5 Must-See Performances at the Vancouver International Dance Festival 2013, March 2-23

Photo credit: Derek Dix, courtesy of Vancouver International Dance Festival

Photo credit: Derek Dix, courtesy of Vancouver International Dance Festival

Every spring, some of the world’s best contemporary dancers descend on Vancouver for a citywide tribute to movement, rhythm and grace.

The Vancouver International Dance Festival celebrates its 13th year this March 2-March 23, with a lineup of dance artists from Canada and as far as New Zealand, Switzerland and Denmark.  Styles showcased span the globe – from Japanese butoh to Gitxsan First Nations dancing.

The three-week long festival is held at venues across the city.  The Vancouver Playhouse and Scotiabank Dance Centre host the biggest name performances.  Meanwhile, more intimate shows are staged inside the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre in Yaletown.  There are also nearly a dozen free shows (or nearly free, requiring just a $3 dance festival membership) at the Roundhouse, Woodwards Atrium and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Here’s a peek at five must-see performances at this year’s Vancouver International Dance Festival:

Black Grace: Mixed Repertoire - This New Zealand company fuses traditional Pacific island dancing with contemporary dance in dynamic shows marked by explosive rhythms and passion.  They were a hit during the 2010 season and return this year to perform a mixed repertoire of their best works.  March 12-March 13, 8 p.m.; Vancouver Playhouse. Tickets $65. 

Margie Gillis: The Light Between - Montreal dance icon Margie Gillis offers the world premiere of a performance that is 25 years in the making.  The Light Between explores a quarter-century dialogue between choreographer Gillis and painter/sculptor Randal Newman.  March 16, 8 p.m.; Vancouver Playhouse.  Tickets $65. 

Photo credit: Michael Slobodian, courtesy of Vancouver International Dance Festival

Photo credit: Michael Slobodian, courtesy of Vancouver International Dance Festival

Joe Ink: Retrospective - Renowned Vancouver choreographer Joe Laughlin offers a retrospective of 25 years of his quirky, lyrical and imaginative dance.  Harry, Billy, Stan and Jack (1997) is an athletic work about masculinity, set to a film noir soundtrack.  Left (2003) looks at a man coming to terms with his life while dancing with a teacup.  And Dusk (2011) is an elegiac work exploring the appearance of night and disappearance of light.  March 6-March 9, 8 p.m.; Scotiabank Dance Centre.  Tickets $35. 

Dancers of Damelahamid: Luu Hlotixw - This First Nations Gitxsan dance company from British Columbia’s Northwest Coast has spent more than four decades resurrecting and revitalizing ancient dance forms.  In Luu Hlotitxw: Spirit Transforming, they look at what defines the Aboriginal experience and the journey of rebirth.  March 14-March 16, 7 p.m.; The Roundhouse.  

Compaigni V’Ni Dansi: Daughter of the CountryThis Vancouver company fuses traditional Metis dance with more contemporary forms.  In Daughters of the Country, they explore a time of peace and joy during the decade prior to the Saskatchewan resistance of Metis leaders Madeleine and Gabriel Dumont.  March 9 and March 23, time TBA; The Roundhouse Turntable Plaza; free.  

Any more can’t-miss performances at the Vancouver International Dance Festival?  Let us know below.  

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