JACK YOUR BODY is an intense, hour-long dance extravaganza by Mix Mix Dance Collective at the Toronto Fringe Festival. JACK YOUR BODY takes its lead from the 1990 documentary Paris Is Burning and embraces diversity and celebrates personal authenticity.
The show opens with a walk-off where two dancers per round present their realness for the audience’s vote just like in the documentary. Gender, race and identity are at the fore of this celebration and we as audience are immediately invited to participate.
The show diverges from Paris Is Burning and continues by presenting various pieces of challenging and fast-paced choreography by Emily Law and Ashley Perez (with input from the dancers). Multiple styles of dance are performed including funk, hip-hop, house, vogue, and street. The soundtrack starts off with techno and proceeds to house, and then disco then soul at which point the performance culminates in a soul train line
The costumes are mostly comprised of street wear covering the multiple time periods of the dance styles. Dancers perform in stone washed jeans, wind breakers, sequins, high-waisted pants and body suits all in those familiar greens, blues, pinks and purples that remind me of my youth and young personhood.
The choreography is fantastic and compels you to dance. Much of the technique appears effortless, which I’ve learned from many of my dancer friends means that it’s actually quite difficult. It is very inspiring to see people do what they love well.
I feel very privileged to have seen almost all the dancers in this collective perform their craft in other shows throughout the city. It is wonderful to see so much talent on one stage in this show. If I had to choose standout performers, they would be Emily Law and Jasmyn Fyffe. Law is weightless and indefatigable and Fyffe’s facial expressions alone will scorch you with their passion. It is hard not to watch these two when they are onstage.
There are a few pieces in this show that could use extra attention, specifically the opening and closing numbers. There were a few instances where I saw some of the dancers out of step or visibly ask what the next combination was. These missteps rob the performance of the power it works so hard to achieve as a whole.
Thanks to very detailed program notes, I will be spending the next couple days researching the various styles of dance as I play the soundtrack to the show on a loop. I highly recommend this show to anyone who loves Paris Is Burning, voguing, techno/house/soul music, high-energy dance and power in diversity.
- JACK YOUR BODY is playing at Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst St.)
- Showtimes: Friday, July 5: 8:45 p.m. Saturday, July 6: 1:45 p.m. Sunday, July 7: 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 9: 3:15 p.m. Thursday, July 11: 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 12: 3:30 p.m. Saturday, July 13: 12:30 p.m.
- Individual Fringe tickets are available at the door for $10 ($5 for FringeKids), cash only. Late comers will not be permitted.
- Advance tickets are $11 ($9 + $2 service charge) are available online at fringetoronto.com, by phone at 416-966-1062 ext 1, or in person during the festival at the Festival Box Office in the parking lot behind Honest Ed’s (581 Bloor St W).
- Value packs are available if you plan to see at least 5 shows
Image of JACK YOUR BODY provided by Mix Mix Dance Collective