The activities of Dumb Instrument Dance take place on the unceded and ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. We are grateful to create and produce work, unobstructed and as uninvited guests on these lands that have been cared for since time immemorial by these host First Nations.

Dumb Instrument Dance is a collage of activities: experiments with choreography, commissioned works and a conduit for other than usual dance actions.

Dumb Instrument Dance is a Not For Profit Society that provides an environment for the research, creation and performance of contemporary dance and by extension, contemporary art. Through the Artistic Direction of Ziyian Kwan, Dumb Instrument aspires to programming that celebrates the vast richness of human experience. Our work ranges from gritty on the ground advocacy to polished choreographic productions. We are inspired to artfully challenge the status quo, to expand conventions of dissemination, and to offer unique platforms for community engagement. With a strong focus on collaborative creation, we engage with artists from across the forms of dance, theatre, written word, visual art and music.


Ziyian Kwan is an independent dance artist based in Vancouver, BC. As a choreographer Ziyian has created  works for stage as well as site-specific installations. In the last 8 years her creations the neck to fall, Bite Down Gently and Howl, The A Slow Awkward, Mars Hotel, Still Rhyming, Kwan Yin, Public and Private, The Odd Volume and Made In Voyage have been performed in Canada, self-presented and through generous partnerships with entities including Dance in Vancouver, Tangente, Studio 303, Dancing On The Edge Festival, The Firehall Arts Centre, CanAsian Dance, Dance Victoria, Crimson Coast Dance, the Vancouver International Dance Festival, Canada Dance Festival and The National Arts Centre.

As a dancer, Ziyian’s artistry has been deeply influenced by engagments with an eclectic array of artists, with whom she has toured as a performer  to dance on stages in Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Scotland and the U.S. In 2014, she received The Dance Centre’s Isadora for excellence in performance. Ziyian is grateful for 3 plus decades of  dancing, which over the years have included organizations and artists including  battery opera,  CO.Erasga, Kokoro Dance, Lola Dance, Mascall Dance, Vanessa Goodman, Nicole Mion, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Byron Chief Moon,  parB.L.eux and  to name a few.

Commissioning other artists has been integral to Ziyian’s creativity. Since 1991, she has independantly and with colleagues, commissioned works by choreographers Susan Elliott, Peter Bingham, Barbara Bourget, Benoit LaChambre, John Ottmann, Robin Poitras, David Pressault, Angelique Wilkie, Josh Martin and Tedd Robinson.

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 Quebecois playwright and poet, Daniel Danis. Other memorable collaborations include her creation truthache: study # 1 with Visual Artist David Khang and commissions to create works by The Richmond Art Gallery, in conjunction with visual Artist Lys Lemieux’s exhibit ” a Girl’s Got To”. Ziyian has twice enjoyed collaborating as a performer in the work of Tanya Lukin-Linklater at The Western Front and Belkin Galleries.

photo 1: David Cooper of Rianne Svelnis & ZIyian Kwan | photo 2: Chris Randle of Ziyian Kwan