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PREVIEW | Porch View Dances Toronto: Real People Dancing In Real Spaces August 9 To 13

By Anya Wassenberg on June 8, 2023

Choreography by Karen and Allen Kaeja (Photo: SV Photograpy, 2018)
Choreography by Karen and Allen Kaeja (Photo: SV Photograpy, 2018)

In the summer months, the performance season typically winds down to a trickle of special events. When it comes to contemporary dance, though, Torontonians don’t have to take time out of a beautiful summer’s day to head to a venue — dance comes to the hood with the return of the award-winning Porch View Dances series.

Porch View Dances (PVD): ‘Real People Dancing In Real Spaces’ returns for a 12th season in Toronto’s Seaton Village from August 9 to 13, 2023. In the tree-lined streets, the community dance event brings artistic expression into everyday life.

“We believe wholeheartedly that art is for everyone, anywhere, and everywhere,” says Karen Kaeja, Co-Artistic Director of Kaeja d’Dance and Founder of PVD in a statement. “Porch View Dances takes dance out of the theatre and literally into the streets, offering brave new works by brilliant choreographers performed by everyday people with their powerful, personal stories at the forefront.”

Kaeja was wondering about the stories that surrounded her in the neighbourhood. What would happen if those stories flowed out of the houses, onto the front porch, lawn, and into the street? Her vision included the idea of choreographers working with the residents in crafting their site-specific dance pieces.

Choreography by Andrea Nann with Michelle Silagy (Photo: SV Photograpy, 2018)
Choreography by Andrea Nann with Michelle Silagy Dancers: Ben Clement, Morgan Joy, Laura Gallagher-Doucette, Krystal Nausbaum, Madeleine Stratton (Photo: SV Photograpy, 2018)

Since its inception in 2012, PVD has become a favourite summer event recognized by the City of Toronto, which recently renamed one of the Seaton Village laneways “Porch View Dances Lane”.

This year’s iteration features POC and Indigenous creators.

  • Jim and Owen Adams, an Indigenous father and son team who are resident performers at PVD complete their Medicine Wheel, closing a cycle of honouring the four directions, elements, and colours;
  • Drag queen Mary Moonshine (Jake Runeckles) leads the 90-minute walking/wheeling tour from one dance work to the next;
  • Choreographers include Victoria Mata and Irma Villafuerte, Heryka Miranda, Ashima Suri, and Kinaj – Kin Nguien and AJ Velasco.

Alongside experienced dancers, the works will be performed by the families and friends of residents. For many participants, it will be their first time dancing for an audience.

There are also surprises in store in the form of three dance vignettes audience members will encounter along their tour, choreographed by Matthew “Snoopy” Cuff.

Flock Landing, choreography by Karen Kaeja (Photo: SV Photograpy, 2017)
Flock Landing, choreography by Karen Kaeja (Photo: SV Photograpy, 2017)

“This year we’re thrilled to welcome Co-Curator and Artistic Producer Sofi Gudiño and Co-Curator Sid Ryan Eilers to the PVD team. They join us as part of a pilot project created expressly to widen our PVD communities, perspectives, and artistic offerings,” says Allen Kaeja, Co-Artistic Director of Kaeja d’Dance. “Sid and Sofi have focused on works that feel connective and essential, purposefully centring on underrepresented voices in dance and voices from previous iterations of our festival.”

Flock Landing ends the event at Vermont Square Park, where audience members can join the movement ensemble, led by Mio Sakamoto, together with dancers Brayden Cairns, Yui Ugai, and Rajvi Dedhia.

Bikes, strollers, and wheelchairs are welcome at this pay-what-you-wish event in Seaton Village, Toronto (located between Bathurst and Christie, from Bloor to Dupont).

More information [HERE].

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