Volume Vulva Verve

Gathering in community on the unceded, ancestral, occupied territories of the  xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations.


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Volume Vulva Verve features two vibrant solo works by accomplished creators/performers: Taiko artist Kage and dance artist Ziyian Kwan. Through sound composition, live vocals and movement, Kage’s Itadakimasu explores how food intersects with ancestral teachings and community, and how this is being threatened by colonial and capitalist forces. Ziyian’s The Odd Volume similarly emerges in resistance to forces that assimilate, displace, and racialize, articulating through movement and storytelling, her immigrant experience as a first generation Chinese-Filipina. Volume Vulva Verve powerfully voices the importance of preserving cultural knowledge and inspiring healing within ourselves and our communities.

Kage | Itadakimasu

In the Japanese culture, ’Itadakimasu’ is uttered before eating.  Translated as ‘I humbly receive’, this saying is an expression of gratitude. Vocalizing in my mother tongue allows me to access a visceral and physical memory of emotion that is similar to the immediate and powerful potential of the Taiko’.

Without playing the Taiko live, Kage utilizes their movements, sound composition and Japanese vocals to perform a solo centred on themes of food, gratitude and ancestral teachings.

Additional thanks to Lisa Mariko Gelley.

Ziyian Kwan | The Odd Volume

The Odd Volume is an autobiographical solo that sources Ziyian memories of 70’s Vancouver to subvert a lifetime of internalized racism and racialization. Vignettes poignant and bold consider tensions of displacement and cultural assimilation. Central to the piece are questions around Ziyian’s immigrant experience as a first generation Chinese Filipina: what does it mean to know that one will never arrive yet always yearn to belong? Leaning into the poetic dissonance of vulnerability, the work unsilences the odd volume of one womxn’s identity and maps a road to healing.


  • Choreographer & Performer: Ziyian Kwan
  • Dramaturge / Rehearsal Director and Stage Manager for this production: Kelly McInnes
  • Creative Consultant: Tedd Robinson
  • Sound: Robyn Jacob / Jean Philippe Rameau Menuet / Debussy The Arts & The Hours played by Víkingur Ólafsson
  • Research Consultants: Emmalena Fredriksson, Deanna Peters, Kelly McInnes, Francesca Frewer, Rianne Svelnis, Erika Mitsuhashi, Alexa Solveig Mardon
  • Lighting Designers for previous performances: Jessica Han & James Proudfoot

Lead Artist Bios:

Kage is primarily a Taiko musician and performer. Born in Japan growing up in Canada, they embraced the art of Taiko as a way to express themselves as a mixed race queer youth. Since the mid 1980’s they co-founded several Taiko/music groups touring parts of Europe and North America, and continues to create and collaborate with other artists.  Recently they have been writing lyrics and vocalizing in the Japanese language. Their on-going projects include working with Onibana Taiko, studying the ceremonial roots of Taiko and examining their relationships as a settler thriving and working on the unceded and stolen territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations.

Ziyian Kwan has worked as a dance artist on the unceded ancestral territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh and Səl̓ílwətaɬ First Nations since 1988. As an interprète, she has performed over 100 original creations by an eclectic range of choreographers on international stages and in 2017, received The Dance Centre’s Isadora Award for excellence in performance. As Artistic Director of Dumb Instrument Dance, ( ‘i am my heart’s dumb instrument)’, Ziyian’s creations abstract lived experience to form collages of imagery, movement and language. Her work has been performed across Canada and in Europe. In 2020, Ziyian spearheaded Morrow, Dumb Instrument Dance’s cultural space. Ziyian’s artistry and advocacy are inspired by collaboration with artists from across disciplines.


Here is some general accessibility info, please contact us with questions or requests.

  • There are 2 common area entrances to the building. The front entrance has one flight of stairs. The back entrance provides access to the elevator. If you require elevator access, please contact us once you’ve purchased your ticket and we will meet you at the door to let you in and support. The back entrance is in the parking lot behind 910 Richards, cornering Smithe.
  • There is one wheelchair accessible and one gender neutral washroom.
  • We request that people do not wear scents and we provide scent free soap in washrooms.
  • If you would like to request ASL support, please communicate with two week’s advance notice and we will do our best to accommodate.

Photo Credits

  • Kage by Ziyian Kwan
  • Ziyian Kwan by David Cooper
  • Cover Image: Alger Ji-Liang photographed by Beau Bonez / Graphics: Kelly McInnes