Highlights of Springboard Performance’s 2018 Fluid Festival include works by Yukichi Hattori, Lisbeth Gruwez and an Art Party

The 13th annual Fluid Movement Arts Festival (Fluid Fest) – presented by Springboard Performance – kicks off its 2018 season on Thursday, Oct. 18, showcasing three weeks of contemporary art, dance and physical performance, featuring a host of local and international artists.

Springboard’s artistic director and curator, Nicole Mion, has packed the lineup with a blend of cutting-edge contemporary pieces and crowd-pleasing works; whether this is your first or 13th Fluid Fest, the menu offers such variety that there’s sure to be something for everyone. If, like me, you can’t make it out to every piece as much as you might like to, here are some suggestions to check out each week:

Friday, Oct. 19 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 20 at 9 p.m. at DJD Dance Centre

This is the ideal opportunity for newcomers and returning fans to enjoy some of the best contemporary ballet has to offer. Opening the festival this week is Dialogue/My Tongue Your Ear, which features three esteemed Canadian choreographers, including Calgary-based Yukichi Hattori of Hattori/Williamson School of Ballet. I’m particularly looking forward to Hattori’s piece, Reverence, inspired by Mark Sakamoto’s 2015 book Forgiveness, which tells the story of the author’s Japanese-Canadian grandmother expelled from British Columbia during the Second World War

Having observed Hattori’s career since his days with Alberta Ballet, I am continually amazed by his grace, fluidity, strength and sheer technical skill. And he’s certainly in fine company, performing alongside Lesley Telford and Wen Wei Wang, both of Vancouver. As some of contemporary’s ballet’s most accomplished artists,  the performances in Dialogue/My Tongue Your Ear are sure to please.

“Here are three Canadian choreographers that are leading the way in the evolution of the worlds of contemporary dance and ballet,” explains Mion on the Fluid Fest site. “Anchored in the old, hungry for the new, contemporary ballet is a style that remains ambiguous.”

BODY IN SPACE: AN ART PARTY (co-presented by Fluid Fest and Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre)
Friday, Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Oct. 27 at 8 p.m. at cSPACE King Edward

What might you expect at an art party mashup between Fluid Fest and Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre? Fun, creativity, movement and exploration. Probably a little whimsy. And very likely the roving, location-based use of unconventional spaces that has become Swallow-a-Bicycle’s hallmark.

Or, as Mion describes it: “As darkness falls, cSPACE King Edward – a century-old school building – will light up with 10 provocative performance and art happenings, transforming into a vibrating hive mind of floating bodies, rigorous discomforts and fearless ideas.”

Bring a friend – or four – and a mind open to discovery, and you’re bound to enjoy whatever the night holds.

Thursday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. at DJD Dance Centre

Hailing from Belgium, Lisbeth Gruwez is one-half of the artistic team behind Voetvolk (Dutch for “infantry”), a Belgian contemporary dance and performance company founded in 2007. Voetvolk’s work is described as “an ongoing conversation between corporal and auditive movement to achieve a symbiosis between the aural and the visual/physical,” and Gruwez’s 2018 Fluid Fest submission, Lisbeth Gruwez Dances Bob Dylan, expertly blends contemporary dance with the voice of the American cultural revolution. Thought-provoking and crowd-pleasing, the work promises a movement storytelling experience that bridges the gap between the sometimes “lofty” world of contemporary dance and the often mundane human condition depicted in Dylan’s writing.

“Musician/composer Maarten Van Cauwenberghe plays songs by Bob Dylan on vinyl; Lisbeth Gruwez dances. They talk to each other without saying anything, united by Dylan’s iconic songs from the ’60s and ’70s,” is how Mion described it.

(Photo of Yukichi Hattori courtesy PMG Image.)

The 2018 Fluid Movement Arts Festival runs Oct. 19 to Nov. 3 at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks  and cSPACE King Edward. For complete festival lineup, visit

Shannon McClennan-Taylor is a writer, publicist, and arts/culture junkie with a bachelors in English Lit and a masters in International Journalism. When not at the theatre, cinema, or record store, she’s probably knitting. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.