JULY 5-8, 2018

Celebrate diversity through dance

Also, check out The Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival happening the same weekend.

Showcasing an array of music and dance styles, the InFrinGinG Dance Festival brings together performers from across the world. The goal of this event is to allow artists to share a piece of their culture, whether authentically traditional or infused by their contemporary identities. For festival goers, this is an opportunity to explore and learn about different peoples in a fun and interactive way. This festival hosts various events: theatrical productions, interactive performances and workshops, a film-screening, and mass-choreographed public displays – some indoors, some outdoors; some ticketed, some free.

The Story

The annual dance festival was established successfully in 2010 under the banner of the InFrinGinG Dance Festival (upper and lower case to add a whimsical flare).
Curious to learn more about the name, we asked Holly Bright with the Crimson Coast Dance Society (who hosts the festival), “what is the meaning behind the name ‘The InFrinGinG Dance Festival’?”

Her response:

“It has multiple meanings, like a poem which is like a dance and vice versa.”

“The idea for the name was inspired by the notion of infringing on a theatrical initiative and it also reflected the content. Our early InFrinGinG Dance Festivals focused on very edgy work that pushed audience comfort levels. In 2012 we shifted our focus to highlighting dance by artists who locate their work within their cultural or traditional backgrounds or who fuse that ancestral inspiration with their contemporary voice.”

In the past, the InFrinGinG Dance festival has taken place at different times of the year; today, it takes place on the 2nd weekend in July to coincide with the Dragon Boat Festival. Together, these twin festivals make for a weekend of true awesomeness – three days of live dance and music, dragon boating, food, and crafts.

The Headliners

By highlighting various dance styles, the festival provides an opportunity for participants to learn about the cultures of the very people who live here in Nanaimo, the surrounding area, and further afield.

This year’s festival highlights two incredible must-see indoor shows.

Who are they?

The Sun and The Moon

“Opening night honours Indigenous culture and Snuneymuxw in particular. It features a new work, Thursday, July 5 at the Port, by our artistic director, Holly Bright, The Sun and the Moon. This is based on a story of the same name by Snuneymuxw author, Celestine Aleck. It explains the beauty of the relationship between the Sun and the Moon. There is an original score by Juno award-winning composer, Wayne Lavallee (of Métis ancestry) and video design by Chimerik. Local dance artists, Genevieve Johnson and Nicola Jackson bring their brilliance to the evening work. Also on the program is a short work by emerging and indigenous choreographer, Lisa Deptuck, about reconciliation and dance by Snuneymuxw dancers and song by Foot Prints of the Wolf.”


“A second headline is Kalabanté, a troupe of dance, song and drum artists from Guinea, Saturday, July 7 at the Port! While here they will teach a residency and present a ‘teaser’ performance, Friday, July 6 with participants in the workshop!”

Later on during the festival, watch and listen as they collide with VooDoo Dave at Maffeo Sutton Park for a public performance you don’t want to miss.

How does this festival highlight the uniqueness of Nanaimo?

“Our Friday night show at the White Room features local artists who are creating new work. It is a fun and informal presentation while full of depth and conversation.”

What is the White Room?

“This is the 2nd year we have had the White Room as a venue and highlighted local culture! The experience is more of a laboratory where artists get to put new work in front of an audience, with no to low technical values. Part of the creative process is learning about the audience response viscerally as well as through dialogue. For the audience, they get to experience work-in-process by local creators who they know and love. We will host an Audience to Artist Talk Back session afterward.”

The key performances are as follows: Hum, Lindy’s Hop, and The Colour White.

What about The Colour White?

The Colour White is a film directed and produced by Nabil Sayes who “immigrated as a refugee to Nanaimo about seven months ago.”

“For this evening, he felt most prepared to present one of his films for local audiences and conversation.”

“In his very first short film, Nabil Alsayes tells us about the little Syrian girl Rama who lost all her toys under the rubble! Like many others, she then left Syria without knowing what happened to her family, finding refuge in one of the many camps in a neighbouring country. Rama hides her most valuable things, her dreams and hopes in one small plastic bag that she took along with her from Syria. She always keeps an eye on it, waiting impatiently to return to Syria.”

Outdoor Performances, Workshops, Flash Mobs, and Vendors?

“There are workshops for every outdoor show, so the audience, as a group, can try out these various cultural dance styles. The closing event is a Flash Mob, followed by a Splash Mob at Swy A Lana Lagoon.”

Routines are on the Crimson Coast Dance website.

There are vendors at the outdoor site. There are many options including vegan and culturally diverse menus.

Tickets, registration, and information?

“Visit the Dance Museum Tent to purchase performance tickets, register for workshops, and learn more about the inspirations that underlie the festival performances. Located in Maffeo Sutton Park next to the Nanaimo Dragon Boat information booth.”

There are deals for those who attend 3+ workshops, and if you attend all three classes with Kalabanté, you get an additional special offer. Visit the Dance Museum Tent or Contact the InFrinGinG Dance Festival Coordinators for more details.

The Dance Museum Tent is open Saturday, July 7 & Sunday, July 8 (12:00-5: 00 PM)

Visit www.crimsoncoastdance.org for additional information.

— Written by Curtis Havekotte