Preview: TUDS – Toronto Urban Dance Culture Festival (Gadfly)

Toronto Urban Dance Culture Festival

TUDS – The Toronto Urban Dance Culture Festival celebrates the street dance scene in Toronto

It’s hard to find sometimes if you don’t know where to look for it, but Toronto’s street dance scene is as lively as it’s ever been. Popping into its fifth year, TUDS is Toronto’s own celebration of all things urban dance running from September 24-28. A festival with a full lineup of street and urban dance culture elements, TUDS has expanded to five days of impressive productions, intense battles, heart-pumping workshops and engaging open discussions.

Created and produced by GadflyTUDS has become an annual gathering of some of Canada’s forefront dance artists specializing in every variety of street dance you could want. The festival kicks off with Gadfly’s anniversary and a debate about urban dance and concludes with the Gadfly Awards, honouring Canada’s breakout urban dance artists, productions and industry trailblazers.

On the schedule you can brush up on your hip hop fundamentals with a workshop led by Alexandra ‘Spicey’ Lande, an industry vet straight from the 514 (I’ve had the opportunity to take class with her, she’s pretty awesome).

One of the biggest reasons not to miss TUDS is the series of Skills vs. Soul battles taking place over the last three days of the festival with a qualifying round, round robin and championship battle. Teams are judged based Skills, meaning technique, precision, dance vocabulary and level of difficulty, or Soul, which focuses on style, character, team improvisation and all-around groove.

Gadfly pulls the battle scenario out of the private lab sessions of the community and the forum of the hip hop dance competition and makes it easily accessible. If you’ve never had the chance to see a dance battle before, the fifth edition of TUDS has some true masters of movement competing this year as well as the usual crop of fresh faces.

There are three theatrical dance productions at this year’s fest, bringing together creative minds from both Toronto and Montreal’s urban dance communities. Each production runs three times throughout the event, so you have plenty of opportunity to catch one of the showings.

On offer this year are Euforikabyss, a solo piece from Alias Dance Project; Complexe ‘R’, an ensemble production by Spicey from Montreal; and Gadfly’s latest main stage show 3TIQET, featuring dancers from both Toronto and Montreal. Both shows and battles are making the Winchester Street Theatre their home base.

If you’re looking to expand your dance horizons beyond the usual contemporary, modern, classical fare that Toronto typically offers, TUDS would be the place to do it. And if you’re just a dance aficionado in general, this year’s fest looks like it’s going to be hype.


  • TUDS – Toronto Urban Dance Culture Festival is taking place at the Winchester Street Theatre (80 Winchester Street) from September 24-28
  • Check the full schedule for individual times
  • Tickets for the workshop, battles or single show night range from $20-$25, the full main show pass for all three nights of performances is $45
  • Tickets can be purchased online