York Dances to centre stage

Catch the next wave of Canadian dance talent at York Dances, the Dance Department’s annual fall showcase running Nov. 22 to 25. The program features 15 original works by up-and-coming young choreographers – all third-year dance majors at York.

Ranging from solos and duets to large ensemble pieces, the dances reflect many moods and styles, and touch on themes as varied as the flight of birds, the structure of the brain and the path of true love. Several of the pieces boast original scores by York music students.

  • Melissa Gerard’s choreography, Lamentation, explores the seven stages of grief through the use of emotionally-charged movement, set to original music by Josh Cook and Craig McDonald.
  • Alexia D’Amato’s piece, Everyone Has a Story to Tell, juxtaposes the past and the present through two dancers onstage representing the same person, and incorporates American Sign Language as part of the struggle to communicate.
  • Zeena Dotiwalla’s trio, Swell Synthesphere, plays in the territory of the body’s balance and the desire to move, creating connections among two percussionists, three dancers and the space between them.
  • Laura Griffin’s quartet, Gesallen, explores the emotions and relationships that result from assault. The dance is performed to original music by Mike Anobile, created in collaboration with the choreographer.
  • Inspired by personal experience, Melissa Malfara’s work, love always…, showcases three dancers who share movements that express love, ease, happiness and intensity, set to an original composition on guitar by James Booker.
  • Erin Merrifield’s dance, Unilateral, was inspired by the theories of Charles S. Carver on behavioural psychology and the workings of the two hemispheres of the brain.
  • Kate Nankervis’ duet, Vanity Fair, mirrors the complexities of perfection, beauty and elegance. The boredom these bring ignites a mischievous display of spoiled behaviour.

These and eight other choreographies are presented in two series running in repertory, with performances at 5pm and 7:30pm alternating daily during the four-night run.

York Dances is co-directed by Professor Carol Anderson, a graduate of York’s dance program who has long been a major force on the Canadian dance scene, and performer and choreographer Jonathan Osborn, an alumnus of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and New York’s Merce Cunningham Studio who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in dance at York.

York Dances will be presented in the McLean Foundation Dance Performance Studio, Room 244 in the Accolade East Building at York’s Keele campus. Admission is $12. Tickets are available through the Fine Arts Box Office, ext. 55888 or online at www.yorku.ca/perform/boxoffice.