Shen Wei Dance Arts makes its Vancouver premiere with two works at the Vancouver International Dance Festival.
Shen Wei Dance Arts makes its Vancouver premiere with two works at the Vancouver International Dance Festival.

What with the Chutzpah! Festival coming to a close and the Vancouver International Dance Festival (VIDF) about to get started, it’s a busy time for dance in Vancouver.

“Dance as a primal human instinct transcends language, cultural norms, and international borders,” says VIDF co-producer Barbara Bourget, describing the goal of this year’s festival as helping to “connect with individuals from around the globe in a spirit of inclusion, connection, dialogue, and empathy.”

And even while the offerings do seem to lean more heavily on the national than the international, there are some incredibly exciting works included in this year’s VIDF to experience.

Amber Funk Barton / the response: VAST

After Amber Funk Barton’s inspiring partnership with theatre director Mindy Parfitt to create am a last year, Funk Barton established herself as not only one to watch, but a must-see artist.

This is her first solo project, and it doesn’t hold back: VAST sets out to examine humanity as both powerless and mighty through an exploration of our planet and the universe writ large. Get ready for your mind to bend along with Funk Barton’s choreography.

pataSola dance: RIFT

Following pataSolo’s mandate to combine Latine American artists with those from other cultures, RIFT is a mash up of Cante Jondo (“deep song”) flamenco and butoh, a Japanese style of dance-theatre that tends to defy categorization but deals heavily in archetype and myth.

The combination of these two deep-seeded art forms, used to address the pain and sorrow of violence against women and girls worldwide is sure to be powerful.

Shen Wei Dance Arts: Folding and Rite of Spring

For New York’s Shen Wei Dance Arts’ Vancouver premiere, the company brings two works with vastly different inspirations to the Vancouver International Dance Festival: Folding and Rite of Spring.

Folding is inspired traditional Tibetan Buddhist Mahakala chants and the art of folding paper; Rite of Spring comes straight from Stravinsky’s composition.

With a background in Chinese opera as well as traditional Chinese ink painting and calligraphy before studying Western visual art and modern dance, Shen Wei’s work is known for being richly layered and visually striking.

Free Events

The festival also has a number of free offerings well worth checking out that will immerse you further in the world of dance.

Try out a life drawing class with dancers in costume and plain clothes, art and photography exhibitions, and even some classes with the dancers being presented.

Free performances include the intriguing Disagreeable Tales by local company The Biting Season, inspired by a collection of Christian morality plays and examining violence, politics, and social dynamics.

The 2018 Vancouver International Dance Festival takes place at locations around Vancouver from March 1-24. Visit for tickets and information.