Breathing with Animals


January, 2015 Mark Mann Response #5 to what goes between Rehearsal

Choreographer: Tracey Norman / Interpreters: Jesse Dell, Beth Despres, Brittany Duggan & Sky Fairchild-Waller / Studio 103, Artscape Youngplace, Toronto 

The big change between this rehearsal and the last one I attended, of course, was Jesse dancing in place of Marie France. But for me personally, another big change was coming into the rehearsal with a strong feeling of familiarity for the work. I was thinking this morning about how we usually only see a piece once, and so watching a performance is often like meeting a stranger for the first time, sharing an intimate encounter, and then parting again forever.

It’s one of those cliches that thankfully actually happens sometimes: you meet someone at a party or sit beside them on a plane, and suddenly you just connect. You speak your mind, and they do…

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Sylvain Émard Danse: Ce n’est pas la fin du monde

For one night only, Sylvain Émard Danse will be performing Ce n’est pas la fin du monde at Fleck Dance Theatre

February 28th, 2015 8pm (followed by an audience appreciation reception and silent auction)


Québec’s award-winning choreographer, Sylvain Émard of Sylvain Émard Danse, will bring the critically acclaimed Ce n’est pas la fin du monde (It’s not the end of the world) featuring seven male dancers in a ritual of resistance and adaptation to the passing of time. Driven by doubt and a lust for life, they are searching for their place, sketching the contours of multiple identities. Carried away by their instincts and the power of the group, their only language is subtle, energetic movement, the music of bodies electrified by a shared feeling of urgency. Dance seems to be the best means of coming to terms with the world and of being transformed, the better to blend in.

To purchase tickets, visit:

Above the Fire


December 2014 – Mark Mann Response #2 to Scars are All the Rage Rehearsal

Choreographer: Marie France Forcier/ Interpreters: Justine Comfort, Molly Johnson, Louis Laberge-Côté/ Location: hub 14, Toronto

I’m going to wander around a bit here with this response and not worry too much where I step. It’s the only way I know to get in. The funny thing about being a writer, for me, is that I sometimes think I have the least faith in words of anybody. They don’t seem all that needful, or ever really true enough. The body never lies though, right?

My body was wincing at your rehearsal on Monday, and making little sounds of shock and denial, and I think I even put my hand in my mouth. I don’t think it’s too strong to say that this piece is terrifying. I mean: it’s going to fuck people up. I’m glad you’ve decided to go all the…

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Old Stories

Maxine Heppner’s newest dance show OLD STORIES reveals myths shared by a community of storytellers and the private world of a woman living amongst them.

old stories

In the ensemble work “Old Story”  the audience literally becomes guests at the tables of an extraordinary cast who, through dance, share tales of birth, love, loss, and reunion, and of sustaining energies that are universal. Participate by writing a short story, a very short story (25-250 words) real or imaginary, that encapsulate one of these moments in time for you. Write it as easily as a text message or craft it more carefully if you like.
All ages welcome. All languages welcome. Send to oldstories (at)


At any moment a person lives simultaneously inside one’s own experience, in relationship with the people around, and in context with the public and history.  No one is passive. The heart of our living is our moving breathing person; the dance impulses within us are the roots of our stories that branch out to include everyone around us.” – Maxine Heppner


DanceWorks Co-Works

Across Oceans

February 5, 6, 7 at 8pm
February 8 at 3pm

Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement (6 Noble St.)

Get tickets here:

Interview with Vincent Mantsoe

We spoke with Vincent Mantsoe about his pieces NTU and Skwatta

He will perform at DanceWorks Jan 29-31st at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre



DanceWorks: NTU means ‘nothingness’ and Skwatta refers to South Africa’s squatter camps. Why did you choose to express these concepts/states/ideas through dance? How do you understand these two pieces as relating to each other?

Vincent Sekwati Mantsoe: Even though “Nothing” pervades, something always take shape/form, either materialized or spiritually. Both NTU and Skwatta have been created for open dialogues, so I come to believe that both solos are connected either by the states of spirituality, humanity, poverty, pride and so on. NTU is nothing; you as an audience you can create and re-create this path for yourself and see where the path takes you, yet within this Nothingness, the simplicity of nothing, the state of something take shape. In this case Skwatta is the cure fact of how ‘underprivileged’ still live under dyer situations and this is not a unique condition only in South Africa but all over the world. The poor still get even poor and the rich still even richer.


“You as an audience you can create and re-create this path for yourself”


DW: Culture is something embodied; something we understand through being and living. How do you hold and express both traditional and contemporary elements within you and your work?

VSM: Well, It has been a bumpy road, but as long as I stand, walk, talk and can still express different issues or elements through my body, cultural preservation in the 21st century has always been my true ally. I also hold great respect for tradition, African, Asian and western. And living in the 21st century, I try to adapt old traditions, carefully crafted to be on an international arena where individuals can be inspired or simply travel a new path. Bumpy roads are simply obstacle that can be cleared with patience, and being true to your art. Over the years, I have been slowly crafting these elements. Do they fail? Do they work? Yes, they do. But the philosophy in both my work and in me thrives to be honest and be what it is.


“Bumpy roads are simply obstacle that can be cleared with patience, and being true to your art”


DW: How do certain places affect what you create? How does traveling to different places around the world affect the work you do?

VSM: Even though I am based in France, my work is very much rooted in Africa, specifically South Africa. Hence traveling around educates me in learning more of different cultures and how it can or cannot affect where I come from. Human culture/traditions have evolved, that is the nature of things. How it affects me and who I am matters as to how I create my work one way or another.


For tickets, visit:

For more information on DanceWorks and Vincent Mantsoe, visit our website, follow us on Twitter @DanceWorksTO or friend us on Facebook

Our Processes, Seen by the Outsider


Welcome to Forcier/Norman: Behind the Scenes!

The Who and the What?     While Tracey Norman and Marie France Forcier have been at work this season on what goes between and Scars are All the Rage, their respective pieces for Forcier/Norman, they invited Arts Writer Mark Mann to observe a few of their rehearsals and reflect about his experience. To preserve Mann’s outsider’s perspective, the creative intentions behind Forcier and Norman’s works were not discussed prior to those rehearsals.

The Why?     The initiative was launched to create an archive of those two creative processes, but also to demystify “how contemporary choreography is made” for the general public. It is also meant to provide insight to dance artists about how the uninitiated might perceive the creation process.

The Where and the When?    On this site, we will periodically share Mann’s written observations following the course of our processes, from late August 2014 until the…

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Seeing and Wanting


September, 2014 – Mark Mann Response #2 to Scars are All the Rage Rehearsal

Choreographer: Marie France Forcier /  Interpreters: Molly Johnson, Louis Laberge-Côté (Justine Comfort absent) / Location: hub 14 Toronto 

I really enjoyed the rehearsal yesterday, especially the tonal shifts between the first dance you guys were working on and the second and third.

It was really interesting to see the action of serendipity: the way you prepared occurrences that you couldn’t anticipate, but only recognize when they appeared. I liked observing how you ushered in the surprise, and the complicity of the dancers in your searching. Their trust.

So much of the work is solving problems, of course. I don’t know the kinds of thoughts that you have when the phrasing presents a dilemma, but it looks like an action of very careful letting go. Releasing the bodies, seeing what they’ll do.

It reminded me of how solutions always…

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Vincent Mantsoe interview with Mimi Beck (2005)

Vincent Mantsoe will be returning to Toronto January 29-31, 2015 – for tickets visit

The last time he graced the Toronto stage was a full decade ago!

DanceWorks’ curator Mimi Beck interviewed Vincent as part of the cultural dance dialogs series during his last visit




Vincent Mantsoe teaching & pedagogy

Check out these videos of Vincent teaching master classes



Interested in attending class with Vincent when he visits Toronto in January 2015?

Contact to book a workshop or register with Dance Immersion

dance immersion workshop flyer


Co-works with BoucharDanse

BoucharDanse, in collaboration with Théâtre la Tangente, presents

L’Implorante and L’éternel voyage

as part of Harbourfront Centre, NextSteps 2014-15 season, a DanceWorks CoWorks Series Event.

Harbourfront Centre Theatre (formerly the Enwave Theatre)
231 Queens Quay W
October 23 – 25, 2014 @ 8pm, Oct 25 @ 2 pm


L’éternel voyage

In L’éternel voyage, Sylvie Bouchard continues her quest to reveal human dilemmas. Three characters learn to trust the beating of their own hearts as they move forward on a journey, both individually and together. The trio explores an ethereal landscape residing in an in-between space, bringing forth the mystery of the unknown, undiscovered places and new territories. Where do we begin, and where do we end? How do we comprehend the incomprehensible? Calm and dazzling winds, sudden gusts and tornadoes accompany this group on their voyage. L’éternel voyage is a hymn to life and a call to fully savour the moments that are precious to each of us.



Misunderstood and alienated, Camille Claudel’s genius was terrifying. Auguste Rodin described her as “his most extraordinary disciple.” Of sound mind and in full possession of her magnificent talent, Camille was committed in 1913 at 49, and finally succumbed, depressed and unrecognizable, after 30 years of continuous confinement.

What inspires us? What moves us to create? Here lies the basic theme of L’Implorante. This production puts movement and immobility in opposition, in both a literal and figurative sense. While on tour in Europe, a choreographer (played by Sylvie Bouchard) visits the Rodin Museum in Paris. She comes upon an autobiographical sculpture by Camille Claudel (Rodin’s student and mistress), on her knees begging him not to leave her. The work, entitled L’Âge mûr (Mature Age), disturbs the choreographer so that she becomes obsessed by its emotive power and even more so by ‘L’Implorante’, the third figure in the group.

Desperate to understand the emotional charge within this sculpture, she begins a frantic search through Camille’s personal correspondence. She works on movements in suspension, like Claudel worked on a piece of clay. Absorbed in Camille’s quest to liberate from the earth a woman in her own image, the choreographer finds her own “self” through movement, while accompanied by the letters Claudel wrote to her brother Paul and to Rodin.

An original idea by Claude Guilmain, based on letters between the artists Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin, this stage adaptation directed by Guilmain and Louise Naubert will be presented in French, with English in-ear translation. Please note that the text in this production is minimal. L’Implorante has received many accolades from press, media and audiences both in Ottawa, and for the in-progress showing at Glendon College.

For tickets visit the NextSteps website
Choreography: Sylvie Bouchard
Directed by: Claude Guilmain and Louise Naubert
Performers: Sylvie Bouchard, Bernard Meney, Louise Naubert, Mairéad Filgate, Meredith Thompson, and Brendan Wyatt