The annual Nova Scotia Dance Week and International Dance Day is on its way! But what is all the excitement about. We sat down with project coordinator Julie Robert to get the all the details about the upcoming event.
Photo by Julie Artacho
Siphonophore by Lydia Zimmer
Photo by Kevin MacCormack
Hi Julie, let’s start with the basics. Tell us a bit about your dance background…
How did you become connected to Dance Nova Scotia?
I first became connected to Dance Nova Scotia working at Kinetic, a partnering dance organization in Halifax. I got to know the organization more when I became the Coordinator for Dance Week and Day!
How long have you been the Coordinator for the Nova Scotia Dance Week and Day?
This will be my fourth consecutive year as the Coordinator for Nova Scotia Dance Week and Day! I started the year of the pandemic, and have had to adapt each year’s celebrations to accommodate for new restrictions & guidelines, which has been a challenge but also very rewarding!
Tell us about Dance Week and Dance Day? How did it start and what is the purpose behind it?
International Dance Week was originally celebrated Canada-wide, and largely led by Canadian Dance Assembly, a dance advocacy group. Over the years, there has been more of a focus on provincial-led celebrations of Dance Week and Day—dance is front and center in every province and territory through performances, classes, flash mobs, dance contests and more. Dance Day happens every year on April 22-29, and Dance Day on April 29!
What are you hoping to achieve this year with the Dance Week program?
I hope this year brings even more people to celebrate Dance Week and Day! With the on-again off-again restrictions over the past couple of years, participation has been lower than normal, so I’d love to see everyone participate in a Dance Week activity, no matter how small! I would love to see more organizations offer opportunities to experience dance and for love of movement to be at the center of our celebrations this year.
2022 Dance Week/Day Ambassador Makaio Edwards
There’s an actual Dance Week Ambassador, correct? What does that role entail?
Yes, we do have a Nova Scotia Dance Week Ambassador! Every year, the province is represented by someone who is making an impact and inspiring others in their local dance community. Dance Ambassadors become the face of Dance Week and Dance Day, and can be any age, any ability, any discipline, and from any community. Typically, the Ambassador will write a Dance Day message about what dance means to them, which is translated and shared across the entire province. This year, we asked YOU who you wanted to represent you in this year’s Dance Week celebrations—We are so excited to announce this year’s elected nominee!
Along with Dance Week, Day and the Ambassador program there’s also something called “Dare to Dance”. What is that?
The “Dare to Dance” challenge is an adjacent Dance Day program that is built specifically for schools K-12. Dance Nova Scotia provides teachers & principals with a package chock-full of ideas for Dance Day-appropriate activities for the classroom and gymnasium. Dare to Dance is all about getting up and moving for a total of 20 minutes during the Dance Week. How you dare your school to dance is up to you—Think sock hops, traditional dance, flash mobs, dance films—the options are endless!
This being the digital age, is there a viral or social media component to it?
There is definitely a social media component to Dance Week, and we had to learn this quickly over the past couple of years! We’ve had to redefine what it meant to celebrate dance virtually as well as in hybrid settings. Social media is such a great way to reach a large audience, from Yarmouth to Sydney—I feel that we can include more people in the celebrations and no one feels left out!
How does someone or a school go about getting involved in “Dare to Dance”?
Getting involved in “Dare to Dance” is easy! All you need to do is create 20 minutes of dancing opportunity at your school during Dance Week April 22 – 29. Students of all ages, teachers, staff …everyone can join in! You can dance a little every day or save all the fun for Dance Day. If your school is interested or if you know a school—public, independent, CSAP, First Nations— that you think should join the challenge, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to register your school with your name and school’s name, and start compiling and brainstorming ideas for celebrating dance at your school!
Any last bits readers should know?
I hope 2023 is the biggest celebration of Dance Week and Day yet! I encourage anyone who is thinking about celebrating Dance Week and is not sure how to go about it, to get in touch with us at Dance Nova Scotia—We’re here to help you celebrate dance!