Dance Current Magazine

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

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

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

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

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

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, humourous 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

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

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

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.

Mooney on Theatre Reviews

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

Review: Program Three (Fall For Dance North)

Program Three of Fall for Dance North rounds out an exciting bill of theatre Celebrating five years, Fall For Dance North returns to Toronto. Program three comes with a scene change, taking place at Ryerson Theatre instead of Meridian Hall. 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 fifteen dollars. Make sure to read our reviews of program one and program

Review: Toi, La Maladie (YOHURA)

Ren Datura is a self-taught dancer and neo-burlesque artist from Toronto, who narrates the performance through recordings amplified in the space. At times she is audibly joined by french-speaking ex-partner Yohan Durand. However, the recordings mostly express her pain in their break-up. Durand is a self-taught diaboliste, based out of Lyon, France. Both Datura and Durand perform solos to their strengths, as well as a duet, which are interspersed with pieces by guest performers.

Review: Jacqueries Part 2 (Jacob Niedzwiecki)

Immersive theatre meets dance in this piece set in a technological surveillance State Exciting and immersive, Jacqueries Part 2 transforms the Citadel + Compagnie theatre into a stark surveillance state. Mixing technology, dance and audience engagement; coder and choreographer Jacob Niedzwiecki leads the audience through this beautiful yet grim world. Harsh lighting and strict paths made of banker boxes and barrier belts lead you to stern-faced performers. They ask if you are comfortable givin

Des-Echoes (Daniel Bear Davis and Caro Novella) / Fadeout (Anne-Flore de Rochambeau) 2019 SummerWorks Review

Two contemporary works of contrasting themes are brought to the 2019 SummerWorks Stage. One humorous and intimate, while the other is isolating and eerie, Des-Echoes and Fadeout are strong additions to the festival. Starting with only a bar of light highlighting the lower half of her body, choreographer and performer Anne-Flore de Rochambeau, slowly begins to articulate only her hands and fingers in Fadeout. The movement is pained and precise as if to slowly explore the space for the first time

The Nine Brains of the Human Mind / those, on the surface (The School of Toronto Dance Theatre) 2019 SummerWorks Review

Emerging choreographers take the SummerWorks stage with a double bill of modern/contemporary dance. The Nine Brains of the Human Mind and those, on the surface are choreographed by Kari Labrentz and Tanveer Alam and produced/danced by The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. These work-in-process pieces are part of the SummerWorks Lab programming. those, on the surface, choreographed by Kari Labrentz in collaboration with the dancers opens the show, playing with altered identities based on divergin

Review: Dusk Dances 2019 – Celebrating 25 Years (Dusk Dances)

This year the charming outdoor dance festival, Dusk Dances, celebrates 25 Years, featuring five different works in Toronto’s east end. Each piece is spread throughout Withrow Park, using the park’s amenities, like its a baseball field and hockey rink. The 2019 festival includes work from Hanna Kiel, Meredith Thompson, Mix Mix Dance Collective, Denise Fujiwara and Yuichiro Inouo, Pulga Muchochoma & Naishi Wang. Each choreographer creates a ten-minute site-specific piece, mostly staying within a

Review: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare in Action)

Shakespeare in Action presents the Bard’s comedy under the stars, on stage in Toronto Shakespeare in Action presents its first annual ‘Shakespeare in a Shell’ outdoor performance. Bring your own blanket (or maybe even a picnic) to the Little Avenue Memorial Park in Weston and settle in for an energetic, fun and a family-friendly night filled with unrequited love and farcical characters of the classic, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Although, expect some tastefully added singing and hilarious modern

Review: KIRA, The Path | La Voie (Lua Shayenne Dance Company / Luminato)

KIRA, The Path | La Voie brings a lively and rhythmic energy to the Luminato Festival, with a mix of dancers and percussionist who perform Fara Tolno, choreography and composition. Tolno is a guest artist with the Lua Shayenne Dance Company, specializing in Guinean dance and music. Lua Shayenne, artistic director of the company, took to the Fleck Dance Theatre stage as a performer in the work. The show opens with a line of musicians near the back of the stage, a solo drummer, Tolno begins and i

Review: Undivided Colours (inDANCE / Co.ERASGA)

inDance presents solo performances by Asian-Canadian dance artists on stage in Toronto inDANCE and Co.ERASGA present Undivided Colours, four solo works by seasoned Asian-Canadian dance artists. Reflecting, re-imagining, mixing dance styles and stories from their personal heritages and perspectives, the four solos take the Dancemakers Centre For Creation stage. The show begins with William Lau’s Female Warrior Wu – Preparing for Combat. Dressed in blue, pink and red traditional Chinese garb, th

Review: Against Nature (Citadel + Compagnie)

An award-winning adaptation mixing dance and opera returns to Toronto Presented by Citadel + Compagnie, the 2016 Dora nominated Against Nature returns to the Citadel. The opera and dance mix adapts French/Dutch author Joris-Karl Huysman’s 1884 novel À Rebours through the direction and choreography of James Kudelka. After living a luxurious life in Paris, Jean des Esseinte, an aristocrat played by Alexander Dobson, flees to the countryside to live in solitude. In an attempt to escape society, h

Review: Light Years (Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre)

Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre (CCDT) presents Light Years at the Harbourfront’s Fleck Dance Theatre, a mixed dance bill showing the technical prowess and maturity of its young company’s members. All under the age of 19, the technically strong and agile dancers perform five works – two world premieres, two CCDT premieres and one returning piece. The show opens with Alien Grace, choreographed by the artistic director of the company Deborah Lundmark. The main company members are dressed in s

Review: I Swallowed a Moon Made of Iron (Canadian Stage)

A beautiful ode to the late poet Xu Lizhi, I Swallowed a Moon Made of Iron gives a voice to migrant workers, expressing the hidden lives and hardships of those working in grim factories in Shenzhen, China. Presented by Canadian Stage at the Berkeley Street Theatre Njo Kong Kie performs, produces, composes and directs the musical and theatrical mix. In 2010, fourteen deaths of Foxconn workers, previously invisible to the world, grew to international recognition when Xu Lizhi’s poetry was transla

Review: The Things I Carry (Dancemakers / Theatre Passe Muraille)

Developed as part of the Migrant Bodies Project, The Things I Carry is a solo performance by seasoned artist Lee Su-Feh. Presented by Theatre Passe Muraille and Dancemakers, Su-Feh tells stories while reflecting on her life and other’s surrounding the topic of migration. Greeted with complimentary tea, I entered the classroom turned performance space within the Scadding Court Community Centre. The colourful mismatched foldable chairs surround a blue tarp which lays on the floor, creating a casu

Review: Series 3 – Into the Fire (Dance Matters)

Series 3 – Into the Fire presented by Dance Matters at the Pia Bouman School brings together a mixed programme of highly physical and mostly contemporary dance works. The final series of the season features a mix of eerie yet quirky creatures, a sensual yet combative duet and a fiery flamenco collaboration between a dancer, vocalist, and musicians. Fadeout, created and performed by Anne-Flore de Rochambeau of Montreal opens the show. A bar of light in the centre of the stage only highlights the

Review: Mixed Programme (Ballet BC / Live TO)

Ballet BC brings their mixed program of three works to Toronto Live TO presents Ballet BC at the Bluma Appel Theatre with a three work Mixed Programme. The three contrasting works showcase the beautiful company dancer’s technique and versatility. From a colourless yet quirky work to a colourful and soulful piece to the music of Jimi Hendrix, the mixed programme has something for everyone. Not to mention, it also features the highly sought after choreography of Crystal Pite. The night opens wit

Review: Revisor (Kidd Pivot / Canadian Stage)

Kidd Pivot’s Revisor completely revamps the relationship between contemporary dance and theatre. Performed at Canadian Stage’s Bluma Appel Theatre, the highly sought after choreographer, Crystal Pite, reworks what is possible in the hybrid form, creating one of her most brilliant works yet. Co-creator and writer, Jonathon Young, takes on Nikolai Gogol’s 1836 Russian play, Revisor, or The Inspector General when translated to English. The play follows a satirical story of mistaken identity which

Review: Persefony Songs (Toronto Dance Theatre)

Persefony Songs, is a beautifully reimagined work of Christopher House’s Dora nominated Persephone’s Lunch (2001). Initially inspired by the epic of Homer’s Odyssey, the work has been repurposed eighteen years later to create a new hour-long piece as part of Toronto Dance Theatre’s reimagining repertoire project presented at the Fleck Dance Theatre. The space opens with dozens of wooden skids hanging from the ceiling. In the back corner of the stage we find a six-member band, dressed all in bla
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Dance Publications

Masters Work

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...
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