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Posts tagged ‘Toronto Dance’

In Conversation with Deanne Kearney – Creator of Urban Myth at the Next Stage Theatre Festival

By Bailey Green

Deanne “Dee” Kearney studied ballet and contemporary for years but had never felt completely at home. When she discovered hip hop everything changed. “Hip hop very quickly became my whole life, and identity, as soon as I found it,” Kearney remembers. “It changed everything, even the way I look at things. I write on urban dance and I produce. Hip hop is such a lifestyle, and it’s an amazing, supportive culture.” Kearney teaches dance and is part of the Toronto B-Girl Movement, dedicated to bringing more women to the forefront of a largely male-dominated style.

Kearney set out to create Urban Myth with the goal of bringing popular styles to new audiences, “I completely fell in love [with hip hop], I wanted to show the world how amazing it is.” She chose the styles featured in the show (breaking, krump, house, waacking, to name a few) based on the current, standout styles in Toronto.

Urban Myth is a show geared towards an audience who may not be familiar with this genre. Each style is announced before the dance. When asked about the biggest difference between a theatre show as opposed to a battle, Kearney says, “The audiences are much quieter! You can take pictures and tweet. The performers love to hear the audience yell and respond so it can be odd for them to adjust to the different setting.”

Photo Credit: E.S.Cheah Photography

Photo Credit: E.S.Cheah Photography

Kearney brought in choreographers “at the top of their game” in each style and gave them free rein to create. All she asked was that they each find ways to challenge themselves to choreograph pieces with a story. No themes were given, but as the pieces took shape a variety of stories emerged. One piece, performed by Raoul “Jin” Wilke and The Moon Runners crew, is an apocalyptic future based on the film “I am Legend.” Another dance is 12 minute long krump piece, choreographed by Amadeus “Primal” Marquez, about domestic abuse choreographed. The choreographers worked with their own dancers from their crews and came together to create the opening number of the show.

The challenges of this show came from the volume of people on stage. With about 30 people involved plus Kearney’s own people, it was no small feat to organize everyone involved. “The most rewarding is just seeing the pieces, the whole cast was watching the show just entirely in awe of each other,” Kearney says. “Many of these dancers don’t do theatre shows. They just battle.”

Photo Credit: E.S.Cheah Photography

Photo Credit: E.S.Cheah Photography

When asked about her inspirations, Kearney shouts out her friend and collaborator Anthony “Illz” Put. Illz is a b-boy who travels the world to battle. “He has amazing movement qualities and is so easy to work with,” Kearney says. “He just doesn’t know how good he is yet.”

Urban Myth is a hard-hitting, intricate and visceral show. If you catch it this weekend, be sure to make some noise.

Urban Myth

Presented by BreakinGround as part of the Next Stage Theatre Festival


Creator: Deanne Kearney
Choreographers: Amadeus “Primal” Marquez, Anthony “Illz” Put, Mariano “Glizzi” Abarca, Caroline “Lady C” Fraser, Caitlin “Caddy” Superville, Deanne “Dee” Kearney
Featuring: Dancers from Northbuck, Lions of Zion, Footnotes Dance, Ground Illusions, Twisted Ankles and The WaaquettesPresented by: BreakinGround


Krump. Breaking. Popping. Locking. House. Waacking. Bringing raw urban dance from the street to the stage, created by Canada’s top urban dancers and choreographers.

Where: Factory Theatre Mainspace (125 Bathurst St)

January 17 09:00 PM  buy tickets

Tickets: $15.00




Our Favourite SummerWorks 2013 Picks

It’s that time again! We’ve made a list, we’ve checked it twice. Check out Our Favourite SummerWorks 2013 Picks, in no particular order, to see what performances we’ve particularly dug so far, and think you should catch before it’s too late.

Is there a performance that you think we’ve missed? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter and we’ll be sure to check it out! Enjoy the last weekend of SummerWorks, Friends!



Company: Theatre Brouhaha

Written & Directed by: Kat Sandler

Where: Lower Ossington Theatre

When: August 16th 12:00pm & August 17th 5:00pm

Delicacy is a sharp, honest and sexy comedy from Theatre Brouhaha that examines the breakdown of a steamy situation and the emotional mayhem that ensues as relationship landmines explode.

It’s fun, saucy, sexy and hilarious: everything you secretly want from a night at the theatre. The acting is suberb and we think it may be Kat Sandler’s best piece to date. A very fun night at the theatre, which left us questioning what we all really want from our romantic relationships.

Murderers Confess at Christmastime


Company: Outside the March

Written by: Jason Chinn

Directed by: Simon Bloom

Where: Lower Ossington Theatre

When: August 16th 2:30pm & August 17th 12:00pm

From the company that brought us Terminus last year and Mr. Marmalade the year before, this is a searing and comedic production exploring the truly dire limits people are pushed to during the most joyous and stressful time of the year. Featuring amazing performances and beautifully adept direction. This production is rated 18+ for a reason. It’ll shake you.

Enough Rope


Company: Enough Rope Collective

Author & Director: Collaboratively created and directed by the company.

Where: Lower Ossington Studio Theatre

When: August 16th 7:30pm & August 17th 10:00pm

We saw an earlier incarnation of this piece and loved it. A fantastic interactive piece – the actors get right in your face in this exploration of the artist and his/her struggle. Based on classic Kafka characters, it’s unlike anything most of us have ever seen before.

7 Important Things


Company: STO Union and Canada’s National Arts Centre in Association with WAC (Wakefield Art Collective)

Author: Nadia Ross in collaboration with George Acheson

Where: Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace

When: August 16th 1:30pm & August 17th 9:00pm

This deeply personal show asks big questions about identity and the effectiveness of counterculture. This is a great mix of mediums used to tell a beautiful life story that hums with resonance to our current social landscape.

Sara Hennessey


Who: Sara Hennessey, Petra Glynt, and Jon McCurley

What: Performance Bar Series, Comedy

Where: Lower Ossington Theatre Cabaret Space

When: August 17th – Doors @ 8pm, Show @ 9pm

This stand-up show at the performance bar promises to be gleeful, exciting, and absolutely engaging. This frenetic performance will only be happening once at the performance bar, don’t miss it.

girls! girls! girls!

DSC_4661 cyan cropped

Company: Present Danger Productions

Author: Greg MacArthur

Directed by: Donna Marie Baratta & Jessica Carmichael

Where: Scotiabank Studio Theatre

When: August 17th 9:30pm

This bold, poetic performance will haunt you. What a dynamite first production for Present Danger Productions, which easily has them live up to their name. girls! girls! girls! is still lingering with us.

Family Story


Company: Birdtown and Swanville

Author & Director: Aurora Stewart de Pena

Where: Gallery 1313

When: August 16th  7:30pm, August 17th 9:30pm & August 18th 2:30pm

Family Story is an exuberant, high energy trip through time as a young woman explores her family history. It’s full of strange and endearing characters, and the cast is filled with high energy commitment the entire time. It definitely puts the “fun” in “dysfunctional”.



Company: Original co-production by the Berliner Festspiele / Foreign Affairs, Tanztage Berlin and Sophiensaele in Berlin

Choreographer & Performer: Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt

Where: Scotiabank Studio Theatre

When: August 16th 7pm & August 17th 2pm

From Danish performance artist Cecilie Ullerup Schmidt comes Schützen. Schützen (a word whose double meaning is inherent in its entymology) is an exploration of the body as a weapon. In collaboration with sound designer Matthias Meppelink and the Berlin Festspiele, Cecillie takes the audience through her own research on the physical body of the modern day warrior from the drone pilots in Nevada to her own target practice in the Berlin shooting hall. Schützen is unique and hypnotizing. This international production lives up to its hype. Just go see it already.

The Life of Jude


Company: Falling Hammer

Author: Alex Poch Goldin

Composer: Jesse LaVercombe

Director: David Ferry

Where: Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace

When: August 16th 6:30pm & August 18th 1:30pm

We haven’t seen a show like The Life of Jude in a long time. It’s a huge ensemble piece (21 cast members) that spans over decades encompassing song, simple but ever changing sets and video media. Very well directed, and some unexpected full frontal male nudity, so hey, go see it just for that.

This Wide Night


Company: Wide Night Collective

Author: Chloe Moss

Director: Kelli Fox

Where: Factory Theatre Mainspace

When: August 17th 5:30pm

Actress Maggie Blake and Canadian renowned playwright/actress Kristen Thomson explore a riveting relationship between two women post prison. They were able to bring forth a sense of realism to the stage, allowing the audience to see a true slice of life. It was real, raw and such honest work, exploring a genuine human connection between two people. This play makes you question whether or not these women were truly free when released from the confines of the jail or from their unstable friendship.