Backstage performs as part of the dance line-up at the 2015 Chutzpah! Festival
Backstage performs as part of the dance line-up at the 2015 Chutzpah! Festival

It is a good time to be a dance fan in Vancouver. Following on the heels of the PuSh Festival, the Chutzpah! Festival plays host to some of the best contemporary choreographers from around the world. This year’s line-up includes an autobiographical history of dance, a traditional First Nations dance, and dance that’s mixed with rock ‘n roll, martial arts, and more.

Here’s a rundown of what’s to come:

BACKSTAGE by Maria Kong
Feb 19, 21 & 22

Part rock show, part multimedia production, if you think dance shows can be boring or stuffy, Backstage is perfect for you.  Grab a beer or a cocktail for this 360-degree immersive theatrical dance that takes you on a journey into life at sea but takes place in the Red Room Ultra Bar.

Glory by Shay Kuebler Radical System Art
Feb 21-23

Want a little fight in your dance?  Choreographer Kuebler combines martial arts, hip hop, and contemporary dance in his work.  Glory brings together action movies and the epic battles of childhood into a dance piece – think the Karate Kid after a hip hop class.

Makom/Interviews by Idan Sharabi & Dancers with Vanessa Goodman
Feb 15-18

A show in three parts, the main act is Idan Sharabi & Dancers pieces Makom and Interviews, two pieces created by international choreographer Idan Sharabi on the concept of “home”.  The opening act is a world premiere by local Vanessa Goodman.  Seeing international dancers perform side-by-side like this is the true Chutzpah! experience.

BODYTRAFFIC performs as part of the 15th Annual Chutzpah! Festival
BODYTRAFFIC performs as part of the 15th Annual Chutzpah! Festival

BODYTRAFFIC by Victor Quijada, Kyla Abraham, Joshua L. Peugh, and Richard Siegal
March 5-8

A collective of dancers from LA known for being fast, sexy, and expressive, this rep company has performed everything from post-modern odes to joy to never-before-seen ballets from the 50s.  This round they bring four pieces that combine hip hop, contemporary, and both “high” and “low”-culture influences.

‘Namgis T’Sasala Cultural Group
March 8

The ‘Namgis T’Sasala Cultural Group offers a much-needed opportunity to experience a piece of First Nations culture.  These traditional dances of the Kwak’wala language group, based in the North Island Region of BC, haven’t changed a lick since they were given to the Kwakwaka’wakw people by the Creator.  Experience this vital rebirth of First Nation culture and storytelling.

Monsieur Auburtin by Serge Bennathan/Les Productions Figlio
March 26-28

An autobiography in dance, text, and live music spanning a 30 year career in dance, stories include early instruction by the likes of Roland Petit, Nureyev, and, of course, the titular Monsieur Auburtin.  Perfect for dance nerds whose hearts fluttered at the names of Bennathan’s teachers as well as newcomers who could use a history lesson framed through the humorous and scandalous details of one man’s story.

The 15th Annual Chutzpah! Festival runs Feb 19 – Mar 15. Visit for tickets and information.