What to see at this year’s Dancing on the Edge Festival

Karissa Barry performs in Three-Tone, part of Dusk Dances with the 2015 Dancing on the Edge Festival (July 2-11). Robin Toma photography.

Karissa Barry performs in Three-Tone, part of Dusk Dances with the 2015 Dancing on the Edge Festival (July 2-11). Robin Toma photography.

This year, Canada’s longest running dance festival features over 30 dance shows around the city. Free outdoor performances are also part of the 2015 Dancing on the Edge Festival (July 2-11).

Outdoor performances include Dusk Dances at Portside Park, Wreck Beach Butoh, and Fortier Danse from Montreal’s solo performance in secret locations around Granville Island.

Here are four highlights from this year’s Dancing on the Edge Festival. For times and tickets, visit dancingontheedge.org.

Dusk Dances (July 9-11 at Portside Park, 101 E. Waterfront at Main St.) – One of six free outdoor performances, Dusk Dances showcases four dance companies and choreographers: Lua Shayenne and Company and Santee Smith, both from Toronto, as well as Karissa Barry and MascallDance, from Vancouver. MascallDance will present Duck Dances, in which dancers Amber Funk Barton, Jennifer Mascall and Susan McKenzie “create a dance to be performed by an inclusive collection of people regardless of age,” according to the festival program.


Meredith Thompson and Molly Johnson in Kaha:wi, Four Directions, Young Woman’s Dance. Joseph Michael Photography.

Wreck Beach Butoh (July 4-5, Wreck Beach, trailhead #4) – Kokoro Dance celebrates 20 years of dancing on Vancouver’s clothing-optional destination, Wreck Beach, with a new work that references the company’s previous performances. Note: performers (and some audience members) are in the nude.

Misfit Blues (July 2-3, Firehall Arts Centre, 280 E. Cordova St.) – Dance pioneer and festival favourite Paul-AndrĂ© Fortier and dancer Robin Poitras explore the sometimes contradictory world of the modern couple. Their characters are described as “angelic tramps straight out of a Beckett play or burlesque cinema.”

Edge 4 (July 8 & 10, Firehall Arts Centre) – Among the features of the festival are the Edge programs. Each Edge program presents work by a number of contemporary dance companies. All look intriguing: Edge 4 includes work by dumb Instrument Dance and Mocean Dance. The former is a collaboration between choreographer Ziyian Kwan and composer Peggy Lee, and is a response to a flash fiction piece by author PW Bridgman. The Mars Hotel is danced by Ziyian and Noam Gagnon, who are joined on stage by the trio Handmade Blade, with Lee on cello, JP Carter on trumpet, and Aram Bajakian on electric guitar. In the visually arresting Body Abandoned, from Halifax company Mocean Dance, the phenomenon of disembodiment in the digital age is explored in choreography by Sara Coffin.

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