Dancing for Joy: thanking front line workers and supporting dance artists during the pandemic

Since the start of the pandemic, NAC Dance set out to connect audiences with dance and to help dance artists continue to showcase their work. Our mini dance series, Dancing for Joy, was born out of our commitment to bring the joy of this deeply moving art form to live audiences, while facilitating performance opportunities for local dance artists and their teams.

Supported by Bell, Dancing for Joy was also our way to say thank you to  the front-line workers who have given so much of themselves in very difficult conditions to keep us all safe.

Six works by Ottawa and Gatineau dance artists were specially commissioned and performed over several weeks during the months of June and July. Contemporary dance company Dorsale DANSE, Hip Hop dance hub Moov’Ottawa, tap dancing duo Chantal Carrillo and Shannon Slade, Propeller Dance, a local dance company focused on diversity and inclusion, Rise and Sarah, two house dancers and musicians, and Indigenous dancer Josée Bourgeois, beautifully performed a combined total of 39 shows, to much acclaim and delight.

Together, these artists and their companies brought cheer to audiences ranging from age 3 to 80 with this exclusive opportunity to experience the unique energy and vitality only live performing arts can evoke.

Dancing for Joy was presented to hundreds of people  in nine locations across the National Capital Region: École Du Dôme, École Notre-Dame, CPE des Hautes-Plaines, CPE des Feux Follets and CPE Libelle in Gatineau, the COVID-19 Assessment Centre at the Brewer Park Arena, the Salvation Army Grace Manor Residence, Options Bytown Supportive housing, and the Abbeyfield House retirement residence.

Dancing for Joy was a perfect opportunity for us to express our gratitude to the essential workers who have led us through this pandemic. I loved the connections we made with our audiences and fellow dancers; using music and art to uplift and inspire has never felt so important, and I hope we were able to make a difference in these communities!
- Chantal Carrillo, performer, Dancing for Joy

NAC Dance invites you to experience some of the breathtaking moments of this project by watching the Dancing for Joy film on YouTube.  

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