SpringWorks Celebrates International Dance Day

                                                  “The emotions are stirred and take form in words.
                                                 If words are not enough, we speak in sighs.
                                                 If sighs are not enough, we sing them.
                                                 If singing is not enough, then unconsciously
                                                 our hands dance them and our feet tap them.”
                                              –Great Preface, “The Book of Songs”
(Chinese poems from 10th to 7th century BC)

Happy International Dance Day! We at SpringWorks could fill pages with expressions and quotes about the power of dance, but today, we’ll shine the light on SpringWorks’ dance and musical theatre productions and let them speak for themselves. When in doubt, DANCE!

Blue Ceiling Dance‘s artistic director Lucy Rupert brings to SpringWorks two of her most acclaimed solo works: The Abecedarian and The Animals are Planning an Intervention. The music for both these original works was created in collaboration with Canadian musician and poet Sarah Slean. Bridging the two live dance performances is Lucy Rupert’s award-winning short film The Window.           The Abecedarian
This piece is a musing on fate and inevitability  is Z the inevitable fate of A? Is what you are at the end merely a passive interpreter of the beginning? Can you be both charming and stark at once? The libretto and dance follows the ancient poetic form of the abecedarian, in which the images arrive in alphabetical order.

The  Animals are Planning an Intervention
Inspired by the threatened habitats of South-Western Ontario, a small animal returns to its endangered home to reconcile the fate of its’ environment with its’ own innate sense of mortality and instinct for survival. This piece lives in the boundary between animal and human, peering in at private feelings of mortality, smallness, and belonging.
   The Window
Lucy Rupert: The Window
One afternoon, the view, the autumn, a camera on a tripod, dancer Lucy Rupert experiments with opacity in this award-winning short film.
Lucy RupertThese three pieces are all linked by the themes of Fate and confronting both mortality and inevitability, ranging from a dark urban world that is sleek and cynical to a bright, innocent world in which the animal instinct to survive supersedes existential angst.

Lucy founded Blue Ceiling Dance in 2004 and has produced more than 10 dance concerts and over 15 dance works, with her repertoire touring to Guelph, Montreal, New York, and Stuttgart, Germany. Having been carving her own path in the dance field since 1996, Lucy has a joint Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance and Music from the University of Waterloo, trained in the Professional Program of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and has a Masters Degree in History from the University of Toronto. She is a multi-faceted performer and has worked with Theatre Rusticle, Volcano Theatre, Puppetmongers, Circus Orange, Kaeja d’Dance, Dreamwalker dance, From the Horse’s Mouth, William Yong, Denise Fujiwara, Claudia Moore, and Anandam Dance. Described as a shapeshift, liquid poetry, Lucy is noted for her unabashed passionate performances and her quirky, elegant, quicksilver energy. Lucy currently lives in Sarnia, Ontario where she is an avid reader, a sometimes birdwatcher, and Mommy to a great little guy named Pablo.

SWF: What was the inspiration behind creating your piece?

LUCY: “The animals are planning an intervention” was inspired by a quote from A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner (“It is because you are  small animal that you will be useful on the journey”) and as I got into creating it, it started to embody my own animal instincts as a new mother and the juxtaposition of human wrestling with mortality versus the animal’s  pure integration of mortality with instinct and life.
“The Abecedarian” is an earlier work, that grapples with some of the same ideas, but from a more urban place, a starker, darker world.

SWF: Collaborating on the music for these pieces with Sarah Slean, what was that experience like?

LUCY: With “The animals are planning an intervention” Sarah and I started with the same A.A. Milne quote and went away to create our works separately. We created our pieces over an 18-month period, intermittently, and checking in about the developing imagery and narrative as we went. We felt very strongly about creating two distinct narratives, one musical, one choreographic. Later it became my duty as a dancer to  allow both these narratives to effect and direct me in performance. That was the most challenging part because the dancer-choreographer double role sometimes clouds the decision making — am I making a change in the interpretation or the choreography?

Sarah was incredibly helpful along the way, particularly when I went through a period of doubt about what I was doing. She just said “Go back to our original place — we’re talking about love, the potency of love at a cellular level, an instinctual level. She has a deep philosophical vein inside all her creations, and so do I, but during the process she was able to have a bit more distance since she was not performing….It was a really great exchange.

I hope to be able to work with her again. Her orchestral music is just gorgeous.

SWF: Since it’s International Dance Day, have you ever seen a dance performance that changed your life?

LUCY: Oh yes. I saw Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s work “Myth” at the NAC in Ottawa in the fall of 2008. I was just pregnant — only days pregnant, but I knew it — and I went by myself to see it. The only seat in the house that was empty was next to me and I was in the front row. The piece is powerful. I mean POWERFUL. The most seamless integration of actors, musicians, dancers and two performers with Down’s Syndrome. I can’t even quite explain the work to you, except to say there were characters and those characters had shadows embodied by other performers and there was a profound exchange and struggle between and amid those two states of existence.  It changed and also confirmed my beliefs in art as a vehicle for transformation — transformation for everyone involved performers, audience, ghosts that might be in the room with us. There have been quite a few other life-changing shows for me, but that was the biggest, most visceral experience. Happy International Dance Day!

Check out videos of Lucy’s stunning choreography and style here.

Tickets for The Animals (and other stories about Fate) are available here or through our
Call Centre: 1- 888-559-5077

THE PIXIE PROJECT                                                              WAVES
Written and Performed by Lisa Ryder               Conceived and Directed by Adam Nashman
With Daniela Vlaskalic                          Choreographed and Performed by Nicola Pantin
Friday May 17 @ 6 pm & Saturday May 18 @ 4 pm at Factory163

This multi-disciplinary piece invites you            This exhilarating performance is a spectacle of
into the absurdist world of Pixies!  Two of             imagination and athleticism as dance erupts
these amoral, fun-loving beasts take you             from employees trapped in their 5×5 office
on a ride of mini manic mayhem toward             cubicles, their 9-5 work-days, and their need to
a cataclysmic collision with the human               escape! Electrified by a soundtrack cut from
they haunt.  Vaudeville style dialogue,                the history of recorded music, you’ll finally be
beautiful original songs and clown are                  able to look into the minds of your co-workers
woven together to create a world you will            and see what they are thinking when they
never want to leave! Suitable 16+                          ‘drift off’ from time to time.

3degrees Dance Theatre seeks to create performances that reflect political and cultural realities through imagistic and athletic staging, steeped in story. Founded by choreographer/dancer Nicola Pantin and writer/director Adam Nashman, as well as actors and designers from the Canadian artistic community. Their vision is pulled from the ethnicity of the urban/global community, using a truly unique blend of styles pulled from disciplines such as theatre, dance, gymnastics, magic or any movement or technique that fits the story of our productions. We take a global approach to storytelling and defy category. We give our community a chance to see a reflection of themselves on stage.
Tickets for The Pixie Project and Waves are available here or through our Call Centre: 1- 888-559-5077

Written by Jeremy Hutton and Kieran MacMillan
Directed by Jeremy Hutton
Musical Direction by Kieran MacMillan
Choreography by Ashleigh Powell
Thursday May 9 @ 6pm at Stratford City Hall Auditorium
Thursday May 16 @ 6pm, Friday May 17 @ 10am, Saturday May 18 @ 2pm at  Factory163

Meagan Tuck as Jill

Fairy Tale Ending, the Big Bad Family Musical is a topsy-turvy yet touching tale of a young girl coming to grips with loss and the reality of growing up. Join Jill as a “line up” of characters, namely the Big Bad Wolf, Goldilocks and the Troll, is questioned about the sudden changes occurring in the fairy tales she read with her grandma. With the help of the Cop, Jack and The Three (Little Pigs/Bears/Billy Goats/Blind Mice), Jill learns that though real life may not be a fairy tale, it can be just as amazing! Featuring Meagan Tuck, Lada Darewych, Andrew Moyes*, Saphire

The Villains

Demitro, Jennifer Walls, Daniel James, Ryan Whittal*, Mike Wisniowski, and
Maksym Shkvorets, Fairy Tale Ending will have you in stitches, moved to tears, and humming the tunes as you leave the theatre.

NOW MAGAZINE: Young or old, you won’t go wrong with this musical…!

EYE WEEKLY: Everything from the choreographed group numbers to the joke-a-minute dialogue to the costume changes is perfectly executed.DERRICK CHUA, PRESIDENT OF TORONTO FRINGE:  A family musical…appropriate for child-less adults who just want to see and hear a good musical.


Jeremy Hutton

Jeremy is a director, actor, writer, and fight director. He has worked at Hart House Theatre primarily as a director, but also as Artistic Director, an actor, fight director, and sound designer. Jeremy has also done extensive work with Canopy Theatre, is Founding Artistic Director of Toronto Youth Theatre,  is the resident fight director for the Classical Theatre Project and Hart House Theatre.

Kieren MacMillanKieren is based in Toronto and happily working on both sides of the score – composer, arranger, pianist, singer, musical director, and voracious audience member. Fairy Tale Ending is his third collaboration with Jeremy.

In an exclusive interview, these two creators talk about the impetus behind Fairy Tale Ending, the challenges of touring, and the influence of dance on their art.SWF: What was the inspiration behind creating your piece?

JEREMY: We started with a cast of 9 young actors knowing we would tackle popular fairytales in some way.  At first it was simply fun to rewrite the endings of these well-known stories.  But as we worked we discovered a touching coming-of-age story emerging from the comedy and decided to explore some real issues with our young cast.

KIEREN: Jeremy was the Toronto Youth Theatre, and wanted to write a show for the small cast of youth actors. The idea of a “fractured fairy tale” soon became the frontrunner, and the rest is history.

SWF: Musical Theatre can often be elaborate of staging. Does being a touring show influence how you are staging the production?
JEREMY: The show was written and originally staged to be very portable.  The production is lavish compared to many touring shows, but it’s tightly packaged and allows for a lot of flexibility. We make tweaks in every venue but the core of the show remains solid.

KIEREN: The need for portability and flexibility definitely influences the staging to some degree: this time around, we need to consider at least three different stages — the two we’ll perform on in Stratford, and one we’re planning to perform on in Toronto when we return — and each location has different entrances and exits, sight lines, technical capacity, and so on. That being said, we’ve already performed “Fairy Tale Ending” in at least four different venues over the years, and the basic staging still holds up (thanks to the amazing work of Jeremy, Ashleigh, Scott, and our other incredible designers).

SWF: Since it’s International Dance Day, have you ever seen a dance performance or any performance that changed your life?

JEREMY: I try to write music the way that Fred Astaire dances: With ease and beauty; with wit, class and a confidence bordering on inevitability.  Some day I’ll get there.

KIEREN: Many! The first time I saw Margie Gillis dance, my artistic life was definitely changed for the better.

*Appears courtesy of Canadian Actor’s Equity Association
Illustration by Scott Penner
Photography by Dahlia Katz

Tickets for Fairy Tale Ending: The Big Bad Family Musical are available here or through our
Call Centre: 1- 888-559-5077

Conceived and Performed by Sandy Greenberg and Thomas Cormier
Saturday May 11 @ 10am at Stratford City Hall Auditorium
Saturday May 18 @ 10am at Factory163

Thomas and SandyThe award-winning duo will get you hugging someone you love, clucking like a chicken, riding a bumpy bus, singing along, clapping your hands, or performing on stage with them. Razzmatazz for Kids has been touring their fun, energetic, interactive children’s music for almost 20 years to festivals, special events, theatres, schools and corporate events in Canada and the U.S.

Razzmatazz in PerformancePARENTS N’ KIDS MAGAZINE: Everyone in the audience takes part in the non-stop, delightfully fun, foot-stomping, hand-clapping, everything gesturing, show.

EMMA STEWART, RIVERFRONT JUBILEE CHAIR: Razzmatazz electrified the Jubilee’s most successful children’s event ever.

THE DAILY NEWS, HALIFAX:  The intense combination of inspired whimsy, pure silliness, traditional tunes delivered by strong musicianship and warmth of personality make Razzmatazz For Kids a superior example of a limited genre.

Razzmatazz Logo
Thomas Cormier is the front-man of the group – singer, songwriter, and comedian. Sandy sings, plays the guitar, and writes songs for Razzmatazz.Sandy talks about the joy of performing for kids, a few magical moments, and the inspiration of dancers.

SWF: What was the inspiration behind creating your piece?
SANDY: We love writing songs that make kids’ eyes light up, and get them hopping, clapping their hands, flapping their wings and chirping like birds, bumping up and down, and singing along with us.  We always pay attention to what the kids like, and we fine-tune our songs based on the audience reaction.  We also stay in the moment, and our interaction with the kids is very much influenced by how they react to our show.

SWF: Performing for children can be such a rewarding experience. Is there a stand out moment in your career in children’s theatre?

SANDY: There have been many magical moments when both Razzmatazz and the audience are having loads of fun, and there have been hysterically funny moments such as when a young tambourine player we brought on stage completely upstaged us by putting on his own little show – dancing, wiggling, hitting the tambourine on his head, and delighting the crowd.  One absolutely stand-out moment was performing our Razzmatazz songs with Symphony Nova Scotia.  It was unbelievably thrilling to hear and feel this wall of beautiful music from behind us, flowing through us and out into the auditorium, enhancing and supporting our songs.  Another wonderful experience was receiving an email from the mother of a special needs child who attended one of our concerts:

 … being a child who requires constant 24 hr supervision
and in a small town, there is very little for her that she
is able to take part in… Your concert tonight…it was
fabulous…and i am sitting here with gentle tears in the
corner of my eyes…because I saw Amy so happy tonight
and be at something that she enjoyed with every ounce
of her being…. It was so much fun…you have no idea how
happy you made Amy!

SWF: Since it’s International Dance Day, have you ever seen a dance performance or that changed your life?

SANDY: I’ve seen many dance performances.  In fact, I grew up studying ballet, tap and character dance, and went on to learn improvisation as well.  Dancers always inspire me with their absolute dedication to their art and craft, both physical and mental.  I don’t think there’s one dance performance that has changed my life, but dance has always been important to me, and I love when a joyous piece of music makes me want to get up and dance!

For a preview of Razzmatazz for Kidscheck out this video!

Tickets for Razzmatazz for Kids are available here or through our Call Centre: 1- 888-559-5077


Did you know that it’s now easier than ever to get to Stratford and SpringWorks? The Stratford Festival Bus (Toronto to Stratford) is now available! For just $10 one way or $20 return, come down, stay for a few days, explore all this region has to offer and then head back. Go here for details.

SpringWorks can always use more volunteers! If indie theatre is your passion and you’re interested in getting involved, go here for more information and to fill out our Volunteer Application Form!



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