3 Amazing Reasons to Check Out the Vancouver International Dance Festival

“Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance.” -Oprah Winfrey

This March will be the nineteenth year of the Vancouver International Dance Festival, and this year you can expect wonderful shows to see and workshops to experience.  If you have never attended a show at VIDF, producer Barbara Bourget says it consists of “dynamic and flowing images” that “touch everyone in a different way”.  Dance is very close to her heart, as she has done ballet for most of her life, and she believes it is the “most important thing for human expression and communication”. Instead of focusing on verbal communication, the dancers at VIDF tell a story through shapes and feelings that are drawn out through their performances. Below are three reasons that you should attend the Vancouver International Dance Festival.

1. Full of culture and passionate dancers

It is the third year that the Dairakudakan dancers from Japan will be headlining VIDF with their Butoh dance skills.  This year, their performance will question the relationship between humans and the technology of nature.  Butoh is an avant-garde style of dance that is often referred to as the “dance of darkness” because it tells stories covering extreme subject matter.  This year’s performance is called Pseudo human / Super human and will showcase the visceral interaction between people and the outside world.

Taiwanese Tjimur Dance Academy is another group coming to show their talent at VIDF. They bring to the table an amalgamation of modern contemporary dance and indigenous Taiwanese culture.  This year, they will perform a piece called Varhung – Heart to Heart, which will show the vulnerability of connection between the hearts and souls of others to our own.

The show has many dancers from the lower mainland as well as from Montreal and Ottawa.  They will perform various styles to make the audience feel electrified, amazed, or vulnerable.  There are many Aboriginal dancers as well. The piece Eloise has influences from the performers Métis culture and will pay homage to her Indigenous heritage and bring in elements from modern performance art.

2. It’s local and it’s on all March 

Dairakudan and Tjimur Dance Theatre are both showing at Vancouver Playhouse, but there are also shows at KW Production Studio (which is a five-minute walk from SFU Vancouver campus), as well as Roundhouse and Harbour Dance center (just across from the Vogue).  Student tickets range from five dollars to sixty dollars, depending on the venue.  Both Roundhouse and KW Productions have a great deal for a Wednesday date-night: if you buy two adult tickets, one will be for free.  If you’re looking for something different and exciting to do with your significant other, check out these performances. It would be a perfect plan for a large group of friends to attend as well, because ticket prices decrease with larger groups.  The Woodwards atrium event hosts free shows on March 10th and 17th.

3. It has (free) workshops

Bourget said in our phone interview “if you have a desire to learn, then come” to one of the brilliant workshops that are offered.  No previous dance experience is required.  Even if you are just a bit curious about learning Kokoro dance, or Butoh, or you saw something catch your eye in a performance, a class with a wonderfully talented teacher is a great way to learn.  Regardless of whether you have been trained in other forms of dance, or if you have taken lessons in the past, all the classes consist of warm-up and cool down, and they all have a theme of strength, stamina and examining the boundaries of the body and mind.

VIDF is truly a celebration of connection, human nature and culture.  Stories can be told in many ways, but dance is a truly awe-inspiring one that produces a raw connection to the performers.  The audience gets a chance to immerse themselves in a new culture and appreciate the dancers for the true storytellers they are.  If you have seen any performances of this calibre before, or are a dancer yourself, you would know how much emotion really goes into what is left on stage.  So, try a workshop, or watch a show, you never really understand how amazing the dancer can be if you haven’t experienced it for yourself.

For more information, visit http://vidf.ca/