As the Vancouver landscape is constantly shifting, we ponder what history is lost and forgotten. Through SOTTO 51, we research, remember, and celebrate Block 51, 61, and 71, commonly known as Robson Square, the Vancouver Art Gallery, and Provincial Law Courts–an area of the unceded Coast Salish territory and the City of Vancouver that is significant to the street dance community and personally to OURO members.

With SOTTO 51 we are considering how changes in our urban landscape effect personal memory and cultural amnesia, and how an erased past effects future generations. Our research starts with the indigenous history of Robson Square (through consultation from the Aboriginal Programs at Emily Carr University of Art + Design), followed by the history of the colonial site that Robson Square represents to present day and also looking at what the future holds for the site. We have and will be talking to various historians, dancers, architects (Arthur Erickson Foundation), and various shop keepers in the area and invite you to share your stories and any information that you would like to share by sending us and email at: info@ourocollective.com

Research for SOTTO 51 started in the spring of 2019 and will continue until its premiere at Robson Square in May of 2021. This page will give you updates on our project, which will include interviews, photos, rehearsal footage and various dates on workshops, work-in-progress performances and the final presentation.

SOTTO 51: Phase 1 – August/September 2020

Creating and dancing in a community space is unlike any other. During phase 1 we explored how an open public space, such as Robson Square and its surroundings can inform choreography. During this phase OURO worked on developing a duet with collective dancers, Rina Pellerin and Eric Cheung, with co-direction from Maiko Miyauchi and Cristina Bucci. Big thanks to Vitantonio Spinelli for the beautiful photos and to Jeff Hamada for capturing our rehearsal process and behind the scenes footage below.

Dancers: Rina Pellerin and Eric Cheung Videographer/Edit: Jeff Hamada Music: Dreamer’s Wake by Rival Consoles Logo Design: Abi Huynh

*SOTTO 51 Phase 1 Video was filmed prior to the new restrictions put in place by British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer. Any dancers shown within 6 feet of each other were within the same social bubble at the time.

SOTTO 51: Aboriginal Cultural Workshop – October 2020

The workshop was hosted in the Aboriginal Gathering Place at Emily Carr University and presented by Brenda Crabtree and Connie Watts. It is our mission to create a piece that acknowledges and respects the people, land, and culture that came before us. In this workshop we talked about, Indigenous Canada, history of Canada including residential schools and the potential of intergenerational trauma, resilience of Indigenous communities, role of ally, challenging racism, and the opportunities to contribute to reconciliation.

We are grateful and thankful for the opportunity and to have Brenda and Connie share their knowledge with the collective. We are looking forward to our second workshop in January 2021!

(The new name for the giant open space on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery is, šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square. According to the City of Vancouver, it “refers to a place where a cultural gathering occurs such as a wedding, funeral, naming, honouring, or coming of age ceremony”. The name incorporates languages of all three First Nations. Learn how to say the name through this link.)

If you are interested in donating to this project or would like more information, please email us at info@ourocollective.com or click on the donate button below. We would like to thank the Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, Bridge and Enrich Lives Society and Tangible for their support on this project.