Stage-less performers meet cycling audience at dance festival

Stage-less performers meet cycling audience at dance festival

· The Pulse

Having been without a permanent venue for more than a year, Mile Zero Dance's 2022 season has been defined by unconventional locations and site-specific performances. So it's fitting that to wrap up the dance company's festival on July 24, a roving bike audience will be invited to take in "little snippets of dance" along a six-stop route.

"It's a very fun, secretive route. If you've never been on those trails before, it's going be a whole new revelation of what Edmonton has to offer," said Gerry Morita, artistic director of Mile Zero Dance and curator of The Magpie Collection: A Dance Festival. "We're hoping to expose dance people to cycling and cycling people to the dance."

The 5.5-kilometre bike tour was planned in partnership with the cycling advocacy group Bike Edmonton and includes pieces by Allarra Gooliaff, Tony Olivares, and the Usha Gupta Dance Entourage, among others. Morita said she expects the bike tour to move at a leisurely pace and take about two hours to complete.

"We've done a number of walking tours, parades, site-specific works, and our whole season this year is called Site Lines, because we didn't have a venue to work in," Morita said.

Because of the pandemic and a rent increase, Mile Zero Dance vacated its Spazio Performativo venue in Little Italy in June 2021. The company is currently trying to secure a new location in the Ritchie neighbourhood, Morita said, but has used this season to explore the "social choreography of space," wherein "the artist and audience are both free to define their own position without the constraints of the proscenium stage."

She notes that during walking tours, crowds tend to pick up interested spectators along the way. "I've done a few of these before, and I think that they're a really fun way to get people out into the community in the summer."

The bike tour begins at 3pm on Sunday. The route will be revealed to registrants only.

Photo: Stilt dancer Allarra Gooliaff is among the performers that cyclists will encounter during the finale of The Magpie Collection: A Dance Festival. (Mile Zero Dance)