Toronto’s “The Move” collective gets it right

July 13, 2012 § Leave a Comment

It’s Friday morning .

I’m already counting down the hours.Tonight I’ll hop on my bike, ride over to Dovercourt House, climb to the second floor, flash my membership card, pay my dues, take off my shoes, and enter the space where I can be most myself: at the weekly dance event called “The Move.”

The formula for the Move seems simple: No talk, no shoes, no step-by-step instruction, no strings attached, no alcohol, no chit chat, no phones, no internet,  no expected form or technique, just an oddball mix of music with an eclectic group of dancers for two solid hours.

At The Move I’ve done it all: I’ve crawled and squirmed; I’ve waltzed and tangoed.  I’ve mourned and giggled: I’ve prayed and pouted. I’ve taken risks, ridden roller coasters, I’ve dived in deep. I’ve flirted and  fallen in and out and in love a thousand times. I don’t feel like I have to hold back at The Move. With all the other weirdos and wild things who attend, I know I can be as weird and wild as I want to be. Without words I can speak my truth.  It’s the only public place in my life where I feel that free.

And so, I just want to say to The Move and all its dancers: thank you. I can’t wait to see you in just a few short hours.

On a side note: I almost don’t want you to read all this about The Move because if you do, you might go. And if you and 90 or so other people get in line before me, the organizers might close the doors and I might not be able to get in.(This happened to me once. I’ll never be late again!)

Another side note: Wouldn’t it be great if The Move added a second night?  Keeping my fingers crossed that the growing pains won’t hurt too much.


My brother and I celebrated the change of seasons and Holy Saturday by scrambling around the cemetery in a new tradition we call parkour de mort. This year’s ritual involved intense intervals of hill climbing,  a visit to the the graves of Mom and Howard and Grandma and Dad and Cindy, decorating the family grave site with Mardi Gras beads, and performing a few discrete and respectful backflips over an occasional headstone.

Speaking of family and spring and ritual, here’s how my ancestors may have celebrated the change of seasons in the old country.

Though I’ve never experienced this celebration first hand, these old dances feel familiar. I love the moves, especially the shimmy they do with girls they steal from the audience. And the costumes look a bit like something my niece and her Open Heart Creatures might have created. What a lovely way to share the liberation that spring can bring!

dancing with the dead

Posted: February 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

In Cherry Blossoms, one of my favorite dance films, a young Japanese dancer says to a grieving widower:  “Anybody can dance butoh. The young can dance butoh. The old can dance butoh. The living, the dead. Anybody can dance butoh.”

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been visited by no less than four (probably more) images of dead loved ones.  I shouldn’t be surprised, since I’ve been busy sharing my dreams with a partner from the Momobutoh Dance Company.  As partners, Alissa and I share dream images, and then paint and draw and write and dance with these images. This kind of intense dream work brings up unexpected memories and visions and stories.

Early in our sharing, Alissa and I discovered that both of us lost sisters. Alissa shared a beautiful letter with me from her sister. From this, I painted images.  Using those images, I danced inspired by  lines, colors, and images from the paintings.

When dancing the paintings about Alissa’s sister, I felt very close to Cindy.

I have to admit, though, that I was feeling a little jealous not to have a letter from my sister, too. The next time I checked my email, my brother had sent these pictures from what seems like a dreamy long time ago.

This morning, shortly after my dance, I had two dreams. The first was really nasty and disgusting and involved my mother who had passed. (you don’t want to know) The second included my very vibrant and happy Grandmother who hugged me for a long long time.  I can still feel the starched cotton dress on my cheek.

Writing about spirituality is tough. Writing about dance is tougher. A few years ago when I first started this project, I thought I might help myself to make sense of all that I was feeling and thinking by creating mind maps. In retrospect, I’m not sure that “making sense” is what these mind maps did for me. Still, it’s a joy to find these again. They’re like a gift from a former self.

Here are a few vintage maps from my voyage into dance, circa 2009.

In the heat of midsummer, Heidi Kambitsch brought her wild Openheart Creatures to town. How liberating it was to wear her body puppets and to sing and dance and play! I remember those days now, in the cold and dark of winter, like recalling a dream. Thank you for sending these Heidi!

Here we are in Kensington Market, claiming sanctuary for her wild creatures.

And here we are spreading our wild wings and singing our hearts out in the heart of Toronto’s west side hispsterville.

Wild things thrive in sanctuary. And where there is no sanctuary, we can create it. Feel free to sing along.

October 15 and 16    7 Fraser Ave, Studio 12    Butoh workshop and performance with Maureen Freehill  part of Your Life Your Story Your Dance: An Embodied Arts Series

What is butoh, and who is Momo? Read an interview with Maureen Freehill about Butoh here.

Your life is a creation.

You tell the story.

You are the hero. 

The story is up to you.

In this workshop, we honour your life as a hero’s journey with visual art, written and spoken word, movement, and dance.

We will explore life’s big questions:

Where did I come from and where am I going?

What are my current gifts and challenges?

How do these gifts and challenges occur in my

  • body
  • mind
  • heart and emotions
  • spirit

For what am I willing to take a stand? For what am I willing to sacrifice my life?

With these questions in mind, we will be guided through a cyclical process of visual art (painting and drawing), writing, dialogue, and movement.

Visual art will inspire writing and dialogue. The dialogue will inspire a written “score” or plan for a dance. The dance will inspire further visual art, and thus, the cycle continues. As we create these multi-layered self portraits, we will explore the relationship between body, feeling, and imagination as we cycle through movement, drawing, and dialogue throughout the day. As a result each of us will create a richly textured, multifaceted self-portrait including visual art, writing, and dance.

Maureen Freehill will also share how she uses this creative process cycle for her dance piece, “Hitobashira,” which she continues to create as a living work.

Participants of the October 15th workshop will be invited to perform their work together on Sunday, October 16 at 7 pm at 7 Fraser, Studio 12. (Performing optional.) Participants who chose to perform should be available for rehearsal on Sunday afternoon between 1 and 4 pm.

Dance or yoga attire is suitable. Bring journals, writing implements, water bottles. Light vegetarian lunch is provided.

This dance is for any BODY. Novices and experts and anyone in between: all are welcome.

For registration contact Patricia @ playthink . com
$90-105 sliding scale


Read more about Your Life Your Story Your Dance workshops on Oct. 8 here.