VICTORIA -- A city-wide festival in Victoria, celebrating all styles of dance, is about to kick off virtually.

The 12th annual Dance Days Festival, put on by Dance Victoria, has been reimagined to follow COVID-19 safety protocols, but still allows for participation.

Organizers hope it fosters an appreciation and love of dance and gets people dancing.

“We've had to really think of creative ways for people to connect and offer their ideas, their workshops or demonstrations online,” says Tracy Smith, the marketing manager for Dance Victoria.

“So, really collaborating with the community in a different way to, you know, evolve and pivot in these crazy times.”

This year, Victoria- and Vancouver-based dance instructors will livestream 52 dance classes in a range of styles – including ballroom dance, ballet and hip hop, among others – for free.

“Most of (the classes) are specifically for people that have no background in dance,” according to Smith. “You don't have to know ballet, a lot of them are beginner ballet classes. Maybe you've always wanted to try hip hop and you're terrified. Now's the time to do it because you're in your home and no one's watching you.”

Dance Victoria, along with the Inter-Cultural Association of Greater Victoria and supported by the City of Victoria, commissioned 10 short, two-minute dance films created by finalists of the “Let It Move You” dance video contest. Each of the dance creators was awarded $500 to help produce the short videos.

The films begin with an artist’s statement prepared by the choreographers to give context to their works, followed by their dance performance.

“During Dance Days, we're going to share a new dance film for every day of the festival on,” says Smith. “It's a real range of dance styles and dance experiences and ethnicities. It's really something that we're excited about.”

At the end of the Dance Days Festival, people can vote for their favourite dance video; the top pick will receive $500.

Dance Victoria will also share dance presentations from international dance companies on its social media accounts. The festival runs from January 15 to January 25, 2021.

For more information about Dance Days, visit Dance Victoria’s website