Dance Magazine Work

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

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.

Happily Ever After

The National Ballet of Canada’s The Sleeping Beauty

The Sleeping Beauty has been performed by The National Ballet of Canada in 1972, 1987, 2006 and excitingly now in 2015. Having been performed over so many years, the ballet still has potential to capture the imaginations of audiences of all ages.

Inspired by the tale La Belle au Bois Dormant, written by Charles Perrault in 1679, Tchaikovsky created his longest ballet score, The Sleeping Beauty, in 1889. A year later, the first ballet producti

Genée International Ballet Competition

The Genée International Ballet Competition, one of the world’s most prestigious ballet competitions, will return home to London this year from September 16-19, 2015. First held in 1931, the competition invites talented young dancers trained in the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) syllabus from around the world to compete. This year, in an effort to increase opportunities for competitors, the RAD has introduced the Darcey Bussell Genée Bursaries to help competitors across the world in need of financi

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Review

But Who Is Jack?

With 146 bodies involved both on- and offstage in The National Ballet of Canada’s (NBoC) Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the production is certainly quite magnificent in size and creation. Running from March 14 to 29, it is full of striking costumes, lively sets, humorous props and entrancing projections, yet I couldn’t help but feel that there were one too many performers on stage.

Choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon in 2011 as a co-production of the NBoC and The Royal B

Madness Ensues at the Ballet

According to many, Vaslav Nijinsky was the greatest male dancer of the twentieth century. Maybe even the best to ever live. Despite the tragic end of his career (due to schizophrenia) at the early age of twenty-nine, the mad genius dancer and choreographer led a passionate life full of sex, love and dance, which is showcased brilliantly in John Neumeier’s ballet Nijinsky. Performed by The National Ballet of Canada at the Four Seasons Centre from November 22-30, the ballet provides a glimpse into

The Future of Dance’s Past

Photographs, diaries, letters, programs, touring itineraries and a ton of fantastic memorabilia, amounting to more than 50,000 items’ worth of American Ballet Theatre history, were recently donated to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Until then, the company, entering its seventy-fifth season, lacked the proper means of conservation.

Administrators at American Ballet Theatre had been considering how to conserve the valuable documents that outline the company’s history for a number of

Canada’s Past and Present at Jacob’s Pillow

Apart from trying my hardest not to end my sentences with “eh” or being teased gently for saying “washroom” instead of “bathroom,” I have had an amazing time interning at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in the beautiful Berkshire Hills in Becket, Mass. I am in residence at the festival for the full ten weeks, and work as one of two archives and engagement interns. Being the only Canadian intern here this summer, and working in the extensive archives at the Pillow, I feel it is my duty to report on

Is Toronto Ready for Hip Hop Theatre?

What happens when you ask a group of street dancers to dance like peanut butter? While Victoria “VicVersa” Mackenzie shouts “smooth or crunchy?”, Lee “Lethal” Pham lays down and starts munching on the most amazing imaginary sandwich he has eaten in his life. The rest of the cast surround him, all creating their own incredibly physical and peanut butter-inspired movement. The group creates childlike fun onstage, inviting the audience to join in on this journey of defining hip hop theatre.

Open A

Academic Publications

FUTURE FANDOMS ft. The New Labour of Digital Platforms on Superfans

No longer are the days when a superfan can get by in the physical world. Now, superfans buy NFTs of their favourite musician's merchandise or songs, buy virtual land next to their favourite artists in the metaverse, or even get plastic surgery to look more like their idols. Now you can buy donuts, wings, hamburgers or chicken nuggets, all based on your favourite artists' preference. Is it not available in your region? Then you can purchase the used packaging from others online for a hefty fee.

Derogatory Dancing: Heteronormative Inscriptions on Female Hip-Hop Dancers in Breaking and Commercial Spheres

Message requests through Instagram raise the hairs on the back of my neck. As professional commercial dancers, we are told to keep our social media accounts public based on their use as a virtual resume and for the potential to receive dance jobs through the platform. These are not dance world myths. Many friends have received massive contracts from major companies like Sports Chek and

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?

The Rize of Krump in Canadian Dance

This major research paper follows a three-month ethnographic study of Canada’s krump dance communities in Montreal, Toronto, and Calgary. Krump is an aggressive hip-hop dance style, created in South Central, Los Angeles in the early 2000s. I trace the growth of krump across Canada following the release of the documentary film Rize (2005). I argue Canadian krumpers are currently trying to build a national identity, distinct from the United States, in order to gain respect from the international krump community. Despite this shared overall goal, each Canadian community differs greatly, owing to their diverging histories and interpretations of krump culture as conceptualized by co-creator Ceasare “Tight Eyez” Willis.

Roland and Romaine - Then and Now

In​ ​1951,​ ​Betty​ ​Romaine​ ​Nicholson​ ​was​ ​the​ ​first​ ​North​ ​American​ ​woman​ ​to​ ​win​ ​a​ ​gold medal​ ​in​ ​an​ ​international​ ​ballroom​ ​competition.​ ​She​ ​went​ ​on​ ​to​ ​teach​ ​at​ ​Toronto's​ ​Arthur Murray's​ ​dance​ ​school​ ​where​ ​she​ ​met​ ​Roland​ ​Kirouac.​ ​Together,​ ​they​ ​created​ ​a​ ​legacy across​ ​Canada​ ​and​ ​toured​ ​internationally​ ​with​ ​both​ ​ballroom​ ​dance​ ​and​ ​commercial​ ​jazz choreography​ ​featured​ ​on​ ​television,​ ​films​ ​and​ ​large​ ​live​ ​performances,​ ​such​ ​as​ ​the​ ​Canadian musical​ ​Television​ ​show,​ ​​The​ ​Pig​ ​and​ ​Whistle​.​ ​In​ ​Toronto​ ​in​ ​1960,​ ​they​ ​opened​ ​up​ ​their​ ​first dance​ ​studio...

The Dungeon Sessions: An Ethnographic Look at Krump in Toronto

It’s the national basketball league’s 2015 final between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors. The game is tied at the end of the fourth period. As the game goes into overtime, the crowd is captivated and on the edge of their seats. The players are full of adrenalin, ready to try their hardest to take the win. Five minutes later… the final buzzer rings! It is the end of the game, taken by a close two points by the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James, Cleveland’s all-time leading scorer and multi-year MVP, screams! He whips the ball to the ground with all of his might. He throws all of his energy through his arms, into his fists, across face and down into his feet.

The multiple legitimacies of Tentacle Tribe, a dance company

According to Hugues Bazin (2002), hip hop dancers working in theatrical settings have a "double legitimacy" as they gain acceptance in two contexts with different expectations, criteria and values. In this case study, we researched how an emerging dance company negotiates artistic identities in the entertainment, street dance and theatrical art worlds, finding acceptance across competing discourses. Tentacle Tribe, a dance company comprised of Emmanuelle Lê Phan and Elon Höglund...

Dance and Theatre Reviews

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 three 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.

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.

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 choreographer 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.

Spanning 65 minutes, The Look of Love is composed of qui

Review: Assembly Hall (Kidd Pivot / Canadian Stage)

Striking a unique balance between silliness and levity and complexity and darkness, Canadian Stage and Kidd Pivot are back with Assembly Hall, a new work by the globally acclaimed choreographer Crystal Pite and playwright Jonathon Young. This dance-theatre fusion delves into the nuances of human congregations, standing out as one of the hottest tickets of the year (securing a seat is no small feat).

Assembly Hall unfolds the tale of medieval reenactors in a general meeting within a local commun

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

Now at the age of 65, Louise returns to the stage with Stations, showcased in the 2023/2024 Torque season presented by the Harbourfront Centre. This 60-minute solo work, choreographed by Fou Glorieux, is a vivid reflection of her ongoing fiery spirit and signature fearlessness.

In Stations, Louise brings four distinctive pieces to the stage, each marked by its own soundtrack and lighting, inviting a myriad of interpretations. Her mastery of stage presence and focus is exceptional. Watching her

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, 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 compell

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

Kicking off Opera Atelier’s 2023/2024 season is a fantastic remount of the French 1774 version of Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice, staged at the lavish Elgin Theatre. This production is a dramatic love story, embellished with gorgeous scenery, beautiful costuming, a full corp de ballet and top-tier performances from 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 perform

Review: Näss (Fouad Boussouf/Harbourfront Centre)

Launching the 2023/2024 Torque season at the Harbourfront Centre, is Näss, bringing a unique stoic intensity to the stage. Choreographed by Fouad Boussouf, this hour-long piece combines breaking and house footwork with contemporary dance and traditional North African movement, crafting a beautiful textured movement vocabulary.

The title Näss, an Arabic term for "people," serves as a nod to Boussouf's investigation into communal dynamics. Boussouf draws inspiration from Nass el Ghiwane, a 1970s

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 contemp

Review: UNBOWED: Signature Programme 2 (Fall for Dance North in partnership with TO Live)

And we are back with Fall for Dance North's (in partnership with TO Live) UNBOWED: Signature Programme 2, featuring a mixed contemporary dance bill bringing more fantastic dance works to the Meridian Hall stage. This absolutely perfect programme brought tears to my eyes and brilliantly highlights what the amazing world of dance has to offer.

Opening the show was Oh Courage!, choreographed by Sonya Tayeh, showcasing exactly why she is a Tony Award-winning dancemaker. This piece was performed by

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.

If you've yet to get acquainted with Ohad Naharin, now is the time—t

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.

The Binet Series: A Burst of Individuality and Expression

My journey started with the

In Conversation with Dance Stewards Micaela Janse van Rensburg and Frédérique Perron of the d:mic/fac Festival

How does it feel to be selected as a Dance Steward for the dance: made in canada Festival?

Micaela: I was really excited to be selected. At first, I was nervous, knowing I was the only non-graduated dancer. But I was happy for the opportunity to meet emerging artists, to collaborate with them, and to engage with the audience about why I love dance.

Frédérique: It feels really nice because it's such a great opportunity to collaborate with other emerging artists. I didn't get to do this kind o

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.

Allow me to introduce you to some of the Dance Stewards a part of this y

A guide to the dance: made in canada/fait du canada Festival 2023

Welcome to the comprehensive guide to the dance: made in canada/fait au canada Festival. This guide walks you through the many different aspects of the festival, from what is happening in the mainstage performances to workshops, dance films and more! I have bolded the different locals of Canadians involved to see the breadth of what's going on and from where in Canada. A note about the 2023 festival: When COVID-19 hit in 2020, the festival's curators had to make a difficult decision. Despite the

Celebrating Canadian Dance - ​​A Biennial Ode to Canadian Choreography through the dance: made In canada/fait au canada Festival

The mission of d:mic/fac is to showcase the vibrant and diverse voices of Canadian contemporary choreographers. The festival involves and supports artists in all different stages of their careers (including myself as a dance writer). It focuses on experimentation, collaboration and the breaking down of barriers of different Canadian geographies.

The d:mic/fac festival's inception dates back to 2001, with its very first editions taking place at the old Dancemakers' Studio from 2001 to 2004. It t

Swapping Hats: From Dora Jury Member to Dance Critic Once Again

You might remember a little post I made last year announcing that I would be joining the dance division jury for Dora Mavor Moore Awards this season. What an absolute thrill it was! Now, if you expect me to spill any insider tea about the nominees and winners, I hate to disappoint you, but my lips are sealed tighter than a breaker guards their signature sets.

For those who aren't familiar with the Dora Mavor Moore Awards, they are like the crown jewel of the Canadian performing arts scene. The

Review: The Sacrifice (Harbourfront Centre / Dada Masilo)

Closing out this year’s Torque Season at the Harbourfront Centre is Dada Masilo’s The Sacrifice. This Johannesburg-born choreographer has spun her own distinctive version of Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, delving into themes of identity, ritual, and sacrifice. The cast boasts an ensemble of exceptional dancers, with Masilo typically at the helm. Yet, unfortunately, Masilo was absent from this particular performance due to illness.

To many choreographers, crafting their unique take on The

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

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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