Review: Dusk Dances 2013 (Dusk Dances)

Dusk Dances 2013 dazzles in Toronto’s Withrow Park

Dusk Dances 2013 Carmen Romero

Every year I make an effort to head over to Withrow Park to see what fun new works are happening at Dusk Dances. This year features some excellent performers and choreographers like Carmen Romero, Kloetzel&co., The Throwdown Collective, Denise Fujiwara, and Susie Burpee with Tiger Princess Dance Projects.

Before the rain set in for the evening I got to speak to the Festival Director, Sylvie Bouchard, between meetings and makeup calls. We chatted about how the tour was going. Bouchard told me that the works shown at Withrow Park are different than the ones on tour. Withrow Park is where the pieces get their start. The works shown in Toronto are all either new works or newly adapted for the outdoors. After being shown here, they get the chance to go on tour the following year.

After our chat I headed over to where Cafe Con Pan, the opening band, was playing. Even with the forecasted rain there was still a pretty sizable audience. I was impressed at how many people were willing to brave the rain to see dance. It really showed how much support they have accrued over their 19 years. After listening to the funk rhythms of  the opening band, we got to see two of the five dance pieces before the rain finally took hold.

Our host for the evening, the Colonel (AKA Dan Watson), did a great job MCing. When the first dance was delayed he kept us sufficiently engaged by choreographing a synchronized umbrella twirl and showing off his humorous parkour skills.

Carmen Romero started the dance part of the evening off with May I Join You?, a fun flamenco piece. Even in the rain, Romero performed beautifully. Romero was accompanied by Scott Metcalfe on keyboard. The two performers had a great relationship, each listening and playing to the other’s shifts and changes. My show buddy described May I Join You? as passionate and fun and I completely agree.

The next, and last piece that we saw that evening was The Alice Odyssey. It is an excerpt from a full length show and was smartly adapted to the environment at Withrow Park. The Alice Odyssey is well crafted and beautifully executed. Each of the performers took on their role without making the work seem cheesy. Dancers acting can get awkward fast, but this group of dancers completely embodied their characters. Just as the fairy tales and children’s stories this is based on, The Alice Odyssey was full of unexpected surprises and some great images.

The rain persisted and the performance was stopped to keep the dancers safe, but I wish it had kept going because I was thoroughly enjoying the evening. After the show my fellow playgoer (dance goer) expressed a similar sentiment. I am definitely going to head back to Withrow Park on a dryer evening to see the rest of the pieces.


  • Dusk Dances is playing at Withrow Park (725 Logan Ave, Toronto)
  • Performances run until August 4th beginning at 7 pm
  • Tickets are suggested donation of $10 or PWYC