// the company
We are a contemporary dance company founded on the principles of innovation, artistic integrity and social reflection.
Founded by choreographer and dancer Alvin Erasga Tolentino in 2000, Co.ERASGA has a distinguished international reputation with its vision of hybrid dance, diversity and collaborations with other artistic practices and multimedia.
At the heart of Co.ERASGA is Artistic Director Alvin Erasga Tolentino, a Filipino-Canadian artist of remarkable commitment, talent and energy, whose diverse cultural background and heritage has been a driving force for much of the company’s work. In addressing themes that reflect Tolentino’s individuality, global awareness and ethnicity, Co.ERASGA exposes and explores issues of cultural identity, gender, hybridity, and promotes cross-cultural dialogue.
Celebrating its 18th anniversary in 2018, Co.ERASGA has created critically acclaimed contemporary dance productions: SOLA, BATO/Stone, MINORI, Volt, She Said, Field, OrienTik/Portrait, BODYGlass, PARADISE/Paradis, ADAMEVE/Man-Woman, Shadow Machine, EXpose, Unwrapping Culture, and most recently Collected, Traces and Still Here.
Co.ERASGA’s mandate is to produce and promote original contemporary dance to a broad audience in Vancouver, across BC, Canada and internationally; to recognize and celebrate Asian heritage and diversity within Canadian multiculturalism; to foster the creation of interdisciplinary performance works; and to partner with emerging and professional dance artists through involvement in the company’s artistic endeavours. Co.ERASGA is founded on the principles of innovation, artistic integrity and social reflection led by founder and artistic director Filipino-Canadian Alvin Erasga Tolentino.
// our vision
One of the main pillars of the company is the company’s commitment to fully engage in reciprocal creative processes where all participants benefit from learning, collaborating and meeting their full potential. Co.ERASGA opens up the company to community partnership feasible to our programming and operational capacity. We value the artists and their sense of identity and political voice that gives them a platform for integration, experience and artistic expression. Co.ERASGA is culturally diverse because it responds to the growing diverse community and cultural values to explore issues of race, colonialism, ethnic identity, racism and spirituality in the arts, beyond and outside the western ideology.
Co.ERASGA is one of the dance companies in BC and Canada that honours the value of culturally specific work, informed by the Artistic Director’s personal experience and cultural background being part of the Asian Canadian diaspora. This work values and serves the company’s mandate as part of the diverse and multicultural Canadian landscape. One’s relationship with their cultural origin can be explored, recognized, and re-invigorated as an integration of their representation, place, space and identity and belonging to the land.
In selecting collaborators and dancers, Co.ERASGA values diverse artists, both emerging and established, with creative opportunities and processes given and nurtured to those that are willing to engage in deeper cultural exchanges. The Artistic Director looks across different sectors and regions, and is not limited to a specific cultural core. He is open to the fluidity and possibilities offered by the cultural opportunities inspired by those who are open to interests that can be nurtured. We have explored collaborative works that link the past histories of Europe, North or South America and Asia. Tolentino’s perseverance to engage with artists and dancers that truly value an open process, the ability to take risks in the rigour of an inspired work, the concept of fluidity, community, politics and compassion. Tolentino learns through the efforts of a collaborative team, we learn and pass our aspirations and inspirations to each other as a way to empower our understanding for the progress of art and dance.
// our mission
Co.ERASGA believes that dance serves as a vital form of physical communication and medium for catalyzing social reflection and awareness propelling the company’s relation and work to the community-at-large. Our works have a local, national and global perspective exploring issues such as the nature of gender and identity, ethnicity, equality, the spiritual realm and freedom as integral parts of the human experience, and the nature of self in relation to the creation of art.
Co.ERASGA aims to reach a wide demographic through our dance creations and outreach activities; to challenge the art of dance through interdisciplinary collaborations; to be an artistic expressive catalyst, a strengthening link, and an expansive cultural force, extending from the West Coast across the nation and abroad; and to be faithful to the kinetic power of dance as a source and tool for dynamic communication.
Co.ERASGA is Registered as Company Erasga Dance Society. Charitable registration number: 894061514 RR0001
As an arts organization with roots of Filipino heritages, migrant stories and racialized settlers, we acknowledge our privilege to be living and creating art here on Turtle Island. We acknowledge the land upon which most of Co. ERASGA's work takes place: the traditional and unceded lands of the Coast Salish people including the Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw), Tsleil-Waututh (səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ) and Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm) Nations, the original stewards and caretakers of these lands.
As artists, we humbly recognize the continued work that needs to be done on the road to reconciliation. We commit to our own education, sharing of resources and artistries for continued respect, solidarity, awareness towards decolonial relation and work with the Indigenous people of Canada.
© Co.ERASGA 2021