“Charming, idiosyncratic” Toronto dance show is great fun for the whole family
This has been a particularly satisfactory week to have an out-of-town guest from a small town in BC – first we took him to a Fringe show, then to see All’s Well That Ends Well in High Park, and last night to catch the opening of Porch View Dances in Seaton Village. It’s an eclectic list, and Porch View Dances was the perfect ending in some ways – it’s such a peculiar and delightful event.
Not to belabor the title, but Porch View Dances does exactly what it says on the tin: people dance on their porches. Amateurs, working with professional choreographers Kate Alton (Crooked Figure Dances), Vancouver’s Barbara Bourget and Jay Hirabayashi (Kokoro Dance), Jasmyn Fyffe and Kaeja co-Artistic Directors Karen and Allen Kaeja, dance about exuberantly out in front of their houses while hundreds of people sit, stand in the street, lean against nearby cars, watch and cheer. This year’s version includes people from about eighteen months old to — and I am guessing here — early 60s, and also a small dog.
It’s hard to review such an obvious labour of love, to be fair. The dancers were all enthusiastic, committed, and great fun to watch. Knowing that they were amateurs, participating for the love of dance and the fun of such a whimsical artistic project caused me to watch the goings-on in a playful and participatory spirit. For sure there were dances I liked better or less well, but what I loved was the entirety of the experience — hundreds of cheerful Torontonians moving through Seaton Village in a slow, chatty herd, stopping periodically to sit in the middle of the road or on a curb and watch a short, fun dance.
The only part I would like to offer critique of, to be perfectly honest, was the business between the houses when the group was led on a walk. Though an emcee was provided, he wasn’t as able in troop movement as he needed to be. Also, his constant somewhat-garbled talking into the bullhorn ended up being a strong disincentive to follow him. This seems like a great opportunity to play Ministry of Silly Walks or something else, and I would like to encourage that rather than the current situation.
By and large though, Porch View Dances is charming, idiosyncratic, and a great family fun. With short dances, time to stretch in between and no particular expectation of sitting still, the event was great for kids and adults alike.
- Porch View Dances begins at 727 Markham street and proceeds from there. The show runs until July 17th.
- Performances begin at 7pm all dates except the 17th, which begins at 4pm.
- There is no ticketing, you may Pay What You Can onsite.
Photos by Monica Salazar Arcila