By Yasmine Shemesh
VANCOUVER — With its eclectic offering of dance, theatre, music, and more, The PuSh International Performing Arts Festival brings a bit of sunshine to Vancouver’s wet winter. The annual event, which is held at various venues throughout the city from January 19 until February 7, showcases innovative and critically acclaimed works of a wide range of local, national, and international artists, while bridging disciplines and stimulating conversations on contemporary subject matter.
Programming of the festival, which is in its 13th edition, is a constant development. “It’s an ongoing process of getting to know artists, their work, when they’re touring,” associate curator Joyce Rosario explains. “What you’re seeing in this year’s festival is a result of that. Some things are shows that we’ve been working on trying to get to Vancouver for a very long time.”
PuSh’s presentation of monumental, The Holy Body Tattoo’s intense rendering of urban anxiety, is one of those shows. The iconic dance company will be performing for the first time after a decade-long hiatus, with live musical accompaniment by influential post-rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor. And alongside notable productions like the genre-bending Let’s Not Beat Each Other to Death and the theatrical experiment Eternal, some of the other many highlights this year include The Society of the Spectacle—a live re-score of Guy Debord’s 1973 film of the same name—and Leftovers, which is a sharp political comedy from comedian Charlie Demers.
“To have a festival like PuSh in a city like Vancouver in the time of year that it happens, I think it’s a way of bringing people together to see things that you wouldn’t expect,” says Rosario. “We have so many different kinds of audiences that come to things… I hope with our festival what we’re doing is cross-pollinating those audiences so that they’re meeting each other, so that they’re discovering new things and adding to an already really diverse city.”
PuSh International Performing Arts Festival runs Jan. 19, Feb. 7.BC, British Columbia, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Leftovers, monumental, PuSh, PuSh Festival, Push Festival 2016, The Holy Body Tattoo