TUDS: Toronto Urban Dance Symposium

By Jacqueline Hansen
  • ShoTyme and Dancers / Photo by Anige Choi

Apolonia Velasquez and Ofilio Sinbadinho Portillo, directors of urban dance company Gadfly, presented the first “TUDS: Toronto Urban Dance Symposium” on September 12th in Toronto. Velasquez described its purpose: “We wanted to raise the standards for urban dancers. It’s a community that’s not very aware of all the resources available; we wanted to share how we can improve the quality of our life and of our career.” Representatives from several dance service organizations as well as the DaCosta Talent Agency and professional dancers and choreographers were invited to join discussions, panels and workshops. Velasquez said many of the participants, nearly 100 dancers aged sixteen to thirty, had never before considered seeking help from arts organizations. Also discussed was how to further the professional image of street dancing. When addressing the stereotypes of street dance, Velasquez insisted that “there is art [in street dance], there is technique, there is history; people should respect it as much as any other dance, it has the same value.” But she thinks the lack of recognition is half the fault of street dancers: “Street dancers aren’t taking the next step, they aren’t applying, they aren’t trying to get that support … they have to be active, and work for it.”

You May Also Like...