Contemporary dance developed in the mid-nineteenth century and is now one of the dominant genres for professionally trained dancers.
Kristina Lemieux and Miriam Esquitín created Polymer Dance because both work in the non-profit sector with busy schedules but still love to dance. They also found Vancouver’s dance scene too inflexible and institutionalized to accommodate non-professional dancers like themselves.
Polymer Dance’s aim is to provide instruction and performance opportunities to hobbyist dancers interested in the contemporary style.
Philosophy of art and artists
Esquitín has been teaching dance since 1999, with training in ballet among other dance styles.
Lemieux has been dancing most of her life, but she has not received any professional dance training before coming to Vancouver from Edmonton.
They named the group Polymer because, like the chemical compound, each individual component changes the properties of the whole.
“It’s very representative of what we’re doing,” said Esquitin. “Ultimately we’re a unit made of our individualities.”
Art and the community
Holding classes at the Moberly Arts and Cultural Centre was a “conscious decision,” according to Lemieux.
“Art should go back to the community,” Esquitín added. “It’s a more democratic approach, that’s very important to us.”
Each class is divided into two portions. The first part focuses on the techniques of contemporary dance, and the second is for improvisation. This improvised aspect is what makes contemporary dance so appealing, Lemieux said. “There’s structure, but within that structure there’s a lot of room for individuality.”
As a part of their “anybody can dance” philosophy, Polymer offers a beginner’s class, but Miriam suggests prospective students should at least know what contemporary dance is.
“After all, you don’t sign up for a contemporary class like you do a Zumba class.” She added.
Reported by Edmond Lu