(Photo: Moi-lesAutres. Photo credit: Lumanessence Photography)

Can a body tell a story?

Dance makes some people anxious, because dancers use their bodies, not their words, to tell a story, or to create a world.

Well – maybe I shouldn’t say some people. Maybe I should say me. It makes me anxious – although less so, since it turns out Calgary (and The Banff Centre) have vibrant dance communities led by people like DJD artistic director Kim Cooper, Alberta Ballet artistic director Jean Grand-Maitre, One Yellow Rabbit’s resident icon, Denise Clarke, and Springboard Performance’s Nicole Mion, along with a bunch of brilliant choreographers doing residencies at the Banff Centre, all of whom are great at using their words to translate what those bodies are trying to say.

Interviewing them, and a lot of choreographers Mark Lawes brought to Theatre Junction over the past 10 years, was an education in the language of movement.

It turns out October in Calgary is the best time of the year to overcome dance anxiety.

That’s because it’s Fluid Festival time again. The dance festival, which showcases choreographers and companies from Calgary, across Canada, and even internationally, opened last night and runs for the next couple of weeks at various venues across the city.


(Lisbeth Gruwez. Photo courtesy Luc Depreitere)

There’s a diverse lineup of artists presenting, including Belgium’s Lisbeth Gruwez, Vancouver’s Out Innerspace Dance Theatre, Montreal’s Myriam Allard, who gives flamenco a contemporary spin, Toronto choreographer/dancer Bill Coleman, Vancouver’s Josh Martin and a bunch of others, including an Urban Culture Cabaret and a Physical Therapy Cabaret.

And if it makes you anxious because dancers don’t use their words, you might want to check out Gruwez’s show It’s going to get worse and worse, my friend: the show (which closes tonight, October 15) is partly inspired by the speeches of former televangelist Jimmy Swaggart.

For tickets and info, go to springboardperformance.com/fluidfest