Arts·The Move

8 top choreographers share their astonishing moves and the incredible stories behind why they dance

A brand new season of Canadian Screen Award-nominated docu-series The Move is here to celebrate some of our country's most dynamic dancers.

A brand new season of The Move is here to celebrate some of Canada's most dynamic dancers

The Canadian Screen Award-nominated series The Move returns with a focus on eight of Canada's most dynamic choreographers, showcasing their signature dance styles, personal stories and explorations of why these celebrated artists continue to move despite the obstacles on their path. Below, series creator Lucius Dechausay introduces us to this season. Stream the full series now on CBC Gem.

Dance is having a moment right now, from lo-fi dance challenges like BTS's "Idol" and Drake's "In My Feelings" that had people jumping out of cars to big budget blockbusters like our senior producer Romeo Candido's favourite World of Dance. But while many of these moments are fleeting to say the least, dance remains a fixture in our cultural traditions, our rituals, our daily lives. So I wanted to explore how dance as an artform can mean so many things to so many different people.

Watch the trailer:

It began in the first season of the Canadian Screen Award-nominated series The Move. We looked at six dancers who through their unique dance styles and personal philosophies each illustrated how dance could be sensational, sensitive, enigmatic and empowering all at the same time. For Season II, we wanted to go deeper — deeper into the ethos of what moves us as a people to dance and the way our bodies can communicate more than our words ever will. 

So we challenged some of the most dynamic choreographers in the country to reflect on their lives while breaking down the meaning behind their craft. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a celebration of the unique voices carving out space in this Canadian dance landscape. Featuring deeply insightful interviews and original choreography, this series not only expands our movement vocabulary, but also illuminates how dance can connect us in a way that no other artform can.

Ep 2.1: Nicolas 'Nico' Archambault — Contemporary

Is there life after winning So You Think You Can Dance Canada and becoming a superstar? Nico Archambault reflects on his career, the rise to the top and the desire to establish himself as more than just a dancer. Read more and watch now.

Ep 2.2: Santee Smith — Contemporary Indigenous

Can you dance after breaking both your legs? For Santee Smith, ballet was a form of rehabilitation — but she had to unlearn all of her classical technique and reclaim her traditional ways to move forward. Read more and watch now.

Ep 2.3: Sara Porter — Improvisation

Is there an expiration date for dance? Through dance improvisation, Sara has found a new way to move that may have her dancing into her 80s. Read more and watch now.

Ep 2.4: Esie Mensah — Afrofusion

What do you do after dancing with Rihanna and Drake? For choreographer Esie Mensah, the way forward was to look into the past to answer the call of her ancestors and let them speak through her movements. Read more and watch now.

Ep 2.5: Scott Fordham — Jazz-Funk

How far would you go to be the best? As a choreographer, Scott Fordham pushes the limits — but for those who can keep up with him, there may just be light on the other side of the sweat. Read more and watch now.

Ep 2.6: Nova Bhattacharya — Bharatanatyam

Can you reinvent tradition? As a classically trained bharatanatyam dancer, Nova Bhattacharya knows the rules of classical dance — and exactly how to break them. Read more and watch now.

Ep 2.7: Edmund 'Edz' Gyamfi — Dancehall

Is a dance just the sum of its steps? For Edz Gyamfi, dance is all about culture. In this episode, he grooves us through two classic dancehall moves, "Back to Basics" from dancehall icon Bogle and "Easy Does It." Read more and watch now.

Ep 2.8: Heidi Strauss — Performance Art/Theatre

How can you say something important through movement? Choreographer Heidi Strauss pushes the boundaries of what dance can be, and the way she works is a master class in leadership. Read more and watch now.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lucius Dechausay is a video producer at CBC Arts, as well as a freelance illustrator and filmmaker. His short films and animations have been screened at a number of festivals including The Toronto International Film Festival and Hot Docs. Most recently he directed KETTLE, which is currently streaming at CBC Short Docs.

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