Dumb Instrument Dance Society provides a not for profit environment for the creative research, choreography and performance of contemporary dance. Under the Artistic Direction of Ziyian Kwan, the Society produces original contemporary works by artists in the dance milieu. dumb instrument actively presents its repertoire through live performances: locally, nationally and internationally. One of the focuses of dumb Instrument is to participate in collaborative creation and production projects with artists across the forms of dance, theatre, written word, visual art and music and to thereby enhance the growth of the arts community in British Columbia and beyond. Dumb Instrument Dance Society contributes to the cultural community by providing opportunities for creative investigation and collaboration for emerging to senior artists from culturally diverse backgrounds.


Ziyian Kwan is an independent dance artist based in Vancouver, BC. In January 2012, she formed dumb instrument Dance,  a platform from which to initiate and disseminate the dance activities that inspire her creative life:  site-specific installations, other then usual dance actions, commissions and experiments with choreography.

As a choreographer Ziyian has created seven works for stage and several site-specific works. Her debut choreography, the neck to fall, has seen performances at Canada Dance Festival, Tangente, Dance in Vancouver, Studio 303 and pushOFF. She was subsequently commissioned by CanAsian Dance to create s slow awkward which has been performed in Toronto and Vancouver. Her piece Bite Down Gently and Howl, was created in residence at EDAM Dance and The Mars Hotel, her collaborative creation with Peggy Lee, Noam Gagnon and Handmade Blade, saw sold out performances to standing ovations at Dancing On The Edge 2015. Her most recent creation, Still Rhyming, which is an ode to the prose of Patti Smith, was performed n 2016 at Vancouver International Dance Festival and at The Dance Centre’s Open House, to launch it new season.  Ziyian was recently commissioned by The Richmond Art Gallery to choreograph and perform alongside Lyse Lemieux’s exhibit. because the world is round and throwing coin squeezing soy have seen repeat performances over the course of two years through partnerships with The Dance Centre, The Firehall Arts Centre, Quartiers Danses and Vancouver Biennale.

As a dancer, Ziyian’s artistry has been indelibly defined by collaborations both brief and extensive. In 2014, she received The Dance Centre’s Isadora Award for her contribution as a performer to the dance milieu.  Since 1987, she has performed the works of an eclectic range of Canadian artists on international stages. She has danced in Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Scotland and the U.S. with companies and artists including: Vancouver’s Anatomica, battery opera, The Contingency Plan, CO.Erasga, Kokoro Dance, Lola Dance, Mascall Dance, plastic orchid factory; Calgary’s Nicole Mion; Montreal’s David Pressault Danse, John Ottmann, Danse- Cité, parB.L.eux, and Regina’s Rouge-gorge and France’s Projet In Situ, to name a few.

Commissioning other artists has been integral to Ziyian’s creativity. Since 1991, she has commissioned eight works by choreographers Susan Elliott, Peter Bingham, Barbara Bourget, Benoit LaChambre, John Ottmann, Robin Poitras, David Pressault and Angelique Wilkie. In 2005, with John Ottmann and Susan Elliott, she formed Quorum, a collective that produced with Montreal’s Danse-Cite, Social Studies, a full evening of commissions by Paul Andre-Fortier, Benoit LaChambre, Dominique Porte and David Pressault. In 2015 she commissioned with  colleagues Ron Stewart and Anne Cooper, new works by Josh Martin and Tedd Robinson for their show at the Firehall entitled Things Near and Far.

Ziyian takes great pleasure in participating in projects that cross genres. She has been featured in films directed by Bruce La Bruce, Kevin Cottam and Soaring Heart Pictures. In 2006 she danced the central female role in a ‘Sommeil et Rouge’, a dance/theatre production directed by decorated Quebecois playwright and poet, Daniel Danis. Another memorable collaboration was her creation truthache: study # 1 with Visual Artist David Khang for Vancouver’s Brief Encounters Series. Most recently, Ziyian enjoyed performing the work of First Nations artist Tanya Lukin-Linklater at The Western Front and Belkin Galleries.