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Dancer Helps Nanaimo Put Foot Forward

Life, as John Lennon once sang, is what happens when you’re busy making otPhoto of Holly Bright by Michael Slobodian. Used by permission.her plans.

That's what happened to Holly Bright. She was on her way to a becoming a physiotherapist, when a casual decision to take a contemporary dance class changed her life.

“I fell in love with dance and ended up at the studio every day,” Bright says. “To me, life is short but wide, so there was nothing to do but say yes to that opportunity.”

Bright didn't give up on her physiotherapy goal, she finished her degree in human physiology and biology at the University of Akron, Ohio, and kicked it up a notch by taking a Bachelor of Arts in Ballet.

As the founder of Crimson Coast Dance Society of Nanaimo, Bright now brings her expertise and love of movement to the dance floor.

“Contemporary dance explores dimensions of science and humanity, and has both social and political influences– all elements of life I’ve experienced,” she says.

After re-discovering her dance connection and graduating, Bright moved to New York, right in the thick of the dance scene. But living in Manhattan proved challenging, and after a short stint in Vancouver, Bright found herself in Nanaimo.

“It was a great opportunity for me. There is a great cultural community here, but there was no contemporary dance at the time. So that’s where the inspiration for Crimson Coast was born.”

The work of individual artists like Bright, as well as the support of organizations like the Nanaimo Arts Council -- an umbrella organization for all of the visual, performing and creative arts in town -- is turning the community into Vancouver Island’s cultural hub.

For her part, Bright – who’s received BC Arts Council funding of her own in the past – likes where both her career and the dance scene in Nanaimo are headed.

“We’ve laid a really fabulous groundwork, and made lots of inroads, but I like to keep myself open to new possibilities. That’s the nature of contemporary dancers and art in general: it never stands still, and continually redefines itself.”