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. To date, the VIDF has presented 290 dance artists/companies, including 172 BC artists and 156 BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) artists, to more than 85,000 people. From its inception to the present time, the festival has been an artist-run not-for-profit produced 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.

The VIDF celebrates the diversity of contemporary dance expression, its individuality and its astonishing capacity for touching one’s heart and soul. Our free programming—in both theatres and open-air public spaces—builds interest and support for contemporary dance through exposing this art form to people who may never have seen it before. Our offices are located in Vancouver’s impoverished Downtown Eastside neighbourhood, and we prioritize providing this community with access to professional contemporary dance. In addition to performances, the VIDF offers free workshops for both professionals and general public in order to support creative exchange and artistic development for all, regardless of economic means or education.