Dancing Resilience: Dance Studies and Activism in a Global Age

2022 Annual Conference of the Dance Studies Association
October 12 – 16, 2022
Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront (1133 West Hastings) & SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (149 West Hastings)

The 2022 conference of the Dance Studies Association, an international organization of dance scholars, educators, and artists, is coming to Vancouver, with the School for the Contemporary Arts as local institutional host. Postponed from 2020, the first DSA gathering in Canada will explore dance and activism in localized and transcultural settings, and share strategies for productive change on the stage, street, screen and within the academy. Vancouver has long been a site of occupation, exchange, defiance, and resilience. From time immemorial, it has been a location of trade and traversal across coastal Indigenous communities of the Pacific and, in more recent centuries, a place where diverse cultures from across the world have encountered each other and interacted through colonial pathways and settlement. In the same way that Vancouver serves as a powerful and complex example of both vexing histories and determined hope, participants will demonstrate how dance intervenes in a range of issues, including race relations, gender-related rights, and land disputes. We will share the frameworks of dancing and dance scholarship that provide space for optimism, activism, and social movement.

SCA professor Peter Dickinson is one of the co-organizers of the conference, working alongside Allana Lindgren (University of Victoria) and Hari Krishnan (Wesleyan University) to program a range of plenary lectures, paper presentations, roundtable gatherings, workshops, and lecture-demonstrations. In addition, there are two evening performances of Matriarchs Uprising in the Wong Theatre featuring works by Dancers of Damelahamid and Raven Spirit Dance, screenings of dance films in the Cinema, and an exhibition on Black dance in Canada opening in the Audain Gallery.

Events take place between the Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront (1133 West Hastings) and SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts from Wednesday, October 12 to Sunday, October 16, 2022.

Registration is required to attend most conference sessions: Register here.

Click here for an at-a-glance PDF of the full conference program.

Several events taking place in SFU's Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, many of them featuring SCA faculty, students, and alumni, are free and open to the public. Special student tickets are also available for the Matriarchs Uprising performances on October 14 and 15. Scroll down for a complete list of public programming in our building over the five days of the conference.

Conference Sponsors and Partners

School for the Contemporary Arts; Faculty of Communication, Art, and Technology; SFU’s Office of the Vice President Conference Fund; Dance Studies Association; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; Dance Canada Danse; SFU Galleries; the McGrane-Pearson Endowment (held at Vancouver Foundation) and Ken Gracie and Philip Waddell

Special Thanks

Salome Nieto and Polina Olshevska (research assistants); Miles Lavkulich, Justine Crawford, Dylan Walmsley, Janelle Wong-Moon, and everyone at Goldcorp Production and Event Services; Gillian Hanemayer; Brady Cranfield; Rob Kitsos, Marla Eist, and colleagues in the Dance Area; Stefan Smulovitz; Elspeth Pratt; Spakwus Slolem; and the Tsleil-Waututh Warriors.

Decolonizing Dance Pedagogy in Canada Pre-Conference Symposium
Wednesday, October 12, 2022 | 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
World Art Centre: Room 2555 - SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

This one-day hybrid pre-conference symposium will bring together established and emerging Canadian and international dance scholars, artists, and students to begin a discussion on contemporary dance pedagogy in this country. Using the opportunity of DSA's first gathering in Canada, and heeding the Call to Action in Article 62.ii of the Truth and Reconciliation Report to decolonize and Indigenize university education, we are asking what a comparative analysis of Canadian postsecondary contemporary dance programs can tell us about the ways in which their training reaffirms colonial frameworks. Additionally, we are seeking to share strategies (both epistemological and infrastructural) from colleagues in this country and beyond on how our respective institutions might decolonize and diversify their programs and curricula in a manner that reflects both the cultural diversity of our students and the professional dance contexts into which they will be graduating.

Featured speakers include: Anurima Banerji, UCLA; Seika Boye, University of Toronto; Mique’l Dangeli, University of the Fraser Valley; Henry Daniel, SFU; Evadne Kelly, York University; Zab Maboungou, Compagnie Danse Nyata-Nyata; Graham McConagle, University of Victoria; Royona Mitra, Brunel University; Michèle Moss, University of Calgary; VK Preston, Concordia University; Priya Thomas, Brock University; and Angélique Willkie, Concordia University.

Livestream Webinar Link | Passcode: 181639

Left: Donna and Marianne Skanks in newspaper clipping, c. 1963. Ola Skanks Private Collection, Dance Collection Danse. Right: Justine A. Chambers, Untitled c. 1996 at Debbie Wilson's studio on Richmond St. West, Toronto. Photographer unknown.

It's About Time: Dancing Black in Canada 1900-1970 and Now
October 13 – December 3, 2022
Audain Gallery – SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
Opening Reception: Wednesday, October 12, 2022 | 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

It’s About Time: Dancing Black in Canada 1900 – 1970 and Now illuminates the largely undocumented dance history of Canada’s Black population before 1970, with responses from contemporary performing and visual artists reflecting on how this dance archive resonates in this moment in British Columbia.

Curated by Seika Boye, PhD, this archival exhibition exposes the representation of Blackness on Canadian stages, as well as audience and media reception of Black performance in Canada during this era. It’s About Time also explores legislation of leisure culture, dance lessons and the role of social dances at mid-century. Featured are individual dance artists such as Leonard Gibson, Ola Skanks, Ethel Bruneau, Joey Hollingsworth, and Kathryn Brown.

For the Vancouver iteration of this touring project, curator Seika Boye will commission contemporary performing, literary, and visual artists — either from or currently based in British Columbia — to respond to the archive and consider what the history of Black people dancing in Canada reveals about our contemporary moment. A selection of commissions from the exhibition’s presentation at the John and Maggie Mitchell Art Gallery, MacEwan University, in Edmonton, Alberta, will be displayed at Teck Gallery as an extension of the Audain Gallery exhibition.

Seika Boye is a scholar, writer, educator and artist whose practices revolve around dance and movement. She is an Assistant Professor, and Director, Institute for Dance Studies at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Toronto. Seika was the inaugural recipient of the Dance Studies Association's Dance in the Public Sphere Award (2021) for It's About Time: Dancing Black in Canada 1900-1970 and Now.

Related Events

Opening Reception
Wednesday, October 12, 5 – 7pm
Audain Gallery

Spotlight Presentations: Miss Coco Murray and Emilie Jabouin
Friday, October 14, 2pm
Audain Gallery

Tour: Seika Boye and Ceilidh Munroe
Friday, October 14, 5pm
Audain Gallery

Talk: Otoniya J. Okot Bitek
Sunday, October 23, 2pm
Audain Gallery

The Bernard Reading Circle: led by SFU Galleries Director Kimberly Phillips
Thursday, November 24, 12 – 1:30pm
Audain Gallery

Performance: Justine Chambers
Friday, December 2, 7pm
Teck Gallery

Configurations in Motion: The Commons of Colour
Thursday, October 13, 2022 | 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
World Art Centre (Room 2555) – SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

This conversation explores festival, performance, and residency curation and the ways that artists and audiences form a commons of colour, wondering at the ways that performance speaks to our diverse assembly. Where do our dances begin? How do we want them to continue? When do we think we are? How do we support each other as we gather as experimental artists in a commons of colour?

Facilitated by: Thomas F. DeFrantz (Northwestern University) and Jane Gabriels (Dance West Network)

Roundtable participants: Rosario Ancer, Flamenco Rosario; Olivia C. Davies, O. Dela Arts; Sophie Dow, O.Dela Arts/Chimera Dance Theatre; Ralph Escamillan, Fakeknot and VAN Vogue Jam; Ziyian Kwan, Dumb Instrument Dance; Heather Lamoureaux, Vines Arts Festival; Deanna Peters, mutable subject/interplay; Alvin Tolentino, Co.Erasga.

Yvonne Chartrand in Sara Riel. Photo: Chris-Randle.

Métis Dance Workshop with Yvonne Chartrand
Friday, October 14, 2022 | 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
World Art Centre: Room 2555 - SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts Workshop

In this workshop, V’ni Dansi’s Yvonne Chartrand will share the joy, love and beauty of the Métis culture, including traditional and contemporary steps of the Red River Jig, known as the national dance of the Métis, plus some traditional dances and some Métis square dances. Her Métis dance knowledge was passed on to her from many Elders and knowledge keepers from across the Métis homeland. Get ready for a fun-loving Métis kitchen party.

Matriarchs Uprising Talking Truths Circle Conversation
Friday, October 14, 2022 | 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM
World Art Centre (Room 2555) – SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts Gathering

Dancing our resilience can manifest as the honouring of the stories that move through us. Sharing these stories with the language of dance allows us the agility to find and uplift powerful images and subtle nuances with body, sound, and connection to spirit. In this Talking Truths circle conversation hosted by Olivia C. Davies, you are invited to witness an authentic exchange of ideas amongst Indigenous choreographers Margaret Grenier, Starr Muranko, and Yvonne Chartrand as we explore the ways our work is informed and responsive to the stories that inspire our choreographic choices.

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Image: In Search of an Outcome – Lisa Wymore and Sheldon Smith. Photo by Ben-Dillon.

Screendance Showings: Program 1
Friday, October 14, 2022 | 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema: Room 3200 - SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

This 60-minute program features the following works:

  • In Search of an Outcome (Lisa Wymore and Sheldon Smith)
  • Floating Departures (Shannon Cuykendall)
  • DEWD DROP (Yvonne Racz)
  • Nairobi Dance Exchange (Jessica Teague, Cooper Rust, and Jayme Host)
  • REDACT (Britt Fishel)

A Q&A with the artists will follow.

Image: Connecting Currents – Marsae Lynette.

Screendance Showings: Program 2
Saturday, October 15, 2022 | 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema (Room 3200) – SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

This 60-minute program features the following works:

  • Connecting Currents—Women of the Rivers (Marsae Mitchell)
  • Retratos Migrantes (Angela Arteritano)
  • Underdeck (Jessica Thomas)
  • For You (Julia Aplin and Kim Farris-Manning)
  • Authentically Me (Gabriel Speiller)
  • Magunita (Annielille Gavino)

A Q&A with the artists will follow.

Top: Spirit and Tradition – Dancers of Damelahamid / Margaret Grenier. Photo: Chris Randle. Bottom: Spine of the Mother – Raven Spirit Dance / Starr Muranko. Photo: Juan Contreras.

Matriarchs Uprising Performances
Friday, October 14 and Saturday, October 15, 2022 | 8:00 PM – 9:30 PM
Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre - SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts Performance

Purchase tickets here

N.B.: A talkback with the artists will follow the October 15 performance.

Curated by Olivia C. Davies, Artistic Director of the Vancouver-based O.Dela Arts, Matriarchs Uprising (2019-) is a unique platform that highlights the choreographic voices of Indigenous women, offering stories of transformation through dance creation, production, and conversation. This special offering of Matriarchs Uprising, programmed for DSA 2022, features works by Raven Spirit Dance (Spine of the Mother, choreographed by Starr Muranko) and the Dancers of Damelahamid (an excerpt from Spirit and Tradition, choreographed by Margaret Grenier).

Program of Works

Spirit and Tradition (excerpt)
Dancers of Damelahamid / Margaret Grenier
Length: 20 minutes

Spirit and Tradition layers projected imagery, soundscape, and Coastal Indigenous masked dance, immersing us into the rich and diverse ecosystem of the mountains, rivers, and ocean of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Spirit and Tradition’s key themes are reciprocity and ecological sustainability, conveying important teachings on balance, interconnectedness, and community. Spirit and Tradition has toured to the 2010 Expo Shanghai, the International Festival de Danzas, Cusco, Peru (2011), the Festival internacional de danza folklorica, Ambato, Ecuador (2014), the (2015) Pan American Games in Toronto, Ontario, and the 2020 Expo Dubai.

Creative team

Choreographer: Margaret Grenier
Production Manager: Andrew Grenier
Gitxsan Translations: Elder Betsy Lomax
Collaborating Composer: Ted Hamilton

PAUSE (10 mins)

Spine of the Mother
Raven Spirit Dance / Starr Muranko
Length: 30 minutes

Spine of the Mother began as an innovative collaboration with Indigenous artists in Canada and Peru. Tracing the inner terrain of our bodies as women through breath, impulse and memory unlocks kinetic energy creating ritual, which spans the spine of the mountain range we have shared for millennia. The metaphor of the “Spine of Mother Earth” is a name given by Indigenous Elders in South America to the Andean mountain range that spans from the base in Argentina, through the Americas and ends at the tip of Alaska. Our bodies become the landscape like the mountain ranges that connect the North and South (the Eagle and the Condor) and through this we find our kinetic connection to others that transmits impulse, breath and spirit.

Production team/credits

Choreography: Starr Muranko, in collaboration with past performers Tasha-Faye Evans, Andrea Patriau, and Olivia Shaffer
Performed by: Tasha Faye Evans and Marisa Gold
Video/Media Design: Sammy Chien
Composer: Edgardo Moreno (‘Gracias a la Vida’ sung by Daniela Andrade)
Dramaturg and Mentor: Alvin Tolentino
Mentor: Michelle Olson
Cultural Advisor: Jhaimy Alvarez-Acosta (Peru)
Lighting Design: John Carter
Costume Design: Ines Ortner
Additional Dramaturgy: Alejandro Ronceria

Justine A. Chambers and Laurie Young, One hundred more. Photo by Oliver Look.

Coalesce x 100: Dance Work and Conversation with Julio Medina, Justine A. Chambers, and Laurie Young
Saturday, October 15, 2022 | 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM
World Art Centre (Room 2555) – SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

In this unique session, three dance artists of colour explore inherited movement vocabularies and cultural narratives, as well as the personal physical strategies they deploy to push against, redirect, and resist these inheritances. Julio Medina (Emory University) begins by offering coalesce, a short dance work that “employs structured improvisation to explore the coexistence of differing movement languages acquired through assimilated practice, and as byproducts of colonization.” Julio will then join Justine A. Chambers and Laurie Young in conversation. Chambers and Young's duet One hundred more runs at The Dance Centre (677 Davie Street) on October 13 and 14, parallel to the DSA Conference. A declaration of friendship and resistance, the work is an "incremental choreography" of accumulated movements and gestures that, as women of colour and mothers, the artists repeat in response to our current socio-political climate.

Moderated by: Peter Dickinson

Book Launch: Re-Choreographing Cortical & Cartographic Maps, by Dr. Henry Daniel
Saturday, October 15, 2022 | 2:45 - 4:15pm
World Art Centre (Room 2555) – SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

Join Dr. Henry Daniel, Distinguished Research Professor in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University, for the launch of his new book, Re-Choreographing Cortical & Cartographic Maps: Going West to Find East Going East to Find West (Intellect, 2022).

Re-Choreographing Cortical & Cartographic Maps makes a substantial contribution to current discourses in dance, choreography and performance, especially in the area of Practice-as-Research. The work reflects the perspective of the author as scholar, choreographer, performer, and arts practitioner, with an extensive background in both the professional world of dance and the intellectual academy.

Photo: Dayna Szyndrowski.

Contemporary Indigenous Choreographic Workshop with Olivia C. Davies
Saturday, October 15, 2022 | 2:45 PM – 4:15 PM
Blonde Studio (Room 4650) – SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts

From Olivia C. Davies: I believe that our bodies hold the potential for powerful story-telling. Movement and gesture can connect our bodies to the world around us and facilitate the sharing of our lived experience. In this class, I share a Contemporary Indigenous dance methodology that is intended to open new ways of experiencing the world, with breath, impulse, and shape guided by imagination and our connection to earth and sky. We will tap into the material of bone and muscle, mind and body, and presence work to explore the space within our body and surrounding us.

October 16, 2022