Contemporary art and dance at the forefront of Fluid Fest
Calgary’s Fluid Fest, a celebration of contemporary art, dance and physical performance, is back for its 13th year with performances running Oct. 18 through Nov. 3.
Nicole Mion, artistic director of Springboard Performance and the curator of the festival, acknowledged “these are tough economic times for the arts scene in Calgary, but we are still here and we are still kicking. We’re determined to be part of the fabric of Calgary’s art scene.”
She noted that they are not hosting any large companies during the 2018 festival as has been done with past festivals. But they will be bringing in larger acts later in the year and in the spring.
“This year’s Fluid Fest will offer a much more intimate connection for our audiences and that should prove really exciting,” she said.
The performances in Fluid Fest 2018 will be held in the DJD Dance Centre (111 12th Ave. S.E.) and in cSpace King Edward (1721 29th Ave. S.W.).
“DJD’s theatre seats 220 people and the configuration we need at cSpace allows for a maximum of 100 seats, which means at both spaces audiences can get up close with some pretty amazing international, national and local artists. Such immediacy and intimacy really enhances the experience,” promised Mion.
She says what makes a festival like Fluid Fest successful is having clusters of activity, so they’ve programmed a number of mixed bills as with Dialogue: My Tongue, Your Ear in the first week.
“In this show (at DJC on Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. and again on Oct. 20 at 9 p.m.), we have three Canadian choreographers who are really expanding the boundaries of contemporary dance and ballet and bringing the two disciples much closer together.”
Dialogue features new works by Wen Wei Dance and Lesley Telford, who both hail from Vancouver, and Calgary ’s Yukichi Hattori, a former principal dancer with Alberta Ballet.
Mion says that the first week of Fluid Fest focuses on Pan Asian artists from across the country.
“The success of a movie like Crazy Rich Asians illustrates there is a hunger for diversity and we have sought out some important voices for our festival,” she said.
Mion is excited that Theatre Calgary ’s artistic director Stafford Arima and Kodie Rollan, the development co-ordinator at Alberta Theatre Projects, will participate in select panel discussions highlighting Asian influence in the arts.
On Oct. 20 at 8 p.m. in cSpace King Edward, Fluid Festival will be hosting a new work by Calgary Indigenous performing artist Justin Many Fingers entitled High Trails.
Searching for words to describe this new work, Mion said, “It’s great dance-theatre, drag theatre and Indigenous theatre. Justin has written, choreographed and directed this no-holds-barred Indigi-drag-passion-play about a closeted drag queen who grew up on his reservation idolizing Buffy Sainte Marie. When he falls in love with a cowboy, he has to rethink his life.”
The show features drag artist Miss VLT Bingo Stomper in what Mion said will be “an unforgettable experience.”
Week two of Fluid Fest will host a double bill called Kittly-Bender & Jezebel at the Still Point at cSpace King Edward at 8 p.m. on both Oct. 24 and 25.
“Ainsley Hillyard from Edmonton has created a show for herself and her French bulldog, which is truly disarming, funny and heartfelt. She is sharing the evening with Toronto’s Kemi Projects Jennifer Dallas, who has created a dance piece for a clown.”
The second week will also feature an Art Party in which Calgary’s Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre has invited 10 diverse artists to create site-specific shows all over the building. Mion said the third week of Fluid Fest puts the emphasis on music and dance and will feature Lisbeth Gruwez in her tribute to Bob Dylan.
For tickets and more information about the show go to the website at fluidfest.com.
At both spaces audiences can get up close with some pretty amazing international, national and local artists.
Pam Tzeng performs in KickStart, part of the diverse lineup of acts planned for Fluid Fest.