New Works celebrates three decades of dance with a jam-packed season of performances and artist support programs.
Vancouver, BC: New Works gathers new and returning communities close in celebration of three decades of dance programming with an inspiring season of rich, collaborative presentations. A landmark season, especially coming out of the last few years, 2023-24 offers up programming for artists, audiences, and arts workers alike to be part of this history-making moment.
Kicking off the fall with a splash, Pop Up Dances (Sept. 23 & 24) returns to Granville Island, where 10 celebrated local dance artists will perform site-specific works. Presented in partnership with CMHC Granville Island, artists will activate the island for a total of 30 free performances over the course of the Culture Days weekend.
An anniversary would not be possible without the passionate stewardship of staff, artists, donors, volunteers, and audiences. In October, New Works will bring together and celebrate this community through workshops and a gallery exhibition. In partnership with the Roundhouse Community Centre, everyone (non-dancers included) is invited to participate in Dancing Through the Decades (Oct 21), a day of free dance workshops featuring V’ni Dansi, Co. Erasga’s Alvin Toletino and OURO Collective’s Cristina Bucci, with support from Rainbow Refugee and Dance West Network. Also opening on October 21st, at Scotiabank Dance Centre, is Ripple Effects: 30 Years of New Works (Oct 21 - Nov 18). Presented with support from The Dance Centre, this visual exhibit will profile 30 instrumental voices who have shaped New Works over the last three decades, and by extension the wider milieu of dance in BC. Audiences across Canada and beyond are welcome to attend the parallel digital exhibition, supported and hosted by Dance Collection Danse.
In 2023-24 New Works will present four cutting edge works, including three world premieres! This November, New Works will welcome The Biting School to The ANNEX stage with the world premiere of Zahak, the Serpent King (Nov 30 - Dec 2). Inspired by the chilling tale of Zahak, a ubiquitous story across Persian Folklore, Directors Aryo and Arash Khakpou invite audiences into a mesmerizing world of physical theatre, dance, projection, sets and more, in this highly anticipated new project.
In January, New Works will partner with the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival to present Deciphers (Jan 26-28) by Naishi Wang (Canada) & Jean Abreu (UK); a duet exploring cultural links, post-colonial histories, the embodiment of the migrant experience. In early April, the season continues with the world premiere of OSMOSi: 422 Unprocessable Entity (Apr 4 - 5) by celebrated interdisciplinary artist Nancy Lee. Presented in partnership with Vancouver New Music, Lee explores the religion of workism and the precarity of gig economy labour through movement, sound, constructed costume, and lighting.
Rounding out the season offering of ticketed shows, New Works will partner with The Dance Centre to present the world premiere of Family Room (Apr 19 - 20) by The Falling Company. Following residency support in 2022, New Works audiences will be excited to re-enter this universal world of family relationships told through personal story and solos.
In celebration of 30 years, New Works will offer a limited number of season packages, which include one ticket to each of the four shows in the presentation series at a 30% discount. A limited number of packages are available, and will only be sold through December 2.
Community-centered programming continues as the New Works Share Dance program enters its 9th season of bringing free dance classes to youth and underserved communities across the Lower Mainland. With the support from the National Arts Centre Arts Alive program, the 2023-24 season will see Share Dance excitingly expand to rural communities across BC.
Established artist support programs continue to grow. The XR Program, now established as NWXR, returns as a bi-annual initiative focused on supporting audiences and artists creating and engaging in dance in alternate reality spaces. In Practice, presented in partnership with The Dance Centre, returns with a suite of six workshops, where dance teachers and leaders can gather in critical conversation and professional development around the practice of teaching dance. The hotly subscribed Cohort Program also returns in the new year, offering up personalized and peer based learning to a group of dance artists exploring the next steps in their creative careers.
In early 2023 New Works embarked on an initiative to rebuild its independent artist and small dance company support programs. Through support from the City of Vancouver's Creative Learning and Sharing funding stream, New Works will engage in a mentorship initiative with OURO Collective, Ne.Sans Opera & Dance, and Gaurav Bhatti. Ongoing strategic management and administrative support partnerships include Out Innerspace Dance Theatre and Action At A Distance. Additionally, any dance artist in BC has access to information from the experienced New Works team through the New Works Help Desk – a free service where staff answer questions, chat about ideas and strategies, and help to connect artists to specialized resources and community partners.
New Works remains committed to reducing barriers to access for artists and audiences. Most programs are free and where cost is a barrier, including for ticketed performances, New works will work with participants and audience members to ensure access for everyone.
To become a New Works volunteer and for artists looking to engage in mentorship, training, or support opportunities, more information including calls for applications and public info sessions, can be found on the New Works website throughout the season.
New Works receives support from the Canada Council for the Arts, Government of Canada, BC Arts Council, Province of British Columbia, City of Vancouver, CMHC Granville Island, National Arts Centre - Arts Alive, Metro Vancouver Regional District, Hamber Foundation, and many donors and supporters.
About New Works
New Works is a Vancouver-based non-profit organization that is dedicated to developing and supporting dance communities through accessible art engagement. On the ground, that work takes many different forms; we strive to respond to the needs of a diversity of dance practitioners, audiences, and arts workers through a contemporary cultural lens. Under the leadership of Executive Director Jason Dubois, Program Director Amber Barton, and a passionate staff team, the organization celebrates its 30th anniversary over the 2023-24 season with a rich slate of free and accessibly priced programs and presentations.
Photos: by Alger Ji-Liang.