It's hard to come by quality contemporary dance in Canada...or so you thought.
Vancouver's own Arts Umbrella contemporary dance school brings some of the most renowned choreographers from all over the world to our very backyard for their season finale show MOVE.
Consisting of about 90 dancers from Asia, Europe and the United States, the pre-professional graduating class is taking the stage one more time before embarking on their European tour.
"The real intention of the program at Arts Umbrella was to develop an understanding of what the highest level of this profession is," said Artemis Gordon, Artistic Director and leader of the program for over 30 years.
The program gives younger dancers the resources and training to become professional, working dancers in their field, and to delve into what it means to be a contemporary dancer in 2022.
"A contemporary dancer is an artist that is participating in the now," said Gordon. "Sometimes, it's difficult for dance and dance audiences to accept that this is an art form that is evolving and needs to stay relevant."
Contemporary dance in the concert world can be intimidating. Dancers train between 15 and 20 years before they sign a contract to work as part of a company– a common goal for many concert dancers.
And usually, a majority of these esteemed companies are in Europe.
Luckily, over time, the program has worked hard to bring some of the most sought after choreographers from these well-established companies including Vancouver native Crystal Pite, Artistic Director of Kidd Pivot and Marco Goecke, Artistic Director of Staatstheatre Hannover - both associate choreographers with the Nederlands Dance Theatre.
Some of their success stories include alumni Stephanie Noll who will be working with Punchdrunk in the UK for an immersive dance theatre show called The Burnt City.
But despite this, many seats remain empty for their upcoming shows.
"The professional world really knows what we're doing, yet the public here in Vancouver knows nothing about it," says Gordon.
As a non-profit, the school helps fund the program through their arts auction and gala Splash, with MOVE ticket sales going to supporting the tour.
In the future, Gordon strives to make contemporary dance more celebrated by non-dance communities, starting with showcasing MOVE four times in Vancouver between May 19 and 21.
Season Finale: Move
When: May 19-21
Where: Vancouver Playhouse, 600 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2P1
Tickets: $45-50 and can be purchased here.