Dancing on the Edge

Festival of Contemporary Dance

Dancing on the Edge


Get your festival guide!

The Dancing on the Edge guides have hit the streets and are available from the following official guide distributors:

image of guidesThe Firehall Arts Centre  – 280 East Cordova

The Dance Centre – 677 Davie

The Dance Shop – 1089 West Broadway

Duck Feet Dance – 1097 Marine Drive in North Van & 1447 Marine Drive in West Van

Live Love Dancewear – 3200 Westwood St in Port Coquitlam

Your Passport to a Dance Adventure!

Introducing the Dance Passport, your guide to a dance adventure that takes you through to streets, parks & hidden places of Vancouver! Best of all, it’s free and if you explore enough dance frontiers, you’ll earn a free ticket!
See any of the six free/by donation, site-specific shows at the festival & collect stamps along the way.

Dance Passport 3

Dusk Dances – July 9 – 11, 7pm (Portside Park)
15X AT NIGHT by Paul-André Fortier – June 27 – July 11, 10pm (Granville Island)
Steppin’ by Jeanette Kotowich – July 2 + 4, 8:30pm (Firehall Arts Centre Courtyard)
Body Talk by Wen Wei Community Dancers – July 2 + 3, 8:30pm (Firehall Arts Centre Courtyard)
M. Session by OURO Collective – July 10 + 11, 8.15pm (Firehall Arts Centre Courtyard)

Wreck Beach Butoh by Kokoro Dance – July 4, 1:30pm + July 5, 2:10pm (Foot of Trail #4)

SEE SHOWS & Get three stamps from each location and you’ll earn a free ticket! You can grab a Dance Passport and register at any venue to start collecting stamps.

Conditions: You must register with a festival volunteer at the first venue you visit. Passports with three stamps can ONLY be redeemed for a free ticket IN PERSON at the Firehall Arts Centre Box Office (280 East Cordova) and tickets are subject to availability. There is a limited of one passport per person, not transferable.

Annual General Meeting Brunch

What: Notice is hereby given of the Dancing on the Edge Festival Society’s Annual General Meeting.

Where: Firehall Arts Centre (upstairs studio)

280 East Cordova Street, Vancouver, BC

When: Sunday January 18, brunch at 12 noon followed by the meeting at 12:30pm

Join us for the Dancing on the Edge Festival Society’s Annual General Meeting January 18 to recap the wonderful successes of this year’s festival (a 36% jump in attendance!) and look at what is in store for the festival’s 32nd year. And partake in some delicious brunch!

Review: The Body In Question

The Body in Question - Christopher House credit Guntar Kravis 2

The Body in Question – Christopher House. Image Guntar Kravis.

by Sarah Cruickshank

On today’s stages, there’s no shortage of thoughtful and creative works from talented dance artists and creators – original choreographies that pull you in through the sheer magnificence of the movements. With risk-takers all around us, it’s rare to find a work that truly goes against the grain; we often see inventive choreography, but it’s a rare thing to witness original movement, or moreover an unusual intention behind the movement.

The Body In Question, constituting of the two solo works At Once and News, is performed by Toronto Dance Theatre’s Christopher House and choreographed – or perhaps composed by iconic Choreographer Deborah Hay. This is one work that truly achieves the elusive status as unquestionably “original”. As seen at the Firehall Arts Centre last Tuesday evening as part of Dancing on the Edge, The Body In Question manages to be intelligent and communicative while at the same time, mesmerizing.

House first learned this work in Findhorn, Scotland in 2009 where he was a part of the Solo Performance Commissioning Project along with 19 other dancers. Here, House received personalized guidance from Hay on this work, along with strict directions to rehearse these solos everyday for three months without an audience once back on Canadian soil. The result is a masterpiece all his own.

With many hidden concepts alive in this work – among them the juxtaposition between joy and sorrow and the release of movement the moment it leaves the body – it is preferable to analyze this piece on a surface level as a reaction to what you see before you.

While two distinct solos, they both shared very similar characteristics. Executing the movement, House was very much ‘of the moment’, aware of each twist of the arm or flick of the foot as it was happening, as opposed to having a pre-determined intention before the fact. Indecipherable chanting and singing added a blissful dimension to an otherwise silent performance, and awareness from House for the audience and the environment led to some playful moments with the curtains, the stairway, and a squeaky spot on the floor he came across by chance.

Dress shoes added to an otherwise casual outfit in At Once, and a playful kilt in News added an additional layer of intrigue; perhaps the kilt was selected as a nod to the country in which he first learned this work, then again maybe it was an arbitrary selection in an attempt to keep us guessing.

With one more showing, The Body In Question is an original, captivating that dance devotees throughout the city certainly won’t want to miss.

Catch  the final performance of The Body In Question at the Firehall Arts Centre on July 11 at 7pm (TONIGHT!).

* * *

This guest post is written by Sarah Cruickshank, Senior Communications Coordinator at Laura Murray Public Relations.


Join us for these free dialogues about dance at the Firehall during the festival!

Mon July 7, 7pm  Connecting Past & Present: where traditional & contemporary dance meet
Featuring Michelle Olson (Raven Spirit Dance), Starr Muranko, Olivia C Davies, & Maria Simone, rehearsal director for Lara Kramer Danse. A free pre-show talk preceding Lara Kramer’s NGS (“Native Girl Syndrome”). 

Sat July 12, 3 – 5pm – Festivals & Dance
Join artists, audiences and presenters for a conversation about the role of dance festivals in the world of dance. Hosted by Brian Paterson, featuring Joyce Rosario from PuSh Festival,  Mary Louise Albert from Chutzpah! Festival,  Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi from Vancouver International Dance Festival,  and a representative from the Dance Centre.

The Firehall Arts Centre is located at Cordova & Gore. All talkbacks will be in the studio upstairs.

Note, if you are seeing a show at the festival, the first performance of each show will feature a talkback (except Ottawa Dance Directive).

Christopher House will also be holding talkbacks after both his performances.


Call our box office: 604-689-0691.

A Passport to Dance Adventures!

Introducing the Dance Passport, your guide to a dance adventure that takes you through to streets, parks & hidden places of Vancouver! Best of all, it’s free and if you explore enough dance frontiers, you’ll earn a free ticket!
See any of the below free/by donation, site-specific shows & collect stamps along the way:
Dance Passport
Dusk Dances – July 4 – 6, 7pm (Portside Park)
Dance Machine – July 8 – 12, 1.30-5.30pm (Hopbopshop)
Veritas TrUth – July 9 – 11, 12.15 & 1pm (SFU Woodwards Atrium)
Crumbling – July 11, 8.15pm (Firehall Arts Centre Courtyard)
Feast – July 12, 8.15pm (Firehall Arts Centre Courtyard)

Get three stamps and we’ll give you a free ticket! You can grab a Dance Passport at any venue to start collecting stamps.

Conditions: You must register with a festival volunteer at the first venue you visit. Passports with three stamps can ONLY be redeemed for a free ticket IN PERSON at the Firehall Arts Centre Box Office (280 East Cordova) and tickets are subject to availability. There is a limited of one passport per person, not transferable.

Dance conference during the Edge!

SFU conference adWe are excited that the Canadian Society for Dance Studies will be hosting a conference at SFU in downtown Vancouver during the festival this year. Conference participants get a special pass rate for the Edge – ask about it when you register.

For more information check out the Canadian Society for Dance Studies website.

Dancing on the Edge AGM & Community Forum

Monday February 17, 2014
Where: Firehall Arts Centre
280 East Cordova Street
Vancouver, BC  V6A 1L3
Time: 6:30PM
Light refreshments will be served

Following the AGM, please join us for the first in a series of Community Forums focusing on the future of the Dancing on the Edge Festival.

In 2013, Dancing on the Edge celebrated its 25th anniversary.  This anniversary marked a major milestone for the ‘little festival that could’, seeing a history of over 400 different choreographers presented over the years.
Looking forward to its next 25 years, the festival wants to meet with dance community members and dance audiences to discuss and develop a renewed vision for how the festival can continue to contribute to the health and vigor of the Greater Vancouver dance scene.
Over the next year, the Festival will present a series of community forums led by a moderator to discuss issues affecting the Contemporary Dance Community and the Festival. We’ll post updates on the forums as they are announced throughout the year.

Vancouver Sun – Dancing on the Edge at 25

Josh Martin performs at this year's Dancing on the Edge Festival.

Josh Martin performs at this year’s Dancing on the Edge Festival.

Dancing on the Edge Festival

July 4-13 | Firehall Arts Centre, Soctiabank Dance Centre, Portside Park, Gastown and Chinatown

Tickets: $22-28 at dancingontheedge.org/

It bills itself as “the little festival that could,” and on the basis of sheer tenacity alone, Vancouver’s Dancing on the Edge Festival deserves some sort of prize.

An outgrowth of the Firehall Arts Centre, it marks its 25th anniversary this year. It continues to present contemporary dance in the urban crucible of the Downtown Eastside, serving both a neighbourhood and a dance sector undergoing swift transformation.

The festival’s quarter century mark finds the festival both consolidating some of its strengths, and also questioning its future. Founded by Donna Spencer — who remains the festival’s artistic director — and Esther Rausenberg in 1988, Dancing on the Edge was originally designed to give Vancouver dance artists much needed stage time.

Back in 1988 there was no Scotiabank Dance Centre or PuSH Festival.

The Vancouver International Dance Festival didn’t exist, and neither did the Chutzpah! Festival, Dance Allsorts, Dances for a Small Stage or DanceHouse.

Opportunities for local choreographers to showcase their work were few and far between, and the democratization of dance we now take for granted was years away, where artistically hungry artists don’t wait for anyone to give them a break: they make and take their own chances.

In the early days of Dancing on the Edge, the festival was a first-come, first-served free for all.

The quality of dance presented was wildly uneven, but the festival had a raw and crazy energy. Looking back at an early program from 1992, the names on the roster are striking: Lee Su-Feh, Joe Laughlin, Alvin Tolentino, local dance makers whose importance continues all these years later.

As a sidebar, that was also the year that Edmonton’s Brian Webb showed excerpts from his Dreams of Odysseus, a manic turn involving a man in underpants, a side of raw beef and a meat cleaver. It remains the only dance performance I have ever seen in Vancouver which triggered both vocal walkouts during and loud booing after, which it seems to me is the kind of response a festival that prides itself on balancing on the edge should be provoking.

The 2013 festival lineup is both similar to, and different from earlier editions.

Gone are the headliner events by out-of-town companies at the Vancouver Playhouse, although there are two off-site shows at the Scotiabank Dance Centre: The Most Together We’ve Ever Been by Toronto’s Public Recordings, and BAMBOOZLED by MACHiNENOiSY.

But the focus this year is on what the festival has always done best: Small-scale mixed programs at the Firehall, and site-specific work in the neighbourhood.

Artistic director Donna Spencer has seen radical changes in the streets around the Firehall Arts Centre since the festival’s beginnings.

“The neighbourhood has had peaks and valleys,” she says when we meet to chat at the Charles Bar. “Right now we are seeing tremendous private sector investment in the Downtown Eastside, with a surge in mixed use and social purpose condo development. There is a whole new energy, partly triggered by the re-development of Woodward’s and the presence of SFU and a huge number of students.”

Responding to and reflecting this energy, Dancing on the Edge 2013 is heavy on outdoor works in the immediate vicinity. One of its most popular attractions, Dusk Dances, which used to be programmed in Queen Elizabeth Park on the west side, has been re-located to Portside Park (commonly known as Crab Park, at the north end of Main Street just beyond the Alibi Room.)

“It is such a lovely park,” Spencer says, “across the railway tracks and right on the water. The location is perfect, because it is close to the core of the festival and pulls audiences from the neighbourhood.”

Returning as host of Dusk Dances is the side-splitting Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg, for whom the festival has been a valuable venue for showcasing dances in progress, including early sections of her recent full-length work, Highgate. Another outdoor evening event is EN3: Community Circles, in which Vancouver-based Colleen Lanki of TomoeArts will show a series of Japanese inspired dance-theatre pieces at Chinatown’s Night Market.

Not at night, but very much attuned to place, is 25 Gestures for Dancing on the Edge, a bouquet to Dancing on the Edge from Vancouver’s Co. ERASGA Dance. Performed every day of the festival at noon at the Gastown Steam Clock, the piece honours the 25th anniversary in the form of a ritualistic movement prayer performed by choreographer Alvin Erasga Tolentino and Alison Denham.

Another mid-day attraction is wobble tops, in which Sandra Botnen sets in motion two dancers on 15-feet flexible poles in the Atrium at SFU Woodward’s. All site-specific performances are free to the public.

Dancing on the Edge’s mixed programs are grab bags, in which there is always the possibility of a gem or two. They could come from veterans like Karen Jamieson, who will set a solo work on Edmond Kilpatrick, or Jennifer Mascall, who will offer an edition of The Nijinksy Gibber Jazz Club, a unique stew of improvisation and choreography that got its start at the festival way back when.

There’s a new solo work, Leftovers, by Josh Martin; a reprisal of When That I Was choreographed by the late, great Nigel Charnock and performed by Noam Gagnon; and extending a long festival tradition, an excerpt from a new work in progress by Wen Wei Wang, Made in China. This showing launches a two year residency by Wen Wei Dance at the Firehall Arts Centre.

As for the future of the festival, there is a bittersweet quality to Spencer’s reflections.

“When you’re one of the founding people, does it close down when I stop doing it? I want to do a post-festival think-tank with artists this year and ask the question: Is there still a role for the festival? How should it re-shape itself? What I don’t want is for it to go out with a whimper.”

© Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/entertainment/Dancing+Edge/8611809/story.html#ixzz2Zt5Pa1jV

Visiting the Festival? Looking for a Hotel?

Our friends at the Sandman Hotel Vancouver City Centre and Davie Street are
offering patrons visiting the Festival a great discount!

Sandman Hotel Group Logo

Check out their Vancouver City Centre location at 180 w. Georgia St in downtown Vancouver.

Sandman Vancouver City Centre

Situated in the heart of Downtown Vancouver, Sandman Hotel Vancouver City Centre is located directly across the street from both Rogers Arena and BC Place making this the ideal spot for all concerts, sporting events, and everything downtown has to offer.

Looking for something close to the beach with some beautiful scenic views?

Check out the Sandman Suites Vancouver on Davie at 1160 Davie St

Sandman Vancouver – Davie Street

Situated in the picturesque neighbourhood of the West End, Sandman Hotel Vancouver – Davie Street overlooks English Bay, providing breathtaking views of the ocean and mountains. Located close to beaches, the world-famous Stanley Park, and Granville Island, this hotel is the perfect place to combine sightseeing and nature walks.

To check out the great rates at Vancouver City Centre, quote Group Code: #701746
To check out the great rates at Vancouver Davie Street, quote Group Code: #236531


Reservation can be made by calling the hotel directly at 604-681-2211 for Vancouver City Centre & 604-681-7263 for Suites on Davie or the Central reservations at 1-800-sandman.  To take advantage of these great rates, make sure to quote the Group code for your hotel of choice or by quoting DANCING ON THE EDGE when making your reservation.  Please note, a credit card is required to guarantee the reservation.

Individual cancellation: In the event that you or your travelers need to cancel a confirmed reservation, please call the hotel directly at 604-681-2211 for Vancouver City Centre & 604-681-7263 for Suites on Davie or our Central reservations at 1-800-sandman 48 hours prior to arrival date to avoid cancellation fee.


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