Breath mingles with motion.
A dancer’s body stretches, reaches and folds into itself. Slowly the dancer moves, like a frozen entity unthawing in increments of heartbeats.
The dancer gently approaches another and collides with the impact of a whisper. They embrace and become one form, connected to each other and Earth.
The dance begins the first segment of Raven Spirit Dance’s presentation of Earth Song, Spine of Mother and continues in Frost Exploding through Trees.
It’s a dance piece that fuses cultures, combining Métis, Cree and Peruvian tradition, fusing tradition with contemporary dance forms.
“For me it was really important to have aboriginal artists dancing their own stories,” said Holly Bright, artistic director of Crimson Coast Dance Society. “We are still working so much toward reconciliation and we are so lucky to be here on Snuneymuxw territory.”
The fusing of cultures is a theme that runs throughout this year’s Infringing Dance Festival: Dancing in the Belly of the Dragon, presented by Crimson Coast.
“I’m so excited about the excellence of the artists who are coming … they are really well respected; they do beautiful work,” said Bright. “I selected artists who were relevant to Nanaimo in some way.”
Infringing Dance Festival runs Thursday to Sunday (July 7-10), alongside the Save-On-Foods Dragonboat Festival.
This year the headlining acts perform at Harbour City Theatre, located at 25 Victoria Rd. It includes Raven Spirit Dance, Body Scape and Our Body, Our Land.
Raven Spirit Dance performs Thursday at 8 p.m., Body Scape is Friday at 8 p.m. and Our Body, Our Land shows Saturday at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $20 per show or $50 for a festival pass and are available by calling 250-754-8550 or www.porttheatre.com.
Several free Infringing shows will be performed at the entertainment stage during the dragonboat festival located at Maffeo Sutton Park. Attendees are invited to bring their drums.
On Friday, from 5:30-7 p.m. is an African dance and drum performance by Voodoo Dave McGrath and Esther Moncrief.
Saturday events include: Gwen Spinx Canadian all the way Country two-step is at 11 a.m.; Amity Skala performs at 11:30 a.m.; Dragonboat festival official opening ceremony at noon includes a Chinese lion dance by the B.C. branch of World Pak Mei Hup Ging Do Martial Art; We are Diamonds, a Korean fusion dance by Suddenly Dance Theatre, is at 1 p.m., followed by a workshop by the theatre company at 2 p.m.; Yayoi Hirano performs traditional Japanese dance forms at 2:30 p.m. and leads a workshop at 3 p.m.; Cube by Zogma performs at 4:30 p.m.
Sunday events include: A performance by Cube at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.; Genevieve Johnson and Bright perform at 11:30 a.m.; An Elvis show at 1 p.m.; A show by Samba and Capoeira from 2-4 p.m.
There will also be a merfolk flashmob at 4 p.m. at Swy-a-lana Lagoon. People are invited to bring merfolk costumes and join the fun. For more information, please go to www.crimsoncoastdance.org.