By Adelina Fabiano
Redefining the ancient tradition of Belly Dance at the Toronto Fringe
The Dark Side Studio presented Lavish Dance Company’s Step for the first time at the 2010 Toronto Fringe last night. Seductive and sensual from the start, I was left with wanting more by the end.
Audra Simmons, company founder and modern belly dance pioneer, choreographed the group numbers, while dance solos were choreographed by the dancers themselves. These dances included influences not only from belly dance, but from Flamenco, Hip Hop, Jazz, Classical and Lyrical type dance.
Each dancer was electrifying, connecting with the audience with their fluid and stylized movements. I loved the confidence and presence of each individual performer. It was refreshing to see a group of women, so physically unique and so extraordinarily talented and skilled.
The music transitioned from sublime, classical compositions to often gritty rhythmic audio samples. As someone who has a strong emotional response to music, each dance number evoked sentiments within me. The music accompanied each dance so beautifully, I felt elated.
Costumes were eclectic, a mélange of browns and gold patchwork. The lighting varied from bright to almost candle light adding to the overall ambiance of the piece.
If you love dance, you’ll love this modern fusion of belly dance. If you don’t like dance, (Why not?) you’ll still love this powerful, innovative and original piece at the Fringe.
-Step is playing at the George Ignatieff Theatre ( 15 Devonshire Place) from July 1st to July 10, 2010 for the Toronto Fringe Festival.
-Performances will take place on Thurs. July 1st at 10:30pm, Fri. July 2nd at 5:15pm, Sat. July 3 at 3:30pm, Mon. July 5th at 6:15pm, Tues. July 6th at 8:45pm, Fri. July 9th at 11pm, and Sat. July 10 at 2:15pm.
–All individual Fringe tickets are $10 ($5 for FringeKids) at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at www.fringetoronto.com, by Phone at 416-966-1062, in person at The Randolph Centre for the Arts, 736 Bathurst Street (Advance tickets are $11 ($10+$1 convenience fee).
– Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows.
Photograph of Audra Simmons taken by Aydin Matiabi