Overview: Impulse 2019 (School of Toronto Dance Theatre)

Student showcase offers a wide variety of dance pieces, now on stage in Toronto

The School of Toronto Dance Theatre (STDT) presents IMPULSE 2019 at the Winchester Street Theatre, showcasing work from all three years of their professional training program. Celebrating fifty years of dance education, the modern/contemporary conservatory program produces some of Canada’s top performers.

Since it’s a student showcase we’re not offering a traditional review, but instead an overview of the piece. Giving you a flavour of what to expect.

Opening the night is a work from STDT alumni and long-time Toronto Dance Theatre performer, Kate Alton. “Whatever Life is Left” is a youthful, fun and quirky work with a strong underlying message. The students begin by asking each other their ‘firsts,’ referring to different momentous life memories from their first kiss to their first drink.

Choreography is set to instrumental versions of the National Anthem, and Coldplay’s bright “Viva la Vida.” Throughout the piece, they reveal a sort of ‘insiders process,’ as they ask each other if they think the audience is ‘feeling it,’  or give notes regarding their overall performance before changing sequences.

It’s beautiful to see their personalities shine through with this work, especially as they lightly touch on different prominent topics seen in the news this year, like the young climate activists that captured the world’s attention, which point back to the work’s title.

“Remanence,” choreographed by Marc Bovin, focuses on the imprint of human contact, and the resonating effects after their disappearance. Dancers push, pull and place each other through different movement sequences. The piece has a consistent slow build through its eerie feel. Dancers wear uniform black clothing, with hard-to-deceiver patterns, as they manipulate each others’ position, with an interesting manipulation of facial features.

“Mighty Real,” choreographed by Darryl Tracy, is an eighties inspired piece — in clothing, music and movement. Opening to the disco hit “You Make Me Feel” by Sylvester, the ensemble constantly shifts together through the space with small memorable moments highlighted amongst the crowd. At times a couple slow dances, or a single performer fist pumps; at others, the entire ensemble is engulfed in eighties grooves. The program quotes a beautiful phrase by Marcel Proust on the weakness and strength of the human existence as consisting of a collection of moments and being a product of memory. A fun and evocative work.

“Liberdade,” choreographed by Pulga Muchochoma, is a full-bodied and free piece. With quick footwork and percussive movement, the work seamlessly shifts between celebrating individual dancers to the full ensemble. This work made me want to stand up and dance! Especially with a surprising switch later in the work to an afro-pop song titled “Don’t Jealous Me” by Tekno.

“Mennont,” choreographed by Apolonia Velasquez, presents a daring and gorgeous work that had the audience captivated from beginning to end. The choreography features off-kilter turns, intricate movement and entwined partner work. Rich in content and full-bodied movement, Velasquez choreography is not to be missed. A powerful closing work for a beautiful night of dance.

Impulse 2019 is a strong performance by the talented students of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre! Make sure to support these young performers, as there are a few nights left of this performance.


  • Impulse 2019 is playing until December 7, 2019 at Winchester Street Theatre (80 Winchester St., Toronto).
  • Shows run till Saturday at 8pm.
  • Ticket prices are $22 for general admission and $17 for students, seniors and CADA members.
  • Tickets are available online or by phone at 416-967-6887.

Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.