See Vancouver dance at the 2015 PuSh Festival Vancouver

Sequence8©Yann_Boyenval

Sequence 8. Yann Boyenval photo.

Vancouverites will strut their stuff at this year’s PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

The 2015 PuSh kicks off today (Jan. 20) and runs until Feb. 8. The festival has it all – theatre, dance, film and music – from professional performers and companies. However, two special free afternoon performances this Saturday (Jan 24) shine the spotlight on local amateurs as dozens of Vancouverites take part in a special choreographed dance.

The event is called Le Grand Continental, and it’s choreographed by Sylvain Émard. The Montreal-based choreographer typically starts rehearsing eager locals weeks before the performances, and he has brought Le Grand Continental to audiences from Portland to Mexico. The Vancouver performances are at 1 and 4 p.m. on the Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza (649 Cambie St.)

This year’s PuSh also has an impressive roster of international contemporary dance talent, including Montreal’s Sequence 8 troupe (pictured), who add acrobatics and storytelling to their shows. Deborah Myers has written an excellent overview of the festival’s dance component in an article called Dance as a Game Changer at the 2015 PuSh Festival.

Sequence 8 performs with the 2015 PuSh Festival. Yann Boyenval photo.

Sequence 8 performs with the 2015 PuSh Festival Jan 22-24 at the Vancouver Playhouse. Yann Boyenval photo.

On the theatrical end of things, Vancouver actress Anita Majumdar presents her one-woman show The Fish Eyes Trilogy. Majumdar is performing the trilogy in pieces; part 1, Fish Eyes, is on Jan 27 and 29, while Boys With Cars and Let Me Borrow That Top is Jan 28 and 30. Theatregoers can see all three parts Jan 31, and can add an optional in-theatre Indian dinner to the evening. All shows are at The Cultch (1895 Venables St.).

Speaking of dinner-and-a-show, the festival also offers PuSh Feasts, presented with Dine Out Vancouver. This is an opportunity to share a meal with fellow PuSh-goers, including staff and artists, before a performance. There are three such outings this year, including a Jan. 24 combo that includes The Abbey restaurant and Séquence 8.

There’s a whole lot more going on during the nearly-three-week-long festival, including shows for the whole family (Phantasmagoria: Circus of Dreams, The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik) to more adult fare, including shows at Club PuSh. The latter is billed as “the social hub” of the festival and features evening and late-night performances on weekends at Performance Works (1218 Cartwright St.) on Granville Island. Cultural high-rollers can even host a table of five. The table includes a bottle of wine, hors d’oeuvres and dedicated table service for $500. Our recommendation? Vancouver’s Eye of Newt Collective playing a live soundtrack to Ingmar Bergman’s 1968 film Hour of the Wolf Jan. 30.

For more on these and other shows, visit pushfestival.ca.

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