No Single Dancer

Jun 17 — Jul 31, 2021



On November 22, 1974, while visiting Vancouver from New York, the experimental choreographer Deborah Hay hosted a participatory dance event at Western Front in collaboration with the Box 80 Theatre Society (founded by local choreographer Helen Goodwin). The event, Dances for Everybody, has no known documentation. This fact, alongside the conceptual premise evoked by the event’s title, created an opportunity to collectively speculate on the original performance.

No Single Dancer referenced Dances for Everybody, and questioned the possibility and potential of dance at a moment of increased physical, social and political isolation from one another. The project was guided by questions: What are the ways that everybody dances? How can we dance with, and for, everybody? What social potential might a dance for everybody hold? As a form that depends on bodies and relationality, No Single Dancer explored the potential of dance to serve as an inclusive and equitable space for all bodies.

By taking an interdisciplinary approach and inviting choreographers, writers, and visual artists to explore what dances for everybody may be, this project considered the potential of dance as a medium. It also attempted to expand an understanding of dance through discursive programming, in which community participants offered their own perspectives and interpretations of dance.

The project included a virtual installation by visual artist Anna Firth, an online writing workshop with writer and art historian Mercedes Webb, and a performance by choreographer and dancer Justine A. Chambers. These related events were presented together on the No Single Dancer project website.

Presented with support from the Killy Foundation and the Audain Endowment for Curatorial Studies through the Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory in collaboration with the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia.

Curated by Jasmine Hynes.

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Western Front is a non-profit
artist-run centre in Vancouver.

We acknowledge the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations as traditional owners of the land upon which Western Front stands.