Kokoro Dance Wreck Beach performance
They pick the date and the time when the tide is lowest so that they can have a spectacular sandy beach for their outdoor stage.
I have photographed their performances three times in the last five years. I saw them looking as if they were some sort of sea creatures that just came out the ocean to dance around and enjoy the day in the simmering lights on water and sand. I also saw them crawl and roll around on the wet cold sand and then immerse themselves in freezing water when everything looked grey except for their bodies which were painted white. The scene looked utterly surreal.
Yet again this year, the 15th year, eight men and six women are going down the steep steps behind the Anthropology Museum of University of British Columbia onto Canada's first and largest clothing-optional beach to perform unique, experimental movements called Botoh.
I often wondered how it got started. I asked Jay Hirabayashi, co-founder of Kokoro Dance. This is what he said:
"I went to UBC for grad school for five years and spent a lot of time at Wreck Beach and it became my favorite beach. In 1995, we did the first performance because we wanted to give our dancers more performance experiences.
"So we started to dance, not only Wreck Beach but in restaurants, on the streets and in various site specific works. We did Wreck Beach because it allowed us to dance without clothes and to investigate a new environment. We enjoyed it a lot so we continued it annually. initially. it was by invite only to students and dancers we were working with at the time but since then, it has changed to be an open workshop allowing non-professional dancers to participate. The unique aspect of it is that after paying the initial fee, returning participants can take part by paying only the (nominal) registration fee so we always have a large number of returning participants."
The Kokoro Dance collaborates with a wide range of other artists, musicians, actors, vocalists, videographers and so on. The Wreck Beach performance is an ultimate collaboration between dancers and nature.
The performance dates: July 10th at 10:30am & 11th at 11:15am.
Location: Wreck Beach at the foot of Trail #4.
For more information visit the Kokoro Dance Wreck Beach performance.
Yukiko Onley is a Vancouver-based photographer.