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“Dance like no one is watching” may be fine for a bumper sticker, but dancing like you are in front of a thinking audience is a feat to be respected, and ….well, to be watched.

Some of the best dance you will see is coming soon to St John’s. The Festival of New Dance is that crossover beast of a festival that programs artfully enough to open itself to new audience members without ever talking down or disappointing solid fans of the art.

The first year I lived here, I was invited to watch a piece by Daniél Leveille Dansé where, in all honesty, the draw was that all of the dancers performed completely naked. Not nude, but naked. Nude implies some things artfully hidden or minimized. These artists simply danced an athletic and robust dance completely naked.

The audience came for the nudity but we stayed for the dance. I have always liked a bit of scandal but when, part way through the performance, I began to watch the dance more than the flesh, I discovered I also liked the art itself. If it is good. And Neighbourhood Dance Works has, for the last 24 years, brought good, entertaining, interesting and (many times) phenomenal dance to this annual festival.

Last year’s piece from Maya Carroll still plays inside my eyelids and has deeply affected the way I perceive the speed of movement. Do yourself a deep favour and come watch like everyone is dancing just for you. Your thoughts will surprise you. October 7-12.

For a complete schedule of this year’s promising events, visit http://festivalofnewdance.ca. Buy your festival pass between the 25th to the 28th, and receive 50% off. Fifty!