Thursday, November 23, 2017

Vancouver Dance History (2006-2016): Post 40

The 2017 edition of Dance in Vancouver officially kicked off yesterday, which also means that our Dance Histories Project is now cumulatively launched into the world. Natalie Purschwitz's installation has been on glorious display for a while now, but to this in the Faris studio lobby we've now added our gesture video and sound installation. Even the turn-down trivia for DiV presenters successfully found its way to Holiday Inn hotel staff. And several t-shirters and gesturers were in evidence in the audience yesterday for the roundtable organized by DiV guest curator Adam Hayward on "Why Shrink the World?"

Ostensibly about the idea of working locally but thinking globally (in one's artistic, curatorial and social practice), the roundtable showcased the work of three New Zealand/Aotearoa artists: Jack Gray (also presenting alongside his Native American collaborator Dakota); Julia Harvie; and Claire O'Neil. I very much enjoyed hearing about all of their practices, but the session ran rather long, and there wasn't really much time for any back and forth with the audience. Still, the session, following upon a studio showing by Olivia C. Davies (one of our Dance Histories interviewees), did importantly emphasize the parallel IndigeDiV focus of this year's biennial--a dance and conversation series organized by Raven Spirit Dance that focuses on Indigenous artistic creation and expression on these unceded Coast Salish Territories.

I didn't stick around for the reception following the roundtable, nor for that evening's performance (Wen Wei Wang's Dialogue, which I previously wrote about here). In fact, I won't be attending any of DiV's mainstage performances this year: a combination of other stuff competing for my attention and also waiting too long to purchase tickets that I'd wrongly assumed might be extended our way complimentarily as a result of our Dance Histories work (which is, after all, featured in the DiV program). Not a big deal, as I've seen and written about most of the work before. But it does mean that I won't witness how DiV presenters and audiences experience and interact with our "lobby animation," as it's officially been called.

Nor, for that matter, will Alexa, who beginning tonight will be busy performing in the world premiere of Vanessa Goodman's Wells Hill (which I look forward to seeing Saturday evening). We'll have to rely on Justine to let us know how things go. Indeed, I look forward to the post-DiV debrief. In the meantime, I think this post more or less concludes the on-line documentation of our work on this project. Hard to believe it's been more than two years since we've been working on this (and closer to three for Alexa and Justine). And, of course, it's not finished, nor will it ever be finished. Figuring out where we go from here will almost surely be part of our debrief conversations.


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