Vancouver International Dance Festival
Tenth Anniversary of the Vancouver International Dance Festival
We started the VIDF to strategically develop a sustaining audience for dance and to put Vancouver on the international map of dance. Our company, Kokoro Dance, had developed its own audience but its numbers had peaked with the 1,848 people that came to see Sunyata in 1997. Audiences for dance were dwindling after that high water mark. Part of the reason was that there were increasingly infrequent occasions when touring companies would pass through Vancouver. Vancouver audiences and dance artists needed to be stimulated by seeing what the rest of the dance world was doing. We thought an international dance festival would remedy this diminishing interest in our chosen art form, and we thought that it would take no more than a few years to establish the VIDF as a self-sustaining organization. In 2003, however, paid attendance was 1,848 people, the same as our attendance record in 1997, but this was for six companies instead of just us. It seemed that we were sliding backwards. There was also virtually no funding support for the festival. We had started it and paid for it with our own resources and three years later, we had one $7,000 grant from the Department of Canadian Heritage and the rest of the $181,000 in costs still came out of our own pockets.
My wife, Barbara Bourget, and I have constant conversations about keeping the VIDF as it sometimes seems just a drain on our lives. We have made progress, however. Attendance last year was up to 6,364 people and we presented 22 companies. We have more funding for the festival, but it impacts on Kokoro’s resources by over a hundred thousand dollars a year. We remain hopeful.
In the 2010 VIDF that runs from March 12 – 21 at the Roundhouse and Playhouse theatres, we will be presenting dance artists from across Canada, and from Denmark, Taiwan, New Zealand, and the United States. Coinciding with the Paralympic Games, the 2010 VIDF will be part of the 2010 Vancouver Cultural Olympiad. The line-up at the Roundhouse starts March 12 – 13 with Vancouver’s Mascall Dance premiering a work featuring a set by renowned public art sculptor Alan Storey (he did the swinging pendulum in the HSBC building). Come early at 7pm and you can see a 30 minute premiere by Kokoro Dance of a new work called L.S.D. (Love, Sex & Death). On March 16 – 17, butoh fans will appreciate the performance of Denmark’s Kitt Johnson, who promises to undergo a metamorphosis from primordial creature to human. The free 7pm shows those evenings are Vancouver’s Flamenco Rosario and Out Innerspace who each will also address L.S.D. (Love, Sex & Death). Next up on March 18 – 19, is Taiwan’s LAFA & Artists, who are proclaimed as the best new contemporary dance ensemble from that country. The final Roundhouse shows feature Bill Shannon, an extraordinary hip hop dancer who performs on crutches as he has been disabled since childhood. On the same program is work by the renowned Canadian dance icon, Peggy Baker. Preceding those shows, at 7pm on Saturday and 5pm on Sunday, is butoh artist Michael Sakamoto from Los Angeles performing with musician Amy Knoles. At the Playhouse, on March 16 – 17, Toronto Dance Theatre brings their fine assemble of dancers in Artistic Director Christopher House’s Dis/(sol/ve)r— a work, built on the theory of quantum mechanics, that accumulates moving images of profound human relationships. On March 18 – 19, New Zealand’s acclaimed Black Grace brings their Samoan/Maori influenced contemporary dance to the Playhouse stage—highly physical and energetic together with aboriginal spirituality. The Playhouse series ends March 20 – 21 with Ronald K. Brown’s Afro-American Evidence Dance Company that includes a performance of Grace, originally choreographed for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre.
We hope you will help us celebrate our 10th anniversary (and help keep us going) by attending these shows. www.vidf.ca