Review: 2019 Your Dance Fest Program 1 (random acts of dance)

Jenn Edwards in Your Dance Fest

Annual Dance Festival Features Performances and Workshops

random acts of dance has taken their third annual Your Dance Fest to Wychwood Theatre at Artscape Wychwood Barns. The event offers accessible, intimate views of various styles of dance, and is a wonderful ode to the possibilities of expression through movement.

The event features dance workshops and two dance performances repeated throughout the festival: Program 1 and Program 2. Each of these consists of four original dance pieces choreographed and is performed by a roster of artists. I watched Program 1, which featured contemporary dance.

Love Notes, created and performed by ZEST Creative, offers three women’s physical interpretations of famous love songs (by Billie Holiday and Elvis Presley, among others) as an exploration of love and heartbreak. You may have seen an earlier extended version of this piece at the Toronto Fringe Festival this year. This piece felt playful and personal, and all three dancers gave captivating performances, alternating between synchronized, fluid movements, and jolting spasms.

The Everywhereness of You, created and performed by Jenn Edwards, was a solo exploration of grief, following the passing of her father. It was intimate and moving. Her performance delivered a beautiful reminder of the healing that is possible, after the thrashings of loss.

Reflections, from Squash Court Collective featuring choreography and dancing by Lucy Rupert, and music by Paulina Derbez, was my favourite performance of the night. The piece explored both women’s journeys to freeing their true selves. Derbez’s violin, singing, and breathwork were haunting and soulful, and Rupert’s movements were expressive and powerful. Both women performed as though they were conjuring spirits to rise.

Lastly, Éclosion 1, choreographed and performed by Tanveer Alam, was a modern exploration of Kathak, a classical style of Indian dance. For my guest for the evening, this performance was her favourite. Alam’s movements marvelled her with their grace and power, and he mystified her with his speed and ability to glide effortlessly across the stage.

On the whole, Your Dance Fest offers an expressive collection of contemporary dance performances. Beyond the pieces included here, there is another collection of pieces, and free dance workshops for both children and adults, where you can express yourself. Certainly, it seems there is something here for every dance lover.


Photo of Jenn Edwards provided by the company