Has it really been 20 years since Sylvie Bouchard, left, rallied a few choreographer friends and unleashed a torrent of dance in Toronto city parks? Dusk Dances returns to Withrow Park August 4 – 10 with a blockbuster 20th anniversary program of five new works and one old favorite. Singer/songwriter Justin Rutledge warms up the crowd each night at 7 pm with 2 pm matinees on Thursday and Sunday.
Dusk Dances was born out of frustration and necessity. Bouchard had created a dance she wanted to showcase in Toronto’s defunct Fringe Festival of Independent Dance (fFIDA) but she did not win a berth in the programming lottery. She was mulling her disappointment during a walk in Trinity Bellwoods Park when it occurred to her that she could stage her dance right there on the spreading green lawns. And so a Toronto tradition was born.
“I wanted to bring dance to people who may have never seen it before, to new audiences,” says Bouchard. “It’s an art form I love and I wanted to share it. I also wanted to see what dance would look like on a terrain like this, in a park. A park to me says community, it is surrounded by community, and I had a desire to connect to the community.”
The TIFF Bell Lightbox was buzzing this morning as Toronto International Film Festival CEO Piers Handling (above left) and festival Artistic Director Cameron Bailey unveiled the first round of galas and special presentations on tap for the 39th TIFF, taking over the city September 4 – 14.
Thirty seven of the approximately 60 titles announced today are world premieres. Perhaps the most hotly-anticipated is the debut of Alan Rickman’s A Little Chaos: the film stars Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alan Rickman and Stanley Tucci, and will be screened at Roy Thompson Hall, September 13 to close the 2014 Festival. According to Cameron Bailey A Little Chaos is “the perfect closing night film – it transports audiences to another time, another place, full of beauty, complexity, rivalry, politics and romance.”
For the schedule so far, visit the TIFF website.
Thousands of cheering citizens and school children filled Nathan Phillips Square this afternoon to herald the one year countdown to the Toronto 2015 Pan Am / Pan Parapan Am Games launching next July 14. Mayor Ford welcomed the crowd and promised “the best Pan Am Games ever held” while encouraging children and youth to work hard and follow their dreams.
Today’s noon-hour event kicked off a weekend-long celebration, dubbed Panamania, that will keep Nathan Phillips Square jumping through Saturday evening with free live music and appearances by world-class athletes, along with fireworks and a delicious selection of Pan American foods. The Cisco TORONTO 2015 Countdown Clock was unveiled and will log the hours until the conclusion of the 2015 Parapan Am Games on August 15 next year.
Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly and Ward 28 Councillor Pam McConnell joined Provincial and Federal politicians in the West Don Lands this morning for the official opening of Corktown Common, an 18-acre park on the eastern edge of the largest development site in North America. The Common will anchor a fast-growing neighbourhood that includes the 2015 Pan American Games Athletes Village. The Deputy Mayor, below right, presented Waterfront Toronto Chair Mark Wilson with a scroll recognizing “Waterfront Toronto’s contribution to the quality of life in this great city of Toronto.”
Just behind the presentation site stands the monumental Mark Di Suvero sculpture, No Shoes, below, which has been lovingly restored and moved from its original home in High Park, where it was installed as part of an International Sculpture Symposium marking Canada’s centenary in 1967. Di Suvero has since become one of the world’s most highly regarded sculptors.
“We are building parks that offer a diversity of benefits, not only to the immediate community, but to the City as a whole,” noted Kelly. “One of the major changes has been the park as an economic catalyst. This park, and the others that Waterfront Toronto has constructed, sends a very powerful message to the world; they tell the world that the City of Toronto is a progressive, thoughtful, stylish, energetic place in which to invest and raise families and seek the job opportunities that will characterize the 21st century.”
Light showers couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd on Nathan Phillips Square at lunch hour today as they helped welcome another great year of the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival, the largest Caribbean festival in North America. Politicians joined musicians, dancers and other performers for the colourful kick-off. The festival runs until August 3 with the grand parade on August 2.