Steer and Nudity.Desire – Dance: made in Canada/fait au Canada (Princess Productions)

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Dance artists Benjamin Kamino and William Yong take Toronto by storm in Dance: made in Canada

Two fierce unabashed dance artists, Benjamin Kamino and William Yong, take the stage at the Betty Oliphant Theatre for the Dance: made in Canada/fait au Canada (d:mic/fac) mini-festival in Contemporary Dance. Kamino takes the stage first showcasing his mastery in physical theatre as he releases all inhibitions in his raw dance piece, Nudity. Desire. Yong followed with his powerful solo piece, Steer, which integrates innovative movement, sound and technology.

What I love about Yong and Kamino’s work is their ability to showcase work that is honest to who they are. Even though an audience member may not always be able to decipher what is happening while watching the performance, their presence on stage is deeply felt and that makes for a great performer.

Kamino, who was nude throughout his piece, displayed complete vulnerability as he ran around tackling large white paper sheets and once in a while yelling from his core. Even though there was a freedom in the way he expressed himself, Kamino also showed desperation and a longing for acknowledgment and acceptance. And though his piece was mostly done in silence, I could feel the intensity in his breath and my own as he moved from one part of the stage to another.

Yong is known for his savvy use of technology. I have admired his work and over the past few years, have really seen him advance in integrating technology with movement while always challenging the audience’s mind in the process. His world premiere of Steer was no different as Yong raised the bar once again taking the audience members on quite the journey through his use of futuristic visual effects.

D:mic/fac began in 2001 by Artistic Director Yvonne Ng. It has since expanded into a four day dance festival and boasts three dance series with guest curators Cylla Von Tiedemann and Serge Bennatha. In addition, there is a late night dance series (chosen by lottery) and visual arts displays. There are also some great interactive community activities that engage dancers and non-dancers alike. I was lucky to spontaneously partake in one such activity as I was (literally) pulled by a rope to join in on learning a little western dance, bollywood dance, contemporary dance and salsa dance. A fun energizing activity that anyone can enjoy and it is free!

There are still three more days of d:mic/fac that you don’t want to miss. Check it out at the Betty Oliphant Theatre!

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Photo of William Yong by Elysha Poirier