The King’s Castle (NYDC/New York Dance Creators) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Kasei Inoue and Wakako Ishida

I get nervous when it comes time for me to review a dance performance. I’m far from knowledgeable about dance and my past years watching So You Think You Can Dance can only take me so far. So I was apprehensive when it came time for me to take on The King’s Castle during this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival. After watching the performance, I have to say I’m still uneasy.

Uneasy in the sense that I’m not quite sure what I watched. I didn’t get a sense of what the concept was or what the world the dancers were building was supposed to be. The press material mentions “an experience of deja vu” and a meeting of East and West. I’m taking to that explanation like many people take to magic eye pictures — if I squint, I guess I can see it?

The music is strange and disjointed, starting out sounding like a skipping CD trying to start. There’s no real rhythm to it, so it must be hard to create a dance to it (it’s certainly hard to listen to) and when Wakako Ishida and Kasei Inoue, who also serve as choreographers, begin moving to it, it didn’t feel like it entirely fit.

I mean the choreography is beautiful, contemporary dance tends to be. Their movement flows like water and the dancers blend into one another effortlessly. That in and of itself if fun to watch but the dance as a whole didn’t speak to me.

Maybe it was because it was a late performance and I’ve been running on little sleep lately but try as I might, I couldn’t focus on the 50-minute performance. I couldn’t find a narrative, I couldn’t follow along.

I also found that there were quite a few transitions for a 50-minute show, as soon as I felt I was starting to get into a particular piece, the lights faded and it was over.

Maybe I just don’t get dance and someone else with a more rounded dance experience and vocabulary can get more out of this Fringe performance than I did. If that person is you, excellent! Please see the show and leave a comment with your impressions. As for me, there were a lot of elements in this show that just didn’t gel.


  • The King’s Castle is playing until July 12 at the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace (30 Bridgman Ave)
  • Tickets are $12 in advance, $10 at the door. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by phone (416-966-1062), from the festival box office down Honest Ed’s Alley (581 Bloor West), or from the venue box office starting one hour before the performance. Venue sales are cash-only.
  • Be advised that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and latecomers are never admitted. Set your watch to CBC time, and arrive a few minutes early to avoid disappointment.

Show times
July 05 at 07:00 PM
July 06 at 10:15 PM
July 07 at 01:15 PM
July 08 at 12:00 PM
July 09 at 05:45 PM

Photo of Kasei Inoue and Wakako Ishida provided by the company