A Woman’s Work by Dance Matters (Toronto Theatre Review)

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Dance Matters’ A Woman’s Work is a captivating collection of dance pieces at Toronto’s Scotiabank Studio Theatre

I just got back from seeing “A Woman’s Work” by Dance Matters down at 6 Noble Street, and my head is with swirling with all sorts of THINGS TO TALK ABOUT! I should mention immediately that I am not a Dance professional. I will be speaking from a perspective that is much more attuned to performance art than traditional dance.

What I really enjoyed about what I saw tonight was the vast array of how one can use their bodies to create drama and convey the human experience. The production as a whole made me realize- it doesn’t matter that I have no dance training. I have a body, and I think for any successful dance production, that is enough for me to draw something meaningful from what I am witnessing. I think this productions enters into the realm of performances art because it challenges both the performers and audience to explore new forms of expression.

The night is separated into six shorter acts, with one intermission. You can expect refreshments and snacks — it was a very gracious and classy reception I must say.

The first piece, “La Bas”, performed by Jennifer Dallas and Joanie Audet I found to be the most challenging dance, but for me was the most rewarding. I had to get used to their movements. Not unlike listening to an opera or maybe seeing Shakespeare, I had to be lulled into another world of expression, and that transition transported me to a world where movement and tension were how people communicated to each other. Their performance was the most abstract of the night, and yet held the most unspoken tension.

One of more accessible and perhaps enjoyable pieces was “WONDER”- performed by Susie Paulson and Emilie Gratton. Oh my God these guys are awesome. A very effective blend of humor and vulnerability. Their greatly timed performance tells the story of super heroes, and the balance between empowerment and fragility as it relates to how women must carry themselves in society.

There was more a traditional Dance piece, “Arise Again”, that was beautiful. Consisting of three fluid performances by Corrado Cerruto, Kerri-Ann Hutton, and Amanda LeRusic, this act was a break from the more experimental work in the show, and perhaps provided a baseline of the craft of dance, in order to appreciate the other variations shown that night.

I thought that “Golden Girls” had some issues. There was a very relatable premise of using a blow up doll as an artful prop and dance companion, but the piece didn’t really push much beyond that. As my astute friend mentioned, our own drama teacher in high school once remarked, “sometimes a prop can punctuate the drama for you, when really, you should be the one that performs the punctuation.” I thought that really summed up the issue that I had with this piece.

The final dance was entitled “Backwards and in Heels”, featuring the contemporary women; fierce but frustrated and stretched on all directions and asked to inhabit so many different societal roles. Performer Elke Schroeder is strong and committed and ended the evening on an empowered note.

I just want to end by saying all these performers are obviously trained and talented regardless of my personal preferences. I really appreciate this risks they each took to convey something genuine to the audience. That’s all I care about- that the character on stage is committed to what is happening to them.


  • “A Women’s Work” is playing at the Scotiabank Studio Theatre (6 Noble Street) on November 9th  (8pm) and 10 at 4pm
  • $18/adult, $14/senior, student, artist
  • A limited number of PWYC tickets at the door available Sunday
  • Cash only for all tickets purchased at the door

Photograph courtesy of the company.