Going the extra mile for art and culture Mile Zero Dance is participating in Alberta Culture Days

From Oct. 1-2, Mile Zero Dance is opening its studio for free with performances and classes as part of Alberta Culture Days.

The contemporary dance company has been participating in Alberta Culture Days since it started in 2008. The event celebrates Alberta’s arts and cultures. Originally called Alberta Arts Day, it has gone from a one day to a three day event with province-wide participation.

“We decided that since we’ve gotten settled in the neighbourhood, we felt well-equipped to host a free performance event,” said Gerry Morita, artistic director of Mile Zero Dance.

Morita explained that the event is a good way to introduce people to the McCauley-based dance company. Everyone is welcome to check out the event.

Gerry Morita and Jen Mesch perform in RV There Yet? | Ernest Augustus

“It’s a really good initiative for a season launch. We like to do something free around that time,” said Morita.

Starting at 5 p.m. on Oct. 1, the dance company will have a line up of performances and afterwards, a dance party going from 9 p.m. until midnight.

Expect to see butoh (Japanese) dance, clowns, an escape artist, burlesque, and hopefully a powwow dance. One performance, called RV There Yet?, takes place inside an RV.

Morita said the performances are “mostly inside, but some stuff is happening on the street.”

Starting at noon on Oct. 2, there will be a variety of one hour classes, including ballet, contemporary dance, powwow, and Cuban salsa. Morita said attending the classes is a good way to see if you like them since the dance company will be offering those same classes this year.

“People can come in and take a class with their friends,” said Morita.

Mile Zero Dance also does outreach work in nearby communities. For every Friday from 5-6 p.m. in October, children of all ages can take free movement classes at Parkdale Cromdale Community League (PCCL).

Jodie Vandekerkhove, the outreach education coordinator, said the classes introduce kids to dancing. She refers to the sessions as movement classes because theyre “a creative, fun atmosphere of learning dance—not technical. We introduce creative movement concepts and get people inspired to move to music.”

Musician Will Northlich-Redmond and Gerry Morita in RV There Yet? Ernest Augustus

The classes are part of CreArt, a free school of music and art at PCCL. Mile Zero also held a four-week session for CreArt in the spring.

“I’m the outreach coordinator and I’m really trying to join forces with the city and other communities to have partnerships that give kids dance empowerment,” said Vandekerkhove. “I like what Sebastian Barrera’s doing with CreArt.”

Vandekerkhove said kids can drop in, with no need to register. Future sessions depend on funding and attendance.

Mile Zero Dance has also held similar sessions for Boys and Girls Club of Edmonton and the Mennonite Centre for Newcomers. Vandekerkhove said she’s hoping to create more partnerships and friendships with other community organizations.

For more information about the movement classes, contact Jodie Vandekerkhove at 780.719.6585.


Alberta Culture Days

10816 95 St

Oct. 1: free performances from 5-9 p.m. Dance party from 9 p.m.-midnight.

Oct. 2: noon-5 p.m.


Featured Image: Gerry Morita, artistic director of Mile Zero Dance, performs the RV There Yet? series. | Ernest Augustus

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