York University hosts a world of dance

York University is Canada’s dance central in July, as the Department of Dance hosts the World Dance Alliance Global Assembly 2006 (WDA) running July 17-21.

Produced and organized by Mary Jane Warner, Chair of York’s dance department, the WDA Assembly is being held in North America for the first time. It will draw together more than 300 dance artists, scholars and students from more than 20 countries who will discuss, lecture and perform around the theme Dance/Diversity/Dialogue: Bridging Communities and Cultures.

The conference program includes a wide range of keynote lectures, panels and papers, as well as network meetings, workshops for dancers and an innovative community program for youth. It also offers two dynamic performance series open to the public with daily midday and evening concerts showcasing local, national and international dance artists.

Renowned international presenters include: Dance Forum Taipei (Taiwan), Conny Janssen Danst (The Netherlands), Surdance Ensemble (Argentina) and Contempodanza (Mexico). Canadian artists include the acclaimed Karen Jamieson Dance Company with Byron Chief-Moon and York alumna Debra Brown, principal choreographer for Cirque du Soleil since 1987.

Other performance highlights include a spectacular outdoor opening ceremony featuring circle dances on the Common, directed by York dance professor Sashar Zarif, and vertical dance performers from Calgary’s Bird Soul Productions rappelling down the side of the Accolade East building.

The complete conference program is available at the World Dance Alliance Web site.

“A conference of this magnitude is an exciting opportunity to meet new people from around the world and view different forms of dance,” said Warner.

WDA is an international service organization that provides information, advocacy and communication for dance organizations and individuals, a forum for the exchange of ideas, and information expertise and resources in all areas of dance. WDA encourages an awareness of, access to and understanding of dance as an art, a ritual and traditional expression, and as a leisure activity in diverse communities throughout the world. It encourages the protection of all forms of dance repertoire by preservation in notation, film and other media. WDA supports the work of existing dance organizations and collaborates with other groups in related disciplines. Through Global Assemblies, WDA facilitates international exchanges and encourages dialogue among all people in dance.

This article was submitted to YFile by Mary-Lou Schagena in the Faculty of Fine Arts.