For the 17th time, the Vancouver International Dance Festival is bringing some of the finest dance from around the world to our city.

There is a lot to choose from, with a month full of performances, classes, and even life-drawing opportunities. Here are our top picks to get you started.

1Lines Ballet: Shostakovich and Sand

Lines Ballet’s choreographer, Alonzo King, has been called “one of the few, true, ballet masters of our time” by American choreographer William Forsythe. The work he does with Lines Ballet is so athletic and multi-dimensional, and the dancers are so skilled in their work, that it is what all contemporary ballet is trying to be.

2Jameison/Grenier: light breaking broken

Jameison/Grenier: light breaking broken

Dancers Karen Jamieson and Margaret Grenier have completely different backgrounds: Jamieson grew up with hippie parents on Bowen Island in the 40s and 50s and studied dance with Martha Graham in the 70’s. Grenier is of Gixsan and Cree ancestry and runs The Dancers of Damelhamid, a First Nations dance collective begun by her parents. In light breaking broken, these two women’s histories, cultures, and dance styles will challenge and push each other.

3Kinesis Dance: In Penumbra

A search for utopia sounds pretty good right about now, and that’s what In Penumbra explores. With the audience seated surrounding the dance space, In Penumbra is close, intimate, and immersive multi-media dance experience. This is the kind of event that sets live performance apart from anything you might watch on a screen.

4Yayoi Hirano: OKUNI – Mother of Kabuki

Yayoi Hirano: OKUNI – Mother of Kabuki

Kabuki is a traditional Japanese dance-drama that began in the 1600’s when a woman named Okuni began incorporating different styles of performance into her work as a shrine dancer. OKUNI – Mother of Kabuki tracks that transformation, from the traditional shrine dances through to kabuki, incorporating set and projections designed to depict life in Japan in the 1600s. With some of Vancouver’s best designers behind it, this will be one of the most beautiful history lessons you’ve ever seen.

5Ouro: Pace

Ouro is a local dance collective that creates all their work collaboratively, combining the influences of their diverse dance members, including hip hop, waacking, breaking, popping, and contemporary dance. Pace looks at each dancer’s personal relationship with depression, anxiety, suppression, and isolation. Talk about contemporary, urban dance.

6Dairakudakan: Paradise

This Japan-based ensemble returns to Vancouver to celebrate choreographer and artistic director Akaji Maro’s 45th anniversary with the company. In this combination of dance, performance, and movement, Maro explores the meaning of paradise in the butoh tradition.

The 2017 Vancouver International Dance Festival runs March 1-25 at various locations around Vancouver. Visit for tickets and information.