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Our 2020-2021 season was unlike anything we had done before, due to the pandemic and continually evolving public health orders. Over the last year we produced or facilitated over 30 digital streams of performances, talks and showings, which were viewed by more than 10,000 people. And we supported over 80 artists through residencies, labs and other programs – while keeping our building, Scotiabank Dance Centre, running safely.
But behind those numbers are people – our amazing staff team! We asked them to share their standout moments, most satisfying experiences, and general thoughts on the year:
Caroline MacCaull’s 003_playback (part of the Digital Dance series) showed everything a livestream could be – responsive audience, a wholesome community and emergent artistry informed by the digital platform. Also, the National Arts Centre DanceForth streams with Shay Kuebler and Ziyian Kwan really set the stage for how we were going to approach the rest of our season. I learned a lot about how our cameras react to stage lighting and we established a working relationship with Yasu, our videographer, that has continued to this day.
– Chengyan, Lead Technician
My personal standout moment was early on in the season. We were in the process of figuring out what we should do, how we should react to COVID, how to keep the building and everyone inside it safe. The thought of all dance activity being halted and without knowing for how long was all pretty overwhelming. Then Cathy Levy at the National Arts Centre approached us about producing a live stream of Shay Kuebler’s Feasting on Famine. When we went LIVE from the Faris Family Studio across Canada and the globe – we cheered! We had reconnected with the world! We had reached out and touched someone! It felt so reassuring, giving us hope for the future. Thank you to all who helped keep me sane!
– Linda, Associate Producer
Over the year I spent a lot of time capturing photos and video clips of artists in rehearsal and filming or teching their works for streaming. Seeing them coming back into the studios and performing with such commitment while wearing masks and following detailed safety protocols never failed to amaze me. And seeing a group – Lamondance – moving together as one for the first time in over a year while filming in the theatre was especially moving.
– Lindsay, Digital Marketing Coordinator
A highlight for me was continuing the Reboot program which helps our members get back into the studios, reviewing the applications from artists working in so many different styles and reading their creative proposals. And it was inspiring to see how Marissa Wong and Katie Cassady (TWObigsteps Collective) adapted to livestream their performances from the theatre.
– Nazanin, Member Services and Outreach Coordinator
This season, I drew inspiration from the thoughtful care and attention demonstrated by artists in support of peers, community and broader worldview. There were so many generous opportunities of learning and adapting such as the 12 Minutes Max artists and facilitators in particular re-imagining their engagement and coming together in a mostly virtual experience of exchange and sharing via Zoom.
– Raquel, Programming Coordinator
The season is a series of fragments of flamenco and tap sounds, close-ups of activated bodies, and conversations with artists, on camera and between takes. It is still in a series of frames in my memory- no surprise really! Dancing with Linda Arkelian and the people who take part in our Power of Dance classes for seniors via Zoom was a weekly joy. And it was always fun to photograph Associate Artist Megan P Andrews as she turned her world upside down by headstand-ing in different locations around the building.
– Claire, Member Services and Outreach Coordinator (until April 2021)
I was so impressed by how artists pivoted to completely re-imagine their works for the camera and for online viewing, and the amazing camerawork by our videographers. The Global Dance Connections and Discover Dance! digital streams were especially beautiful to look at, it was almost like being on the stage. I was also inspired by the International Dance Day micro-commissions– six pieces made for camera by a group of diverse female artists. In such a tough year, they shared hope, joy and resilience.
– Heather, Director of Marketing
A major highlight for me was managing to keep Scotiabank Dance Centre running for dance practitioners to continue to work! I am also so thrilled by all the donors who stepped up to help us stabilize our financial situation and offset the impact of COVID-19, and grateful that government did not leave the arts sector behind. And artists, staff, volunteers, all pivoted quickly and kept learning how to cope – once again a crisis has shown the incredible resilience and innovation of the arts sector.
Mirna Zagar, Executive Director
And we go back to Chengyan for the last word:
The community really made use of what activity they were allowed to do to develop their works, experiment with digital media, and prepare for eventual reopening. People always ask me if we’ve been able to do anything, but the answer is that since September things here have been almost non-stop!
– Chengyan, Lead Technician
A shout-out to all the wonderful artists and companies who participated in our 2020/2021 season:
Artist-in-Residence: All Bodies Dance Project, Idan Cohen/Ne. Sans Opera & Dance, Joshua Beamish/MOVETHECOMPANY, Kinesis Dance somatheatro, Shay Kuebler/Radical System Art DanceLab: Arno Kamolika, Company 605, Rachel Meyer, Ralph Escamillian/FakeKnot, Susan Nase/Shot of Scotch Vancouver Digital Dance series: Adrian de Leeuw/Madeleine Gilbert/Mika Manning, Ana Sosa/Okams Racer, Caroline MacCaull, Erika Mitsuhashi, Francesca Frewer, Kinesis Dance somatheatro, Maria Avila, Virginia Duivenvoorden Discover Dance! series: Shot of Scotch, Sujit Vaidya, TomoeArts, Mozaico Flamenco, Goh Ballet Global Dance Connections series: Mary-Louise Albert, Joshua Beamish/MOVETHECOMPANY International Dance Day: Amber Funk Barton and Kaia Shukin/the response: Jee Lam, Lisa Gelley with Lily Yuriko Tamoto, Sammy Chien, Shana Wolfe; TomoeArts with Kavya Iyer Ramalingam, Pamela Santana; Arely Santana, Ashvini Sundaram, Loscil + Action at a Distance, Meagan O’Shea/Stand Up Dance , Tomoyo Yamada, Xin Hui Ong Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Award: Jamie Robinson Open House: AKS Bison, Bravo Dance Company, Flamenco Rosario, Justine A Chambers, Linda Arkelian, Noam Gagnon, Van Vogue Jam, Voirelia Hub Power of Dance: Arely Santana, Kevin Fraser/Immigrant Lessons, Linda Arkelian, Maria Avila, Richard O’Sullivan, Tessa Cunningham and Myles Munroe, WeDT (We Dance Together), Wailele Wai Wai Projects: Alexa Mardon, Carolina Bergonzoni, NAC Dance Forth – Shay Kuebler and Ziyian Kwan, P. Megan Andrews, Raven Spirit Dance, TomoeArts, TWObigsteps Collective (Marissa Wong and Katie Cassady) 12 Minutes Max: Adrian de Leeuw, Caroline MacCaull and Indigo Porebska-Smith, Jenna Berlyn, Jhoely Triana, Liat Har Lev, Luciana D’Anunciacao and Kelly McInnes, Maria Avila, SatisFACTORY Dance, Yvonne Chew.
Our 2021-2022 season details are coming soon. Meanwhile please consider supporting our work by making a donation.
Photo credits top to bottom, L to R: Yasuhiro Okada/TDC; Caroline MacCaull/TDC; Shay Kuebler/David Cooper; Lamondance/TDC: Rachel Helten/courtesy of artist; Liat Har Lev/TDC; P Megan Andrews/Britta Wirthmueller; Sujit Vaidya/Chris Randle; Mozaico Flamenco/TDC