Message from the Artistic Director
It seems now, more than ever, we are recognizing our fundamental need for connection to a larger community for our health and wellbeing. Meeting these basic needs are driving forces behind curating a live performance event
The 22nd Annual Guelph Dance Festival was to take place May 29-31st, 2020. We were so excited to bring to Guelph artists from Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and after many years without international presence, France. With great sadness, in the midst of a global pandemic, we were forced to cancel the festival.
This year the festival was programmed to highlight community engagement; to bring people of all ages, abilities, economic backgrounds together and provide a place where we could gather, hold hands, laugh, dance and share experiences as a group. We need to share our stories, our visions, our ways of moving in the world in the hopes of discovering the ways we connect. We need to grow those connections so that we can build communities where we can feel safe to express our unique selves and be inspired and challenged to think in new ways in order to grow together.
The artists we had asked to present at the festival were already deep into their creative processes, preparing their work to be performed here in Guelph, as well as across Canada and internationally. Two unique processes which engaged the local community were also already underway right here in Guelph. We were so excited to invite the general public into Meredith Thompson’s creative process and performance of Imprint which explores the ten thousand threads of connection and interdependence we have with others and how, whether we like to think so or not, we don’t accomplish anything in this world alone. We are happy to say that we plan to continue this creative process when we are able to safely gather again, with hope that many more will join us in this unique community experience which will culminate in a performance in our In the Park Series, June 4-6, 2021. If you want to find out more about this project- you can visit our NEW website where we share some photos and stories about the project.
Another project scheduled for the 2020 Festival was created to connect youth together and to provide them with the opportunity to work with professional artists. In Meghan MacNeil’s Youth Moves piece Ukiyo: Floating World. Meghan invited 6 local dance companies and 80 youth dancers from Guelph and surrounding areas into her creative process. Ukiyo: Floating World, is a piece that weaves together stories, memories, and new born ideas and at the centre of which the act of listening is the most critical idea. We are very excited to continue with this process and present the final performance of this work at the 2021 Guelph Dance Festival in the Youth Moves Series. You can also see more about the project in development on our website: guelphdance.ca
Throughout the past few weeks we have been introducing our 2020 Festival artists and providing glimpses into the work they were ready to bring to us here in Guelph through social media. We encourage you to like us on Facebook and Instagram and to get to know these artists more! Some we are able to bring back next year and others we hope to have the opportunity to present in the near future.
While we are currently unable to gather, Guelph Dance remains steadfast to our mission and mandates of increasing community engagement in contemporary dance where everyone can dance; providing increasing support for local professional dance artists; working with communities in isolation; increasing exposure to innovative artists; and providing opportunities for youth. We promise we will be creative in finding ways to connect and grow no matter what challenges our circumstances might bring. We believe that this is essential for our well-being as individuals as well as our well-being as a community.
We hope you will join us as we build this together.
Catrina von Radecki, Guelph Dance Artistic Director