Recent Dance Reviews

Dance Theatre Review – Adelheid/Theatre Centre – what it’s like

The best way to describe choreographer Heidi Strauss’ latest work, what it’s like, is a stream of consciousness about brotherhood. The totality of the piece is brotherhood looked at from very personal relationships to the larger metaphor of a world in chaos. Three charismatic male dancers – Michael Caldwell, Luke Garwood and Naishi Wang (who are listed as co-creators) – move on a random journey with the audience literally following them through their travels. They laugh, challenge, one-up, pretend –Read More

Dance Review – DanceWorks/Jackie Burroughs is Dead & what are you going to do about it?, choreographed by DA Hoskins

DA Hoskins usually creates busy pieces inspired by sophisticated intellectual inquiry. Elaborate is a good word to describe his epics that employ text, sets, and visual media, all rooted in a deep emotional base that pervades his choreography.  Jackie Burroughs is Dead & what are you going to do about it? has Hoskins going back to the basics. Three dancers, an empty stage, and a live musicmaker are the sum total of the forces employed to express this work.

The –Read More

Dance Review – National Ballet of Canada/The Winter’s Tale

The English ballet tradition has produced great choreographic storytellers. Think Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kenneth MacMillan and John Cranko. Down the line, Christopher Wheeldon will be added to this august list. At this point in time, he is caught between ballet convention and original thought. Choreographic aspects of The Winter’s tale are routine, while other segments jump off the stage with innovative bravura.

The Winter’s Tale is Wheeldon’s second full-length story ballet, following hard on the heels of the –Read More

Post Tiff Dance Wrap – ProArteDanza, Peter Chin’s Woven, and Toronto Heritage Dance

No one in the performing arts who is in their right mind plans an event during TIFF. That is just plain artistic suicide. The great tragedy of this fact is that just after TIFF, you tend to get dance bunched together. Thus, the first weekend after TIFF had three wonderful dance events running opposite each other and competing for audiences. In one word – bummer, but on the plus side, what a feast for the eyes!

ProArteDanza

ProArteDanza is –Read More

Fall for Dance North Festival, Sept. 29 to Oct. 1 – Backgrounder

Toronto used to be awash in national and international dance, but over time, financial problems led to the demise of key dance series. That is why Fall for Dance North is one of the best things to happen to the local dance scene in years.

FFDN is modelled after Fall for Dance, the storied series launched in 2004 by New York City Centre, the legendary home of performing arts in the Big Apple. With the idea of developing dance audiences, –Read More

Dance Review – Sampradaya Dance Creations/Nirantara – Beyond Space and Time

South Asian choreographer Lata Pada celebrated her company’s 25th anniversary with a beautiful production called Nirantara – Beyond Space and Time. The word nirantara means endless, and what Pada hoped to bring together through dance, music, lighting and projections was the concept of the bindu (the sacred point) where time and space come together to touch the divine within.

Much of South Asian dance tends to embrace abstract concepts, and choreographers, like Pada, seem to accept philosophical exploration as –Read More

ARCHIVES – DANCE THAT OPENED IN FEBRUARY.2014


KYLE ABRAHAM/ABRAHAM.IN.MOTION. THE RADIO SHOW. You only have until Saturday to catch this World Stage offering. Abraham is one of New York’s brightest lights. The supple dancers execute fluid, total body choreography in this show about memory and communication. As a dancesmith, Abraham knows how to rivet the eye with movement that always catches you by surprise. No wonder he won a genius grant from the MacArthur Foundation. An ambitious show in content that maybe doesn’t get quite get to –Read More

Dance Review – Mirvish Productions/Heartbeat of Home

What a difference 20 years makes. Heartbeat of Home, the new show from the team that brought you Riverdance two decades ago is an immensely enjoyable, professional-looking, polished dance show where everything hangs together as smooth as silk. The music score is sensational and the band it hot. It certainly deserves a long shelf life.

Now for full disclosure. I never warmed up to Riverdance with its pretentious, obscure narration, the staccato dance numbers that seemed gerrymandered together, particularly the –Read More

Dance Review – Claudia Moore Moonhorse Dance Theatre/Escape Artist

Veteran dance artist Claudia Moore is celebrating her 60th birthday with four world premieres by heavyweight choreographers. It is a fitting tribute to a great dancer who has enriched the dance scene of this city for many years.

Three of the four dancesmiths (Susanna Hood, Christopher House and Paul-André Fortier) have taken a similar tack in how to move a 60 year old body through space. They have all used well-defined gestural language to anchor their post-modern movement. While the –Read More

Dance Review – Compagnie Errances/My Name Is Not Carmen! (Paris, France)

This show could be headlined “Local Girl Makes Good”. Dancer, choreographer and actress Yana Maizel was born in St. Petersburg, raised in Toronto, and lives in Paris. She also happens to be a flamenco dancer who trained in Spain. Her solo show, not surprisingly, is anchored in her peripatetic background. Maizel’s homecoming also garnered a standing ovation from the enthusiastic audience.

Maizel calls her work “flamenco-theatre” as it is a mix of dance, text, clown, and thematic line. In fact, –Read More