Playing at the Al Green Theatre at the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival, Anatomy of Dancer is a stunning tribute to Gene Kelly. The eight dancers of Breakaway Entertainment sweep us off our feet as they present Kelly’s journey to stardom with stops in Philadelphia, New York and Hollywood.
The choreography by Adam Martino is snappy and sharp, and the variety of moves showcase the dancers’ talent. Thanks to Ashley Harju, Alayna Kellet, Jaqueline Dos Santos, Matthew Eldracher, Micah Enzlin, Rohan Dhupar, Sam Black, and Stéphanie Visconti, we see backflips, cartwheels, pirouettes and, from time to time, a woman is effortlessly thrown up in the air. I loved the romantic, wistful dancing to “Cheek to Cheek” around the restaurant table, as well as the slick and energetic tap-dancing to “Mr. Bojangles” that ended with Fred Astaire symbolically passing his hat to Kelly.
Even though few words are used in Anatomy of Dancer, the story-telling is powerful. We see Gene Kelly’s loneliness in New York, his apprehension about dancing with Judy Garland, and his funny bone that’s expressed in “Make Them Laugh.” This scene by the way includes a banana, and I haven’t seen a banana on stage for years.
My only regret is that I was expecting more of “Singin’ in the Rain.” There was indeed a short, well-executed dance to this famous tune that involved an umbrella and puddle-jumping, but it must have been an abbreviated version that lasted only a couple of minutes.
My friends have asked me for Fringe recommendations and I will definitely encourage them to see Anatomy of Dancer. It’s clear that this team has put tons of love into this impressive production. You will be wowed.
- Anatomy of a Dancer plays at the Al Green Theatre. (750 Spadina Ave.)
- Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
- Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
- Content Warning: Audience participation.
- This venue is barrier-free. Note that only certain building entrances are wheelchair-accessible. Accessible seating is in front of the front row.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Thursday July 5th, 10:30 pm
- Saturday July 7th, 5:15 pm
- Sunday July 8th, 8:30 pm
- Tuesday July 10th, 2:45 pm
- Wednesday July 11th, 3:30 pm
- Friday July 13th, 12:30 pm
- Sunday July 15th, 5:15 pm
Photo of Micah Enzlin by Adam Martino