Sunday 17 July 2016

Dancing in the Park 2016

When you live in a place marked by harsh winters and freezing temperatures, you maximize the outdoor time nature provides you with sunny +20 weather. Yesterday was such a day when we decided to stroll around the Farmer's Market at South Common, the Street Performers Festival at the Churchill Square and the Dancing in the Park at the Alberta Legislative grounds.

Dancing in the Park was a roving performance of five groups - Read Fenton and Happy Hep Cats, Hit that Jive Dance Crew; Tia Kushniruk, Katherine Semchuk (and another girl whose name I missed); CRIPSiE (Collaborative Radically Integrated Performers Society in Edmonton); and Toy Guns Dance Theatre, lead by Artistic Director Jake Hastey. The evening ended with a swing dance lesson and party by Let's Swing Dance.

The reason we went to Dancing in the Park was to see Katherine Semchuk perform again. We were so impressed with her technique, musicality and movement sensibility at the Feats Festival of Dance last July 8, which we watched due to our son's performance with Synaethesis Dance Theatre. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that Katherine was one of the dancers we gave master classes to at Victoria School of Performing Arts, and in Jojo's choreography "Women in Waiting". Amazing dancer.

It was wonderful to see CRIPSiE once again. The first time I saw them was in an Orchesis show at the University of Alberta. I was so moved that I joined them in a movement class at the Glenrose.

Toy Guns Dance Theatre was an absolute delight. It's a pity that it took us a while to know of this group. Easily rectifiable, their next show is at the Fringe. From the title alone, "Watching Netflix at 3am Questioning Your Mortality" you get a sense that you will witness tongue in cheek humour. But you get more - strong and eloquent dancing, clever choreographic counterpoints, movements and musicality that felt Pina Bausch-y. And yes, we found out after the show that he did follow the Pina Bausch company like a groupie (in a good way). Good to know too that there's a little bit of history with choreographer/artistic director Jake Hastey, as our paths have crossed at some point with the Edmonton School of Ballet and Dance Unlimited connections. As mentioned previously, do catch the Toy Guns Dance Theatre's performances at the Fringe Festival. They are so inspiring that I even verbalized the idea of taking their class. Well, let's see how my body and courage will hold up to that.

Needless to say, our foray into outdoor performances yesterday made for one exhilarating experience.