Peak Pick: PuSh Festival

By Kaylin Metchie
Photo courtesy of PuSh Festival

PuSh is cutting edge and avant garde, featuring acts that push the frontiers of performance art

The PuSh Festival is once again upon us, bringing multi-disciplined, visionary, and groundbreaking work to the Vancouver audience. Looking to transform conventional notions of entertainment, PuSh showcases great talent from Vancouver and around the world.

After Trio A +Beginning 

(Andrea Bozic)

February 2–4

After Trio A is a performance of process. Paying homage to American choreographer Yvonne Rainer’s 1966 Trio A, which stripped dance to its core and stood in defiance to conventional perceptions of dance and the body, After Trio A brings two dancers without any prior knowledge of the original inspiration on stage to learn the dance in front of the audience.

After Trio A attempts to present the learning process in a new light by dissecting and amplifying the act of repetition. In live dialogue with After Trio A, Beginning pairs dancers with visual artist Julia Willms. Starting with a white page and the question “Where do we begin?”, Willms captures in real-time the movements of Bozicć in spontaneous and collaborative exchange between the two discplines.

Dances for a Small Stage (MovEnt)

Feburary 1–3

Celebrating its 25th year, Dances for a Small Stage is once again bringing audiences and dancers together for an unforgettably intimate night of contemporary dance. Performed on their signature 10-by-13 foot stage, this year’s dances revolve around the central themes of the Grimm’s fairy tales.

Performances this year include choreography from acclaimed contemporary, flamenco, and hip-hop dancers. Hosting this year’s event is Vancouver’s very own Patrick Pennefather, an eccentric composer, poet, and performance artist, who, with the help of his many musical personas, will guide the audience throughout the night.

A Craigslist Cantana

(Veda Hille, Bill Richardson)

January 19 — February 4

A brand new musical based on something I’m sure most of us at SFU have used (trying to find cheap alternatives for our pricey course books). The mind child of Veda Hille and the CBC’s Bill Richardson, Do You Want What I Have Got: a Craigslist Cantana explores the offerings of humanity by looking at the paraphernalia that we advertise on Craigslist.

The origins of the musical farce began in 2009 as a 20-minute piece in Club PuSh. Now the full 80-minute show features original songs such as “300 Stuffed Penguins”, and  “Decapitated Dolls”.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s 

The Idiot

(Neworld Theatre &

Vancouver Moving Theatre)

January 19–29

Premiering at the PuSh, Neworld Theatre and Vancouver Moving Theatre bring us their musical adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s humourous social critique The Idiot.

The Idiot follows the return of Prince Lyov Nikolayevish Myshkin, a man scorned for his virtue and charity by the St. Petersburg society, to Russia after four years in Switzerland, and becomes involved in a struggle encouraged by love, jealousy, and greed.

Guided Tour

(Peter Reder)

January 25–29

Brought to us by the same artist who created City of Dreams for last year’s PuSh Festival, Guided Tour is a site-specific work which takes place after-hours in one of Vancouver’s most cherished heritage buildings, the Vancouver Art Gallery. Peter Reder is again playing with our concepts of memory and place through a multi-disciplinary approach, incorporating artifacts, video, text, and live performances. Guided Tour asks the audience to contemplate its surrounding architecture and the memories that space can hold.

Colourful World

(Turning Point Ensemble)

January 29

Last appearing in the PuSh Festival in 2008, Turning Point Ensemble returns in epic proportions. Colourful World is inspired by a century of beautiful and intense soundscapes, taking a new work commissioned by composer Rodney Sharman and pairing it with intelligent arrangements of pieces by Claude Debussy and Toru Takemitsu.

Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and Farewell Speech 


January 26–28

A look into the office culture of Japan through the use of deadpan dialogue, elaborate gestural vocabularies, and brilliant choreography, Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and Farewell Speech uses the dark humour and despair that emerges in a generation that has been promised a shining future only to end up caged in pre-packaged, anonymous cubicles (a fate that most of us at SFU are trying to avoid).

PuSh Festival runs from January 17 to February 4.