DanceHouse’s streaming of Joe provides virtual audiences with an expressive look into Canadian dance

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      Watching a captivating dance performance is a therapeutic activity that many of us could benefit from in the midst of the pandemic. The captivating live art form can bring forward emotions, stimulate memories, and spark meaningful conversations.

      Because the pandemic cancelled all of our plans, we’ve been given plenty of time to devote to our hobbies and personal interests. Instead of spending endless hours scrolling on your phone, how about using this opportunity to learn more about the history of dance in Canada?

      In order to continue bringing dance to Canadians during the pandemic, DanceHouse has partnered with the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and Danse Danse in Montreal. Through this partnership, Digidance was born.

      By combining expertise, experience, and international networks, the four organizations were able to pivot to presenting exceptional dance content online. This allows dance enthusiasts to enjoy the organizations’ extraordinary work from the safety and comfort of their own home. 

      DanceHouse’s next Digidance presentation is a vintage one—an iconic Canadian piece from 1984, which profoundly made its mark on audiences everywhere. Joe, choreographed and produced by the late Jean-Pierre Perreault (1947–2002), presents an image of the human condition through contemporary dance.

      The powerful performance will be streaming to audiences worldwide from March 17 to 23, with tickets available for purchase online.

      Robert Etcheverry

      Perrault was known as one of the most influential and highly regarded contemporary dance artists and choreographers in the country. His passion for design and painting allowed him to flawlessly link the dancers’ movement to the sound, lighting, and set.

      Joe previously toured in Ottawa, Toronto, and Europe but the breathtaking performance never made it to a Vancouver stage. This is because before 2008, Vancouver was not on the pan-Canadian touring map for national and international companies. DanceHouse has since then filled that gap, allowing Vancouverites to attend world class performances without having to board a plane.

      The contemporary dance piece, Joe, is performed by 32 professional dancers wearing work boots, long coats, and hats. The group of talented performers move in a compact mass that individuals occasionally attempt to free themselves to escape a foreordained destiny. Joe was remounted several times, which speaks to the importance of the work as managing a company of 32 dancers is no easy feat.

      This archival and exceedingly influential performance can help virtual attendees deepen their understanding of dance in Canada. Joe has been described as “a work that has become a hallmark of contemporary Canadian dance and a masterpiece for all time,” by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in 1996.

      Though the video in its vintage resolution has aged slightly, the expressive and memorable performance of Joe remains young at heart.

      To purchase a ticket to the virtual performance of Joe,

      For more information on DanceHouse and other upcoming events, visit