Vancouver International Dance Festival 2020 resumes online after pandemic interruption in March

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      A Vancouver arts festival that was disrupted early on in the pandemic is gearing up to dance on several months later.

      The Vancouver International Dance Festival (VIDF), coproduced by Kokoro Dance founders Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi, was celebrating its 20th anniversary season, running from March 6 to 28, with performances, dance classes, and more.

      All were being held at various venues around the city when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

      The City of Vancouver closed all of the venues that the VIDF were being staged at—with only eight out of the 31 performances having been presented.

      Responding to the situation, the VIDF either refunded or issued tax receipts (if the tickets became donations) to ticket holders. All of the artists were paid, except for Ichigo-Ichieh New Theatre as director Hiromoto Ida insisted payment be held until after performing Birthday Present for Myself.

      Those performances will be postponed until the 2022 edition of VIDF. All other cancelled artists will perform at future VIDF editions.

      With provincial and federal grants and its own revenue, Kokoro Dance purchased video equipment, lighting, and seating that completed a $1 million, five-and-a-half year demolition and renovation project for its KW Studios that is now a state-of-the-art performance and recording facility.

      Boosted with all of those new technical resources, the festival will resume online with live streaming, starting today (September 23) and continuing until October 24, so that viewers can watch dance performances from the comfort of their own home.

      All performances are free or by donation.

      Three dance acts from Vancouver have opted to have their VIDF 2020 performances live streamed.

      Kokoro Dance’s Reading the Bones, described as an “aleatory performance piece”, draws upon 11 works selected from their repertoire of over 190 dance pieces.

      Four female dancers from different generations perform excerpts from these selections to explore what significance these movement sequences have when taken out of their historical contexts.

      FakeKnot’s glittery solo dance piece Hinkypunk delves into what lies behind the “glamorous facade” involved in the fusion between identity, iconography, and pop culture.

      Meanwhile, the collective Farouche—consisting of dance artists Felicia Lau, Erika Mitsuhashi, and Mahaila Patterson-O’Brien—will perform Here Again a Collection of Three Scores

      While live streaming may not be the same as watching a dance performances at a performance site in person, there are some advantages.

      These performances will be filmed from up to seven different perspectives and offer a range of distances from wide angles to extreme closeups that wouldn’t be seen from one fixed position.

      In addition, the choreography is being adapted for the stage in front of cameras.

      For the full program and registration to view the VIDF 2020 performances, visit the VIDF website.

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