A new festival is debuting in Edmonton with workshops, panel discussions, performances and a unique interactive dance adventure.
“After two to three years of online hybrid digital presentations, and then a whole season of site-specific work, I wanted to have a physical place where dancers could gather and celebrate the art form,” says Gerry Morita, artistic director of Mile Zero Dance. “We wanted to have something that was just a very uplifting atmosphere with a lot of different artists and to give dancers a way to support each other, as well.”
The Magpie Collection: A Dance Festival kicks off on July 16 with six days of workshops where dancers of all levels and backgrounds can learn a variety of new skills from beginner ballet and contemporary modern to Métis jigging and Bhangra. The workshops are held at the University of Alberta Fine Arts Building in room number 3-117. Don’t miss the free Performance in Digital Zoom panel discussions during the week on July 19 and 20 at 7 p.m.
If you’d rather watch dance then perform it, then you’ll want to see the shows on July 22 and 23. Each night features a doubleheader, so you can stay for both shows or pick one. Each show features multiple dancers and was curated to highlight a mix of styles. All performances take place in the Campus Saint-Jean Auditorium (8406 Rue Marie-Anne Gaboury).
“Each show is going to give you an overview of dance,” says Morita. “It’s different artists who are not necessarily used to presenting together, going for this shake-up-the-mix variety of programming where you’re always going to see something unexpected.”
The festival ends on July 24 with a unique bicycle tour dance extravaganza, coordinated with the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters. The route is 5.5 kilometres through the river valley with six performance stops and a workshop.
“I feel like after so much time watching things online, it’s really great for the audience to have a chance to be physically active,” says Morita. “This is an experiment on how to activate the audience, so that the dancer is not the only one working hard.”
The Magpie Collection: A Dance Festival is on from July 16 to 24. Workshops are $15 and performances are $20. Festival and workshop passes are available. The bike tour is pay-what-you-will.