Chalk it Up! returns for its third performance showcasing local talent

Eight emerging dancers will be featured at the event sharing their developing or finished work

Chalk it Up! returns for its third performance on Nov. 19 and 20 with eight different dancers. (Submitted)

Women throughout history whose stories went unrecorded or misrepresented, written pieces like poems, and the exploration of the effects of ADHD in the body and mind are just a few of the inspirations for this year’s Chalk it Up! dance performances. 

Dance partnership Chalk will be hosting its third Chalk it Up! event this weekend showcasing eight dancers from different genres of their developing or finished pieces to a live audience at Morrow by Dumb Instrument Dance in Vancouver. 

Four showings will be offered on Nov. 19 and 20, with two performances on each day from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm and 7:00 to 9:00 pm. 

“We can expect something a little bit different than last year,” says Shannon May Craig, a co-founder of Chalk and organizers of the event. “We have a few people trying to push the boundaries of how they’re presenting their work.” 

“We have some [dancers] playing with a bit more sound, and then we have a few that are trying to play a little bit with how [the audience is] going to view it,” she says. “So we’re getting a bigger crossover of genres of art, not just focused solely on dance and contemporary movement.” 

May Craig will also be performing a smaller excerpt of a longer piece called Julias with Lauren Yeung, the other co-founder of Chalk, that they did in Amsterdam in July. 

They began working on Julias a couple of years ago, which is a 22-minute piece meant to address that history can be simple and without layers. May Craig and Yeung worked with Martine van Santen, the owner of Dance in Art in Haarlem, Netherlands as junior artists years ago. May Craig says her and Yeung were supposed to perform it in the Netherlands in the summer of 2020, but it got postponed two years due to the pandemic. 

The title specifically represents the many women in the Roman Empire whose stories were either erased or distorted by the influential men at the time. The women of Rome, even those of influence, had so little autonomy that they were not given individual names,” May Craig said in a follow-up email to The Runner

“I want to keep that piece alive as long as we can because we’ve worked so hard on it,” she says. “Hopefully we can bring it in within the next year or so to Vancouver.” 

Emily Bosak, one of the dancers, will perform a piece about her exploring how she can express feelings of loneliness, not only through movement, but also through text. 

“I was interested in how can I use the full capacity of my body, and the sense of not only movement but also incorporating some theater,” she says. 

Bosak recently graduated from Simon Fraser University’s Contemporary Dance Program and was one of the fairy dancers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Bard on the Beach this summer. 

For her performance, she took inspiration from the poem, “I Am the Only Being Whose Doom” by Emily Brontë due to not only the message the poem conveys, but how she came across this poem last year when pandemic restrictions were still in place. Bosak will play a recording of the poem read by Eve Karpf, while also reading the poem herself. 

“It really resonated with me at that particular time because the author is expressing feelings of loneliness and isolation and I felt the same,” Bosak says. “At the same time, I recognize that I’m a very introverted person and I don’t mind taking moments of solitude and being in my own company.” 

Bosak says while it can be great to stay inside our own comfort zone, people can feel entrapped to feeling what’s comfortable to them. 

“You are not as lonely as you think you are. I think loneliness is a difficult feeling,” she says. “I just hope people can relate to the piece and just feel a little less alone.” 

For dancer Oksana Augustine, their developing solo performance explores neurodivergence with ADHD, particularly in the body and mind. Their performance will include quick and repetitive movement, as well as props such as noise cancelling headphones and a toy train.  

“Being diagnosed with ADHD later in life is the main influence for this solo, but other things that have inspired this work are the feelings of sounds, the taste colours, and childhood memories,” Augustine wrote in an email to The Runner. Augustine added that they were also inspired by their friend, Zahra Shaab, to help them continue this piece. 

Augustine is a contemporary dance artist and a teacher at Dance Collective in Burnaby and at Elite Dance Academy in Port Alberni. 

They hope people enjoy their performance and hope to give someone a spark of joy or love from it. 

“As always, I look forward to seeing the community come together and share an experience together,” they said. “Seeing the faces of people I love and look up to, supporting artists and sharing the space together, is always something I look forward to most.” 

“Dance is an outlet for expression. A chance to be authentic. A chance to be seen. In a word full of rules and impossibilities, dance allows for freedom and infinite possibilities.” 

May Craig hopes to see people who may have not gone to a dance show before and enjoy being in the space. 

“I hope that we build this nice atmosphere and community between [the audience and dancers] that they feel comfortable to express themselves as best they can,” May Craig says. “One of my favourite things about it is building a bigger and stronger community, every time.” 

Tickets can be purchased on Eventbrite for $18.