Member Spotlight

A monthly series where we shine the spotlight on one of our members.

May 2019: Q&A with Sophia Wolfe
Dance Artist + Artistic Director of F-OR-M Festival Of Recorded Movement

Instagram @maiwolfe / @formvancouver 

Photo/Design by Nita Bowerman

Who is Sophia Wolfe in a sentence?
SW: I am a hapa (Half Japanese, Half European) contemporary dance artist with a growing practice in integrating film and photography with movement. I am also the Artistic Director of F-O-R-M (Festival Of Recorded Movement). 

What was your path to building a career in dance?
I was always a mover. Right from being inside my mother I was dancing. My grandma gave me the middle name 舞 (Mai - pronounced "my"); this kanji represents "dance", so I feel like it has always been a part of me. My path to a professional career sparked when I was a part of a youth training program in Parksville called DanceStreams, which lead me to continue professional training with Modus Operandi. Through Modus, I was able to connect with many dancers and choreographers and I started to shape my dance practice. I also attended summer intensives in Toronto, Vienna and Deltebre. After Modus, I started working with Company 605 as their artistic intern for one season and have gone on to working with other companies and choreographers since. 

Tell us a bit about F-O-R-M Festival Of Recorded Movement
F-O-R-M is a festival that came out of a desire to have a platform in Vancouver/ Canada for youth to screen and create work that showcased dance and movement through film. It came of out the support and encouragement of Josh Martin and Lisa Gelley (Company 605), which at the time, I was just finishing my artistic internship with in 2015. Since the first festival in 2016, it has incorporated into its own non-profit organization called Recorded Movement Society, which aims to develop a larger community, network and awareness of movement on screen artists and audiences across Canada. September 2019 will mark our 4th festival.

What have been some rewarding aspects of the festival?
SW: It has been incredible to see the festival grow from year to year. Every year I am encouraged and reminded of the need and demand for this platform through the many creative applications we receive through our calls for submissions. We have a Commissioning component where we provide grants to youth and emerging artists to create a film for the festival. It is such a privilege for me to be able to read through so many inspiring projects and see their processes from application to final edits on the big screen. Seeing their excitement, smiles and joy at the festival makes all the hard work more than worth it and keeps me fuelled for the next year. It is also exciting to see the films continue to have a post-festival life and to know that their films are being show to audiences around the world through other festivals and screenings. 

How would you describe your values as a dance artist in three words?
SW: Curiosity. Empathy. Sensation 

Do you have any memories of moments or people that have influenced your artistic trajectory?
SW: Josh and Lisa have been a huge support to me over the course of my evolving creative career. They invited me into their creative space even before I finished Modus, and they have since been guiding forces in my artistic trajectory. They gave me space, time and encouragement to continue to build a creative career. My peers have also had a huge influence on my path. The community around me inspire me every day to keep pushing boundaries, creating and sharing our work to the world. 

Do you have any ritual that you carry out each day?
SW: Every morning, before I can eat breakfast, I have to drink a cup of fresh ginger tea that I let boil for 20-30mins. It gets my insides nice and warm and gives me a nice kick of energy before starting the day! 

I am a Dance Centre member because...?
SW: ...
because the Dance Centre continues to be a space where I can keep developing as an artist and allows me to be a part of a growing and inspiring community!

April 2019: Lesley Telford / Inverso Productions
Q&A with Lesley Telford
Instagram: @lesley.telford

Photo by Michael Slobodian

Who is Lesley Telford/Inverso Productions? 
LT: I am a mom, teacher, choreographer, producer and always a dancer, even though I don’t really dance as much anymore! Inverso Productions was started out of the will to create new work in Vancouver combining dance with other mediums, such as the visual arts, text and literature, theatre, film, music and science.

What was your path to building a career in dance? 
LT: I started dancing when I was 5 because my feet were turned in. I dove into ballet (despite the turned-in technique), continued training at École Supérieure de Danse and got my first job with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, many Nutcrackers later. The artistic director of Les Grands, Larry Rhodes, who recently passed away,  brought in choreographers such as Jiri Kylian, Ohad Naharin, Nacho Duato. Being in Montreal connected me to some very exciting voices in dance. I moved to Spain to dance with Nacho Duato and later moved to the Netherlands where I worked with Jiri Kylian, Crystal Pite and many other wonderful artists and felt the urge to begin choreographing.

How would you describe the work you do in three words?
Dynamic. Intellectual. Emotional (in a way that finds mechanisms for emotional states)

What inspires the work you create?
LT: Most of my work deals with human relationships and those hard to define paradoxes we live with. Dance has served to tap into subconscious themes I am dealing with in my own life. It has become the means through which it is possible to communicate on a level beyond words, while also serving as a mode of self reflection. I try to create situations that can propel dancers and spectators into something unpredictable.

Do you have any memories of moments or people that have influenced your artistic trajectory?
LT: When I joined Nederlands Dans Theater, I was lucky enough to create new work with Jiri Kylian. I was in awe of the generosity of his process while working with complexity and clarity. Everyone knew what they were investing every ounce of their energy in and this created magic. Jiri is the master of creating an atmosphere with this balance of freedom and specificity. This is something I continue to strive for in my own practice. Other major influences are Crystal Pite and her extraordinary craft and vision, my daughter Saya who inspires most of my ideas, and Arty Gordon who is a wonderfully supportive friend and mentor.

What are the core values of your practice? 
LT: Respect, intensity and creating an honest and real impulse for why we move in a way the performers can own.

Do you have any particular ritual that you carry out each day? 
Gardening. It reminds me to be patient and wait for seeds to grow! I think it relates to having been a nomad most of my life and these past few years have been the first time in my life I can slowly but steadily grow something!

I am a Dance Centre member because...
LT: The Dance Centre is an extremely supportive institution that is more like a team of invested individuals. They are there to help realize ideas, to connect people and provide support through their programs. I returned to Vancouver about 5 years ago, and The Dance Centre welcomed me openly, introduced me to the community here and offered opportunities to develop my work as a choreographer and director in a place I call home.

March 2019: Kababayang Pilipino
Q&A with Randy Romero
IG: @kababayangpilipino
FB: KababayangPilipino
TW: kpbc

Photo by Leah Villalobos

Tell us a bit about your company Kababayang Pilipino and the work you do?
Founded in 1993, Kababayang Pilipino is a cultural performing arts group dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the Filipino folk heritage through its presentation of dance and music. Conceived for youth, by youth, this vibrant group provides the opportunity for its members to educate themselves and in turn, educate the community at large about the rich history and culture of the Filipino.

What inspires the productions you create?
I am inspired by exploring traditional Filipino folk dance forms in the context of what it means to be a folk dance practitioner in a contemporary world, as a Filipino artist not living in their homeland. I look for ways to connect the past to the present and for the performing artists that I work with find a way to express their cultural identity.

What are that values that are nurtured through traditional Filipino dance?
RR: The values that are nurtured through traditional Filipino dance are:  beauty, group work, connection, family, integrity, joy, passion and love.  

How would you describe your work in three words?
Journey. Energy. Love

Are there many artistic elements that go into traditional Filipino dances: costumes, music, or sets?
We aim to utilize traditional costuming in our presentations, featuring the broad spectrum of dance styles and influences including indigenous Filipino, Arabic-Malayan, Spanish and western vestiges. Our presentations also feature live musical accompaniment performed by our own artists. A lot of our choreography has been developed for a theatrical stage setting.

What do you hope your productions give to the audience?
: As performing artists, we seek to find meaning and truth in our work.  I hope that our performances inspire our audiences to find their own artistic voice and outlet for expression.

We are Dance Centre members because...
It is our home.  We have been lucky to be rehearsing at Scotiabank Dance Centre since 2002. Thank you for your support!

January 2019: Q&A with Jenna Mazur
IG: @jenmaz

Video still from Refract / Jenna Mazur photo

Who is Jenna Mazur in a sentence?
I am an emerging contemporary dance artist with a background in visual arts, digital media and creative writing. 

You’re currently in your 4th year of the Vancouver-based contemporary dance training program Modus Operandi. What drew you to pursue training in contemporary dance and, ultimately, a career as a dance artist?
In high school I received really stellar grades. By graduation I had a full entrance scholarship to UBC, with my intended major being visual arts, but nothing drew me in and challenged me as much as dance did. It was so difficult! I guess that ongoing challenge was a large part of why I chose to commit everything to my dance training. The precarity of it is pretty thrilling... 

What / who are some of your artistic influencers?
So many people in Vancouver inspire me, whether in class, performance or just by being really intriguing personalities. I feel like I’m everyone’s fangirl! Internationally, I’m taken away by Peeping Tom and Eastman/Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui.

What kind of projects have you undertaken as a creator?
Recently, I choreographed a pop up performance for The Dance Centre’s holiday party.  It was a site-specific piece performed by 13 peers. I’ve also created four dance films so far, and really enjoy working with video. The editing process in post-production may be my favourite part; it’s like choreographing the dance all over again.

You once attempted to walk all the streets in downtown Vancouver, taking 9 hours. What prompted this urban exploration, any discoveries made?
I had some free time in the summer and wondered if it would be possible to walk all the streets in one day. This was in part inspired by some group hikes at the Banff Centre’s Creative Gesture residency in August, where we wouldn't talk, but would tune into the environment around us more closely. During my Vancouver walk, I discovered so much, but one thing I really noticed was that people only said hi to each other when it was morning, and on the streets near the beaches... (More info on my walk here:

 How would you describe your philosophy as a dance artist in three words?
Endless learning possibilities.

Do you have any artistic plans for 2019?
This year is going to be really exciting. I have a solo I want to develop, as well as google docs full of sketches for future pieces. I’m curious about what will happen once I’m graduated and have an open schedule for the first time ever. I can’t wait to collaborate with people, and become closer to the community.

I am a Dance Centre member because…
It is a pillar in the dance community. Through classes, performances and events, I’ve gotten to know so many people. And the studio rentals are necessary! 

December 2018: Q&A with Samba Fusion
IG: sambafusion

Photo: Chris Randle

Tell us a bit about Samba Fusion and the work you do?
We are a multicultural dance group since 2009 but our main focus has always been Samba (the traditional dance style from Brazil). All of our dancers come from different dancing backgrounds and add different flavours to the routines, making our choreographies more diverse and unique. We also have weekly Samba classes by Halie Scaletta on Wednesdays 6pm - 7pm and Brazilian Funk with Gustavo Benquere on Thursdays 7pm - 8pm.

How would you describe the spirit of Samba Fusion in three words?
Energy. Passion. Radiance.

What do you hope people take from your classes and performances?
Our goal is to introduce Brazilian culture to Vancouver and Canada, sharing our passion and love through dancing. We would like to inspire our students to grow and be confident with their skills, so they could potentially envision themselves performing with the group in the future. We also hope to captivate our audience and bring them joy, leaving them happy and mesmerized.

What inspires the work you create?
Most of our dancers do lots of research either online or through workshops, bringing new and different flavours to the group. We all strive to increase our skill level to be able to bring new elements to the team. Each individual dancer has their own skills, not only as dancers but also as organizers, choreographers, teachers and costume designers, and it’s important for the group to enhance everyone's best quality so we can keep our group stronger, having everyone do what they do best.  

Do you have any upcoming projects?
We normally perform 2-3 festivals a year, so we will be spending a few months preparing for that as well as rehearsing for our private corporate gigs, Christmas parties, etc. We also perform every weekend at Rio Brazilian Steak House in Downtown and Coquitlam and our intention is to keep it fresh, so we create new choreographies throughout the year to keep our audiences captivated and excited. We will be also be working towards new choreographies for Samba Congress and Samba Queen Competition next year. 

We are a Dance Centre member because…
The studios are a perfect fit for us! It’s accessible, it’s affordable and the staff is very helpful. We are very grateful to be able to rent studios at The Dance Centre. 

November 2018: 
Q&A with Donna Redlick

Photo: Yvonne Chew

What was your path to building a career in dance?
This year marks my 25th anniversary with my company but I have been working as a dance artist for 30 years remaining active teaching, creating, and presenting. The thing that has kept me going has been my curiosity, as well as my intrigue for learning and exploring. I keep researching and asking questions about movement. Trying to answer my own questions keeps me engaged.  

Tell us about your upcoming work Blood from Stone.
DR: Inspired by Vancouver’s historical Blood Alley, I am weaving together stories of the alley’s gory and haunting past with present day lived experiences to create a hybrid-reality that lies somewhere between the real and the imagined. I am interested in how urban space affects us and how the alley acts as a catalyst to explore the darker shadow sides of ourselves.  

What drives you to create and why is it important to you?
DR: I am interested in how the inner landscape of the body bridges out to create ephemeral space.  I am also interested in how we use movement in relation, as a way to communicate. Dance and movement bonds us through the tissues of our skin. I am driven by kinesthetic empathy and how we come to understand ourselves through our bodies in connection to the world around us. 

How would you describe your work in three words? 
DR: Reflective, relational, intangible.

As well as a choreographer you are a Somatic Movement Educator and Certified Laban Movement Analyst. What do you hope your students walk away with after working with you?
DR: I hope that that they walk away feeling as if they have discovered something about themselves through their body and through their movement experience.  Supporting people to remain ‘sensing’ in their body, in order to relate to themselves and others, and the world around them, is important in the work that I do.  

Is there one thing that you feel you must do each day as part of a life practice/ritual?
DR: Everyday I make a date with gravity. I get down on the floor and explore the Bartenieff Fundamentals. This keeps me connected and grounded.  

I am a Dance Centre member because… 
DR: Being a member allows me to belong to a community of like-minded people. I also appreciate the support and the opportunities that the Dance Centre offers for working dance artists. 

October 2018: 
Q&A with Jacky Essombe

Who is Jacky Essombe in a sentence?
JE: A messenger for the joy and healing wisdom of Africa.

Tell us a bit about the work you do.
JE: I love to share my culture in a way that heals, empowers and educates. There are many misconceptions about Africa, and I want to help my Vancouver community experience the Africa that I know, full of joy and beauty. In my culture, dance is for everybody and it is in rhythms that we get to really know each other and feel the invisible connection that unites us, and it is in the circle of dance that we learn to trust and receive each other. I believe in the healing power of community, and the arts inspire us to unleash it fully.

How would you describe your philosophy as a dance artist in three words?
Community. Belonging. Celebration.

What do you hope people take from your classes and performances?
When I teach or perform, my intention is to leave people feeling the Spirit of the Village. I teach how to use the power of community and access joy through rhythm, movement and connection, and I believe that the healing message of Africa can help people in the West. That’s why I always share wisdom teachings, songs, stories, rhythm and dances from my village in Cameroon and beyond.

What inspires the work you create?
My love for my culture and for all people, and my belief in the power of Ubuntu: “we are all bound together in ways that are invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others and caring for those around us.” I have the vision of a world where everybody matters and we all treat each other like family, we value and take care of each other, leaving no one behind.

Do you have any upcoming projects?
JE: I recently created a non-profit organization called African Friendship Society, that promotes friendship and positive cultural identification. Also, on May 16, 2019 I am presenting a new performance as part of the Discover Dance! series with The Dance Centre, where I want the audience to travel across Africa through traditional dances and rhythms, and we will showcase the incredible richness, variety and diversity of our dances.

I am a Dance Centre member because…
I am a Dance Centre member because everybody needs to belong to a community that knows who they are, and that can love and embrace them. I used to be a Dance Centre member when I first started but at the time I didn’t feel that I was being really seen and understood and that there was a space for me, so eventually I stepped away for many years. Now I believe that things have changed and there’s a real commitment to creating a space that is a home to all dances and is truly accessible to cultural diversity, beyond the mere folkloric showcase and beyond just claiming it on paper.  I believe everyone can have a real home here at The Dance Centre.

September 2018: Flamenco Rosario
Q&A with Rosario Ancer

Photo: Tim Matheson

Who is Rosario Ancer in a sentence?
A-force-of-nature-one-of-a-kind (according to my husband Victor)

Tell us a bit about your company Flamenco Rosario.
RA: I want to think that Flamenco Rosario continues to be relevant because of its ability to embrace change and challenges, and in the way our work connects with audiences.  We are fortunate to collaborate with excellent guest choreographers, musicians, lighting and visual designers, and artists of other disciplines. For the last 15 years, we also have been fortunate to host at least two visiting artists from Spain per year, and that has had an impact on the development of our dancers and the way we create our work.

What inspires the work you create?
The desire to connect. Memories. Curiosity. 

Describe your work in three words.
Honest. Personal. Universal. 

Tell us a bit about your Vancouver International Flamenco Festival.
We are committed to present in Vancouver a diverse range of works by international and Canadian artists, from traditional to contemporary and everything in between. Vancouver aficionados know it - the best flamenco and flamenco Artists of Spain are presented to Vancouver audiences by our Festival. The 2018 Festival runs September 21 – 30, 2018 with free workshops and ticketed performances. View schedule

What do you find most rewarding about your life in dance?
The privilege of sharing my love for flamenco though dancing, directing, creating, teaching, mentoring and curating. The gift of connecting and sharing with others. The honor to have introduced so many newcomers to the world of flamenco.

I am a Dance Centre member because…
As a dancer, it is the best place to be. I feel welcomed and a sense of belonging.

August 2018
Q&A with Kirsten Wicklund

Inst / Twitter: @kirstenwicklund 

Photo: Cindi Wicklund Fotografia

Briefly tell us about your career in dance:
: My career began at age 17 when I joined the Washington Ballet Company. I was enthralled by classical ballet! I soon became curious about new ways of moving that perhaps contradicted the classical ideal. I was led towards exploring contemporary dance. I worked on various projects outside of the classical field and eventually chose to plant my feet at Ballet BC where I work with a variety of choreographic voices from around the globe.

What do you enjoy the most about dancing with Ballet BC?
: I enjoy diversity; the frequent number of new works we create, the variation in style, aesthetic, and approach that we explore with different choreographers.  I enjoy so much - the constant rigour and curiosity that I am able to cultivate by being somewhere for a while, staying there and asking myself to show up every single day, with others, to move towards a common goal - making art through dance!

What is your philosophy as a dance artist in three words:
Honesty. Practice. Imagination.

What are your proudest moments in dance?
I think I find proud moments in subtle daily victories. The moments when I am struggling through something physically or mentally challenging and then break through to the other side and see that light, that feeling that makes all the challenge worth it and the moment I reconnect to my gratitude for dance.  That moment makes me proud - my resilience as an artist makes me proud, not a singular performance or achievement. My dedication to process, the never ever giving up.

When not in rehearsal, what do you do in your spare time?
I am a certified and passionate yoga teacher, so I enjoy teaching outside of rehearsal. I love creating on all levels whether it is a yoga sequence, a delicious meal, or a new dance.  I choreograph my own works outside of Ballet BC and aim to collaborate with artists across various disciplines. I love to write, read, watch films and cook meals for my loved ones.

Do you have any upcoming projects?
I am in the process of creating a new work for the upcoming summer performance series “The Dance Deck Six” presented by Casa Om. This is an intimate outdoor performance venue featuring multi-disciplinary works by artists within our community. I am very excited to be researching new ideas and presenting them at this venue!  I hope for it to one day become a larger work, for now it is an exploration. There will be 4 performances on August 18, 19, 25 and 26. Ticket Link, Event Link on FB

I am a Dance Centre member because…
I require a space where I can create, develop, and practice my craft.  The Dance Centre is that space. It houses many different types of creators and is a place in the community where so many diverse artistic practices are explored on a daily basis - I am happy to be one tiny part of that extended community inside of the arts!

Choreography: Kirsten Wicklund; Film Produced by Peter Smida; Dancers: Kirsten Wicklund and Andrew Bartee; Harpist and Sound Design: Elisa Thorn

July 2018: Danse Bloom
Q&A with Founder Valérie Poulin

Tell us a bit about Danse Bloom

VP: Danse Bloom is a youth dance community created to support young dancers in building connections and inspiring one another. In a nutshell, it comes down to collaboration, education and community; that is done both online and in-person. We are curating an event that will use dance as an opportunity to unite diverse topics in raw conversations.

What inspired you to found the company? 
VP: The inspiration for Danse Bloom came from my own life experiences. I lost my connection to dance when I first started my post-secondary education in Communications. Through conversations, I discovered that the challenges I was facing were common amongst people who also used to dance every single day. We were not prepared to balance University with dance and I saw an opportunity to create a hub where we stay grounded by our own dance story.

What is your background in dance? 
I started dancing at an early age and taught jazz, contemporary and ballet for many years. Originally from Quebec, I completed my DEC in Dance at Cégep de Drummondville. I have an AEC in Dance Education and completed the Simonson Method of Teacher Training in New York with Lynn Simonson.

How can someone get involved with Danse Bloom? 
Collaborations are at the centre of Danse Bloom and there are many ways you can have an impact on our community. You can apply to become a Bloom Day speaker, join our online conversations (@dansebloom), or support our community as a partner. You can find more ways to be involved on our website.

How would you describe Danse Bloom’s philosophy in 3 words?
Connection. Inspiration. Education 

Do you have any upcoming projects/events?
Absolutely! Bloom Day is coming to Scotiabank Dance Centre on November 3. With technology as an integral part of this event, we have created a unique day dedicated to young dancers (13+). Our Bloomies will be immersed in the Danse Bloom experience – finding inspiration in our powerful speaker series and hands-on experience through diverse workshops.

I am a Dance Centre member because …
Since I was new to Vancouver, it was very important for me to join the local dance community. Danse Bloom shares common values with The Dance Centre and I knew it was the right fit. I feel supported as a member and I am excited to create collaborations with other passionate people.

June 2018: Ne. Sans
Q&A with Idan Cohen

Who is Idan Cohen in a sentence?
IC: An opera and dance lover, wishing to look at the world with compassion, and even more so — with passion.

Tell us a bit about your career in dance
My artistic journey started as a child being a classical pianist prodigy. I started dancing when I was 18 years old and by the time I was 20, I joined the world-renowned Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, where I danced for seven seasons. I founded Idan Cohen Dance Company in Tel Aviv (2005), and in 2017, established Vancouver-based company Ne. Sans.

What inspires the work you create?
In recent years, I've developed a real fascination with opera, and in fusing opera with contemporary dance. My MA thesis at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance was focused on Body perception in Baroque Opera. The intersection of giving classical culture a contemporary interpretation that relates to its history and to its core values fascinates me.

How would you describe your work in 3 words?
Colorful. Passionate. Sensitive. 

What projects are you currently working on?
IC: I recently opened the Vancouver-based Ne. Sans: A home for research and creation of work that asks to deepen and re-connect Opera and contemporary dance. Ne. Sans’ first project is a research of the mythical story of Orpheus, through the opera 'Orfeo ed Euridice' by C. W. Gluck.

I am a Dance Centre member because …
IC: Ne. Sans’ ambition is to create and produce work that strengthens the community by making it more diverse by being thought provoking and artistically challenging. To me, both Opera and Dance are like classical, ancient cities, and cities needs habitats … These old entities need to be preserved but also re- modeled, modernized, inflicted with life. At Ne. Sans we strive to strengthen the connections between these cities, widen our knowledge of these two art forms in order to create what we see as a natural hybridization of two wonderful worlds. The Dance Centre is the perfect place to do so.

Q&A with Co-founder Judy Madarasz (Queen Vybz)  

Photo: Mikhail Morris (Venom) /Judy Madarasz (Queen Vybz)

Tell us about your company KETCH DI VYBZ:
JM: KETCH DI VYBZ is full service and diversified production company that produces Dancehall Theatre productions, lectures and courses, performances, events, films, photos, and dance classes to teach lessons on culture, humanity, and justice. Our focus is on the culture and dances of the African Diaspora and specifically Jamaica.

How did KETCH DI VYBZ come to be?
JM: KETCH DI VYBZ Production Company is directed by Mikhail Morris and myself. It started as a film project on Jamaican Dancehall dance and culture in 2015. Eventually, we decided that we could offer much more to the world of dance and for the next generation of youth by creating meaningful and impactful work. Ultimately, KDV came to be from our mutual passion for sharing dances from Jamaican and African culture and creating exciting opportunities and experiences for communities. We feel that Vancouver needs more opportunities to learn about these cultures and we want to help fill that void.

What kind of activities do you offer?
We offer entertainment performances, choreography for film/video and stage, Dancehall Theatre productions, dance training, event production, hosting international guest artists, producing films, photography, and university courses on Jamaican Dancehall history and culture. We also offer a diverse range of dance classes in all Dancehall Styles, Dancehall Queen Style/Female Style Dancehall, Traditional West African Dance, Afrobeats, Afro-Dancehall Fusion, Twerk and Whining. 

What do you hope dancers take away from your classes?
JM: We want our students to feel empowered and to help them continue to immerse themselves in Jamaican and African culture through dance.

What’s coming up for KETCH DI VYBZ?
JM: We just completed our 2nd independently produced Dancehall Theatre Production this past month to packed houses; it was a very successful show that took us a year to produce and six months to create and train the dancers. This May we're hosting international guest artist MELO in an AFRO WEEKEND INTENSIVE where he'll be teaching Afrobeats, Afro House, Pantsula and more (visit our website and register asap!). Ultimately, up next is for us is to keep growing and sharing culture in bigger ways then we have ever done. We have a lot of plans in store and we can't wait to share them! To get connected and involved email KETCH DI VYBZ at

We’re members of The Dance Centre because…
We are members of The Dance Centre because we need a space to offer our dance classes + host our Dancehall Theatre show in the heart of Downtown, Vancouver. 

April 2018: Anderson Performance Clinic
Q&A with Physiotherapist / Mental Performance Coach Stuart Anderson

What makes Anderson Performance Clinic unique?
The Anderson Performance Clinic (APC) is designed to bring knowledge developed from years of working with elite performers to anyone interested in learning and applying it. We have so much experience working specifically with some of the very best dancers and elite athletes in the world, and we offer a very integrated, in-house approach to optimizing our clients’ health and performance. We often start with ‘Screening’ — a detailed musculo-skeletal exam and movement assessment. We can then provide a combination of manual therapy (osteopathy, physiotherapy, massage therapy), MS/NFDN (dry needling), mental performance coaching, rehab and conditioning, gait analysis, etc… — all specific to dance, and all under one roof!

What is your background and what led you to opening Anderson Performance Clinic?
I opened the clinic because I understand the culture of dance and dancer’s needs, and am passionate about helping them. In 2013, I had been touring with Cirque Du Soleil, and The Dance Centre asked if I was interested in the space. I have been working with professional and pre-professional dancers as a Physiotherapist since 2001 – including The Royal Ballet, Ballet BC, Stuttgart Ballet, BRB, Arts Umbrella, BJM, Goh Ballet and many others. I developed the Body Conditioning Program and BTECH academic component for Health at the Royal Ballet School. I also have a Masters of Science in Performance Psychology, and this year the Royal Ballet asked me to provide more curriculum for a new degree program in this subject. My passion for teaching has led me to work with many dance schools and Universities, and to offer workshops through APC.

What is one of the most common injuries/issues dancers come to your clinic for?
There are so many — but would say that the most common are ankle tendinopathies and hip issues. Dancers have some very particular considerations from a clinical standpoint — many are hyper-mobile, and growing bodies also complicates differential diagnosis. It’s so important to understand how your physical status and dance training may increase the risk of injury resulting from increased hours of dance — this is what Screening is for. Experienced dancers are often battling chronic issues that could have been prevented or minimized with experienced clinic input earlier. That’s what we do.

How would you describe your practice philosophy in 3 words?
Empower. Integrate. Optimize.

What kind of workshops do you offer the community? 
We offer workshops regularly throughout the year on various topics such as: Principles of Performance Psychology (mental performance skills and related tools), Injury Prevention and Management, Stretching and Strengthening for Dancers, Nutrition for Health and Healing, etc. — the list is long! We provide these services ourselves which really makes for fantastic integration for our clients. The next event is a Taping Workshop on April 12 … and it’s free to Dance Centre members! Check our Facebook page for details.

I am a dance Centre member because…
I love dance as an art form and the amazing community of gritty, resilient, soulful characters that form the heart of it. I deeply value what they do for our society, and it brings me a lot of joy to know the role myself and APC play within it. Whatever your skills, knowledge, or goals may be — we look forward to helping you achieve. The Dance Centre provides a hub for all of this — it’s deeply inspiring place work every day. For more information:

March 2018
Q&A with Jessica McMann

Urban Shaman Gallery, Winnipeg, MB

Who is Jessica McMann in a sentence?
I am a queer Indigenous Cree/Sioux two-spirit musician, dancer, artist. 

How did you get involved in dance?
JM: I started dancing when I was in Grade 10.  My Mother brought me and my sister to a culture class in order to reconnect with our culture as we are adopted.  I fell in love with hoop dance as well as all the other powwow styles.  It was not until I was 21-ish that I started getting into Contemporary dance.  I attended a Raven Spirit Dance training in 2008 or 2009 and I have been working hard ever since.

 You are both a musician and dance artist - tell us a bit about your arts practice?
I am a classical musician, as well as a hoop dancer and contemporary dancer.  I teach quite a bit in schools in Calgary.  I teach powwow and hoop dance residencies and workshops, so that keeps me busy for 3 months of the year, and the summers I like to go on the powwow trail, and work.  I split my time between Vancouver and Calgary. I am currently working on creating my own music for my solo dance works. Last year before I started graduate school I played in two orchestras and a variety of chamber groups as well.

What informs the work you create?
JM: I am informed by Blackfoot and Cree language, queer, and Indigenous identity. The importance of languages, expression and how the musicality of the language can lend itself to movement are concepts I aim to explore.  I work with community-based performers to create larger works, as I believe that dance and music should be accessible and performed by all bodies and identities.  I push the boundaries of traditional powwow and hoop dance to create a contemporary art style of dance.

How would you describe your practice in 3 words?
JM: Relationality embodying indigeneity

What are you working on this season?
This season I am working on a project with my husband, a Kainai Artist and Animator.  This project is a full-length work that is based in research around Blackfoot ways of being. Nimihitowin! is a family/youth performance that gets programmed every year for a variety of events, and I am always excited to travel with it.  Aside from school, I am also working on a CD project as well. 

I am a Dance Centre member because…
JM: I love supporting the dance community, and I love the fact that The Dance Centre supports all levels of dancers, from all styles. 

February 2018 
Q&A with Oscar Nieto 


Tell us a bit about your career as a Flamenco dancer. 
I started studying dance in LA when I was 14, learning Mexican folk dances and then later Spanish dance, and eventually flamenco. I founded my troupe Mosaico de Danzas in ‘71 but after returning from my first visit to Spain in ‘74 with the ‘flamenco bug’, changed the name to Mozaico Flamenco. I started experimenting fusing flamenco music with Latin music and rhythms, and was one of the first to incorporate a conga player into my troupe. It’s funny when I look back­­­––how much flak I got for using a congero in a flamenco group. These days there’s no limit to what types of instruments are played in a Flamenco Group.

What kinds of classes do you offer the dance community? 
ON: I offer general classes from introduction to advanced and private coaching classes. I also teach cante classes in which flamenco dance students learn about the structure of the song forms in flamenco, and how to properly incorporate the dance movements to fit the flow of the songs. In flamenco dance, there is interplay between the guitarist, singer and dancer. When the dancer is leading, the music follows; when the singer is singing, everybody follows. However, it is much more complex than that. That’s why it takes so many years to master this art form!

What do you hope your students go away with after one of your classes?
ON: A better fundamental understanding of why flamenco is danced in a particular way, and that you don’t have to be a world-class dancer to interpret flamenco well; you can enjoy participating as an aficionado; in order to do that, students of flamenco music, song and dance must learn about the cante and rhythms.

How would you describe your teaching philosophy in 3 words?
Cognitive. Awareness. Learning.

If you weren’t in dance, what career path would you have chosen?
I can’t think of anything because dance has always been what I’ve wanted to do, even from a very young age.

I am a Dance Centre member because…
ON: It’s always been a place to go to for advice and help. When it was established in 1986, I had already been here 3 years and didn’t know of any place to go to for advice. The organization and the people involved were very open to the type of dance that I was doing. I never felt marginalized because I was doing what at that time was known as “ethnic dance.”

January 2018: Training Society of Vancouver (TSV)
Q&A with the TSV Board

Photo by Yvonne Chew

Tell us a bit about the Training Society of Vancouver?
You could go to our (newly revamped) website to read about TSV and our mission, but basically, we are a group of dancers that get together to plan and organize ongoing training opportunities for the contemporary dance community, run under the program ‘Working Class’. We do this with support from The Dance Centre. We love dance! 

How often does Working Class run and what can dancers expect?
Working Class is our main training program, running Mon/Wed/Fri from 10-11:30am at Scotiabank Dance Centre, and offers classes taught by a rotating roster of local dance artists. It’s $12 to drop-in and is open to emerging and professional dancers. Our doors are almost always open for public viewing. We also offer “special deliveries”, training opportunities that fall outside of our regular programming. These pop up at various times and days throughout the season. We also give out six training scholarships per season.

What is the role of TSV in the community?
We hope our program offers varied and financially accessible training opportunities for the Vancouver dance community and artists visiting the city. We work very hard to be inclusive and democratic in our programming, and to offer multiple training methods for the contemporary training body. We adjusted our mandate, which revolved around “contemporary dance training“,  to a focus a diversity of training for the contemporary body.

What’s TSV’s Mandate in three words? 
Body. Movement. Practice.

What are some exciting classes or masterclasses to look forward to this year?
So far this season, we have had numerous exciting partnerships. In November, we partnered with plastic orchid factory to present a week of Gaga Classes for both dancers and people. In February, we look forward to reigniting our partnership with DanceHouse for three master classes during their season performances! Because we try to remain flexible to opportunities, folks should stay tuned to our website for any upcoming opportunities we don’t yet know about. Many artists pass through Vancouver and we are always keen to facilitate a master class or series of classes whenever we can. Sometimes these pop up with a lot of advanced notice, other times less.

We are a Dance Centre member because...
It’s a vibrant hub for dance in Vancouver that operates a beautiful facility to run our classes and where we can be a part of and connect with the community.

December 2017: All That Jazz / Shine Dance Festival
Q&A with Tamara Thompson Levi

What is All That Jazz in a sentence?
All That Jazz is mostly Shine Dance Festival - events that educate and inspire the next generation of dancers AND, when time permits, dabbling in other random projects involving dance and dance education.

What is your role with the company?
TTL: Founder, director.

Tell us about your background in dance?
TTL: I’ve gone from competitive dancer, to professional performer and choreographer, to dance educator and event producer.  Select Credits: The Nutcracker w/ Alberta Ballet, Festival Cruise Line, New Balance, Calvin Klein, MAC Cosmetics, Toni & Guy, Charlottetown Festival, Music Videos, TV & Film, Gaga Dancers, Capilano University Musical Theatre Faculty. 

What was the inspiration for creating the company?
TTL: To provide a holistic and educational experience for young dancers focused on personal and artistic development as well as community.

Describe your company in 3 words:
TTL: Progressive. Inclusive. Community.

What projects do you have coming up this season?
TTL: Our 13th season of annual Shine Dance Festival events happens this spring with events in North Vancouver, Mission, Vernon and Penticton.  We also have some new training based programs in the works for fall of 2018.

I’m a Dance Centre member because…
TTL: It is the perfect place to connect with the dance community, to see, hear and feel its pulse and be part of its continued evolution.

October 2017: Mutable Subject
Q&A with Deanna Peters  

Photo by Yvonne Chew

Who is Deanna Peter/Mutable Subject in a sentence?
It's all dance.

What motivated you to start Mutable Subject?
I needed a moniker for the shows and events I'd been self- and co-producing since early on in my career. I also like having a few different nicknames. Blare is another one of them. And, Deanna Peters Dance never sounded right.

What inspires the dance work you create?
Moving, movement, people, bodies, learning what bodies can do, experiencing my body moving, nature, things, abstraction, psychedelia, theory, music.

Describe your company in 3 words:
Not a company.

What projects do you have coming up this season?
As winner of the Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Award, with fellow performers Justine A. Chambers and Kim Sato, I'm presenting META at Scotiabank Dance Centre Oct 27+28 – my first single-billed show in Vancouver! There will be pre-shows and socials too. I'm collaborating with some intensely fabulous