Review: Uplica (Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie)

CLC-UPLICA_4 (l-r) Laurence Lemieux, Erin Poole by Kristy Kennedy-U resize

Hip hop infused contemporary dance lit up Toronto’s Citadel in Uplica

Commissioned by Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, Uplica is a beautifully choreographed one hour dance show that features two of Toronto’s top dancers, Laurence Lemieux and Erin Poole. It was the choreographers of this show, Apolonia Velasquez and Ofilio Sinbadinho (Gadfly), that captured my attention and piqued my interest to watch the show. Not really knowing what to expect, I went into the theatre with the slightest hunch that I was about to see some very interesting choreography and dancing. And luckily, my hunch was right!

Toronto can get quite chilly on an autumn night. So walking into a theatre where you get a choice of purchasing a beverage and snacking on some chips while watching a theatrical dance show, was definitely a great treat. The intimate set-up in the theatre made watching the show even more pleasant.

When Uplica started, Laurence Lemieux began moving her body to the powerful sounds produced by John Gzowski. When a Choreographer uses the right music, magic happens! Sparks begin to fly. And a vision becomes alive. The original score by Gzowski was intriguing, mysterious and inspiring. As a performing artist myself, I couldn’t help but feel my own body subtly move to the unique beats. The intricate choreography was mesmerizing as was the sheer athleticism presented by both dancers. Lemieux, who quite honestly stole the show with her incredibly captivating performance, moved precisely, gracefully and on beat.

I particularly enjoyed the humour that was injected into this somewhat intense production. Lemieux said a few lines that left many of us in the audience giggling. It came out of nowhere and didn’t make any sense but yet it worked perfectly in the routine. In addition, I loved when Lemieux walked into the audience gesturing to an audience member to stand up so she could sit down there instead. It was a nice playful and unexpected moment.

Hats off to choreographers Velasquez and Sinbadinho for presenting a unique choreography that blended in contemporary dance and hip hop. In addition to solid technique, the dancers’ use of space and levels made this show come alive. Their use of lights, props and sound added to the well-rehearsed choreography presented by both dancers. In addition to solid technique, the dancers’ use of space and levels made this show come alive.

I didn’t quite understand the choice behind the show title name Uplica, but I am glad I overlooked that part and took a chance to see this thrilling well-choreographed show that anyone, dancer or non-dancer, would enjoy.


  • Uplica is playing at The Citadel, Mimi Herrnodorf Studio-Theatre (304 Parliament St)
  • Performances run from October 23 – 25 beginning at 8 pm
  • Tickets are $20 general admission and can be purchased online

Photo of Laurence Lemieux and Erin Poole by Kristy Kennedy