The Dance Centre’s annual International Dance Day celebrations are moving online this year! Programmed artists include Mandala Arts and Culture, Action at a Distance, Petra Zanki, WeDT Kpop Dance Club, and Kinesis Dance somatheatro., who will share video works online. In addition, five micro-commissions will feature short dance films from P. Megan Andrews, Jenna Berlyn, Voirelia Dance Hub, and Vancouver Samba School, and Amber Funk Barton of the response. will perform an improvised work on Instagram Live. Videos will be released on The Dance Centre’s Facebook and YouTube channels from April 25-28, with the micro commissions premiering on April 29.
Photos by Chris Randle, Jason Kirkness, Mika Manning and Israel Acosta
On this International Day of Dance, I think back to the last time I was in the studio, dancing with others and sharing my work with an audience.
7 weeks ago, I was working with a group of beautiful Indigenous women, moving together, skin on skin, breath on breath, our hugs catching our tears and our joys erupting in laughter. Our movement and our bodies carved out a contemporary ceremony for all of us, at the centre of which we could all sit. A dance that celebrates gathering and the holding of each other and ourselves.
Who knew that we were taking these moments for granted. Who knew that weeks later distance between bodies would no longer be just a choreographic tool but would become a necessity. Who knew that this innate human need to somatically connect with each other was an impulse that we could no longer follow.
So here we are in an unknown landscape, our bodies traversing the distance between what was and what will be. And in this place between we are carrying all these unrequited impulses, unable to realize them in ways we have fulfilled them before. This is a reckoning in itself, but also a deepening. These impulses have become solo kitchen dance parties, dance with the elements of land, wind, trees and water, dance with our breath and the dance we do we with our dearest and closest. Yet, this distance between our dancing bodies at times feels unbearable. It feels unbearable because as humans we are meant to be in community, to be held and to be witnessed.
We are truly in the Dance not Done. Each step is courageous and each phrase marks the trail that we are breaking. We are creating this choreography together, buoyed by hope, our need for expression and our love for dance.
What will it look like? What will it be? We cannot yet know, we just have to keep on dancing.
Michelle Olson, Artistic Director, Raven Spirit Dance
In 1982 the Dance Committee of UNESCO’s International Theatre Institute founded International Dance Day, to be celebrated every year on April 29, the anniversary of the birth of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727-1810) who is regarded as the creator of modern ballet. Its goal is to celebrate dance around the world, to revel in the universality of this art form, to cross political, cultural and ethnic barriers and to bring people together with a common language – dance. www.international-dance-day.org