Dance festival ‘welcome addition’ to cultural landscape

Dancer and choreographer Zoe Kwan, recipient of the City of Markham’s inaugural Our Park Grant, will present a dance festival that aims to immerse individuals into an afternoon of arts.

“This project shows how innovative Markham’s Public Art Master Plan is and the many avenues it provides for animating public space,” says Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “Zoe Kwan’s unique vision will bring a very welcome addition to the Markham cultural landscape.”

Our Park aims to provide funding to Markham-based professional artists, arts organizations, artist collectives and non-profit organizations to create and present free arts programming in select Markham parks. The new funding program is the brainchild of Markham Public Art and will be jointly managed jointly with York Region Arts Council.

Kwan’s Carnival of the Arts will open with a music workshop followed by the premiere performance of four original works created specifically for this project. Kwan has been working in collaboration with Melissa Bettio (choreographer), Sheldon De Souza (workshop/pre-show performance), Alex Purcell (musician) and Norman Than (Qi Gong expert) to realize her vision.

“We are very excited about Zoe’s contemporary vision and her dancer’s sensitivity, through which she will engage the site and community,” says Yan Wu, Markham’s Public Art Curator. “Her inclusive and incredibly creative approach brings together the traditional and the new. We think this will be an amazing project delivering a dynamic cultural experience to the audience.”

Kwan has previously created original works for EnChoreo, Theatre Oculus’ Digital Creation Residency and Collections Dance. Most recently, she toured Ontario and Quebec with Dusk Dances as a dancer in Michael Caldwell’s work, The Horologium.

Carnival of the Arts will be presented in Ada Mackenzie Park at 185 South Park in Markham on Saturday, June 24 at noon and 6 p.m. In the event of rain, it will be held Sunday, June 25 at 1 p.m. There’s no charge for admission. 

Photo of Zoe Kwan courtesy of the City of Markham. 

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