‘Ready to Spring’ dance creations fill the house

York Dances’ Ready to Spring featured 18 world premieres choreographed by third-year dance majors at York University.

Acclaimed independent dance artist Julia Sasso served as artistic director for the show. The tightly wound production uncoiled in two different programs of original works on March 31 and April 1. All four shows sold out more than a week in advance.

Three students performing on stageRight: 90 Degrees South bychoreographer Aria Evans featured dancers Nikolaos Markakis, Monika Davis and Taylor Generall. Photograph by Andréa de Keijzer
The title and theme were chosen because they evoke the dynamic energy and the multiple forces that were ready to be unleashed by these talented young dancers who were responsible for all aspects of the creation, production and performance.

Three choreographers explored the animal inside with their new creations. Yvon Allard took inspiration from the ostrich in Head in the Sand. Nadege Blackhall’s Grappling with Dawn explored a congregation of unnamed creatures. 90 Degrees South by Aria Evans mimicked the movement of a beloved aquatic flightless bird.

The movement on stage gained inspiration from established patterns in the world around us in works by Tracy Day and Candice Irwin. Day’s Prime Numbers was an explosive male duet focusing on numeracy, and Irwin’s One Rotation explored life cycles with constantly evolving spatial patterning.

Five choreographers took the audience on journeys of self-discovery. Jill Eisener’s Let’s Pretend was a playful investigation of the childhood imagination and Irvin Chow’s Ma offered an exploration of “the space between”. Part II by Jessica Houghton examined what is hidden within oneself and the intensely emotional journey one must take to find it. Funeral of a Kinder Spirit was a personal mythology by Chelsea Papps. Stephanie Papaioanno’s new solo offered a whirlwind journey of human experience and expression.

Female student performing on stageLeft: The Five People You Meet In Heaven, an original work by Kristen Ratzki performed by Madison Harview. Photograph by Andréa de Keijzer

Jennifer Campbell, Nadia Kurenyova and Geneviève Nolet tackled negativity in a myriad of forms. Campbell’s Stolen T.V.s focuses on deception and bad fortune. Kurenyova’s Inescapable Reality dealt with elements of betrayal, dishonesty, insecurity and selfishness. And Nolet’s Under these Cloaks followed dancers on a dark personal journey accompanied only by their own innate sense of bravery.

Love and companionship inspired four dancers. Natasha Josselyn’s What’s Lost in You explored the fear of losing oneself in someone else. Kiersten McMaster created a light-hearted new work titled Oversleep, based on the friendship between two sisters. Kristen Ratzki took inspiration from Mitch Albom’s novel The Five People You Meet in Heaven for her work of the same name about the people who inspired her. Kristen Tschirhart’s We Said  was a physical excursion into the minds of five individuals showing in the end, we are never alone.