s poem Could Have heard during the piece recited by Amos Ben Tal . The most modern aesthetic of the night, with close to the ground choreography, weight sharing duets, relaxed arms and hands and fall and recovery motion, the movement had a Pina Bausch-like aesthetic.
Beautifully costumed by Kate Burrows with gorgeous lighting by James Proudfoot, the dancers tell their stories of isolation with artistry. Rachel Meyer and Emily Chessa, in particular, use their bodies with abandon to share their inner voices. A fabulous end to the dance leaves the audience with a lovely parting memory."
by Andrea Rabinovitch
Ballet B.C. pushes to the breaking point with No. 29. Interview with Janet Smith / Georgia Straight
Chutzpah! 2013: Lesley Telford’s Brittle Failure.
“…As for the dancing, I was most taken by the two duets–between Ansa and Archer, and then between Ansa and Oliviera–that conclude the piece. The first is by far the more physical, the strength of one partner’s fragile hold tested by the counter-weight of the other’s oppositely straining body, Ansa and Archer enacting their own “brittle failure,” which as the program notes remind us “is a technical term used to define the conditions under which solid materials fracture under pressure.” Then, in the final duet between Ansa and Oliviera, Telford seems to be asking under what conditions might those broken pieces be put back together, a final origami abode placed gingerly between one foot of each of the dancers as they slowly pivot around it and also raise it delicately aloft, careful now not to crush what real or imagined space binds them together: 'safe as houses'.”
Peter Dickenson, Performance, Place, and Politics, Vancouver, 10/02/2013
Lesley Telford and Itzik Galili bring their unique choreographic voices to the Chutzpah Festival
“It says something that despite the strong presence of the striking scenography, it’s the pure dance sections that draw your attention most throughout Brittle Failure. Through various fraught couplings, Telford seems to be getting at the fragility of relationships and the way they can break under pressure.”
“There is no doubt Telford has a clear, fluid, and utterly unique voice when it comes to choreography.”
Georgia Straight / Janet Smith, Vancouver, 8/02/2013
Lesley Telford wields paper houses at the Chutzpah Festival. Interview with Janet Smith / Georgia Straight
"The festival Madrid en Danza closed last Sunday with what was undoubtedly its best creative work in dance: Paredes de Papel (also known as Brittle Failure). Working with a very thoughtful and sustained balance between the intellectual and the choreographic material, Paredes … demonstrates how aesthetic awareness, maturity in scenic knowledge and the right selection of interpreters, are the basic ingredients for a successful work of ballet or contemporary dance and not mere platitudes. The choreographer adapted with ease to a space as unique as it was compromised: the heritage of Corral de las Comedias, and in fact used the lights, hollows and perspective of the space to incorporate the installation by the Japanese artist Yoko Seyama into a harmonious whole."
* translated from EL PAIS/ Roger Salas, Madrid, 26.11.2012, Herencia bajo el techo a dos aguas
60 minutos de caos y 10 de intensa emoción :: Ocio y cultura :: Guía Cultural
“The proximity and concentration of the three dancers, spoken interventions, and set design, collaborate and complement each other to move the abstraction to something more tangible. Here there is communication between the characters, yes there is serenity, introspection, moments of calm and even enjoyment. “Paredes de Papel” does come to a conclusion and the final act is a visual and emotional discovery that manages to connect with the audience and move them. Something that, one supposes, any performance aims for, as avant-garde as it may be.”
*translated from Eva Catalán, Guia Cultural, Madrid, 26/11/2012
"The Canadian Lesley Telford starts this triple-bill with Everything Might Spill, giving extra meaning to the title with a tense and erratic choreography, startling and robotic. The piece is about the fragile balance and illusion of real stability (which is life, is it not?). …the shadows and the overall tone of the physical score were alive and moving. The body, captivated within the interior of a cylindrical form, connects to outside possibilities through imagined movement, projected by four slide projectors in a beautiful cinematic exercise which complements this turbulent kinetic flight."
*translated from Notodo.com/ David Cano, Teatro de Madrid, 21.03.2011
"…It is striking that many of the creators made smart and inventive use of elements such as light and decor. Working with Kylian and Lightfoot/Leon (masters in the play with stagecraft) clear traces have been left behind. The ideas of the dancers come to the foreground using the wings and different elements of the stage or, for example, when the light represents a cross on the floor. The line game on the floor certainly brings another element to the piece of Lesley Telford, ‘Intersection‘. Dancer Kenta Kojiri stands as a solitary individual on an empty stage and moves searchingly, sometimes in long lines or small and isolated. A large group of people comes in, following the diagonal lines on the ground while they simply walk past. It makes Koriji’s movements only more powerful…"
*translated from Den Haag Centraal/by Ilse Van Haastrecht, 25.01.2008, Switch’08 shows work from brave NDT’ers
"…the ballet ‘Intersection‘ by Lesley Telford shows with beautiful movement how Kenta Kojiri remains in a world where humans live alongside each other without making contact. In his longing for meaning and a need for connection he is led into a crossroad of movement."
*translated from Volkskrant, Switch’08, 20.01.2008
"…A more emotive and at times beautifully poignant work came from the hands of Lesley Telford. Here but gone refers perhaps to the fleeting in our lives. It takes its five dancers on a journey where resoluteness is intermingled with longing and desperation. Central to the piece is an abstract landscape painting (by sister Heather Telford) on a scroll of canvas some 20 metres long which is gradually rolled open, giving one the impression of being on the road and seeing scenery passing by. Right from the start there is a sense of urgency as the dancers are driven on by the somewhat ominous music. The hectic life journey of these individuals and their chance meetings is determined by the long string that cuts diagonally across the stage, sybolising a road but at the same time forming a barrier, holding them back from their advance and from each other. Most affecting is Rei Watanabe’s helpless expression as she has her face constantly turned away and her eyes covered by a man behind her who tries to sheild her from seeing the end of the road- where perhaps an uncertain future awaits her."
*Dance Europe/ by Ali Mahbouba, January 2007, Systems of Development and Developing Choreographers