Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Performing Arts General

My Vancouver Dance History

Story, Movement, Community

by (author) Peter Dickinson

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Aug 2020
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2020
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2020
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it


In the past decade, Vancouver dance has received tremendous acclaim nationally and internationally, as witnessed by the success of choreographer Crystal Pite and a rejuvenated Ballet BC. But this is only part of a vibrant and diverse story of contemporary movement practices in the city. In My Vancouver Dance History Peter Dickinson crafts an embodied narrative that focuses on his critical and creative collaborations with nine Vancouver-based dance artists and companies. Mixing interview excerpts with fieldwork descriptions of studio research and performance analysis, Dickinson draws on ten years of close observation to delve into the individual histories of select members of this community, while also relating the cumulative story of Vancouver dance production and performance as it has unfolded in the past decade. The voices of other invested participants interpolate this rich history, and chapters are interspersed with a series of "movement intervals" that reflect key moments in Dickinson's history as a spectator, scholar, and collaborator. In innovative ways, Dickinson suggests that when we pay attention to the larger social topography of dance practice - the sites that give rise to it, the labour that goes into it, and the professional friendships it engenders - we can properly understand dance's contributions to civic life.

About the author

Peter Dickinson is a professor at Simon Fraser University, where he holds a joint appointment in the School for the Contemporary Arts and the Department of English. He is also Director of SFU’s Institute for Performance Studies and Associate Member of the Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies. Peter has published extensively on queer Canadian theatre and performance and his produced plays include The Objecthood of Chairs and Long Division.

Peter Dickinson's profile page


  • Runner-up, Ann Saddlemyer Award

Editorial Reviews

“This book is an intriguing, up-close-and-personal account of the author’s own experience as critic, enthusiast, and participant in the dance history of the city of Vancouver over the decade between 2008 and 2018. My Vancouver Dance History draws on interviews, fieldwork, autoethnography, performance analysis, and “movement intervals,” to present a rich, multifaceted and generously illustrated account of the work of nine Vancouver-based dance artists and companies who together and with others constitute a tight and interconnected community of artists and audiences in the city.” – The Canadian Association for Theatre Research’s Ann Saddlemyer Award jury

"Peter Dickinson is to be commended for his astute close readings of choreography and meticulous scholarship in profiling individual dance artists and their creative processes. He has a talent for describing movement in prose that is simultaneously erudite and accessible. His passion for dance is clear." Allana Lindgren, University of Victoria

Other titles by Peter Dickinson