Identity and Location: Immigration and cultural integration
What are the challenges and opportunities of being an immigrant artist?
Tuesday, February 21, 2017; 7PM
Co-presented with SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs.
Janet Smith has been covering the arts scene in Vancouver for the past 25 years, covering everything from alleyway operas to tutu ballets. As well as serving as the arts editor for the Georgia Straight, she writes reviews and profiles about the city’s dance scene.
Rosario Ancer and her Vancouverite husband guitarist Victor Kolstee co-funded their school Centro Flamenco, the Vancouver International Flamenco Festival, The Flamenco Rosario Arts Society “Flamenco Rosario”. As an interpreter of Flamenco dance, Rosario Ancer is more interested in the continuing growth of the art form than simply reiterating its past, exploring new possibilities by crossing boundaries both of history and culture, experimenting and intercrossing nontraditional choreographic work with visual arts, computer programming, storytelling, music composition, lighting and stage designs as well as incorporating international dance artists, musicians and vocalist into the development of new work. Her works have tour national and internationally.
Called “The Mother of Flamenco in Vancouver” she has been honoured with the prestigious 2009 “Isadora Award”, 2012 Mayor’s Art Award for Dance” and the 2016 “Lola Award”.
She has created a platform where Flamenco and a new generation of flamenco artists flourish in Vancouver and an east bound bridge that connects the wide national flamenco community.
Henry Daniel – Professor of Dance and Performance Studies, Simon Fraser University and Choreographer
Henry Daniel began his career as an actor with James Lee Wah’s San Fernando Drama Guild and continued in Port-of-Spain with Derek Walcott’s Trinidad Theatre Workshop. He was also a founding member of Astor Johnson’s ground-breaking company, the Repertory Dance Theatre of Trinidad and Tobago. In the USA he was a member of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Centre Workshop, Pearl Primus African American Dance Company, Frank Ashley Dance Company, Asakawalker Dance Company, the Bernhard Ballet, and soloist with the José Limón Dance Company of New York. In Germany he founded and directed Henry Daniel and Dancers while continuing to work as a member of TanzProject München, Tanztheater Freiburg, and Assistant Director, Choreographer, and Dancer for Tanztheater Münster with Birgitta Trommler. In the UK he founded and directed the performance group Full Performing Bodies, which he still maintains.
Henry attended Naparima College in Trinidad, the Boston Conservatory of Music and the Juilliard School in the USA, and has an MA in Dance Studies (Sociology of Dance, Choreology, Choreography) from City University, The Laban Centre, London, as well as a Ph.D. in Dance, Performance Studies and New Technology from Bristol University’s Department of Drama: Theatre, Film, Television in the UK. He is currently Professor of Dance and Performance Studies at Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts and Principal Investigator for a number of research projects, most recently Project Barca. His impressive track record on the international scene has led and continues to lead to advances in cultural knowledge by bringing to bear the perspectives and skills of the artist/scholar. Through his collaborations with researchers from the fields of science and engineering, he enables and contributes to technological innovation. As well, his ongoing preoccupation with issues of identity and diaspora and its roots in a colonizing process begun in the late fifteenth century allows him to engage with the issue of how contemporary bodies perform, and hence transform, their sense of place, space, and identity.
A native of Dalian, China, Chengxin Wei graduated from the Beijing Dance Academy in 1997, where he studied classical Chinese dance for eleven years and received his BFA degree. He subsequently worked for three years as the principal dancer of the Guangdong Provincial Dance Theatre.
Upon immigrating to Vancouver, BC in 2000, Chengxin appeared with various Canadian dance companies including Anatomica, Company Erasga, EDAM, Judith Marcuse Projects, Joe Ink, the Lorita Leung Dance Company, MovEnt, and Wen Wei Dance. Hailed as a “powerhouse performer”, Chengxin also danced with Ballet British Columbia for six seasons, where he appeared in works by John Alleyne, Agnes De Mille, Dominique Dumais, Nicolo Fonte, Mark Godden, James Kudelka, Jiri Kylian, Crystal Pite, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, and Peter Wyss, among others.
In 2004, Chengxin co-founded Moving Dragon, a contemporary dance company that focuses on cross-cultural fusion between Eastern and Western dance styles. Moving Dragon has performed in venues across Canada including the National Arts Centre (Ottawa), the CanAsian Dance Festival (Toronto), the InFrinGinG Dance Festival (Nanaimo), and CorresponDanse (Quebec City). Its repertoire of original contemporary cross-cultural work includes Yuan, Interplay, Lumina I and II, Triaspora, LuminUS and Koong.
Chengxin has been awarded the Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Award, and is a recipient of the David Leighton Arts Fellowship for artistic excellence from the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Canada.
In 2012, Chengxin graduated with his MFA degree from The University of Washington with a concentration on Teaching in Higher Education. There, in addition to teaching undergraduate Ballet, Modern and Chinese Dance courses, he created and taught a course entitled West Meets East: Asian Influences on Western Dance. He was awarded an arts fellowship challenge grant from the University of Washington in recognition of his achievements. Chengxin is currently Visiting Assistant Professor at Ohio University’s School of Dance.