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.

Review: Human Measure (Canadian Stage / Cassils)

Human Measure, presented by Canadian Stage, brings together internationally acclaimed performance artist Cassils, with contemporary choreographer Jasmine Albuquerque, to create a work that immerses audiences into a live photographic darkroom inhabited by dancing bodies wearing nothing but knee pads. Washed over by a dim red light, six trans and non-binary performers develop what is called a cyanotype throughout the forty-five-minute performance in response to Yves Klein's paintings titled Anthropometries (1960). Through the performance, they question current narratives surrounding trans bodies and personal expressions of sensuality and empowerment in a time marred by anti-trans legislation and discrimination.

Review: 8 Count - Delightful Moments of Dance Cinema (Fall for Dance North)

New to the Fall for Dance North festival this year is a short dance film series titled 8 Count: Delightful moments of dance cinema. 8 Count is one of the many events in the Fall for Dance North robust 2022 lineup, now in its eighth year, which includes performances, podcasts, and social gatherings - and it is a unique addition at that. The programme of seven short films provides a great mix of pieces meant to entertain, educate, evoke and inspire.

Announcement feat. The Dora Mavor Moore Awards

Although I am just at the beginning of my new venture with The Dance Debrief, a small but exciting roadblock has come my way.

For the 2022/2023 season, I will be on the dance jury for the Dora Mavor Moore Awards and will be unable to review anything that is nominated within the dance division. Although I am sad about this pause, I am excited about this role and the responsibility that comes with it. I have always loved the Dora Mavor Moore Awards, and I am proud that we have our own Tony-like awards for the incredible Canadian & Toronto arts scene.
Photo of Ana, Dree, and Abena in Ara Shushit or "Flower Bodies" by Nickeshia Garrick and Irma Villafuerte.

Review: Porch View Dances (Kaeja d'Dance)

What is more of a Toronto community event than being led around the city by a quippy drag queen to see contemporary dance works performed by diverse families and friends?

Porch View Dances, presented by Kaeja d'Dance, is an annual community dance event in its eleventh year. It engages everyday people to tell stories, create movement and perform on porches, lawns and parks in Toronto's Seaton Village. Still transitioning back to its live format, this year’s event is hybrid in nature, with one live performance, four dance films, an AR experience and a final participatory movement exercise.
Photo by Michael Mortley

Review: Legacy Tap Dance Concert (dance Immersion and Canadian Stage)

Full of feeling, soul, personality and creativity, the Legacy Tap Dance Concert brings together two Canadian tap dance legends, Travis Knights and Lisa La Touche, in performance and choreography. Together, they perform with a group of tappers, movers and a full band under the musical direction of on-stage drummer Danny Milwalkee. This moving and grooving outdoor show takes place in the beautiful High Park Amphitheatre, and is presented by dance Immersion in association with Canadian Stage.
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