Picaza is a contemporary dance performance by The Inamorata Dance Collective as part of this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. I’ll be honest, when I first selected this production to be part of my Fringe experience this year, I did not know it was a dance show. I was drawn to the description on the Fringe site — the story of a young woman’s journey to self awareness, through the metaphor of a magpie (‘picaza‘ in Spanish) the one bird who can recognize their own reflection.
But the dance element makes me nervous. I don’t have a dance background, often I’ve left a dance experience feeling like I just didn’t get what I just saw. Most of the language of dance is lost on me so I approached Picaza with distinct apprehension. And though I still may not have fully “got it”, I can happily say that I enjoyed it.
Picaza is a multi-disciplinary performance that combines contemporary dance with distinct flamenco elements, gorgeous and dynamic visual elements, and a great soundtrack. I think that was what first drew me into the performance — their choice of music used throughout has a mesmeric tribal element that is captivating. I also loved the soundtrack’s use of spoken word poetry, ‘Benjamin Berile’ by Anis Mojgani worked particularly well with the dance on stage.
The dancers were great. I don’t have the proper vocabulary to describe dance as well as I would like. I can say what I saw was powerful and beautiful, at times delicate, at times strong and fierce. I loved Sofí Gudiño and Nazanin Meshkat in their intense flamenco number. I enjoyed the choral aspects that were also integrated into the performance. I was particularly drawn to one of the last numbers that was done under a flood of red light which brought to life the billowing sheet used in it.
I only tangentially comprehended the narrative of the performance. This is one of those shows where the program definitely comes in helpful. I was confused that it was as short as it was. The program says the performance is 45 minutes long but it also started rather late as well.
Picaza is a visually and audibly beautiful piece that I’m glad I was able to experience. Do check it out.
- Picaza plays at the Randolph Theatre. (736 Bathurst St.)
- Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Content Warnings: Sexual Content, Mature Language.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible through a secondary route. We recommend checking in with the venue box office at least 20 minutes before showtime.
- Friday July 7th, 05:15 pm
- Sunday July 9th, 07:00 pm
- Monday July 10th, 04:15 pm
- Wednesday July 12th, 07:00 pm
- Friday July 14th, 11:00 pm
- Saturday July 15th, 09:45 pm
- Sunday July 16th, 01:45 pm
Photo of Sam Yang, Nicole Haber, and Kahvontay Willis-Slaughter by Andrea Perez Leon