The Latest

Review: Eve of St. George (TranscenDance project)

TranscenDance Project makes a spectacular return with its production of Eve of St. George, an immersive reimagining of Bram Stoker's eerie tale of Dracula. Guests don masks and are set free to roam the four levels of The Great Hall, transformed into a gothic Victorian setting where the stories of sixteen characters come to life. Created by the ingenious Julia Cratchley and scored by the award-winning Canadian composer Owen Belton, this performance is truly an unmissable treat.
Photo by Maya Yoncali.

Review: Deciphers (Naishi Wang and Jean Abreau / Harbourfront Centre / DanceWorks)

Deciphers, presented in part by the Harbourfront Centre and DanceWorks, is a venture into the realm of dance-theater, aiming to illuminate the immigrant experience. This exploration is the creation of independent dancemakers Naishi Wang and Jean Abreau. Wang, originally from China and now based in Toronto, and Abreu, hailing from Brazil and currently based in London, merge their unique background for this work.
Photo by Skye Schmidt

Review: The Look of Love (Mark Morris Dance Group / TO Live)

With 11 honorary doctorate degrees and a repertoire of over 150 choreographed works to his name, the arrival of the illustrious Mark Morris to town is always a treat. The Look of Love, presented by TO Live, is a newer contemporary dance work (created in 2022) performed by the New York-based Mark Morris Dance Group. This production stands out as a rhythmic delight, brimming with love, humour, and sprightly dance choreography.
Photo by Michael Slobodian.

Review: Assembly Hall (Kidd Pivot / Canadian Stage)

Assembly Hall unfolds the tale of medieval reenactors in a general meeting within a local community hall. They obsess over Robert's Rules, from points of order to motions to move, yet the rules still cannot control the quirky outbursts and conflicts within the group. The discussion centers on their event, “Quest Fest,” which is plagued by dwindling attendance and funds, leading to a vote on the group’s dissolution – a topic that splits the group.
Photo by Andre Cornellier

My Love Letter to Louise Lecavalier: A Review of 'Stations' at Harbourfront Centre

I grew up watching clips on YouTube of Louise Lecavalier dancing with the incredible La La La Human Steps, a contemporary dance company from Quebec. They were known for their completely fearless physicality, with dancers throwing their bodies in every direction in the most amazing physical feats. La La La Human Steps were especially famous for their signature move—a barrel jump, a fully horizontal, mid-air full body circle jump. Of course, I've attempted to replicate this jump many times and still share clips of their performances with my students to this day.
Photo by Karolina Kuras.
Photo by Karolina Kuras.

Review: Emma Bovary and Passion (The National Ballet of Canada)

Following intermission, Emma Bovary, plunges directly into the tumultuous psyche of its protagonist, Emma, as inspired by Gustave Flaubert's classic 1857 novel Madame Bovary. This piece navigates through intense themes of romantic idealism, materialism, and the intricate impacts of mental and emotional health and presents a new approach to the creation of narrative ballets. Rather than compressing the entire novel, the ballet focuses sharply on Emma's gradual descent into madness, offering a compelling experience tailored for modern audiences.

Review: Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice (Opera Atelier)

Orpheus and Eurydice is an opera composed by Christoph Willibald Gluck, first performed in 1762. The opera is based on the mythological story of Orpheus (in this performance played by Canadian tenor Colin Ainsworth), a musician so skilled that even animals and nature would listen to him, and his love, Eurydice (played by Soprano Mireille Asselin). The tale revolves around Eurydice's untimely death and Orpheus's journey to the Underworld to bring her back to life with the help of the god of love, Amour (played by Soprano Anna-Julia David).

Review: Jungle Book Reimagined (Akram Khan / Canadian Stage)

Bringing the timeless tale to the stage, Jungle Book reimagined, an Akram Khan Company production presented by Canadian Stage, takes Rudyard Kipling's iconic story to new heights. In this innovative rendition, Mowgli is no longer in the wild forests but is instead a refugee in a flood-ravaged USA. This alarming shift of setting immediately foregrounds pressing environmental issues and the palpable loss of human connection in today's world. This version of the Jungle Book beautifully uses contemporary dance to tell its story and is suitable for the entire family, with recommendations for children only over the age of eight.

Review: HEARTBEATS: Signature Programme 1 (Fall for Dance North in partnership with TO Live)

In its ninth season, Fall for Dance North, in partnership with TO Live, unveils its latest mainstage series: HEARTBEATS: Signature Programme 1. Showcasing four distinct contemporary dance pieces, this programme brings together a diverse array of artists from all around the world, while still highlighting Canadian companies and talent. This programme asks its artists to dive into the realms of love and human connection.

Review: KAMUYOT (Ohad Naharin / Charlotte Ballet / Fall for Dance North)

Kicking off this year's Fall for Dance North festival is Ohad Naharin's KAMUYOT, a work that offers an immediate departure from the conventional audience-performer dynamics we've come to expect. Performed by the athletic and committed dancers of the Charlotte Ballet, the work situates the audience directly amidst the dancers, inviting closeness without pressure in a playful, immersive, and inviting collective dance experience.

Debriefing the dance: made in canada / fait au canada Festival

As the curtain falls on the dance: made in canada / fait au canada Festival, it's time to debrief another season of great performances, workshops, and dance exhibits. Spanning five days, the festival showcased the rich diversity of Canadian dance and its artists, and it was wonderful to be a part of it. In this final piece of the series, let's retrace and relive some of the festival's most memorable moments.

Meet the Dance Stewards Shaping d:mic/fac 2023

As the countdown to the d:mic/fac festival narrows to a single week, our spotlight turns to the diverse group of Dance Stewards as part of this year's event. These emerging dance artists, hailing from various backgrounds and training, come together to create a piece for the WYSIWYG series and have also been provided professional development workshops and events, such as a brilliant workshop led by the esteemed Peggy Baker.

Review: JUXTAPOSE (Christina Digiuseppe / Toronto Fringe Festival)

There are few platforms as exciting and rewarding as the Toronto Fringe Festival, a place where burgeoning artists have the opportunity to create full-length works and provide performance opportunities for current students, recent graduates and up-and-coming performers. Unfortunately, this year, I found myself away for most of the festival, yet I'm happy to have caught the final performance of JUXTAPOSE.

Review: The Sacrifice (Harbourfront Centre / Dada Masilo)

To many choreographers, crafting their unique take on The Rite of Spring is viewed as a professional rite of passage. Stravinsky’s score, marked by its intense rhythms, dramatic shifts in energy, and potential for narrative and choreographic exploration, offers a platform for choreographers to assert their place within the heritage of dance. For Masilo, this is not only a nod to Stravinsky but also to the remarkable Pina Bausch, whose version of The Rite of Spring she studied while training in Brussels.

The Interplay Between Ballet and Opera: Handel's The Resurrection by Opera Atelier

As International Dance Day (April 29th) approaches, it may surprise some that this date is chosen to honour the birthday of a particular dance pioneer and the significant contributions they have made to the art form. Jean-Georges Noverre, the figure in question, passionately advocated for the independence of ballet from opera in his influential book "Lettres sur la danse et sur les ballets" (Letters on Dancing and Ballets). Historically, dance was closely intertwined with opera, often serving as an interlude or an accompaniment to the main storyline. Ballet sequences were integrated into operas to provide visual spectacle and enhance the narrative, but they were rarely treated as standalone performances. Noverre's advocation for ballet to be seen as an independent art form, focusing on emotional expression and storytelling, helped to shape the trajectory of dance, allowing it to evolve into the diverse and vibrant discipline we love to celebrate on International Dance Day.

Review: A Grimm Night (Transcen|Dance Project)

Upon entering the realm of A Grimm Night, presented by Transcen|Dance Project, I was instantly immersed in a dark, enchanting, and mystical world. This captivating and interactive dance performance takes you on a journey through the well-known stories of the Brothers Grimm, such as "Cinderella" and "Snow White," while delving into themes of good versus evil and the triumph of the underdog in the dark and twisted ways only the Brother Grimm stories can (these are not your Disney fairy tales). In this rendition, you become a fly on the wall to the stories, with the freedom to choose which characters to follow through the night.
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