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Scotiabank Dance Centre Open House shows novices how to bust moves from across the globe

Isaac Gasangwa photo by IZO film.
Isaac Gasangwa choreographed The African Dream, which will have its world premiere at the Scotiabank Dance Centre on Saturday (September 16). Photo by IZOfilm.

There is a world of dance taking place under one roof in downtown Vancouver all day on Saturday (September 16). And almost all of it is free of charge. The only ticketed event at the Scotiabank Dance Centre Open House (677 Davie Street) is the 8 p.m. world premiere of The African Dream.

Rwandan-born Isaac Gasangwa, a.k.a. Izo Dreamchaser, choreographed this 75-minute production. It features 10 performers in a tale about a young man growing up after the 1994 Rwandan genocide against the Tutsi people.

“This inspiring work is a tribute to Black resilience and hope, and reasserts the power of art to overcome racism and oppression,” the Dance Centre states on its website.

Gasangwa was raised in Rwanda. There, he created the first Afro hip-hop dance studio, as well as the dance group Jabbajunior. He moved to Canada in 2014 and founded Afrobeats Van.

The African Dream includes text as well as dance. Photo by IZOfilm.

In The African Dream, Gasangwa has integrated text and storytelling with African dance, hip-hop, and martial arts. Tickets for the evening performance are available through the Dance Centre website for $28. However, there is a reduced rate of $22 for students and seniors. The pre-show begins at 7:30 p.m.

The Dance Centre states that there’s no need to register for the free events, which take place from noon to 5 p.m.

From noon to 1 p.m. at the Scotiabank Dance Centre, open-house attendees can take a class in contemporary dance with Voirelia Dance Hub’s artistic director, Alina Sotskova. She will offer a guided warm-up leading into movement exercises. The Dance Centre states that this event is suitable for anyone 16 years and older. Moreover, it welcomes those who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices.

Carla Naar
Do you want to learn bellydance steps in a safe and supportive environment? Carla Naar will show you how.

More Scotiabank Dance Centre free events

Also from noon to 1 p.m., Marilu Retana will offer an introductory class in Latin fusion dance.

There are also two workshops at 1 p.m. Flamenco Rosario artistic and executive director Rosario Ancer will teach basic hand-clapping, known as Palmas, practised by flamenco dancers.

In addition, Tai Chi instructor Alex Litvinoff will share insights into the core principles of Zhan Zuang and help attendees master the “art of balanced silliness”.

Photo by Carol Gandra.
Voirelia Dance Hub will offer an introduction to contemporary-dance improvisation. Photo by Carol Gandra.

Meanwhile, TomoeArts Sensei Hanayagi Toshikotono will offer a 2 p.m. workshop on the kabuki dance fan. Also at 2 p.m., Carla Naar will teach basic Rags Sharqui (bellydance) steps to Middle Eastern music in a fun and supportive environment.

At 3 p.m., osteopathic practitioner Phillippe Huunaut will host a class on the Alexander Technique to help people improve the natural alignment of their body and improve their posture.

The final free workshop is at 4 p.m., when Shiamak senior instructor Priyanka Patel will lead a lesson in Bollywood dancing.

The Dance Centre presents the 22nd annual Scotiabank Dance Centre Open House on Saturday (September 16). For more information, visit the Dance Centre website. Follow Pancouver on Twitter @PancouverMedia and on Instagram @PancouverMedia.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Pancouver editor Charlie Smith has worked as a Vancouver journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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We would like to acknowledge that we are gathered on the traditional and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. With this acknowledgement, we thank the Indigenous peoples who still live on and care for this land.