As young people streamed into the Toronto Centre for the Arts on Thursday December 8th, I don’t think the patrons of Memphis had any idea what was going on in the packed theatre next door. It was the TDSB’s Dare 2 Dance finale and it was an incredibly exciting night of dance. Twelve schools from across the GTA competed in the finale with remarkable pieces choreographed by the students. The evening was structured like the So You Think You Can Dance television series, complete with celebrity judges: Allen Kaeja, Debbie Nicholls-Skerritt, and Tre Armstrong. All the pieces had social justice themes such as mental illness, female empowerment, and drug abuse. After each performance, the judges gave each group feedback.
Highlights of the evening included a powerful performance about domestic abuse by an all female cast from Vaughan Road Academy; an athletic duet about drug addiction by two students from the Scarborough Centre for Alternative Studies; and the winning team from William Lyon Mackenzie C.I. who danced about isolation and acceptance.
The Dare 2 Dare competition makes dance a focal point in Toronto high schools and empowers students to be choreographers. Dr. Christopher Spence, the Director of Education, has clearly endorsed this event in order to promote creativity, health and social justice amongst the enthusiastic students. It was so wonderful to see young women AND men excited about dance and cheering on their friends and classmates as they bravely took the stage. For more information, please check out the TDSB’s website: http://www.tdsb.on.ca/_site/ViewItem.asp?siteid=10391&menuid=30555&pageid=26147
I can’t wait to see what the come up with next year …