Kaija Pepper


Kaija Pepper writes for several publications, including The Globe and Mail. The Man Next Door Dances: The Art of Peter Bingham, her third dance history book, was a finalist for the 2008 City of Vancouver Book Award. She enjoys teaching writing at SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts. | Kaija Pepper [rédactrice invitée, rédactrice adjointe des critiques] écrit pour plusieurs publications, y compris The Globe and Mail. The Man Next Door Dances: The Art of Peter Bingham, son troisième livre d’histoire de danse, a été finaliste pour le prix du livre 2008 de la Ville de Vancouver. Elle aime bien enseigner la rédaction à la School for the Contemporary Arts de l’Université Simon Fraser. 

Kaija Pepper's Work


The Weight of Aggression 

By Kaija Pepper “Lost Action” Crystal Pite, Kidd Pivot

Crystal Pite’s “Lost Action”, which premiered at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre as the closing show of the Vancouver International Dance Festival, makes a serious and emotionally gripping statement about conflict.  


A Butoh Classic 

By Kaija Pepper “Sunyata” Kokoro Dance, Vancouver International Dance Festival

Who knew it would last? When Jay Hirabayashi and Barbara Bourget of Kokoro Dance launched the Vancouver International Dance Festival in 1998, it was a showcase for international butoh artists. For the first few years, attendance was dismal. Some of the shows were good, some appalling; but looked at in hindsight, audiences were getting a fantastic grounding in the art of butoh.  


It Dances as a Whole 

By Kaija Pepper “5 AM” Paula de Vasconcelos, Pigeons International, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival

The rhythmic flow and poetic abstraction of “5 AM” (“5 Heures du Matin”) lends the whole of Paula de Vasconcelos’ well-produced and visually outstanding dance/theatre work a polished choreographic feel. Yet the pure dance sections themselves were disappointing.  


Three Exceptional Women 

By Kaija Pepper Dances for a Small Stage XII  Dances for a Small Stage

Dances for a Small Stage takes place in a bar, the Crush Champagne Lounge on downtown Granville Street, just a few steps away from The Dance Centre. The bar venue is crucial to the success of the popular series, which is produced by Day Helesic and Julie-anne Saroyan of MovEnt, because having a good time is what Small Stage is all about.  

Ice, Fire, Earth and Air

Judith Marcuse’s Elemental Politics By Kaija Pepper

Dance and social activism go hand-in-hand for Vancouver-based dance artist and producer Judith Marcuse. In June 2006, she premiered EARTH = home, the third in her series of socially conscious theatrical productions. Says Marcuse, “The first thing that has to happen if there is going to be any engagement in social change is that you feel connected to the issue or to another person. [EARTH] is about making that heart connection, or that intellectual connection, or hopefully both.”

The Weight of Aggression

By Kaija Pepper

Lost Action by Crystal Pite, Kidd Pivot: Vancouver: March 24-April 1, 2006

Seriously Improvising

By Kaija Pepper

Thirst by Peter Bingham and Wen Wei Wang at Dance in Vancouver: Vancouver: November 16 & 19, 2005


Seriously Improvising 

By Kaija Pepper “Thirst” Peter Bingham, Wen Wei Wang

The partnership of Peter Bingham and Wen Wei Wang is a surprising one. Bingham is an older dancer, in his mid-fifties, and widely known as a master of contact improvisation. Wang, fourteen years younger, studied Chinese dance from a young age, was a member of Ballet British Columbia for several years and has a growing reputation as a contemporary choreographer. 

Wen Wei Wang

The Evolution of Self By Kaija Pepper

As a six-year-old in China, Wen Wei Wang performed dances in honour of Chairman Mao, leader of the Cultural Revolution. From there, he has followed a path from Chinese dance to ballet and contemporary work, and from China to Canada, where he is now developing his own personal movement statement.


That Rare Breed Called Soloist  

By Kaija Pepper Chasing Bliss Jolene Bailie, Cuppa Jo Solo Dance

It’s not easy to be a solo dancer, filling out a program and keeping the audience engaged and focussed all by yourself. Margie Gillis does it brilliantly; so does Peggy Baker. And so does the up-and-coming Jolene Bailie.