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Reviews

Mixed Blessings 

By Kathleen Smith Platform 33 in works by Muñoz, Itoh and Bédard  Damian Muñoz, Platform 33, Kim Itoh, Louise Bedard

There hasn’t been a Toronto show in recent memory to spawn as many heated and diverse opinions as the recent Danceworks show featuring commissioned work for a new collective called Platform 33. Audience members on the evening I attended seemed to position themselves all along the spectrum. I love when that happens, because it usually means a chord of some kind has been struck.  

 

Dancers and Gemstones 

By Kathleen Smith CanAsian Dance Festival Program B  CanAsian Dance Festival

Great dancers are like gemstones. Fully experiencing their brilliance can depend on the sensitivity and fit of the setting theyve been given by the choreographer, composer, set designer etc. When everything is up to the standard such artists can inspire, excitement ensues; mess up with the setting and it feels like a crime against art.  

 

Of Loss and Healing 

By Kathleen Smith "Grace" Eryn Dace Trudell

Sometimes, dance is very good at capturing the zeitgeist. Eryn Dace Trudell’s “Grace”, is a memorial to her aunt Grace McDace Barker, who passed away from breast cancer in 2002. It is an overt and intimate treatment of the subject. 

 

Sharing Time 

By Philip Szporer "Lwáza" Zab Maboungou, Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata

In Lwáza (“chatting” in the language of the Kongo people) dancer-choreographer-philosopher Zab Maboungou has created a terrific piece. It’s a mesmerizing work for three dancers and two musicians that challenges the notion of gesture and the meaning of origin and raises the question of accessibility.

 

The Birthday Edition 

By Kaija Pepper Twelve Minutes Max XXX  Twelve Minutes Max

Twelve Minutes Max has had a long haul as a dance series goes. The inaugural 12 MM took place in December 1994 but its roots go back a few years further. Anne Cooper remembers the mixed bill’s precursor, an informal community event held at Main Dance Place in the Arcadian Hall at Main Street and 6th Avenue. It was called Shoeless Saturday because everyone had to take their shoes off before entering the studio. In the early nineties, Cooper danced in one of those shows and, during a telephone conversation, told me she always meant to do another. But it was only now that she had the right project at the right time. 

Taking Turns Telling Tales 

By Kaija Pepper Double Story Crystal Pite, Richard Siegal

“Double Story” is just that – two stories. The first is “The Bouncy Woman Piece” by Richard Siegal, an American; the second, “Man Asunder” by Vancouver’s Crystal Pite. Both highly theatrical duets, performed by Siegal and Pite, feature dancing that is meticulously inscribed in space with long limbs and precise intention. 

 

Poetic Craftsmanship 

By Kathleen Smith "Passare"  O Vertigo, Ginette Laurin

Believe it or not, there are some perks to getting older. For most of us, achieving a semblance of peace of mind finally seems possible after the sometimes-inappropriate mania of youth has passed. For artists, continuous creation over a long period results in work that can’t help having depth; the palette is at its broadest, the decision-making process is at its most refined. Confidence rather than cockiness prevails. 

 

"I was looking at the ceiling and THEN I SAW THE SKY" 

"I was looking at the ceiling and THEN I SAW THE SKY" Nicole Mion

Nicole Mion’s latest work, “I was looking at the ceiling and THEN I SAW THE SKY”, is at once a musing on flight, performance, fear and exhilaration.

 

Interior Worlds 

By Pamela Anthony "I'm Standing Here Before You", "Still" Brian Webb, Tania Alvarado

It’s characteristic of Brian Webb to offer the complex contradictions of his work with extreme simplicity. This quality is particularly evident in his latest performance, “I’m standing here before you”, a modern and highly theatrical event that involves spoken text, extensive video art, five on-stage musicians and a very tall red ladder.

 

Liquid and Vapour 

By Lindsay Zier-Vogel "INKCrossfade2AIR" Andrea Nann, Lydia Wagerer

In a co-production by DanceWorks CoWorks Series and dance: made in Canada/fait au Canada (d:mic/fac), presenter Yvonne Ng brought together Toronto’s Andrea Nann and Quebec City’s Lydia Wagerer in an intimate evening of choreography, entitled “INKCrossfade2AIR”, that explores both grace and intimacy in their extremities. In all three pieces, the audience witnesses the process of engaged transformation.  

 

Paper, Fire and a Dying Swan 

By Kaija Pepper "A Fabulous Disaster" Denise Clarke

For most of “A Fabulous Disaster”, Denise Clarke wears a white paper jumpsuit, with a white hood covering her head. Her costume puffs out around her, making her look bigger than she really is. Clarke’s body language, too, is bigger, more expansive.

 

between and beyond 

By Sara Porter invisible borders Louise Bédard, Doug Varone, Michael Trent, the empty collective

“invisible borders”, presented by the empty collective and Danceworks, ran November 4th through 6th at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre Theatre (formerly duMaurier Theatre Centre). The show was envisioned by dancer/choreographer Michael Trent as an exploration of a “multiplicity of viewpoints” and manifested as a mixed repertory program by choreographers with three contrasting aesthetics and from three different cities: Louise Bédard from Montréal, Doug Varone from New York, and Trent from Toronto - who was also the show’s producer and featured performer.

 

Opposites Attract 

By Susan Kendal "Fading Shadows / Returning Echoes" Yvonne Ng, Robert Glumbek, Dominique Dumais, Tedd Robinson

The contrast between tall and small was explored in triplicate in ‘Fading Shadows / Returning Echoes’, a concert of duets for Yvonne Ng and Robert Glumbek, presented by Ng and her company Tiger Princess Dance Projects. With poignancy and precision, the program of three works featured the dancers’ strengths and vulnerabilities, both personal and archetypal.

 

Apricot Trees Exist  

By Philip Szporer "Apricot Trees Exist" Roger Sinha

Roger Sinha’s new work for six dancers, “Apricot Trees Exist”, which opened at the Agora de la danse, is reflective, but nonetheless removed from the personal. Now more than ever, the Montréal-based choreographer seems concerned with breaking away from the labels that may have described his work in the past.  

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