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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Dancing on the Edge in the age of COVID-19

This year's contemporary dance festival will be a hybrid of online programming and a handful of live performances presented within the current limitations on public gatherings

Having run uninterrupted for 31 years, Canada’s longest-running contemporary dance festival isn’t going to let the pandemic stop them. Instead, this year’s Dancing on the Edge Festival of Contemporary Dance is reimaging itself in the age of COVID-19.

Originally to include over thirty live performances featuring international artists from India, the United States, and from across Canada, the 32nd annual contemporary dance festival will instead feature a hybrid of online programming and a handful of live performances presented within the current limitations on public gatherings.

“We know our audiences and artists look forward to the festival every year so we will be offering instead some specially curated digital programming with live-streamed performances, premieres of dance films, dance discussions, four outdoor live performances in the Firehall’s Courtyard and one dynamic theatre performance at the Firehall Arts Centre Theatre,” says festival producer Donna Spencer.

Among the live performances will be Trionfi Amore (The triumph of love) from Ne. Sans Opera and Dance artistic director and choreographer Idan Cohen. To be performed in the Firehall Arts Centre courtyard, it is part of Cohen’s ongoing research on the theme of Orpheus. Also on the courtyard stage is the premiere of Olivia C. Davies’s Wishing Well with live performances on July 8 & 10. The July 10 performance will also stream on YouTube.

Shay Kuebler’s Radical System Art will take to the Firehall theatre stage on July 10 with the British Columbia premiere of M.O.I. – Momentum of Isolation, a series of seven dance solos developed by company artists online and in isolation. The performance will also stream via YouTube on July 11.

Six programmes, including several Canadian and world premieres, will also be presented exclusively online via YouTube.

In addition to the public performances both online and in-person, Dancing on the Edge has invited dance artists to submit proposals for five COVID Commissions. The chosen submissions will receive between $5,000-$10,000 and will premiere at next year’s festival.

“We are thrilled to be offering this incentive in the hopes that these commissions will enable artists to keep creating new work during this difficult time for all,” says Spencer. “Now more than ever, we need our artists, and we need to keep moving, so the Edge is working to support and encourage both.”

The 2020 Dancing on the Edge Festival of Contemporary Dance takes place online and at the Firehall Arts Centre (280 E Cordova St, Vancouver) July 2-11. Visit for tickets and information.

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