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Posted on March 7, 2018 in General
The Yulanda M. Faris Choreographers Program: Victoria and Vancouver

Participants in The Dance Centre’s Yulanda M. Faris Choreographers Program (YFCP) started their 2018 steeped in dance – to say the least. First a visit to Victoria BC for Dance Days where Vanessa Goodman and Daina Ashbee showed works, then back to Vancouver for the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. Vanessa, Daina and Justine A. Chambers share some of their artistic impressions:

Justine A. Chambers

We are now two thirds of the way through the program. Exchanges have occurred at Canada Scene in Ottawa, B-Motion in Bassano del Grappa, Dance In Vancouver in Vancouver, Dance Days in Victoria and PuSh Festival in Vancouver. I say exchange because this has been the way I have navigated the program. I have focused less on accumulation and more on what is shared, what can be shared and what is shareable. 

Dance Days was a unique moment to be with my community. Because I didn’t show work, I had the privilege of being witness to the work of my friends, peers and colleagues. In the spaces between the dances, there was time to be with one another - in hotel rooms, lobby bars, coffee shops, restaurants, walking down the street, in the back seat of cars and ferry rides. It is in these spaces that we gather our thoughts, our feelings, our bodies, our worries and our care for one another. I am always astounded by the hosting capacity of Dance Victoria. Stephen White and Bernard Sauvé prioritize gathering around food in celebration of one another. This value reverberates through the festival.

I have always thought that attending the PuSh Festival in its entirety could be a seasonal full- time job. The volume of work, the scope of performances and the many auxiliary events are both exciting and overwhelming. A cherished moment was lining up in the Faris Lobby to see Daina’s work Pour. A sophisticated queuing choreography was taken up by all present. As we obediently wound our bodies in a square-edged spiral through the space, we were able to see everyone present, greet our friends and acquaintances, and gleefully laugh at the intricate dance we were performing. 

These liminal spaces between locations and events continue to echo through my body. 

Vanessa Goodman:

Rewinding Time: Netherlands, Push Off, Dance Victoria, Dance In Vancouver, Face to Face Ottawa, Brazil.
This short clip is sourced from time spent travelling to and from cities, locations and theatres. I just wanted to say thank you to all the organizations and people who have been making this program possible so far: The Dance Centre and The Faris Family, and, program partners; the NAC, CDF, Face to Face, Dance Victoria, B-Motion, Push and Push Off. I am looking forward to the next legs of this program with Dans Brabant and FTA. I am currently experiencing my first few days in the Netherlands with Dans Brabant who is a most wonderful and generous host for the International Choreographers Week, and soon they will be sharing part of Moving Futures and the Cement Festival with us. So far this program has offered much concerning growth and development. Overall it has been a time for discovery, questioning and sharing. 

Daina Ashbee

For this blog post I wanted to share my space for writing with my friend and colleague, Paige Culley, who was side by side with me for this journey, one of many we have had together in the last few years. The people I work with are a big part of my life as is the work I do. Paige always surprises me as she notices beautiful details throughout her days and has a very unique way of documenting them.

This visit to British Columbia was a special one, a busy one, a quick jump into a rainy world and back. 

I was delighted that Pour was presented in a non-formal setting in Victoria, and pleased with how that brought me back a taste of the development, a revitalized sense of intimacy towards the work.  

I was grateful to speak on the Indigenous Women's Panel. A gift of refocusing. 
What a thrill to present Pour at Scotiabank Dance Centre for the PuSh Festival. Magic days. Magic days full of people. 
Mirna [Zagar, Executive Director of The Dance Centre] thank you for seeing Pour again (and again, and again). 
Vanessa, thank you for dinner, for being in the audience, for staying for the talkback.
Justine, thank you for being in the audience, for staying for the talkback. 

I could go on about all the people and the magic, but I will finish by thanking Dance Days, Steven White and Bernard Sauvé, as well as PUSH Off, Josh Martin and Lisa Gelley for inviting us as the Yulanda Faris Choreographers and for being wonderful hosts. 

A quote from Paige: 

"Time spent on the west coast always feels like a forgotten taste that I really really like.
I’m motivated to move around with so much water in the atmosphere.

Being hosted so warmly by Dance Victoria made the time spent even sweeter. I felt comfy in the format of showing and seeing work, and allowing an intense work such as Pour to hang out in this set-up was nourishing and informative. So often, at least in my experience as a performer, it can feel like the “performance” happens and stays at a bit of a distance from the conversation, or somehow separate from the other elements of the offering. I live for the acts of connection in what I do… this certainly includes the performance, but also, as I’m learning, is greatly informed by audience/stranger/peer feedback. The intimacy and casual nature of the event opened for some truly memorable conversations. Thank you to all who organized and facilitated so graciously.

It was a great lead into presenting Pour at PuSh in Vancouver. This work absolutely carries a lot with it. It demands so much of the audience and of me and of Daina and our team (Sarah and Pierre, plus the host technicians, organizers, as well as the folks working at home in Montreal). There is so much work involved. I felt very cared for… something that is very influential on such an intense work. The feedback was powerful and I am learning and seeing newly each time we present. I appreciated meeting fellow art makers as well as all the folks working so passionately to make the festival what it is. One of the highlights was the closing party at the Fox Cabaret. Thank you to the musicians who made the room and my insides move."

-Paige Culley



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