Saint John Contemporary Dance Festival is underway

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Annual contemporary dance festival returns to in-person presentations July 19-23.

Saint John, NB – After presenting a virtual festival last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Connection Dance Works is thrilled to be returning to a live, in-person format for the 2021 Saint John Contemporary Dance Festival. 

The festival will once again feature professional and emerging choreographers, with programming that focuses on a variety of artistic performances highlighting contemporary dance in Canada. 

“Dance is a very personal form of expression so we’re beyond happy to be able to present this year’s festival as a live event. We always strive to offer something for everyone – dancers and non-dancers alike – and this year will be no different,” said Joanna Bryson, Co-founder and Executive Director of Connection Dance Works. “It’s incredible to look at how far the festival has come over the past 10 years. We’re continually trying to broaden the scope and find ways to make people less familiar with contemporary dance feel welcome. For example, this year we’ve expanded our community movement project.”

The 2021 festival includes a showcase of short dance films; an outdoor performance at the Saint John Public Gardens with works by Monelle Doiron, Kelli Wray, Jalianne Li, Jerry Burchill, and Kate Henderson; and the Community Movement Project, which has grown to include a series of four workshops over four days.


Community Movement Project – July 19-21

A series of movement workshops open to everyone. Workshops will focus on the idea of “place” and will be held on four dates in four separate locations. Participants will examine their relationship to the physical world around them while exploring the possibilities of each location through creativity and movement. Workshops led by Sarah Power. The cost is $10 per workshop or $30 for all four. Advance registration is required. Covid protocols will be in place.

July 19 | 6:30 PM | Diamond Jubilee Cruise Ship Terminal (outside), 333 Water Street
July 20 | 6:30 PM | Saint John Public Gardens (outside), 48 Seely Street
July 21 | 6:30 PM | Saint John Arts Centre (inside), 20 Peel Plaza
July 22 | 6:30 PM | Saint John Free Public Library (inside), 1 Market Square 

OFF_SCRIPT – July 19

A free workshop with Lucy M. May. Off_Script is for dancers of all backgrounds to develop their improvisation and freestyle in relationship to music of different genres. 

July 19 | 8:00 PM | First City School of Dance, 156 Union Street

Film Showcase – July 20-22

This series of short dance films features six professional Canadian choreographers. All films will be shown at the Saint John Arts Centre, Tompkins Studio Hall (20 Peel Plaza). The films run between 5 and 13 minutes in duration and will run consecutively on a loop. Admission is by donation to the Arts Centre. 

Festival Performance – July 23, 7:00PM

An in-person performance featuring professional and emerging dance artists from New Brunswick. This performance will take place rain or shine. The audience will travel through the Saint John Public Gardens to view each piece. Tickets are $20 and advance purchase is required. Covid protocols will be in place with masks worn at the ticketing desk and walking between scenes.

Connection Dance Works is a Saint John-based non-profit professional contemporary dance company. The Saint John Contemporary Dance Festival began in 2011, with a mission to celebrate contemporary dance through live performances and workshops. Its programming strives to offer a wide variety of artistic performances to highlight contemporary dance in Canada. Since its inaugural edition, the festival has expanded to a week-long event with workshops, artists talks, a kickoff party, site-specific performances, and a main stage show.

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