Review: Porch View Dances (Kaeja d’Dance)

photo of Porch View Dances 2019PhPorch View Dances celebrates the love of dance in one of Toronto’s vibrant communities

I had heard about Porch View Dances for a number of years, so when the opportunity to review it came up, I jumped at it. This is the eighth summer that Kaeja d’Dance has presented Porch View Dances in Seaton Village. The event has clearly become a beloved local tradition. It’s a fun relaxed and very accessible celebration of art and community and a great way to spend an evening.

Porch View Dances is sort of an art crawl or gallery walk for dance. We gathered at 92 London Street where Maurycy, our top-hatted, mustachioed master of ceremonies and tour guide welcomed everyone. A group of over 100 of us soon set off on a 90-minute ramble through the neighbourhood, stopping periodically for performances on porches, in the lane ways, and in the parks.

Porch View Dances is billed as “real people dancing in real spaces.” Three of the stops showcased regular people, that is not professional dancers, in pieces by professional choreographers – Aria Evans, Shannon Litzenberger, and Karen and Allen Kaeja. The performances featured a man dancing alone, a group of five women, and a mother and her young daughter – all dancing their hearts out on the stoops. Their joy and enthusiasm were infectious.

In between the dances on porches, there were a series of light-hearted vignettes by “actual” dancers Taylor Bojanowski and Mio Sakamoto choreographed by Mateo Gallindo Torres. It was fun to look for them as we walked along and follow along on their adventures.

I kept thinking that it was such a cool project to be involved with, and it made me want to dance. Fortunately, the evening ended at Vermont Square Park with an opportunity for everyone to join in the dancing fun.

In truth, I find it very hard to actually review the dancing in Porch View Dances. As mentioned, most of the dancers are just regular people doing this for the fun of it. To me the event itself is more interesting and important than the specifics of the dancing. Artistic Directors Allen and Karen Kaeja have created an event that celebrates the joy of dance and makes that available to everyday people like you and me.

And the team behind Porch View Dances has done a great job of truly making the event accessible. There are volunteers on bikes who block off the streets so the audience can walk safely. There are even two manual wheelchairs available and volunteers to push them for people that need mobility assistance. The audience was a mix of ages with lots of little kids and families. Everyone was having a great time.

I am so glad I finally got to see Porch View Dances. To me, it combines the best of dance, community, and summer in the city.

Details:

  • Porch View Dances starts at 92 London Street and runs July 17-20 2019 at 7:00 pm and July 21 at 1:00 pm.
  • The event is pay what you can. Volunteers are available to accept donations

Photo of Porch View Dances by Monica Salazar