Review: things near & far

At once visually engaging and immensely thoughtful, things near & far is a journey through time and movement, joined by a consideration of relationships, both on stage and off. Presented by the Firehall Arts Centre, this captivating performance has been an anticipated event in the Vancouver dance community – and rightly so – given last night’s opening night audience, a who’s who of the Vancouver dance scene.


things near & far_1

Photo: Ron Stewart, Anne Cooper, Ziyian Kwan. Photo credit: Chris Randle.

To understand this work is to appreciate the backstory of its creation. Celebrated dancers Anne Cooper, Ziyian Kwan, and Ron Stewart – three contemporaries working side-by-side for many years but never together as a trio – have, at long last, come together for a unified performance. Things near & far incorporates two individual works, both aptly named Dwelling, with choreography from 2014 Walter Carsen prizewinner Tedd Robinson, and 605 Collective’s Artistic Co-Director Josh Martin.


Martin’s opening work is a singular celebration of movement in its many guises, shapes, and forms. The dancers moved effortlessly through the eclectic combination of steps, some gestural and others much more physical. While always individualized in the execution of their movements, there was no questioning their unity as a group – always connected in their intention as though they were a single dancer, moving isolated parts of the body in unique ways. In this work, Dwelling took on the metaphysical role of the movement itself, housed inside each of the dancer’s bodies.


things near & far_2

Photo: Ron Stewart, Anne Cooper, Ziyian Kwan. Photo credit: Chris Randle.

Looking to Robinson’s creation in the second half, the term ‘dwelling’ took on a much more literal role, as the dancers incorporated various props to create a physical location in which to ‘dwell.’ With an ever-investigative movement quality, Robinson’s work repeatedly returned to the idea of balance. He integrated two precarious-looking stools on which the dancers would delicately suspend themselves upon that, when coupled with Stewart’s gentle act of balancing multiple wooden beams across his body, and Cooper’s poised stance balancing beams on her head, made for an impressive display.


With several more showings, things near & far is one performance every local dance enthusiast should aim to experience.


Things near & far runs at the Firehall Arts Centre until December 6. For tickets, visit


Categories: Musings