Review: MUSEment (Toronto Dance Project)

10561786_794848493946702_6346544181524298310_nToronto Dance Project’s MUSEment has something for everyone

The Toronto Dance Project is a company that trains emerging dance professionals ready to launch their careers. MUSEment, which played at the Winchester Street Theatre on June 24 to 26, highlighted some of the amazing work they’ve done throughout the year.

Before the show began, director Lindsay Ritter announced that there would be something for everyone: contemporary, ballet, hip-hop, you name it. She wasn’t lying. MUSEment featured 34 wonderful and diverse numbers.

Each performance lasted a couple of minutes with near seamless transitions between pieces. The choreographies were intricate and expertly brought to life by the dancers. There wasn’t a single performance that lost my interest.

There was an even mixture of group choreographies and solo performances. Most were performed by the professional company, but the youth company also danced a handful of numbers.

Every performance was captivating. It’s difficult to compare so many diverse genres, but my favourite was the tap number set to “Uptown Funk,” choreographed by Dani Kagan. I loved the classic dance style juxtaposed with a modern funk hit.

My guest preferred the more classical pieces, especially the ballet “Gypsies,” choreographed by Jarvi Raudsepp, and a contemporary dance piece, “Chandelier,” choreographed by Alexa Stavro and Vanessa Sudar, performed by the youth company.

The youth company is actually what surprised me the most. These dancers ranged from ages 12 to 17 but they performed with skill beyond their years. It was inspiring to see a passion of dance instilled at such a young age.

I was blown away by the youth company’s fierce hip-hop and acrobatics. “Albatraoz” choreographed by Katelyn Ettinger, showcased impressive gymnastics while “Get Down” choreographed by Miha Matevzic delivered unexpected spunk coming from such a young group.

I don’t have the dance background to critique technicalities and form, but I will say that every dancer looked practiced and polished. They were having a great time and it was obvious that dance is their calling. Their energy was contagious.

My one observation is that the choreographies with larger groups seemed a little out of sync at times, but it never took away from the performance.

The venue itself is also worth noting. The Winchester Street Theatre is a restored church with high ceilings and beautiful architectural details. The space can comfortably seat about 130 people. It was intimate and dramatic at the same time.

MUSEment was engaging and a complete joy to watch. I’d recommend it to both dance professionals and beginners like myself. After leaving the theatre, I was just about ready to dance all the way home.


Photo of the company by E.S. Cheah