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Every two years The Dance Centre presents Dance In Vancouver (DIV) which celebrates BC’s contemporary dance scene. DIV draws curators and presenters from across Canada and around the world, opening the doors to potential future exchanges, collaborations and tours. The curator of this edition, which takes place November 20-24, is Dieter Jaenicke, Director of international tanzmesse nrw in Germany. In this guest post he reflects on his experience as DIV curator.
There are global stories in everything. – Amber Funk Barton, dance artist
Amber Funk Barton’s words express in one short sentence my feeling about dance in Vancouver: so many cultural origins, backgrounds, mixtures, so many stories told in so many different ways, so many kinds of dancing, so many different bodies exposed.
When I started to explore Vancouver and its dance community, I got overwhelmed by the incredible diversity of very ambitious, very professional, very creative and very unique artistic proposals. The first lesson I learned was, there is not just one dance community in this city, there are many of them with different gathering places, studios, venues, even different ways of communicating – amongst themselves and with the audiences.
Someone asked me, what is different about Vancouver and BC contemporary dance, compared with East Coast Canada and Québec dance? I had to think for a moment and then I answered: “That they are different!”, kind of “outlandish” I would say, and therefore kind of close to your own environment, to your “outlands”, your traditions, your contradictions, your untold stories, your many unspoken heritages. I like that.
Choreographers and dancers are storytellers and as they are mainly not using spoken words, they can be masters of the unspoken. They can tell stories from the underground of a common soul and spirit, they can tell stories in many different ways, and touch issues and ideas which one hardly can express through words. Then the most interesting stories appear, maybe just for a moment, just for a feeling or even just for a guessing. When I was in Vancouver, in many different studios, rehearsals, performances, I got flashes of these moments, when these unspoken stories popped up and told me something about what’s going on here, something which felt like global stories and at the same time very much rooted here.
Working for Dance In Vancouver as curator and “outside-eye” was an enormous pleasure and honour, and a surprising, inspiring and enriching research experience. I would like to thank all the staff of The Dance Centre, the many artists I had the privilege to get to know and especially the director of The Dance Centre Mirna Zagar, who invited me.
2020 will be the Cultural Year of Canada in Germany, in cooperation with the Canada Council of the Arts. We will present a significant selection of contemporary dance productions at internationale tanzmesse nrw – fair & festival. Dance from Vancouver will of course have a prominent stage as well. Perhaps I will see some of you there!
Director international tanzmesse nrw – fair & festival
Curator, Dance In Vancouver 2019
Photos: Courtesy of Dieter, OURO Collective by Jeff Hamada