Off Canvas (remounted) (Momentum Dance Toronto) 2014 Toronto Fringe Review

Momentum Dance Toronto brings a unique dance experience to the Toronto Fringe Festival in the form of inspired by works of visual still art. Off Canvas is an hour-long exploration of art — what creates art, what expresses art, and how to look beyond the canvas (and beyond the dancer) to find inspiration and create.

Each dance number starts with a work of art projected onto an easel at the corner of the stage. That serves as inspiration for the choreography to follow. It’s an intriguing and unique experience to see what dance, music, and costuming comes from this starting point.

Some are particularly inspiring – artist Giorgio Morandi was known for his works of still life (paintings of bottles and jars on a kitchen table and such) and this was used to inspire a beautiful monochrome motif of contemporary dance – an interplay of black and white, shadow and light.

Other artwork choices were more obvious in inspiration – like the ballet rehearsal based on “Rehearsal on the Stage” by Edgar Degas. When the young ballerina girls act out and rock out to “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'” by the Scissor Sisters, the audience cracks a few laughs.

What needs to be noted about Momentum Dance Toronto is that not all of their performers are professional dancers, some are more amateur and that’s actually the beauty of the company. What that means is not all the movements on stage will be pristine and clean – legs will be shaky, leaps will not be as high, some movements will be hesitant, the timing will not be perfect, and dancers may bump into a fellow dancer. But the choreography is still magnificent to watch and the message is heartfelt.

I have to make note of dancers Michael Dore (who choreographed and performed in the “Kissing You” number), as watching him leap across that stage is a treat, and Meredith Busteed who’s “Sounds of Silence” solo was also amazing.

If you want to incorporate dance into your Fringe list this year, Off Canvas is one of the best that you will find.


Off Canvas plays at the Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst Street)

Show times:
July 07 at 10:30 PM
July 09 at 01:45 PM
July 10 at 09:15 PM
July 12 at 07:30 PM
July 13 at 05:15 PM

Tickets for all mainstage productions are $10 at the door, cash only. Advance tickets are $12, and can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), or from the festival box office at the Fringe Club. (Rear of Honest Ed’s, 581 Bloor St. West). Money-saving value packs are also available if you are going to at least five shows; see website for details.

LATECOMERS ARE NEVER ADMITTED TO FRINGE SHOWS. To avoid disappointment, be sure to arrive a few minutes before curtain.

Photo of Carolyn LeBlanc, Jaime Lopez, Kathryn Barban, Keesha Mercurius, Kristen Porasz, Ruby Chang, Stephanie Busteed, Sylvia van Helden, Tanya Robertson by Raph Nogal Photography