The Orchid Ensemble’s Crossing Mountains and Seas and the Dancers of Damelahamid’s Flicker are the headliner productions at this year’s Infringing Dance Festival. (Photos courtesy Tim Matheson/Derek Dix)

Infringing Dance Festival will take audience to mystical realm

Crimson Coast Dance Society’s 21st annual Infringing Dance Festival is July 5-13 in Nanaimo

From July 5 to 13, dance groups representing diverse styles from around the world will be giving presentations and offering workshops in various Nanaimo venues for Crimson Coast Dance Society’s 21st annual Infringing Dance Festival.

The festival’s two headlining productions – taking place at the Port Theatre on July 11 and 13 – explore mystical environments on both sides of the Pacific Ocean, blurring the lines between human and animal, reality and the supernatural.

The first headliner is Vancouver’s Orchid Ensemble presenting the première performance of Crossing Mountains and Seas. The production, featuring multimedia effects, aerial dancers and traditional Chinese music, is inspired by an ancient book of Chinese mythology of unconfirmed authorship called The Classic of Mountains and Seas.

Orchid Ensemble artistic director Lan Tung said people are rediscovering the book in recent years, a development she attributes to interest in big-budget Hollywood fantasy films spreading to Asia.

“Although most people have forgotten about this book, it has influenced the culture,” she said. “A lot of the stories, the legends that everyone knows, came from the book.”

In Crossing Mountains and Seas, characters inspired by the book travel between reality and the magical world through an online virtual reality game. There they encounter mysterious settings and creatures drawn from the equally mysterious source material.

“The description of all the creatures in there were very strange,” Tung said of the book. “They were like half-animal and a combination of the body parts of different animals. And so people were wondering why the ancient world was filled with all these strange creatures.”

While Infringing is featuring the first performance of Crossing Mountains and Seas, the festival also marks the final planned performance of Flicker, which the Vancouver-based Dancers of Damelahamid has been touring since last fall.

Flicker tells the story of a man on a journey of identity that takes him through mountains, forests and seas as he learns what it means to be a young indigenous person today. Executive and artistic director Margaret Grenier said the title refers to a type of woodpecker common in West Coast First Nations formline art, as well as idea of “how light flickers and how we really have to care for and we really have to nurture this identity because there’s so much that distracts us or so much that disconnects us from these practices.”

Flicker is the Dancers of Damelahamid’s first show to make use of multimedia projections throughout the production. Grenier said she sees those effects as a storytelling tool akin to the masks and regalia used in West Coast dance. Grenier said the projections are used to illustrate the dancer traversing environments and physical forms.

“There is this transformation between human and animal form and that happens a fair amount within the piece because that, within our culture, is part of our stories and our way of portraying story,” she said.

Grenier said interacting with nature and animal life is a common theme in indigenous stories and histories, and the story of Flicker comes from that tradition.

“It’s just the idea that [animals] are not removed from us in the way we tend to see things coming from a more Western perspective, where our reality doesn’t interact with these animals or these environments in the same way,” she said. “Whereas with the way this story is told, the dancers are very much integrated and step in and out of those different roles.”

WHAT’S ON … Orchid Ensemble presents Crossing Mountains and Seas at the Port Theatre, 125 Front St., on July 11 at 7:30 p.m. and Dancers of Damelahamid present Flicker at the Port Theatre on July 13 at 7:30 p.m. General admission is $30, $27 for Crimson Coast Dance and Port Theatre members, $25 for students and seniors. Tickets available from the Port Theatre. For full Infringing schedule, visit www.crimsoncoastdance.org/infringing2019.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Homelessness Action Week a call for citizens to see the issue in a new light

Homelessness Action Week Oct. 13-19 includes coffee talk, facility tours, film screening

Nanaimo Clippers thankful after three straight wins on road trip

City’s junior A hockey club wins seventh in a row, trades alternate captain

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Empower court system, RCMP to curb crime

Justice system gives free rides to repeat offenders, says letter writer

Nanaimo Ladysmith school district deciding how best to provide menstrual products for students

Early cost estimates tag $75,000 for product dispensers; trustees seek student consultation

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Section of Island Highway north of Nanaimo isn’t safe

I hope politicians will do something about this issue, says letter writer

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

Proposed 76-unit residential development would neighbour north Nanaimo mall

Council approves first and second reading of re-zoning application for 4961 Songbird Pl.

Map on Elections Canada site sends voters to Cedar landfill

Address for polling station correct, but Google Map address differs

Nanaimo software designer creates hunting-themed card game

Duck Buck Moose involves skill, cunning and luck of the draw

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates compare, contrast platforms on debate stage

Energy policy, veterans’ affairs and more debated Thursday at Beban Park

City council mulls emergency medical responder training for firefighters

Council directs staff to prepare report on firefighter medical training upgrades

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Most Read