>In keeping with my new goal to experience Calgary to it’s fullest potential, I recently decided that I needed to know more about the culture that Calgarians are constantly raving about. A good friend of mine makes her living as a dancer, no not that kind, but the actual respectable kind. She told me about Dancer’s Studio West’s 26th Annual Alberta Dance Explosions Festival and since I’ve seen an episode or two of “So You Think You Can Dance?”, I thought I would give it a try. Although I was initially nervous, I knew that a festival that celebrates local choreographers and their creations, would be the perfect opportunity to lose my Dance show virginity.

The cool thing about going to your first dance show is that you have no idea what to expect. Having grown up on music videos (remember those?), I’ve always been aware of so many types of dance and I was excited about a festival that would demonstrate a variety of, what I would eventually learn to call, Contemporary Dance.

Throughout the evening, dozens of dancers took to the stage with each piece as different as the next. As a frequent theatre-goer, I had to get used to the fact that there was going to be little to no talking. Your first thought when watching a dance will be: “I don’t get it.” I know mine was. I soon realized that watching a dance piece requires more attention but at the same time it allows for more imagination. Each piece can represent whatever you want it to. And for that reason, the variety presented by DSW is perfect opportunity for someone to experience their first show.

But Calgary already has so many distractions right? We have the Flames, The Roughnecks, Chinook and Lloyds. Why would anyone even go to a dance show? Some people might even baulk at the $20 cost of a ticket. But when you think about it, the ticket to the dance show is by far cheaper than any other ticket in town. Plus when you go to a show like Dance Explosions you are supporting local talent. And who do you think would appreciate your hard earned money more: Jerome Iginla or the aspiring dancer who also serves you your Latte every morning?

Seeing the show tonight reminded me just how impressive and powerful the Fine Arts can be. It’s all too easy to be distracted by bigger or more well known events. But it’s the little ones that are always more inspiring and thought provoking. The Alberta Dance Explosions Dance Festival is that little guy that deserves more attention. It deserves your attention.

If you are in the Calgary area, please visit the festival’s site for more information.

Mike Morrison