That’s A Wrap!

DanceWorks wrapped up the 2013-14 Season this past weekend. Thank you to our Mainstage artists firstthingsfirst productions, 605 Collective, Signal Theatre, Robert Glumbek and Kevin O’Day, and Bboyizm Dance Company. Here are some photographic highlights of the past season.

605 Collective
Greyeyes1robt & kevinBboyizm MCO

{Photo Credits from top to bottom: Jeremy Mimnagh, Robert Sondergaard, John Lauener, unknown, unknown}


Also, a special thank you to our CoWorks artists Hanna Kiel/Human Body Expression, Lua Shayenne & Company, and Find the Floor Dance Collective.

Hanna Kiel Rehearsal 3Lua ShayenneJillPromoFinal-1-1

{Photo Credits from top to bottom: unknown, Rema Tavares, unknown}

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And the winners are … DanceWorks at the Doras

The Dora Mavor Moore Awards, administered by the Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, were presented on June 24th.  It is so nice to take a night away from budgets and grant applications to recognize the great artistic work that is being produced in Toronto.

This year DanceWorks won two Doras! DanceWorks’ Mainstage presentation of Road Trip won Outstanding Performance by the Ensemble of Susie Burpee and Linnea Swan. Paula Citron of the Globe and Mail has described the duo: “The charismatic Swan and Burpee are formidable interpreters…each can dominate the space even when standing still.” Congratulations Susie and Linnea!

DanceWorks’ CoWorks series is also eligible for Dora nominations and this year Marie France Forcier’s Lab Rats cast member Molly Johnson won Outstanding Performance by a Female artist.  Molly is pictured here with James Bunton, who was also nominated for his sound design for Lab Rats. Congratulations Molly!


Dora Nominations 2013

Mimi Beck works very hard, often for years in advance, to curate the Mainstage season.  It is gratifying when those productions are recognized by the Dora Jury with nominations.  The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts’ Dora Mavor Moore Awards are a wonderful way to celebrate a year of performances gone by.

Mimi Beck and Heidi Strauss at the 2008 Dora Awards
Mimi Beck and Heidi Strauss at the 2008 Dora Awards

We are very proud that dancer/choreographers Nova Bhattacharya and Louis Laberge-Côté (Akshongay), alongside Susie Burpee and Linnea Swan (Road Trip) were recognized for their artistry in both the choreography and performance categories.    In addition, Marc Parent and Phil Strong received nominations for their creative work on Akshongay.

Every season, Mimi Beck programs CoWorks performances as a way to support the independent dance community with self-presentations.  This year, Molly Johnson’s performance in Marie France Forcier’s Lab Rats was nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Female Artist.  Belinda McGuire was also recognized in the same category for her performance in the Heist Project. It has been a good day.

Congratulations to all the Dora Award Nominees!

Michael Crabb’s Coverage of the Season Gone by

Michael Crabb of the Toronto Star is one of Toronto’s dance authorities. This season, Crabb wrote five preview articles about most of our Mainstage productions.  Here is a little of what he had to say.

Photo: Susie Burpee and Linnea Swan The season began with the playful Road Trip by Susie Burpee and Linnea Swan. The two described Road Trip‘s bouffon foundation in an interview with Crabb, “Bouffon,” Swan elaborates, “rides the edge of good taste, with humour on the surface, but a dark underbelly.” Says Burpee: “We want to give people food for thought.”

RUBBERBANDance in Gravity of Centre

Next came RUBBERBANDance Group from Montreal.  Crabb of the Toronto Star described the inspiration for the work,”it was the ricocheting financial crisis triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 that set acclaimed Montreal choreographer Victor Quijada on the path toward Gravity of Center.” Hundreds of screaming teenagers attended two matinees of Gravity of Center. It quickly became the best selling show in DanceWorks’ history.

Homoblablatus, Photo by Lydia Pawelak

Seventh Sense, Photo by Emily Cooper

Then the lovely Miriam Allard arrived in the cold of February with her intriguing Homoblablatus.  “Be prepared for a ‘virtual’ duet between a live dancer and her on-film partner, and another in which two dancers occupy the same signature frilly flamenco skirt. And expect to leave with your notions of flamenco turned deliciously upside down.” mused Crabb.

Following La Otra Orilla, was Wen Wei Dance from Vancouver.  The exquisite troupe from Vancouver presented Wen Wei Wang’s new work 7th Sense. Crabb described the creative process, “In a departure from his customary approach to making a new dance, for 7th Sense Wang himself decided to relinquish a degree of control. He began by asking the dancers to imagine they were some kind of animal and to improvise movement, not so much imitative as expressive of what an animal might be feeling. From this the work slowly evolved into a complex, 65-minute group work.”

Akshongay, Photo by John Lauener

Next came the duet between Louis Laberge-Côté and Nova Bhattacharya, Akshongay.  Crabb reflected on the partnership, “Theirs is an intimacy born of mutual artistic curiosity. Though in no way romantic — each is married to others — the intimacy they share through dance has forged a powerful bond. Watching a studio run-through earlier this week it was clear how closely attuned they are, physically and emotionally.”

Thank you Mr. Crabb for your dedication to contemporary dance in Toronto.

Back and forth with Nova Bhattacharya and Louis Laberge-Côté

In the spirit of their production, Akshongay, which means “together” in Bengali, Nova and Louis tackled our questionnaire together. Their partnership and sense of humour is undeniable.


OK, here we go:

Favourite word = Pouilly-Fumé – Louis has been trying to teach Nova how to say it properly for over 10 years (a dry white wine)

Favourite book = “So you married a foreigner whose name starts with M”

Favourite place = our happy place

Food on birthday = Grapes (in a liquified carbonated form, preferably from central France)

Music = I’m a little bit country and she’s a little bit Rock & Roll

Guilty pleasure = “Dancing with the Stars” and YouTube videos

First dance lesson = Nova: ballet / Louis: ballet jazz

Other profession = Empress or sommelier

Akshongay = Connection, separation, caring, laughing, crying

Come see Nova and Louis together on stage from April 11th to 13th at the Enwave Theatre

This interview has been edited for content.

Episodic Answers from Jordana Deveau, Jesse Dell, and Tracey Norman

What style/technique was your first dance lesson?
Tracey: Jazz
Jordana: Creative movement – obviously.

What music do you listen to?
Tracey: My favourite all-time artist is Hawksley Workman. Also love Hey Rosetta!, Kathleen Edwards, and Arcade Fire. Guess they’re all Canadian, but I love so much music.
Jordana: Every kind you can imagine – with a particular fondness for bluegrass and organic electronic

What profession, other than dance artist, would you like to attempt?
Jordana: Environmental lawyer.  Failing that, I would like to work with the big cats – who wouldn’t want a hug from a tiger?

What is your favourite book?
Tracey: Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson
Jordana: Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
What is your favourite word?
Jordana: I’m not sure if I have one, but I am a fan of all 7 letter words because they get you more points in Scrabble.

What is your piece about in five words or less?
Tracey: Intersections between ideas, relationships, bodies
Jesse: a woman on the edge

This interview has been edited for content and length. 

A Few of Niki’s Favourite Things: Desiraeda Dance Theatre’s Artistic Director Niki Wozniak

Desiraeda Dance TheatreWhat is your favourite word?  


What do you like to eat on your birthday?

Icing! This year is a big one and I have also requested oysters and chocolate fondue.

What is your favourite book?

That’s a toughy. I love a lot of books:  I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb; Coming Through Slaughter by Michael Ondaatje, anything by Margaret Atwood and Jeanette Winterson.

What music do you listen to? 

So many different styles… I love soundtracks by Ennio Morricone and John Powell; Rachmaninov, and a new current favourite is “Knot in my Heart” by the Zolas.

What is your guilty pleasure television show or website? Californication

What style/technique was your first dance lesson? Ballet
What profession, other than dance artist, would you like to attempt?

Writing a novel, event planning, and psychiatrist/therapist

What is Wake of the Fallen about in five words or less? 

Addiction, overcoming traumatic experiences, love


DATES & TIMES: Wednesday, March 27th to Saturday, March 30th, 2013 @ 8PM

TICKET PRICES:  $28 General Admission; $25 Senior & Student Rate (plus applicable taxes and service charges)

VENUE:  Winchester St. Theatre; 80 Winchester St.

BOX OFFICE:  DanceWorks  416 204 1082

ONLINE SALES through Eventbrite:


This interview has been edited for content and length.

Lucy Rupert’s Reflections on Half Life

What is your favourite word, book and place?


Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller, and

Big Sur, California

Lucy Rupert. Image: R. Kelly Clipperton.What do you like to eat on your birthday? A good breakfast with eggs and toast and lots of coffee

What music do you listen to? 

Right now — Macklemore, Radiohead, Fiona Apple, Souljazz Orchestra

What profession, other than dance artist, would you like to attempt?

I did attempt a career in music. But lately I’ve thought translating poetry would be really interesting and probably the most like choreographing and dancing.

What is your guilty pleasure television show? Project Runway

What style/technique was your first dance lesson?  Ballet

What is your favourite charity?

World Wildlife Federation — since I was a little kid. (But of course Myeloma Canada too — close to my heart and with a benefit performance on March 23rd as part of this production!)

What is your piece about in five words or less?

My portion of the program (Half-life): Carbon, nitrogen, helium, hydrogen, oxygen.

This interview has been edited for content. 

Half Life Motel
Presented by Blue Ceiling dance/Lucy Rupert and Flightworks
A DanceWorks CoWorks Series Event
Dancemakers Centre for Creation
Mar. 20-23 2013 @ 8 pm Tickets $18-22 ($18 for CADA, Students, Seniors)
Mar. 23, 2013 @ 2 pm Benefit for Myeloma Canada Foundation Tickets $25

LucyR half life motel