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Fearless Physicality: Athleticism in Toronto’s professional wrestling scene

Grown men in tights that aren’t ballerinos?! Must be the century-old art form of professional wrestling! Its blend of dramatic storytelling and raw athleticism has a unique way of keeping audiences on the edge of their seat. Most of us associate professional wrestling with its 1980s camp, the golden age of Hulk Hogan and André the Giant. But this underground subculture is still going strong, as today’s professional wrestlers mix different performance techniques into their matches. Professional

An Unexpected (But Surprisingly Appropriate) Career Transition: From Dancer to Pro Wrestler

Although the dance world has its fair share of divas, there is a different type of diva that's coming out of the dance studio. "Diva" is the coined term for a female professional wrestler in the World Wrestling Entertainment organization. More than a few dancers—as well as gymnasts and cheerleaders—have taken their training and applied it to successful careers in this comical yet physically grueling art form.

The Red Wall: How Social Media is Changing Commercial Dance in Canada

Excerpt from January/ February 2019 Issue of The Dance Current Magazine: There is a certain magic to the last ten minutes of a dance class. The choreography has been taught and embodied. The stress of learning more choreography is finally removed. The adrenaline of the dancer is pumping, as they are ready to perform and give everything they have for the final minutes of class. Class videos capture these last few minutes, embodying this energy and captivating new viewers to join in on this thrill.

Not A Trend - Krump in Canada

“This is not a trend. I repeat: this is not a trend,” says Lil C in the documentary film Rize, which follows the creation of krump, an urban dance style developed by a group of teenagers in Los Angeles. Lil C was correct. Since krump’s start in the early 2000s, this athletic art form, with its strong sense of culture and community, has grown to gain an international following. Ceasare "Tight Eyez" Willis and Jo'Artis "Mijo" Ratti, widely considered the co-founders of krump, both started dancing through a style termed clowning, in which they performed hip hop moves with their faces painted like circus clowns, and entertained at children’s parties, and public events.

Chronological Order

Insomniac (Blue Glass Theatre) 2021 Toronto Fringe Review | Mooney on Theatre

Late-night overthinking and intrusive thoughts… Google rabbit holes of illnesses you do not have… Insomniac, produced by Blue Glass Theatre, playing on-demand at the 2021 Virtual Toronto Fringe Festival, follows one woman’s late-night rants about her trouble sleeping and the contrasting and often unhelpful sleep aid advice found on the internet, like don’t look at your phone but use this sleep app! Or, make a cup of herbal tea, but avoid any bright lights at night… How is one to do so when pouri

Venus & Adonis (Theatre Oculus) 2021 Toronto Fringe Review | Mooney on Theatre

Venus & Adonis, produced by Theatre Oculus, is playing on-demand at the 2021 Toronto Fringe Festival. The 25-minute dance work is based on Shakespeare’s poem of the same title. Venus, the goddess of love, attempts to seduce Adonis, yet her love is unrequited, as in the original story he would rather go hunting. The company asks: What happens when the goddess of love is scorned in her own realm? The sounds of birds chirping and the sight of white dresses flowing in a light summer breeze opens th

Dance of Torn Papers (Nowadays Theatre) 2021 Toronto Fringe Review | Mooney on Theatre

Dance of Torn Papers, produced by Nowadays Theatre, is a 360˚ experience of two short works by playwright and director Mohammad Yaghoubi, playing on-demand at the virtual 2021 Toronto Fringe Festival. The double bill is a combined 30 minutes, with two different video options of watching in either English or Farsi, or with subtitles of each language for either video. The 360˚ VR experience gives audiences the ability to be in the room, to choose where they want to look with the direction of the

Asylum (New Story Productions) 2021 Toronto Fringe Review | Mooney on Theatre

Asylum, produced by New Story Productions, is playing on-demand at the virtual 2021 Toronto Fringe Festival. The punchy theatre-dance work is only seven minutes in length. It follows Amir (played by Armon Ghaeinizadeh) in his process of applying for asylum in Canada. Amir first left Iran precariously on a school visa to join a dance program in Canada. This piece focuses on the middle ground of first leaving Iran and the possibility of being forced to go back to a culture that has a long and comp

IASPM Canada 2021 Conference Blog: Deanne Kearney

An accidental unmute during a presentation, static from someone's headphones, incoming email dings… So much has been written on the visual aspects of zoom creating different levels of intimacy and zoom fatigue, such as the exhausting act of performing your body language to a screen that is always on. Yet, what are the sounds of zoom that change our perceptions of the intimacies and insecurities of our spaces? Does it change our scholarship and relationships? How is this being reflected in the music industry during these trying times?

Review: US/THEM (BRONKS Theatre Company / Mirvish)

US/THEM tells the tragic story of the 2004 Beslan school siege from the point of view of the children inside. Not through the naive and innocent portrayal we most often see, but through the inquisitive, creative and detail-oriented child-like personalities that we all know and love. As the program states: “Children understand everything.” US/THEM first premiered in Belgium in 2014 and has been performed all over the world in multiple languages. The English version is brought to Toronto by the B

Review: Jungle Book (Young People’s Theatre)

Jungle Book – an adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic works written & directed by Craig Francis & Rick Miller is on stage at Young People’s Theatre until March 21. It is an immersive theatre experience perfect for children and families. The mainstage theatre transforms into a multi-dimensional living storybook, teaching all about the importance of relationships, wildlife and the consequences of colonialism. This performance is recommended for ages five and up and is inviting school trips fro

Review: Radical Vitality, Solos and Duets (Compagnie Marie Chouinard / Canadian Stage / TO Live)

Absolutely absurd yet strangely serene, Radical Vitality is a reimagined collection of Canadian choreographic legend Marie Chouinard‘s work. Presented in part by Canadian Stage and TO Live at the Bluma Appel Theatre, the performance showcases over forty years of short solos and duets from the daring choreographer. I’ve been talking about Marie Chouinard’s infamous work, Petite danse sans nom, for over a decade. Although I had never seen it till tonight, it may be one of the best examples of t

Review: 8 minutes 17 seconds (Blue Ceiling dance)

What would you do if you only had 8 minutes 17 seconds? Blue Ceiling dance poses this question in its science-infused dance work presented in the Franco Boni Theatre in The Theatre Centre. It is the exact amount of time it takes for light to travel from the sun to the earth. It is how much time we would have if the sun were to die. Conceived and co-choreographed by Lucy Rupert, the evening consists of twelve performers using dance to explore a range of emotions and responses to this time constr

Review: The Roaring 20’s (Lunacy Cabaret)

A silly, yet snarky, and a little bit dirty, night of flappers, hula hoop artist, pantomime performers and much, much more, The Lunacy Cabaret presented The Roaring 20’s to a lively crowd at the Opera House on January 18th. The Lunacy Cabaret presents professional circus artists, clowns and comedians in a night where they can cut loose from constraints of stuffy corporate gigs and show what they want to a spirited crowd of friends and fans. The show starts with a land acknowledgment that calls

Winter of 88 (Nowadays Theatre) 2020 Next Stage Review

With the Iranian plane crash in the headlines and tense US-Iran relations in the news, I knew it was going to be a tough night with a timely work. Winter of 88, presented by Nowadays Theatre and part of the Next Stage 2020 festival, follows the faces and families behind the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq from 1980 to 1988. Winter of 88 follows the traumatic and long-lasting effects on the director and writer, Mohammad Yaghoubi, and his experiences during the Iran-Iraq war. The story follo

Review: A Christmas Carol (Soulpepper)

Tried and true remount of family-friendly version of A Christmas Carol in its 13th year The holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, is back at Soulpepper in its thirteenth season. Scrooge, the loveless and stingy character, played by Joseph Ziegler for the past eleven seasons of its run, gives even more meaning to my favourite holiday insult: “Bah humbug!” The play is showing at Toronto’s Distillery District, which has been overtaken by the city’s most popular Christmas market and huge lines surro

Review: The Nutcracker (Toronto International Ballet Theatre)

The Nutcracker arrives in Toronto for the Holiday Season! It’s Nutcracker time! Performed every holiday season without fail it is the world’s most popular ballet, with many different adaptations (or lack thereof) about the magical toy. Toronto International Ballet Theatre was back with stars of the Bolshoi Ballet, Anastasia Stashkevich and Vyacheslav Lopatin, at Meridian Hall. Presenting a traditional take on the ballet, this performance features over fifty dancers of all ages, dazzling costum

Review: Impulse 2019 (School of Toronto Dance Theatre)

Student showcase offers a wide variety of dance pieces, now on stage in Toronto The School of Toronto Dance Theatre (STDT) presents IMPULSE 2019 at the Winchester Street Theatre, showcasing work from all three years of their professional training program. Celebrating fifty years of dance education, the modern/contemporary conservatory program produces some of Canada’s top performers. Opening the night is a work from STDT alumni and long-time Toronto Dance Theatre performer, Kate Alton. “Whatever

Review: IN ABSENTIA (JD DANCE / DANCEWORKS)

In Absentia is an imaginative work that sparks childlike wonder A mature fairytale in an absurd universe, IN ABSENTIA presented by JD Dance and Danceworks takes to the Harbourfront Centre Theatre. A fantastic work of dance, puppetry and lots and lots of cardboard. The stage is riddled with cardboard boxes and slabs, over 1000 pounds of it. Boxes of all different sizes are stacked, at some points to the ceiling, into different towers and walls. Many small slabs of ripped cardboard pieces hang a

Review: Spirit (Bangarra Dance Theatre/Canadian Stage/TO LIVE)

Bangarra Dance Theatre, one of Australia’s top dance companies, make their Toronto premiere with Spirit, performing a collection of stories and dances in a celebration of the Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander’s traditions. With mesmerizing movement and captivating physicality, the large seventeen member company take to the Bluma Appel Theatre, co-presented by Canadian Stage and TO Live. Dusted in what appears to be white powder or paint, the dancers flock and float around the stage,

Review: The 9th! (ProArteDanza)

The 9th! is a sombre piece, rich with movement and emotion ProArteDanza celebrates its fifteen anniversary with the Toronto Premiere of The 9th!, a take on Beethoven’s most beloved symphony. Presented at Harbourfront Centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre, eight dancers take on this virtuosic contemporary modern choreography. ProArteDanza always does a great job leading audiences of all levels through contemporary dance. In this performance, they provide strong program notes which give great insight int

Review: Minorities (Canadian Stage)

Unapologetically bold and powerfully provocative minorities makes its Canadian debut at Canadian Stage’s Berkeley Street Theatre. Choreographer Yang Zhen questions the personal disconnect of social identity within the new generation of ethnic minorities in China through dance, theatre, and vocals. The space bathes in red. Red painted microphones within red circular hoops, and small red chairs sit at the front of the stage. White mannequins with different traditional garb have red tape covering

Review: Program One (Fall For Dance North)

Dance is both moving and accessible at Fall for Dance North Celebrating five years, Fall For Dance North returns to Toronto at Meridian Hall. Although I was already in love with dance, I’ve fallen head over heels for this festival. Leading dance companies from all over the world are brought to Toronto and made accessible to audiences as all tickets, for any night and any seat, are only fifteen dollars. This review will follow the first of the three thematic mainstage programs presented this we

Review: Program Two (Fall For Dance North)

Energy and variety on stage for Program Two of Fall for Dance North Celebrating five years, Fall For Dance North returns to Toronto at Meridian Hall. With three mainstage programs, this review will follow program two of the festival. Program two features four eclectic works, all of which include live music. Fall For Dance North brings leading dance companies from all over the world to Toronto and makes them accessible to a wide audience as all tickets, for any night and any seat, are only fifte
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