Announcing 11 Artist Residencies for the 2021/22 Season
Today Dance Victoria announced that it has been able to provide financial assistance and studio access for eleven (11) residencies in its upcoming season. In the spring of 2021, dance artists from around the province were invited to submit proposals for a residency at Dance Victoria Studios (in the heart of Quadra Village). From 23 submitted, Producer Stephen White and General Manager Bernard Sauvé selected eleven for support.
“There were actually many more that we had hoped to include in our program, but we were limited by studio availability and resources. That said, we are very excited to welcome a rich and diverse group of artists to our studios.”
Visiting artists from the mainland have been offered one- or two-week intensive residencies, whereas local Victoria-based artists have the luxury of extending their residency over several months, returning to the studios for a few hours every week. A summary of all 11 projects are listed below:
- Vancouver-based Jennifer Aoki is a fourth-generation Japanese-Canadian whose grandmother was a victim of internment and dispossession during the Second World War. Aoki will spend two weeks at Dance Victoria Studios in June/July 2022. Her primary research has been around Canada’s first Japanese Garden and Teahouse, located in Esquimalt Gorge Park that was looted, vandalized, and destroyed after Canada’s Japanese population was gathered up in 1942 and forced into camps in BC’s interior. Aoki will work with University of Victoria’s Landscapes of Injustice research project.
- Well known to Victoria audiences from past residencies, showings and performances, former Ballet BC dancer Alexis Fletcher is teaming with contemporary (improv dancer) Arash Khakpour to develop a work based on poems by beloved Persian poet Farrough Farrokhzad (1934 – 1967). Fletcher and Khakpour will be in residence for two weeks in the spring/summer of 2022.
- Local dancer Kayla Henry will use her recent experience with cancer to build a duet that is reflective of the emotional journey she experienced before finding balance. Victoria-based dancers Branwyn Bundon and Alia Saurini will participate in the residency but ultimately, Henry plans to perform the piece with Vancouver’s Arash Khakpour. Local dance artist, Constance Cooke will act as the dramaturg/outside eye on this piece.
- Kiera Shaw (who works with Dance Victoria as its Administrative Assistant) will be reunited with her long-time collaborator Sophie Dow to continue their research on a work that will eventually be set on five dancers. During their residency, Shaw and Dow plan to involve locals in an experiential movement workshop.
- Local dancer, instructor, and choreographer Treena Stubel will direct Ghanian-Canadian Sabur Abdulai in a piece called Bamaya – a traditional West African dance created by the Dagomba women in the early 19th century to celebrate the coronation of their king and the return of the rains in their drought-stricken region. Stubel and Abdulai plan to develop a full-length piece with text, dance and drum for a studio showing in spring 2022.
- Dance Victoria has given “carte blanche” to Vancouver-based, Ballet BC dancers/artists Kirsten Wicklund and Peter Smida to continue the development of any one of three or four current projects. Both were part of a residency at Dance Victoria in 2020 that became a widely shared and critically acclaimed dance film.
- Filipino-Canadian dance artist Ralph Escamillan will spend a week in residence during Dance Days (January 2022) as he continues to build his newest, large-scale piece entitled Piña. In the fall of 2020, Escamillan received a $10,000 Chrystal Dance Prize award to support the early development of this project. Escamillan will reach out to the local Filipino population in Greater Victoria to involve them in his process.
- Kemi Craig, a Victoria-based performance artist of African descent has been working with film and movement during her 2020/21 residency. Dance Victoria will extend her access to its studios and provide support for her interest in filmmaking in its newly upgraded Vernon Studio now equipped as a film studio.
- Former Ballet BC dancers Racheal Prince and Brandon Lee Alley will spend a week in late September/early October working on a collaboration with a certified ASL interpreter, making movement that integrates signing and storytelling.
- Visible Bodies is an Indigenous performance collective, led by Lindsay Delaronde that has been in residence at Dance Victoria Studios since 2018. The group continues to build performance skills with mentors brought into their process. Only recently, Visible Bodies has started making pieces for performance. Dance Victoria has welcomed the group back to its studios in 2021/22.
- Contemporary dance artist Amber Downie-Back‘s work, MUTATION (working title), will explore pushing dance in collaborative contexts with music and video art, blurring the lines between audience and performer.