We are a group of dance artists who have been gathering to play basketball, in which we have varying degrees of experience. Some of us had never touched a ball before. Deanna and Blake played in high school. Our coach Katie Lowen played four years NCAA at SFU.
Katie leads us in weekly ‘schoolings’, teaching us ball handling, driving, passing, spacing, shooting, rebounding and defence. We test our skills in half-court play and incorporate other aspects of the game like rules, plays, hand touching, use of voice and performance psychology. We wrap with some dance-basketball talk, sharing what we're experiencing and how it relates to our artistic practices.
We are not caricaturing or imitating basketball players. We are not a group of dancers playing basketball badly (we hope!). With a genuine desire to expand our physical range, we are learning new techniques, building community and developing fresh strategies to move, create, improvise and perform by.
Dancers Playing Basketball is created and played by Katie Lowen and Deanna Peters, in collaboration with players Natalie Tin Yin Gan, Walter Kubanek, Erika Mitsuhashi, Alex Tam and Blake Worthey.
Natalie joined the team to combat her phobia of sports balls hurtling towards her. She also wanted to take this opportunity to redeem herself after being rejected from her Grade 10 basketball team.
Natalie Tin Yin Gan is an interdisciplinary artist who lives and creates on the traditional unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. She has played rugby, played piano, played mind games, played mahjong, played brave, played white, played yellow, and played an iguana in her theatre stage debut in 2004. She is a late sleeper, a late riser, a late bloomer, and a late-night snacker. She is the co-Artistic Director of Hong Kong Exile.
photo: Yvonne Chew
Dancers playing Basketball for me has meant cold hands and lots of laughs. Learning to love a sport I didn't actually know much about has been so fun. Go Dancers playing Basketball!
Walter Kubanek is a dance artist with 2 decades of experience making and performing dance in Canada. As a member of Le Groupe Dance Lab in Ottawa, he created work with many choreographers including; Rob Abubo, Davida Monk, Ame Henderson, Marc Boivin, Louise Bedard, Karen Guttman, Tony Chong & Michael Trent. Walter has toured with Kinesis Dance, Judith Marcuse, Tania Alvarado and Co.Erasga. Walter appeared recently in works by Alvin Erasga Tolentino and James and Natalie Gnam of Plastic Orchid Factory and Peter Bingham of EDAM Dance. He is a graduate of Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton and Simon Fraser University.
photo: Jessica Wilkie
I began playing basketball in junior high after watching my older brothers' high school games. In grade 11 I was invited to join the U17 Canadian Women's National Team Selection roster and later attended Simon Fraser University to continue pursuing my basketball career. DPB has been an opportunity to give information back to a community that has been so generous to me!
Born in Lethbridge, Alberta, Katie trained and competed as a national level gymnast until later moving to Vancouver to pursue a university basketball career. Katie played on the Simon Fraser University women’s basketball team for four years, competing in the NCAA division II, and serving as co-captain. After earning a Bachelor of Business Administration (2015) in finance as a three time Academic All-American, she joined Modus Operandi under the direction of Tiffany Tregarthen and David Raymond. Through the Modus Operandi training program, Katie has performed new creations by Emmalena Fredrikkson, Rob Kitsos, Vanessa Goodman, and Out Innerspace Dance Theatre. She has also had the pleasure of apprenticing with Radical System Art (Shay Kuebler), OURO collective, and the response. dance company (Amber Funk Barton). In collaboration with two other colleagues, Katie cofounded the alternative performance space Boombox in 2016, where she has created and performed her own choreographic work. She is also currently working with Heather Laura Gray for Dance Allsorts 2017, as well as Deanna Peters for Vancouver International Dance Festival 2017.
photo: Ron Hole
Erika's relationship to basketball started as a teenager. She loved playing but was never quite good enough to make it onto her high school team. Coming back to it after some time, her love for the physicality of it remains.
Erika Mitsuhashi is an emerging dance artist based out of Vancouver, BC. Erika has interpreted the work of Robert Kitsos, Vanessa Goodman, Judith Garay, Katie DeVries and Daisy Thompson in festivals and platforms such as International Dance Day hosted by The Dance Center, Dance Allsorts, Dancing on the Edge, The Interplay Project, Vancouver International Dance Festival and Simon Fraser University masters showcase. As a choreographer, she has had her work presented locally and nationally by the Powell Street Festival, Toronto’s PS:We are All Here and the Surrey Art Gallery’s InFlux. She is also one of three members of the newly formed collective Farouche. She is excited to be performing this Spring with Deanna Peters/Mutable Subject in Dancers Playing Basketball as part of Vancouver International Dance Festival and in Justine Chamber's work Semi-precious: the faceting of a gemstone only appears complete and critical in the upcoming ReFuse event at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Erika is currently preparing to present an excerpt of a new duet with collaborator dance artist Francesca Frewer at the Shooting Gallery Performance Series at the end of March.
photo: Yvonne Chew
I played basketball in elementary and high school, along with baseball, volleyball and track and field. I was city champ in high jump for four years and my family kinda wanted me to pursue sports instead of dance.
Deanna Peters is a dance artist and designer who creates for the stage, web, screen, print, specific sites and beyond... Its all dance! mutablesubject.ca
photo: Yvonne Chew
Alex Tam is a freelance dance artist based in Vancouver, BC. Dancers Playing Basketball provided an opportunity to develop a skill he hadn’t touched on since grade 2. Alex appreciates the athleticism that dance often demands, which happens to be one of the reasons he started formal dance training at age 15. Tam will appear in upcoming performances with Hong Kong Exile (Room 2048), Wen Wei Dance (Dialogue) and Aeriosa Dance. He inspires creativity through the study of Fine Arts and is working towards completing his BFA at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. There, Alex has been placed on the Dean’s Honour Roll for his outstanding academic achievement.
photo: Jessica Wilkie
Blake Worthey played basketball from 10 to 17, and was forced to quit due to injury. In coming back to the game in this project, he has learned that some things really don't leave your body if you put the work in. Blake has a B.F.A. from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock where he studied ballet and modern dance while getting to travel across the U.S. Currently he's a a member of Modus Operandi, a professional dance training program in Vancouver, and hopes to swim in the ocean one day soon.
photo: Yvonne Chew
Dancers Playing Basketball started as weekly, drop-in training sessions under the Cambie Street bridge in Vancouver. Special thanks to the following players for their contributions to the project: Lara Abadir, Laura Avery, Anne Cooper, Thoenn Glover, Elya Grant, Elissa Hanson, Alexa Mardon, Kelly McInnes, Diego Romero, Rianne Svelnis and Jessica Wilkie.
Dancers Playing Basketball was first performed in the Choreography Walk, presented by Justine A. Chambers as a part of Dance In Vancouver 2015.