Dusk Dances: Moving Parts that makes you think about community and movement

Article written by Fleur Boomsma

Lisa Anne Ross, aka Madame Beaucoup uses her charm to introduce  Imprint by Meredith Thompson , performed by professional dancers and local community members // FLEUR BOOMSMA

Lisa Anne Ross, aka Madame Beaucoup uses her charm to introduce Imprint by Meredith Thompson, performed by professional dancers and local community members // FLEUR BOOMSMA

It’s a warm sundown at Withrow Park. The sun feels pleasant on the skin and the wind feels like a soft breeze. It’s a perfect evening to watch the annual Dusk Dances performances at the park. You’ve brought a few lawn chairs and your friends brought picnic blankets to sit on. The live band starts playing soft music and Hannah Shira-Naiman is about to teach the audience square dancing. You get to interact with other community members, and this is a great start of the night.

By 7:30 p.m., the park was filled with neighbors and other community members prepared to watch the five dance performances. Dusk Dances’ host, Lisa Anne Ross, also known as Madame Beaucoup, brought out her most colorful red (with lots of sparkles) costume. Let’s not forget to talk about her sassy and charismatic character! It gives you a big laugh, that’s for sure.

At the end of each performance, Madame Beaucoup blows a (very funny) whistle which indicates that you should follow her and the volunteers to the next dance act. Everyone hurries to get the best seat possible, but regardless where you stand or sit; you’re able to enjoy the show. There’s also the ability to donate (it’s a pay what you can basis) and purchase drinks or popcorn from the volunteers.

The park is filled with friends and family ready to watch the first performance of the night called  Fall  by Hanna Kiel // FLEUR BOOMSMA

The park is filled with friends and family ready to watch the first performance of the night called Fall by Hanna Kiel // FLEUR BOOMSMA

This is a special year for Dusk Dances because it’s their 25th year celebrating this dance festival! The festival director, Sylvie Bouchard incorporated community members in a dance piece called Imprint, which is about “acknowledgement of interconnectivity and the weavings of our lives.”

However, one of my favourite pieces of this year’s festival is called “Moving Parts.” It involves a moving choir and dancers that sing about many controversial concerns that are going on in today’s society. You’ll have to find out for yourself and trust me, it’s an eye opener. Dusk Dances describes this piece as:

“We find the world in difficult times where people are becoming increasingly polarized, taking sides with rancour and falling for simplistic solutions. We are curious about how to embrace complexity with a skill and race, and how to stay open, kind and uplifted in the midst of turbulent times.”

Fall  by Hanna Kiel // PHOTO BY DAVID WONG

Fall by Hanna Kiel // PHOTO BY DAVID WONG

Whether this is your first or fifth time coming to Dusk Dances, they always leave you feeling impressed and wowed. It’s a great way to spend a summer evening outdoors with your family and friends.

Lewis + Company is proud to once again support and sponsor this incredible community event! Dusk Dances celebrates August 4-11, nightly at 7 p.m.


Dusk Dances 2019
Withrow Park
Located south of the Danforth, between Logan and Carlaw in Toronto, ON.
Closest TTC subway station: Chester.
More info: 647-671-0075





The slam dunk of Dusk Dances

Dusk Dances, Toronto’s contemporary outdoor dance festival is coming back to Withrow Park this summer for its 25th season!

Article written by Fleur Boomsma

Fall  by Hanna Kiel // PHOTO BY DAVID WONG

Fall by Hanna Kiel // PHOTO BY DAVID WONG

Join the excitement as Canada’s best choreographers are showing off their dance pieces, even involving choir and community members!

First, the music at Dusk Dances is welcoming as it invites the crowd to watch the live band and participate (if they wish) in a dance workshop. Following the workshop, the festival’s charismatic host Madame Beaucoup - a.k.a. the beloved Lisa Anne Ross - will guide you through five short dance pieces. She’ll bring even more light into this experience.

We had the opportunity to speak with the mastermind behind this family-friendly event, Sylvie Bouchard. As I arrive at the Riverdale Perk, one of the neighborhood’s favourite cafés, I see Bouchard and Marketa Tokova (the Dusk Dances administrator) working on the patio. They both welcomed me with open arms and invited me to sit down to have a coffee with them.

Meet Sylvie Bouchard, Dusk Dances Festival Director. You’ll see her organizing everything behind the scenes at Withrow Park. If you see her, be sure to say hi and express your thoughts // FLEUR BOOMSMA

Meet Sylvie Bouchard, Dusk Dances Festival Director. You’ll see her organizing everything behind the scenes at Withrow Park. If you see her, be sure to say hi and express your thoughts // FLEUR BOOMSMA

Bouchard’s face lit up when I asked when and why she came up with the idea to create festival. She thought of this idea 25 years ago as she was walking through Trinity Bellwoods Park. She asked herself, “what if we bring dance to the audience in the park instead of waiting for them to come to the theatre?”

Bouchard fell in love with dance at the age of 12 and still till this day loves this industry. However, it’s a difficult field to be in since there isn’t a large audience. After all, dance productions have shorter runs and few shows, and so it’s harder to build an audience. People often can’t find the time to attend due to work and family obligations. But she loves a challenge! Thus, she created this festival as she felt passionate about introducing more people to this form of art. Dusk Dances allows the whole family to enjoy a dance performance together through the eyes of five different choreographers.

“The idea of Dusk Dances is to build bridges to a wider audience to include those that have never seen and experienced it,” Bouchard says.

Fall  by Hanna Kiel // PHOTO BY DAVID WONG

Fall by Hanna Kiel // PHOTO BY DAVID WONG

At the same time, as social media and technology has built up over the years, Bouchard says “it’s important that people stay with their bodies and their imagination.” Watching contemporary dance will encourage the audience to visualize the story behind the dance piece.

This season you will be able to learn square dancing at the (all ages) workshop. The participants will learn a simple dance that repeats. Then, this dance will be called by the caller. It’s spontaneous and fun way to engage with other people and with the music.

Lewis + Company is proud to once again support and sponsor this incredible community event! Bring your friends, family, and furry friends to this magical evening of fun. Dusk Dances celebrates between August 4-11th, starting at 7 pm.

 


How do you dew?

If you’re all about self-care, then this is the right spot for you!

Written by Fleur Boomsma

After your sweat session, you’re invited to have a seat to cool down in the lounge area. Refreshments will be served! // FLEUR BOOMSMA

After your sweat session, you’re invited to have a seat to cool down in the lounge area. Refreshments will be served! // FLEUR BOOMSMA

Dew Sweat House. Want to feel dewy? No pun intended! If you’re all about ‘self-care’, this is the right spot for you. Feel like the Los Angeles and New York City celebrities who attend these sweat lodges to either relax, detoxify, or even boost their metabolism. You’ll definitely feel sweaty and amazing afterwards.

These sweat houses have been positively preached on Ellen, the Kardashians and other famous talk shows. Dew is co-owned by Sue Kuruvilla and Julianne Smola, who opened up this spot after their life-changing experience in LA and New York City.

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People have been enjoying this experience in the United States for quite some time. However, these franchise companies had no interest in bringing this experience to Canada, which is why Smola and Kuruvilla found themselves the perfect opportunity to bring their own idea to Toronto’s East End.

“It takes some crappy life experiences before you realize that need to take care of your health,” Smola says, “we bought into the philosophy and we thought we could turn this into a really good brand from an experience perspective.”

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Really, the process is simple. They wrap you in a big infrared blanked, you watch your favourite Netflix series for about an hour. When you’re finished you get to relax in the post-sweat lounge and enjoy freshly cut oranges with some tea.

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“I usually describe it as two phases, the relaxing phase and the work out phase where your heart rate goes up a lot,” says Smole, who describes the sweat experience.

According to Dew’s website, their infrared heat blankets “safely raise your body’s core temperature without warming the air around you, promoting a deeper, more intense sweat.”

Besides Smola and Kuruvilla wanting to bring a different kind of self-care experience to the Toronto market, they also offer “cancer patients who have completed treatment their first sweat session for free”.

Being treated for cancer is a full-time job, Smole says, between going to your chemo, radiation and following up with blood tests etc. can be really exhausting. This made her realize that there isn’t a lot of financial support and time to do anything beneficial for yourself beyond the prescribed treatment.

“What we wanted to do is give people a break from a financial perspective and the opportunity to take care of yourself in a way that is nice,” Smole says.

Nothing beats this zen experience. You get to sweat as if you’re working out while watching your favourite Netflix show. Does anything sound better (or more LA)?

Follow Dew Sweat House on Instagram!

Trust the Flo!

Seating and access for everyone in the family

Written by Fleur Boomsma

Many homemade and gluten free options are available at your newly opened cafe on Gerrard St East // FLEUR BOOMSMA

Many homemade and gluten free options are available at your newly opened cafe on Gerrard St East // FLEUR BOOMSMA

Elvy & Flo is that cute corner café on Gerrard where you can sit down for hours and unwind. Whether you’re taking a break from work or you’re there to get work done, owners Ann Peel and Perry Caicco don’t see you as a transaction but rather as a friend. This definitely isn’t your typical Second Cup or Starbucks in Toronto.

The walls are decorated with blue and yellow restored woods, combined with the brick wall. The large windows allow the shining sun to come through and the space automatically feels ten times better than it already is. You can see it as a warm and cheerful community space, and don’t be surprised to mommy groups and teachers’ meetings taking place!

Whether you want to sit in the front or in their sun room, tons of light shines through the windows and it even has a stroller accessible side door! // FLEUR BOOMSMA

Whether you want to sit in the front or in their sun room, tons of light shines through the windows and it even has a stroller accessible side door! // FLEUR BOOMSMA

The name, Elvy & Flo signifies the owner’s grandmothers because they were so good at creating warmth and community. The names of their grandmothers captured the essence of what they wanted to convey. 

“We mainly want to be a woman centred space, which is also the purpose of the café’s name because it’s named to the women that were important in our lives,” Ann said.

Seating is available for the whole family, who doesn’t love that? !// FLEUR BOOMSMA

Seating is available for the whole family, who doesn’t love that? !// FLEUR BOOMSMA

The food

Ann and Perry work with the Taste Canada Award winning food blogger, Susan (better known as Sue) Keefe. Sue is not only the in-house chef and baker, but she is also the mastermind behind the café’s recipes. We highly recommend you try the maple tofu panini or the homemade cinnamon brioche!

Cozy up with Elvy & Flo’s house-made cinnamon brioche and a latte // SUE KEEFE

Cozy up with Elvy & Flo’s house-made cinnamon brioche and a latte // SUE KEEFE

If you have a gluten intolerance, this is another reason why Elvy & Flo is the new spot for you. The café offers many sourdough products because Perry also has a gluten intolerance. We suggest you try the sourdough pizza and the baked dough sandwich (the milk buns are homemade)!

Follow Elvy & Flo on Instagram to see their most delicious meals!

“Pop in for a slice of Sweet Heat pizza. Piled high with mortadella, chunks of fresh pineapple, and spicy banana peppers covered in a blanket of gooey provolone, this pizza is sure to cure you of your rainy day blues,” // SUE KEEFE

“Pop in for a slice of Sweet Heat pizza. Piled high with mortadella, chunks of fresh pineapple, and spicy banana peppers covered in a blanket of gooey provolone, this pizza is sure to cure you of your rainy day blues,” // SUE KEEFE