Vancouver International Dance Festival

by Mariya Guzova

“I love dance because you can say things you can’t with your words. I’ve never been able to truly express some things vocally and you’re able to really accomplish that through the movement. It’s beautiful, and it requires a lot of skill and athleticism. But above all it’s the emotion that will always drive us and keep people coming back to dance. That’s what we want to celebrate here. That’s what we want people to feel,” explains Jay Hirabayshi, co-founder and executive director of the Vancouver International Dance Festivala celebration of dance that takes place annually in March.


Guangdong Modern Dance Compay in Voice After New. Photo by Li Jianyang.

A highlight from this year’s festival is a dance piece with combined improvisation, composition, and piano. Performed by Yui Kawaguchi and Aki Takase from Germany, Cadenza – Die Stadt im Klavier V was first created five years ago. The piece blends the jazzy piano with large movement to portray the sounds and vibes of cities.

zeeBigBang spoke with Hirabayshi, who co-founded the event with his wife Barbara Bourget. They said they wanted to bring the world of dance to Vancouver and to help expand the dance troupe, Koroko Dance, which they were running together. Both Jay and Barbara are classically trained dancers who have performed in endless pieces over the years.

Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi in a portrait for their work Sunyata / Photo Peter Eastwood. 

“We saw a lot of potential to bring the international stage to Vancouver and wanted to expand the culture of the city. By having such great and internationally renowned dancers, we’re able to truly experience the beauty of dance, and see performances we would never otherwise see,” says Hirabayshi.


Goh Ballet. Photo by David Cooper.

This year’s festivals saw performers from around the globe including Montreal, Ottawa, New York, Japan and Spain.

imagePar B. L. Eux of Montreal. Photo by Christine Rose Divito.

A project by Creations Estelle Ciareton and Montreal Danse finished off this year’s month long celebration of dance, choreography, and performance.



Montreal Danse. Photo by Ben Phillipi.

For more information and tickets for the Vancouver International Dance Festival please visit their website.

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