THIS

Progressive politics, ideas & culture

Menu

Dance

July-August 2018

This Vancouver dancer wants to teach you to vogue

Ralph Escamillan's VanVogueJam encourages people to strike a pose

Victoria Chan

While dance has the potential to break down barriers, Vancouver-based dancer and choreographer Ralph Escamillan says it’s not always easy to find free classes to train and practice in the city.  So he created one. After starting a community organization called VanVogueJam in 2016, the 25-year-old has been teaching vogue, a dance-based art form originating […] More »

Hamilton choreographer draws from her Ghanaian heritage in dance

Meet Esie Mensah

Victoria Chan@vchanimal

For Esie Mensah, the delicate balance between artistic expression and political commentary lies in one simple ingredient: intention. While the Hamilton, Ont., choreographer’s portfolio includes a feature in Drake and Rihanna’s “Work” video, and most recently, a live on-stage performance with hip-hop artist French Montana, she is not afraid to use dance as a vessel […] More »
March-April 2017

How traditional Greenlandic mask dance has helped an Inuit performance artist tell her stories

Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory is known for appearances in Tanya Tagaq's videos and her own body-positive performances

Beatrice Paez@beatricespaez

Imagine a teenager, face smeared in soot and red and white paint, summoning the crowd to its feet. This was the breathtaking scene at Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory’s pep rally in the 1990s. Pep rallies, stirring and spirited as they are, don’t immediately evoke images of overtly political, much less radical, acts. But for Williamson Bathory, […] More »
September-October 2016

How a non-profit is supporting Toronto dancers with a safe space

Launched in 2009, Love-in provides alternative training to professional dancers

Michaela Cavanagh@mmcavanagh

Photo courtesy of Love-in/Facebook “Enjoy how your body feels!” dance teacher Kristina Alleyne shouts over the music. The rehearsal hall is lined with standing fans, swiveling hot air. It’s a warm summer day in Toronto, but the dancers aren’t holding back, leapfrogging through the air and improvising to the Alleyne’s rapid counts of six. The […] More »
September-October 2016

Inside Toronto’s arts education revolution

Just BGraphic's summer academy providers accessible, constructive activities during "at-risk" hours

Steph Wechsler@steph_wechsler

A scene from Just BGraphic’s Summer Arts Academy 2016. Photo courtesy of Just BGraphic Past the gymnasium and down a stairwell, a standard classroom scene unfolds in Toronto’s Downsview Secondary School. Students file in, arrange themselves around tables, chat as their instructor, Josh Watkis, asks for order. Watkis, a spoken word artist, has scrawled “my childhood […] More »
November-December 2011

How the Dancer Transition Resource Centre helps dancers prepare for civilian life

Melissa WilsonWebsite@mawilson

Of all the arts, dance is arguably the most physically and emotionally exhausting, and with an average annual income of a professional dancer sitting at $18,000, the real-life Natalie Portmans live way under Canada’s poverty line. And the crippling anxiety that might overtake an almost-30 dancer who fears his or her career is ending is […] More »
January-February 2011

Marites Carino’s film HOOP is a mesmerizing duet for camera and dancer

Amy Reiswig

Dance is an art form often discussed in terms of its complexity and mystery. “How can we know the dancer from the dance?” W.B. Yeats famously asked. One wonders, then, what he would make of dance film. For when you add a second layer—the dance of a director’s eye and viewfinder around the dancer—you get […] More »

Nairobi's Pamoja dancers defy disability with new "Koncrete City" performance

Siena AnstisWebsite

There’s a scene in the Kenyan dance company Pamoja‘s new ballet, Konkrete City, where all I could feel was the hectic beat of downtown Nairobi, or Vancouver, or Toronto. The dancers—most of them handicapped—depicted the Central Business District, Kenya’s core of business towers and banks, during the rainy season. Walking, running and jumping; swinging arms, […] More »