Dancer: Sophia Gilks, Photographer: Alec Watson
The mission of Crimson Coast Dance Society is to develop and support contemporary dance creations, productions, performances and educational opportunities at both grassroots and professional levels in central Vancouver Island.
Crimson Coast Dance is passionate about bringing diverse, high-calibre artistic opportunities to the Nanaimo area, which would not otherwise be available. These opportunities provide the Nanaimo community with a remarkable opportunity to learn from established professional artists in addition to seeing their performance work in a fully staged performance environment.
Photo: The Sun and the Moon by Celestine Aleck • Choreography: Holly Bright and Celestine Aleck • Performer: Genevieve Johnson • Photographer: Cara McKenna, Salish Sea Sentinel
- To make dance experiences of many kinds; performance, workshops, film, residencies, dialogue, accessible to the people of Nanaimo and the surrounding Central Vancouver Island/Gulf Island Communities.
- To provide an environment and opportunities for regionally based, national and international, emerging to established, dance artists to continue to develop their craft and share their expertise.
- To provide performance and teaching opportunities for regional, national and international dance professionals.
- To create educational opportunities for the local community as audience, artists and arts supporters.
- To create opportunities for the development of skills in performing arts production and for local professionals desiring to broaden their skills and for youth desiring to explore career options.
- To contribute to the growing arts community and arts activities in Nanaimo and the central Island region.
Artistic Director, Founder
A Message from the Artistic Director, Holly Bright
Welcome to the Crimson Coast! Nanaimo is home to both inspiring western sunsets and astounding dance performances! I moved to Nanaimo in 1992 and initially commuted to continue my work in dance. In 1996, I produced a full-length work in Nanaimo, and realized that there was an eager audience for contemporary dance located right here! Subsequently, I initiated the Crimson Coast Dance Society, and since then have worked alongside a number of diligent, dance-loving individuals to contribute to the development of modern dance and dance literacy in Nanaimo. The experience of dance has become a shared understanding in our community, and one that continues to grow at many levels, in many ways.
From my point of view, human physical expression is a frightfully powerful and wondrous thing. Delving into the articulation of the unspeakable remains a fascinating, gripping call for my work as performer, choreographer, educator or curator. As a dance artist or a dance audience, I am fascinated with interpreting the works of choreographers who have a knack for weaving a visceral “aha!” into their dance pieces.This sort of poetic metaphor cannot be expressed through words, but it is felt universally by those who see it, because it’s meaning is only discernible through the experience of being a human being. Our bodies are our freedom and our cage. Through them we experience the full pleasure and pain that life presents to us. Our first and last experience of life is movement…from cellular breathing in utero to the last pulse of a fully realized body on our deathbed. Our body is our vessel, our compass, our anchor, our sail. It is moved by our own breath. Dance is a celebration of our gift of inhabiting the body. It is an exploration and a dialogue for processing the stories of life and sharing them.
We relate to imagery, metaphor, music and movement. We are a dance audience in the theatre or on the street. On the street, at work, at the grocery store, the cafe, we witness and create our version of what we see and experience. We do the same as a dance audience member in the theatre. We create our version of what transpired on stage. We discover and make meaning of dance’s poetry. In the post show discussion, we compare impressions and learn what we care about as an individual and as a community. By these acts of participation, we further define ourselves.
Terms that I use to describe this art form – wondrous, powerful, mindful, fulfilling, challenging, remarkable also describe the works that are brought to Nanaimo through our Dance On The Crimson Coast Series. We have been fortunate to have been inspired by the presence and performances of so many gifted artists!