Roundhouse Community Dancers is the Roundhouse’s longest running residency program, funded in whole by the Vancouver Park Board. The project-based dance group emerged 13 years ago from a public response to the Roundhouse’s initiative to offer more community-generated programming.
“I’m not a dancer, but I want to dance.”
“Free Artist-In-Residence programs. One of Vancouver’s best kept secrets.” – Marie Lopes, Arts Programmer
“There were a number of people who came forward and said I’m not a dancer, but I want to dance,” says Marie Lopes, (Roundhouse Arts Programmer). “These people were not really interested in taking beginner ballet classes over and over again, which is what they felt they would be limited to.”
“The idea [behind] Community Dancers is to give all people over the age of 18, who are interested in moving and dance, the widest possible exposure to professional choreographers and dancers,” says Lopes.
Over the years, nationally and internationally renowned artists Karen Jamieson, Barbara Bourget, Tara Cheyenne-Freidenberg, Kevin Bergsma, and others, have led the participants in exploring many styles of dance including cultural dance, clowning, hip hop and more.
Barefoot Newbies to Seniors in Sneakers
A unique feature of the Community Dancers residency program is that the age-range and experience of the dancers is wildly mixed. From barefoot newbies to seniors in sneakers, some members have had no prior dance experience, while others have some training. This diversity provides an extra challenge to the students and choreographers alike. “However,” Lopes adds, “Like a good yoga class, you are given foundational movement and then you are encouraged to try something more complicated, but if you can’t, the foundational movement is still there for you.”
Almost all residencies are driven by the will of the group and most culminate in a final performance.
For more information on Community Dancers and other free Artists-in-Residence programs go to: www.roundhouse.ca
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