Top 10 Dance

Decade in review

Sometimes words aren’t enough. That’s when dance steps in, making us see bodies and space anew and moving our souls and spirit.[rssbreak]

1. Reading, Mercy And The Artificial Nigger (Bill T. Jones/Harbourfront Centre, March 2004)

Adapting a Flannery O’Connor story and playing around with race and gender, American master Jones (himself narrating) delivered an unforgettable two-part dance sermon on themes of justice and freedom.

2. Mozart Dances (Luminato/MacMillan Theatre, June 2008)

One-time enfant terrible Mark Morris and his company launched Luminato’s dance program with three full-length works demonstrating what world-class modern dance looks like.

3. To Be Straight With You (DV8 Physical Theatre/World Stage, December 2009)

Homophobia is alive and thriving in England, much of it spurred on by culture and religion. Lloyd Newson based this piece on dozens of interviews, physicalizing hate and confusion but leaving room for moments of hope and reconciliation.

4. Kaash (Harbourfront Centre, November 2003)

London-based Akram Khan fused Eastern and Western dance vocabulary in this piece that had the weight and power of myth.

5. Peggy Baker

Growing older has never looked more thrilling, thanks to Baker, who continued to reinvent herself this decade in her own pieces (Krishna’s Mouth) and collaborations with choreographers like Doug Varone, Sarah Chase, Denise Clarke, dancer Rex Harrington, musician Andrew Burashko and actor Michael Healey.

6. Nederlands Dans Theater (Luminato, June 2009)

The dance company’s first visit to Canada in 15 years resulted in a series of jaw-droppers, from the bravura fireworks of Lightfoot/Léon’s Shoot The Moon to our own Crystal Pite’s psychological stunner, The Second Person.

7. Rite Of Spring/Re (Shen Wei Dance Arts/New World Stage, June 2007)

Before he wowed the world choreographing the Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies, the China-born Shen showed off his sense of form, space and musicality with this ballsy take on one of modern dance’s classics.

8. Timecode Break (Toronto Dance Theatre, October-November 2006)

Through the decade, TDT’s Christopher House pushed his company to new artistic levels, especially in this piece, a thoughtful and moving look at technology and the passage of time.

9. Revealed By Fire (Harbourfront Centre/Sampradaya, March 2001)

Lata Pada lost her husband and daughters in the 1985 Air India disaster, and she used Bharatanatyam and multimedia elements to create a healing, cathartic work about survival.

10. Portraits/Mapping (Sarah Chase Dance Stories/DanceWorks, May 2004)

The sibylline Chase presented dance stories about people she met in Europe, creating an experience as spiritual and moving as you’re likely to get in the theatre.

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