K.I.C. (Kids in Creation) hits the great outdoors at the Harmony Arts Festival
Wielding 19 dancers in a show that spans everything from hip-hop to highly technical contemporary work would normally be enough of a challenge. But choreographer Heather Dotto and her K.I.C. (Kids in Creation) troupe will also be dodging weather and traversing both grass and pavement in the first site-specific dance work ever staged outdoors at the Harmony Arts Festival. The footwear of choice? Sneakers, Dotto reports.
“Most of it’s on the grass, and that limits what we can do on the floor, or the ground per se,” explains Dotto over the phone between rehearsals for K.I.C.’s multidisciplinary show, which will take place around the Ferry Building in West Vancouver. “And some of the turns we’ve had to change—doing those on the grass is not so good for their knees. But the dancers are young and eager, and when I’ve tried to take something out, they’ve said ‘No, we’re going to do it!’”
Dotto, a veteran of troupes like MOVE: the company, will be drawing on choreography she’s created over the past half decade or so, altering it for a 360-degree “stage”. Dotto has also brought in three professionals—Matthew Waldie, Joey Matt, and Ballet B.C. alumna Delphine Leroux—to lead K.I.C.’s troupe of eight- to 16-year-olds.
Expect the varied show to expand beyond dance to spoken parts, too; Dotto, who also has a background in theatre, likes to blend the theatrical into her dance.
“I love a little bit of literal movement and real interaction between people in my work,” she says. “Big choreography is great, but what’s real is a voice, a conversation, or just a look they can give one another—that brings the audience back to reality and they can feel their own experience in that.”
With a two-weekend roster of visual art, music, and more, the festival offers a number of distractions to visitors—and Dotto has designed her show with the knowledge many will come and go in the course of her hourlong performance, unlike at a regular dance production. There should be more than enough to pull in diverse festivalgoers, though, Dotto emphasizes.
“At one point we’re having an eight-year-old coming out and dancing to the Beatles. So with that, hopefully, parents will recognize the song, and kids will see other kids performing and be inspired. And then there are expert dancers and expert choreography for the artists in the audience.”
K.I.C. (Kids in Creation) is at West Vancouver’s Ferry Building from Saturday to Monday (August 4 to 6) and August 10 and 11 at 2 p.m., as part of the Harmony Arts Festival.