Put on your dancing shoes and get ready to boogie your way through Dance Days.
Whether you love to dance or just want to get your toes accustomed to bustin’ a move, the 10-day dance-o-rama fills the bill.
Back for its sixth year Jan. 23 through Feb. 1, Dance Days features free classes in all kinds of styles in studios all over town. Designed to get you moving, Dance Days features free classes for adult beginner, intermediate and professional levels. You can try salsa, swing, belly dance, flamenco or even learn the fundamentals of ballet.
“We’ve had a great response from students who wanted to participate and from the general public as well,” said Stephen White, producer of Dance Victoria. “We have 16 studios participating this year. The visiting ODC Dance will be teaching a professional level modern class and the 605 Collective will be teaching an urban fusion class with lots of hop hop elements.”
In addition to free classes, look for a series called Rough Cuts, free studio showings of new works by local and visiting dance artists Jan. 30 and 31 at Dance Victoria studios, 2750 Quadra St. Among the artists presenting new works-in-progress will be Vancouver’s 605 Collective, Victoria’s Suddenly Dance Theatre, Toronto’s Meagan O’Shea and more. These informal showings introduce you to the artist and include a question period after you see a short section of their new work.
“A year ago we added this series of performances at Metro Studio, largely because I always wanted to bring in works that were done on a smaller scale that wouldn’t work at the Royal – they require intimacy. It’s innovative work on a smaller scale that I feel Victoria audiences should really see and this festival allows us to do that,” said White.
These include Vancouver’s The Biting School. Iranian-Canadian brothers Arash and Aryo Khakpour perform The Righteous Floater, “I was really impressed when I saw it in Vancouver a year-and-a-half ago,” said White. “(They) play with the themes of setting boundaries, emotional and physical boundaries. I felt like it was a fresh take on what we read is happening in the Arab world – it’s funny and devastating. It’s an interesting piece. It challenges a bit.”
Wen Wei Dance in collaboration with Beijing Modern Dance is premiering Made in China, featuring dancers Wen Wei Wang and Gao Yanjinzi (Beijing), the piece includes live music by Qui Xia He (Silk Road Music Ensemble) and video installation by Sammy Chien. “Wen Wei Wang and Gao Yanjinzi give a personal reflection of what it’s like to grow up in China during the cultural revolution. It’s a very personal story with some great moments,” says White. “We’re lucky to have the premiere here.”
A complete Dance Days Guide will be available for pick up in early Jan. at 13 South Island Serious Coffee locations. The calendar of classes will be online Jan. 12.