April in Vancouver is a beautiful month: a time of early sunshine, budding gardens and — thanks to the Cherry Blossom Festival — flourishing new dancers, too. The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival is heading full-swing into its annual World Umbrella Dance, with this year’s blossom-infused extravaganza including a special Bollywood twist.
If you’re unfamiliar with the festival’s Umbrella Dance, prepare to be impressed. B.C. residents of all ages will be spinning, jumping and umbrella-twirling to the jangling beats of “Shabop!” These fun, energetic dance moves are the brainchild of famed South Asian choreographer Shiamak Davar, AKA ‘The Guru of Contemporary Dance.’ Shiamak Style dance has infiltrated the globe: his troop has performed everywhere from the Bollywood International Film Festival to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. His program provides up to 10 rehearsals for all participants, and helpful choreographic videos too.
What’s more, participants also receive an accessory familiar to every Vancouverite — an umbrella! This year’s umbrella was crafted Pop-Art style by talented local artist Anthony Redpath. 6S got a sneak peak at the umbrella and can confirm it’s very fancy — just the burst of colour you need to ward off any spring drizzle. However, if pink’s not your thing, the dance permits you to use your own umbrella of choice.
So, if you’re seeking a way to celebrate local arts and culture this spring, sign up for the Cherry Blossom Festival’s Umbrella Dance. You’ll get active, engaged with the community and steal the spotlight at the Vancouver Art Gallery Plaza, too. Plus, you might spot some 6Sers in the mob — we’re forming our own Umbrella Dance team to help support local arts culture!