John by Helen Walkley. Photo: Chris Randle
John by Helen Walkley. Photo: Chris Randle

2020 Dance Days Rough Cuts

January 31 – February 1

During Dance Days, first launched in 2010, you could participate in free adult dance classes in all kinds of styles offered by local studios; see new professional work in development by Victoria and Vancouver artists; participate in studio discussions and roundtables; and meet and mingle with artists and dance presenters.

This year some of the west coast’s hottest dance artists and choreographers were presented at Metro Studio Theatre as part of Dance Days Rough Cuts followed by a Q&A with the artists following each showing.

Rough Cuts

Friday January 31, 2020
Metro Studio Theatre

John by Helen Walkley. Photo: Chris Randle

John (Excerpt)

Choreographer: Helen Walkley
Performers: Josh Martin, Billy Marchenski
Composer: James Maxwell

John is a memoir of Helen Walkley’s oldest brother John who disappeared from Vancouver in May 1969, never to be heard from again. Walkley sourced from family letters dating from 1959 to 2010, which document the years leading up to his disappearance, his medical history, and the subsequent tracking her parents did of his disappearance. He was 23 at the time and Walkley was 13.

Helen Walkley is a contemporary dance artist in Vancouver who has also lived and worked in the Netherlands, Germany and the U.S. She is a certified Laban Movement Analyst and has an MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies from SFU. Numerous Artist in Residences have supported her work and most recently at Vancouver’s Dance Centre. She has an ongoing collaboration with composer James Maxwell and has performed with improvisation artists Peter Bingham, Lin Snelling and Marc Boivin.

Alexis Fletcher, Andrew Bartee in A+A. Photo: Cindi Wicklund

A + A

Choreographers & Performers: Alexis Fletcher, Andrew Bartee

Having spent years practising their craft with high-level company settings, Alexis and Andrew are compelled by duet work as both creators and viewers of dance. Their relationship is the primary starting place for this work, and they are interested in how structure and relationship inform one another. They spent a month in residency at Dance Victoria Studios in September creating this work and exploring its thematic principles and physical vocabulary. They are interested in the ways their conceptual ideas can be distilled and grounded in their bodies and are dedicated to a durational process to create a rich choreographic landscape. The first incarnation of the piece premiered at the Chutzpah! Festival Vancouver in November 2019.

Alexis Fletcher is a dance artist, independent choreographer and producer, and has danced with Ballet BC for the past 14 years. Since its inception in 2015, she has also co-produced and curated a multidisciplinary, grassroots performance series at her home with her husband Sylvain Senez, entitled The Dance Deck. They present original multi-disciplinary works by established professional artists. Andrew Bartee is a dance artist, maker and educator based in Vancouver and Seattle. He has danced, created and toured nationally and internationally with Ballet BC, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Whim W’him, and Kate Wallich + The YC.

Rough Cuts

Saturday February 1, 2020
Metro Studio Theatre

#MMIW by Lindsay Delaronde. Photo: Elowynn Rose

Red on Red

Choreographer: Visible Bodies Collective
Director & Dramaturge: Jo Leslie
Performers: Lindsay Delaronde, Cheryl Henhawke, Nicole Mandaryk, Elowynn

What happens when four Indigenous women come together in a dance studio? Curiosity brought us to explore Indigenous stories of injustice in the realm of movement. Exploring social justice through arts practice, we co-create a shared vision healing violence through dance, performance and storytelling. We stand together to hold space between the murdered and missing and to the invisible women. We embody the in-between space of life and death and advocate for the ones gone and lost.

Lindsay Delaronde was born and raised on the Kahnawake reservation and has lived on Canada’s west coast for 13 years. She is a multidisciplinary artist and facilitator of traditional workshops and holds a Masters in Fine Arts and in Indigenous Communities Counseling Psychology from the University of Victoria. Indigenous Women’s Performing Arts Collective is a group of Indigenous women that come together to explore dance, movement, and storytelling. Their collective practice is centered in Indigenous worldview, social justice art, land-based and place-based knowledge. The collaborative practice is held by a council of Indigenous women gathering story, igniting the fire of truths and knowledge to be embodied. They gather to heal intergenerational and historical trauma from the impacts of colonization. Through their bodies they liberate, restore, reclaim and resist.

Visible Bodies Movement Collective is an inclusive, transient group of Indigenous women who come from many nations and places across Turtle Island. Our collective practice is centered in Indigenous worldview, social justice, land-based and cultural knowledge. Our collaborative practice is held by a council of Indigenous women gathering stories and igniting the fire of truths to be embodied. We gather to heal our intergenerational and historical trauma from the impacts of colonization. Confronting injustices of violence and social issues is at the heart of the work. Mending past, present and future, weaving story, rhythm and our natural abilities to orate our experiences. We unite to explore dance, movement, and story-telling through our bodies. Our intention is to create a space of resurgence and gain our rightful power and positions in our societies by embracing dance and movement as the medium. Grounding in ancient knowledge, earth sound and sacred movement we embark on a journey of rediscovery. Through our bodies we can liberate, restore, reclaim and resist.

Sujit Vaidya, Arun Mathai in OFF CENTRE. Photo: Paul Elliott

OFF CENTRE (Excerpt)

Choreographer: Sujit Vaidya
Performers: Curtis Andrews, Arun Mathai and Sujit Vaidya

OFF CENTRE reflects upon multiplicities of existence and negotiations to find connections within oneself. Reflecting on the disorientation of immersing himself in the ideas of an ancient art form while living in today’s world as a gay man, Sujit Vaidya creates this work from a deeply personal space.

Sujit Vaidya is an independent Bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance) artist in Vancouver and has performed in Canada, U.S., Europe and India. He uses Bharatanatyam as a language to reimagine traditional texts and contextualize them in ways that are relevant to him as a gay man living in today’s times. He finds it important and urgent to question the narrative and relevance of non-inclusive traditional texts. Vaidya was the first South Asian artist to receive the Vancouver City’s Mayor’s Award for Best Emerging Dance Artist in 2010.

Choreographer Kelly Hobson at Choreo Lab 2019

Clown for Hire and What Remains of Chelsea Jane (Excerpts)

Choreographers: Angela Mousseau and Kelly Hobson

Clown for Hire
Angela Mousseau
Ellie Bishop, Ted Littlemore, Esrael Haile

“I have built a career out of self-deprecating humour and I don’t want to do that anymore. Do you understand what self-deprecation means when it comes from somebody who already exists in the margins? It’s not humility, it’s humiliation. I put myself down in order to speak, in order to seek permission to speak, and I simply will not do that anymore. If that means my comedy career is over, then, so be it.” — Hannah Gadsby, Nanette

Angela Mousseau participated in a two-week Choreographic Lab intensive at Dance Victoria Studios in 2018 with Artistic Directors Justine A. Chambers and Susan Elliott. This is the further development of that work. Mousseau is a 2002 graduate of The University of the Arts in Philadelphia, PA where she majored in modern dance. She is on faculty at Dansko Studios, Boston Dance Collective, Westcoast Performing Arts Academy, the Victoria Academy of Ballet, and resident choreographer of Convergence Contemporary Ballet.

What Remains of Chelsea Jane (Excerpts)
Kelly Hobson
Ana Laura Aranda Garcia, Erick Alexis Aguirre Cisneros, Esrael Haile, Makenzie Svenson, Anna Lawrance, Natsumi Tsuruta, Noah McKimm
Chelsea Jane | Music: Hank Pine

This work is based on the writing of Vancouver Island-based writer Chelsea Jane. Haunting and raw, this is a visceral interpretation of grief in the shadow of the overdose crisis.

Kelly Hobson participated in a two-week Choreographic Lab intensive at Dance Victoria Studios ni 2018 with Artistic Directors Justine A. Chambers and Susan Elliott. This is the further developement of that work. Hobson is a dance artist, choreographer, teacher, actor and musician and the Artistic Director of the Victoria School of Contemporary Dance and founder of Dance Berserker Dance.


Presenters’ Roundtable • McPherson Playhouse
Saturday, February 1, 2020  11:15am | FREE

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo • Royal Theatre
Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Kidd Pivot’s Revisor • Royal Theatre
February 7 + 8, 2020