Kokoro Dance 2001 photo V Wong


In 1998, Kokoro Dance, a Vancouver post-butoh contemporary dance company that formed in 1986, initiated the Vancouver International Butoh Festival. In 2000, the festival was renamed: the Vancouver International Dance Festival (VIDF) with the objective of putting Vancouver on the international map of dance. Now in its 20th year, the VIDF have presented 290 dance artists/companies, including 172 BC artists and 155 BIPOC artists, to more than 85,000 people. From its inception to the present time, the festival has been an artist-run not-for-profit directed by Jay Hirabayashi and Barbara Bourget.

Our staff unite from diverse perspectives to offer an inclusive program that supports equity-seeking contemporary dance artists and provides representation of a breadth of Canadians. The VIDF’s artistic programming supports work that provokes reflection on the human condition through viscerally physical expression. Our curatorial interest is in professional work generated by artists marginalized in terms of race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, and physical or mental disability. It is within our mandate to globally support the art of contemporary dance, while maintaining a strong focus on BC’s dance community and on building audiences for contemporary dance in Vancouver.

We celebrate the diversity of contemporary dance expression, its individuality and its astonishing capacity for touching one’s heart and soul. We make this creative movement expression more accessible through programming free performances—both stage and site-specific. We have a focus on providing professional contemporary dance to Vancouver’s impoverished Downtown Eastside neighbourhood, where our offices are located. We stimulate local dance creation by exposing the work of touring Canadian and international dance artists. We build relationships between our audiences and guest artists through repeat engagements over time. We continue to advance the art of contemporary dance.