The 5 Elements Dance Film

5 Elements 2022 cover photo.

From top right clock-wise: Sarah Di Iorio, Sebastian Bash Hirtenstein, Sarah Di Iorio (dancers)/Manuel Garcia (photo), Jennifer Aoki, Alex Tam (dancers)/Nancy Wong, Carol Chui (photo), Lu Li (dancer), Jiapei Ma (choreographer/dancer)/Victor Tan (photo),  Julie Robert (dancer), Lydia Zimmer (choreographer/dancer)/Manuel Garcia (photo), Katie Couchie (dancer), Samantha Sutherland (choreographer/dancer)/Manuel Garcia (photo).

Online Streaming: Mar 02, 2023 – Apr 02, 2023, Ticket Link: Eventbrite “The 5 Elements Dance Film”

Little Pear Garden Dance Company presents The 5 Elements dance film. A dance film featuring five choreographers from across Canada, brings to life the ancient Chinese philosophy of the 5 Elements; Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth. Each choreographer was tasked with an element, in which they researched and studied to make connections with their creation. The five choreographers of this dance film express a multitude of diversity, dance style, cultural expression, and practice.

Taking place across five Canadian provinces, this project showcases the beauty and uniqueness of each province. All choreographers, artists and participants are Canadians, making this an all Canadian film.

5 Choreographers, 5 Provinces, 5 Elements.

The 5 Elements 2022 Trailer.
What is the 5 Elements?
What do the choreographers hope the audience to capture?
What do choreographers need before creating their pieces?
What were the choreographers’ experiences and excitements working with films?
How do their elements inspire the choreographer’s creations?

Metal Element: Emily Cheung 

Emily Cheung

Emily Cheung is an educator, performer and choreographer. She received her B.F.A., B. Ed. and M.A from York University specializing in dance. Most of her training was completed in China, Hong Kong, the United States and Canada. She is recognized as one of the leaders in cross-cultural exchange and liaison with foreign artists practicing traditional and contemporary Chinese dance in Toronto. Emily received an award as one of the ten “Voices of Chinese Canadian Woman” in Ontario during the 150th Anniversary celebration of Canada in 2017 as well as a recipient of the Muriel Sherrin Award in 2021. As an Artistic Director of Little Pear Garden Dance, she specializes in both Chinese Classical dance and Chinese Contemporary dance. Emily is involved in preserving traditional Chinese dance, creating contemporary dance that honours Chinese traditions and collaborating with artists from other disciplines and ethnic backgrounds to create works with unique aesthetic sensibilities.

Photos: Manuel Garcia

Location: Union Station, Winnipeg, Manitoba 

Dancers: Sarah Di Iorio & Sebastian Hirtenstein 

Costumes: Emily Cheung

Videographer: Manuel Garcia

Music: Original music by Tony K.T. Leung

Wood Element: Samantha Sutherland

Samantha Sutherland

Samantha Sutherland is a contemporary dance artist, choreographer, and teacher based in Tkaronto.  Her ancestry is Ktunaxa and Scottish/British Settler.  She completed the Arts Umbrella Dance Diploma Program in 2018.  She has worked as a guest artist with Ballet BC and an associate artist with Red Sky Performance. Samantha explores what aspects of her Ktunaxa culture, history, and traditional knowledge can be pulled into her choreography. She has presented works at Matriarchs Uprising by O.Dela Arts, and the Paprika Festival.

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Photos: Manuel Garcia

Location: Lake Nipissing First Nation, Ontario 

Dancers: Samantha Sutherland & Katie Couchie

Costumes: Samantha Sutherland

Videographer: Manuel Garcia

Music: Artist: Lesfm Titles: Relax in the Forest, Forest Lullaby, Watching the Stars, In the Forest

Water Element: Jiapei Ma

Jiapei Ma

Jiapei Ma finished her bachelor’s degree in dancing and got a certificate of teaching at Guangzhou South China Normal University, where she studied Chinese classical dance, folk dance and contemporary dance. Her choreography was awarded excellence in Hong Kong’s competition and was showcased at Beijing’s dance festival. Currently, she is a dance instructor with rich experience in teaching and dance performances and is an Associate Artistic Director at LPGDC.

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Photos: Victor Tan

Location: Centre d’Art Marcel Gagnon, Ste- Flavie, Quebec 

Dancers: Jiapei Ma & Lu Li 

Videographer: Manuel Garcia

Music: Tony K.T. Leung

Fire Element: Chengxin Wei

Chengxin Wei

Chengxin graduated from the Beijing Dance Academy with a BFA in Classical Chinese dance.  He was a former principal dancer of the Guangdong Provincial Dance Theatre before moving to Vancouver in 2000, where he has danced with numerous Canadian dance companies including Ballet British Columbia.

In 2004, Chengxin co-founded the contemporary cross-cultural fusion company Moving Dragon.  He is an Iris Garland Emerging Choreographer Award recipient, and a recipient of the David Leighton Arts Fellowship Award from the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.  

Chengxin holds his MFA degree in dance at the University of Washington.  He has taught at Ohio University’s School of Dance and at Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts.

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Photos: Nicky Wong, Carol Chui

Location: Barney Marine Park, Burnaby, British Colombia

Dancers: Alex Tam & Jennifer Aoki

Videographers: Nicky Wong& Carol Chui

Music: Early Morning Melody   by Meredith Monk, from her album “ Book of Days” 

The Walker (Full Version)   Performed by Didgi-Taal, Lx, Ronan Skillen 

Written by Joshua Jabulani Clark, Ronan Michael Skillen

Tsunami – Lyrical  Performed by Gabrielle Roth, The Mirrors

Earth Element: Lydia Zimmer

Lydia Zimmer

Lydia Zimmer is a graduate of Walnut Hill School for the Arts (’07) and The Boston Conservatory (B.F.A. ‘11). Since returning to her home city of Halifax, Lydia has created several works and attended residencies overseas supported by Canada Council for the Arts and Arts NS. These include Bonne Nuit (2016), presented through Live Art Dance; Embankment, commissioned (2017) and remounted (2021) by Votive Dance; Sonderlings (2018), commissioned by Nostos Dance Collectives. Lydia completed a dance residency at Nes Artist Residency in Skagastrond, Iceland (2017), and a choreographic residency in Sofia, Bulgaria at the Derida Dance Centre (2018). She additionally attended Banff’s Creature Gesture: Collective Composition for Music and Dance (2019). In 2021, Lydia premiered two solos, Sonderling and EXTREMOPHILE, at Festival of Dance Annapolis Royal in the summer of 2019 and 2021, respectively. Lydia was invited as a Dance Artist in Residency in December 2021 at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, which will lead to the premiere of a new work in the Spring of 2023. She recently premiered a new trio, Mercurials, for Mocean Dance’s 20th-anniversary show, Fluid Forms, in April 2022. Lydia is thrilled to be working on Little Pear Garden Dance Company’s  “The Five Elements” project with artists Julie Robert, Kim Morgan, and Lorraine Albert. 

Photos: Manuel Garcia

Location: Polly’s Cove & Peggy’s Cove, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia 

Dancers: Lydia Zimmer & Julia Robert

Land Artisits: Lorraine Albert & Kim Morgan

Costumes: Lydia Zimmer

Videographer: Manuel Garcia

Music: Monument Builders by Loscil

Fólk fær andlit by Hildur Guðnadóttir