Dancers in the Park

Dusk Dances


Photo by serves-babylone.  Pictured Meegwun Fairbrother (foreground), Michael Greyeyes (background).

A few years ago, I was invited to participate in a marvellous outdoor performance festival called “Dusk Dances” where I presented a short dance work, Untitled  (Grass Dance) # 1535 (in this exact location).    As I prepare to go back into the studio with our company to rehearse a newer work, I am reminded of these earlier days–gearing up for another premiere at a previous festival.  I find it interesting that every part of that journey is relevant and oddly twinned to my current life and schedule.  And so to celebrate how things change and at the same time remain the same, we present…



This week’s diarist is actor and dancer Michael Greyeyes. He kept his diary last week while rehearsing for Dusk Dances, a dance festival that takes place in Toronto’s Withrow Park today to Sunday.

The fireworks are over.

Back to work. Ye olde 9 to 5 but with a twist. My office this month is in Withrow Park, just south of the Danforth. Have I turned into that guy living in a van, down by the river? No, thankfully. My cubicle is an open patch of grass, near one of the children’s playgrounds in the park. And today, I fixed the piece that I’m making for Dusk Dances, an annual performing arts festival in Toronto, now in its 13th season. Dusk Dances presents a series of site-specific dance works at a local area park (this year at Withrow) every summer, and this is my first time as one of the invited choreographers.

The pressure’s on.

When I looked at the video of the work we had done so far, I knew something had to be fixed, but I wasn’t really clear about what exactly needed work. Distance is crucial. We didn’t rehearse of the Canada Day holiday, so that we could recharge—spend some time with our families, breathe. The on Monday, I spent most of the day in front of my Mac, watching video of the material we had created so far. This is the part of our work that doesn’t get a lot of attention. The ditch-digging of theatre. The unseen legwork that makes or breaks a show. And then comes the always-surprising (often demoralizing) realization that your choreography did not spring from the seat of your imagination as a fully formed and pristine creation. Actually, it comes with warts and needs a haircut.

But good writing is re-writing, so today Meegwun Fairbrother (a young traditional dancer and singer), Eddy Robinson (our traditional singer) and I worked from 3 till 9 pm, re-writing, developing, repeating, honing, fixing.

Back to work.

Man, I’m beat.


Tomorrow, finding that work-family balance.


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