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June 6, 2015

Every year at this time, we get to witness what’s trendy in contemporary dance in this country when the Canada Dance Festival (CDF) presents what’s passionate and inspirational about Canadian dance. Since 1987, the festival has been offering Canadians a snapshot of dance history in the making.

Kaitlin Standeven in Voyager, Photograph by Ömer Yükseker

Kaitlin Standeven in Voyager, Photograph by Ömer Yükseker

The 2015 festival swings into action June 6 at 2 p.m., opening with an Ame Henderson collaboration with singer/songwriter Jennifer Castle called voyager. Nine dancers will present the experimental work about continuous and non-repeating movement, in the Great Hall of the National Gallery of Canada, and it’s free with gallery admission.

Henderson premiered voyager for Toronto Dance Theatre last year. The title is inspired by the two Voyager probes launched by NASA in 1977 to collect and record data, the first of which is now in interstellar space.

For the following seven days, dance artists from Ottawa, Halifax, Toronto, Vancouver and Berlin will present seven new works in various locations, most of them free or pay-what-you-can.

CDF artistic producer Jeanne Holmes explains, “We’re taking work out of the theatre and into spaces like art galleries and front porches. Audiences are invited to engage as watchers, as participants and even as creators!”

Porch View Dances, Photograph by Diana Renelli

Porch View Dances, Photograph by Diana Renelli

Porch View Dances, a work conceived by Toronto’s Karen and Allen Kaeja of Kaeja d’Dance, celebrates neighbourhood stories and engages real people in real time in real spaces. Presented in partnership with WestFest, the piece premieres for the festival in Westboro on June 13 at 2 p.m. It’s an award-winning community engagement event that showcases the hidden talents of local families, many of whom have never danced  before.

Frédérick Gravel, Photograph by Juan Saez

Frédérick Gravel, Photograph by Juan Saez

Frédérick Gravel and his company, Grouped’ArtGravelArtGroup, a prominent new dance voice in Montreal, come to Ottawa for the first time with a performance called Tout se pète la gueule, chérie at the National Arts Centre Studio on Monday, June 8 at 7 p.m. Gravel is a dancer, choreographer, guitarist, singer and lighting designer who likes to challenge the paradigms of the dance field. His dance works focus on physical intensity and raw virtuosity. Tout se pète la gueule, chérie explores the confused contemporary North American man in a way that blends rock concert, trashy party and performance art.

And there’s more: Jerry Longboat of Circadia Indigena in Ottawa and Byron Chief-Moon of Vancouver present Greed – an Indigenous Dance Project; Isabelle Boulanger of Montreal’s La Grand Fente presents Fentes 1 à 3; and Shannon Cooney, a Canadian choreographer based in Berlin, presents every one everyone in partnership with Ottawa Dance Directive (ODD).

For more information and schedule, visit


From → Festival

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