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Street dance takes centre-stage at Vancouver’s inaugural OUROFEST

OUROFEST
Diamonds in the Rough will join other street dancers at a free OUROFEST event on May 26 at Robson Square. Photo by Ariella Iona.

Get ready for some head-to-head battles—as well as plenty of waacking and popping—when street dancers gather for the inaugural OUROFEST. The OURO Collective is launching the four-day event later this month to bring people together through public performances. It will take place from May 25 to 28 at three venues: SFU Woodward’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Robson Square, and Q7 Studios.

Over the past decade, the collective has been supporting new works by artists who embrace a variety of urban and contemporary styles.

“A decade ago, five individual artists from diverse cultural and dance backgrounds came together with a vision to create community through collaboration,” OURO Collective co-founding member and managing director Cristina Bucci says in a news release. “Over the years, OURO Collective has pushed the boundaries of how street dance-based works are created and presented.”

Bucci has accomplished a great deal in her career, including choreographing for Yarita Yu Ballet in Tokyo. Other highlights include the International Dance Seminar in Brazil, Seattle International Dance Festival, Vancouver International Dance Festival, and Dancing on the Edge in Vancouver. She’s also worked with U.K.-based Avant Garde Dance Company Ltd., which is renowned for its hip-hip and contemporary dance productions.

OUROFEST
Cristina Bucci is a co-founder and managing director of the OURO Collective. Photo by Teppei Tanabe.

OUROFEST features Adult Open Style Battle

OUROFEST will open at 1 p.m. on May 25 with 30 youths (ages 12 to 17) engaging in one-on-one battles. Hervé “DJ ICE-B” will supply the music for these competitions at SFU Woodward’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.

Next up at the same venue will be Adult Open Style Battle for those 18 years and older. DJ Miguel “Friar Funk” Vasquez will deliver the beats for this event.

Kosi “Kosi” Eze, Momoko “Momo” Shimada”, and Marie-Reine “M Queen” Kabasha will serve as the battle judges. OUROFEST’s first day is a ticketed event.

Kosi OUROFEST
Kosi will share insights into hip-hop dance at an OUROFEST workshop. Photo by Jerick Collantes.

Workshops follow performances

The next evening (May 26), the festival moves to Robson Square. From 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., OUROFEST will feature free performances by Bucci and fellow OURO Collective members Ash “Complex” Cornette, Eric Cheung, Ganna Martynova, Kinui Oiwa, and Rina Pellerin.

Vancouver-based Diamonds in the Rough, Montreal-based M Queen, and Surrey-based youth street-dance artist Tegyaran “Teg” Sooch will also  perform at this event.

In addition, OUROFEST will offer workshops on its final two days at Q7 Studios (77 East 7th Avenue) in Vancouver. On May 27, M Queen will share insights into waacking and Kosi will teach hip-hop dancing. Then on May 28, Kosi will be back to offer a workshop on musicality. Moreover, members of the OURO Collective will speak at the final workshop about their approaches to street dance.

Tickets are $25 for the workshops, which require advance registration.

For more information on OUROFEST, visit the festival website. Follow Pancouver on X (formerly 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.