The Body Orchestra is a collection of independent contemporary dance artists from Vancouver, BC, led by choreographers Jenn Edwards and Jennifer Aoki. Initiated in 2016, the group’s mandate is to create collaborative, thought-provoking, and viscerally felt ensemble works set to original music. Their body of work has been well-received at Fringe Festivals in Winnipeg, Calgary, and Vancouver, as well as Dancing on the Edge, Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret’s Parade of Lost Souls, and New Blue Dance Festival in Toronto.

The collective first gathered in 2016 for the creation of Jenn Edwards’ light-hearted work, Conduit, which abstracts the movements of orchestral conductors. This is the inspiration behind the collective’s name, and it continues to resonate with their choreographic style, highlighting the individual voice of each dancer within a cohesive whole. 

In 2017 The Body Orchestra premiered two more works. Aoki’s Viewer Discretion is a frantic, unsettling work evoking the state of our news industry in the age of Trump, Twitter, Fox News and “fake news.” Edwards’ Other Creatures is a Dystopian movement exploration abstracting Yorgos Lanthimos’ darkly comedic film, The Lobster. Both pieces premiered at The Calgary Fringe Festival and have since been performed at Dancing on the Edge and at New Blue Dance Festival in Toronto respectively.

At the Vancouver Fringe in 2019, the group premiered another work by Edwards, Imposter Syndrome. Set to a disorienting musical score by Mary Jane Paquette sampling Italian pop music, Simon and Garfunkel, and Julie Andrews, the piece straddles humour and dread in a physical exploration of self-doubt.

During the pandemic, The Body Orchestra began experimenting with digital projects. Jennifer Aoki began a creative process with the group over Zoom, which culminated in a short film, Shifting Spaces. 2021 brought a collaboration with Saskatoon’s It’s Not a Box Theatre for an outdoor work at Vines Art Festival called Re:Place.

The Body Orchestra is an organic, evolving collective of artists. Over fifteen different dancers have appeared in its works. They have also commissioned music from composers Mary Jane Paquette and Jakob Liljenwall, as well as lighting design from Jonathan Kim, dramaturgy from Marc Arboleda, and photography and video editing from Gemma Crowe. Their work has been made possible by residencies at SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts, The Roundhouse Community Arts & Culture Centre, and The Shadbolt Centre for the Arts.

The collective is committed to engaging local artists, fostering a collaborative and inclusive environment for everyone involved. They also strive to make contemporary dance accessible through open rehearsals, work-in-progress showings, and workshops for both children and adults.

TESTIMONIALS

“Overall I left The Cultch feeling full. In my heart, that sort of satisfaction that comes from watching strong, beautiful dancing and work that is unafraid to ask questions, point fingers and prod at the messy stuff of our existence.”                                                                                

- Rachel Maddock, The Dance Current

“This youthful company clearly has something to say and has become its own conduit to say it.”                                                                        

- Holly Harris, Winnipeg Free Press

“Each dancer took their performances beyond the choreography given to them and added their own unique spin to their dancing. I was impressed not only with their strengths as individual dancers, but also with their level of comfort and trust in each other while moving together.”                              

- Katie Hemion, The Peak

Photo by Sam Kruger​

​Dance Artist             Contemporary skater            Educator

THE BODY ORCHESTRA​

Photo by Andi Mcleish


Socials

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Photo by Ryan Adam Wells​

Jenn Edwards

​Photo by Allan Jeffrey