Dance in Vancouver: promoting Vancouver’s contemporary dance scene to the world

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Vancouver’s contemporary dance scene takes centre stage as The Dance Centre presents the Dance in Vancouver series that will feature works from two local gay choreographers.

A biennial event now in its ninth edition, the series provides an opportunity for audiences to experience the contemporary dance that is being created by local artists and for artists to expose their work to visiting promoters and scouts.  The 2013 edition, curated by Canada Dance Festival Artistic Producer Jeanne Holmes, features work from eight companies who will perform excerpts of new and recent works.

Included in the program are performances from Vancouver gay choreographers Joe Laughlin (Joe Ink) and Noam Gagnon (Vision Impure).  Laughlin will present Left, most recently seen at the 2013 Vancouver International Dance Festival, and Gagnon teams up with Nova Bhattacharya for a new work titled DVOTE: Lust, Madness and Mayhem.

Noam Gagnon teams up with Nova Bhattacharya in DVOTE: Lust, Madness and Mayhem, part of the Dance in Vancouver series this November.

Noam Gagnon teams up with Nova Bhattacharya in DVOTE: Lust, Madness and Mayhem, part of the Dance in Vancouver series this November.

In DVOTE, Gagnon and Bhattacharya, explore the connection between two human beings, touching on themes of devotion, submission, sexuality and spirituality.

“We are shitting our pants right now,” admits Gagnon from Montreal where he and Bhattacharya were rehearsing in October.  “We’re trying to understand the core of the work and with the time we have before Vancouver.  It is highly stressful.”

As an excerpt from a larger work that is still in development (the full dance won’t be performed until sometime next year) it isn’t surprising that Gagnon and Bhattacharya are stressing out, made even more difficult by the duo wearing toques that effectively make them blind to each other.

“I have to say honestly that it is extremely difficult because we are still highly involved in trying to understand the world we are creating, but the issue we are having is we can’t see each other,” says Gagnon.  “As dancers you try to repeat things, but the constraints we have created for ourselves as choreographers has made that difficult.”

Gagnon hopes that those constraints through their “blindness” will make for a more dynamic and in-the-moment performance.

“It makes us extremely honest and exposed as performers and the moment is happening live because no matter how much we have rehearsed it is always falling apart a little,” laughs Gagnon.  “The music is not what is driving the work so it requires an incredible amount of being present and listening.”

Organized every two years by The Dance Centre, Dance In Vancouver sets its focus on the province’s contemporary dance talent, not only for local audiences to enjoy, but also for dance promoters and scouts who come from across Canada and around the world to sample West Coast dance.

Dance In Vancouver works on many levels. It’s a great opportunity for local audiences to experience the diversity of work taking place here, and it’s a chance for the artists to build national and international connections – with potential for future touring and creative partnerships, and enhanced visibility for Vancouver and BC dance on the world stage,” explains The Dance Centre Executive Director Mirna Zagar who expects members of the five major Canadian presenting networks to attend.

For Gagnon, the opportunity to showcase his work to those outside Vancouver is important not only at an audience level, but for the artists too.

“The market here on a practical level is extremely small and the exposure, the ability to be exposed to audiences in Budapest or in Paris or in London, is a necessity,” he says.  “For the artist it is a crucial aspect of the art form as the more we get exposed the more we have the potential for change in order to progress and grow.”

Dance in Vancouver

20 – 23 November 2013 at the Scotiabank Dance Centre (677 Davie Street) with performances each evening at 7pm and 9pm.  Tickets are available online at Tickets Tonight or by calling 604.684.2787.  Visit for more information.

Mark Robins on Google+

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