Ruin Road (Wild Rabbit dance projects) 2017 SummerWorks Review

Minimalism defines the world of Ruin Road by Wild Rabbit dance projects at SummerWorks 2017. Three performers churn their bodies through diverse movement and dance styles, heavy with emotion, devoid of set or context, and ripe for your own interpreting.

Going into this show, I neglected to grab a program, and had such an all-over-the-place day that I hadn’t looked over the synopsis before arriving. This left me a blank slate to fill, and I was indeed filled.

Rooted in classical and modern techniques, these dancers are strong, flexible, and innovative. Choreographer-performer Jane Alison McKinney is a striking presence onstage: I found my eyes following her all night.

I got a little restless during the first third of this show. A series of mini solos from our three dancers, mixed in with three continuous, different choreographies, was easy to lose track of and, unfortunately, for me to lose interest in.

Yet, as the show goes on, I see the bigger picture. There’s strength in unity, and this show makes its audience build up to that strength, like a workout. Only in the later two thirds of the show do we experience any form of visual oneness among the individuals.

As I grew progressively more interested, I noticed that other audience members were having the reverse feeling, and growing more restless as the show progressed. The cavey-labyrinth atmosphere could get a little drowsy with mostly dim, slow fade, warm-toned lights.

The use of a mostly non-music, nonstop soundscape was an unusual choice for a dance performance. It was incredibly well-produced, and composer Lyon Smith deserves big ups for it. It did its job of putting me in a maybe eternal (?) lost place.

The dramatic use of light, space and unity in the final moments of the show felt like the start of something exciting; it seemed as though the company saved their big guns for the end, but made me wish there were some bigger guns throughout.

Walking away with an unchanging definition of what this show means is probably not possible. It’s wide open to make of it what you will. It almost certainly does mean something, though. Dance appreciators and deep folks will appreciate this endurance ride.


Ruin Road plays the the Theatre Centre-Franco Boni Theatre, 1115 Queen St W.

Remaining performances:

  • Sunday August 6th8:15pm – 9:15pm
  • Monday August 7th9:15pm – 10:15pm
  • Wednesday August 9th6:15pm – 7:15pm
  • Friday August 11th6:15pm – 7:15pm
  • Saturday August 12th3:45pm – 4:45pm
  • Sunday August 13th6:30pm – 7:30pm

SummerWorks tickets are now Pay What You Decide at $15, $25, or $35, whichever suits your budget. All tickets are general admission and there are no limits to any price level. Tickets are available at the performance venue (cash only), online and in person at the SummerWorks Central Box Office – located at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst Street). Open August 1-13 from 10am-7pm. Cash and credit accepted.

Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 7 shows.

Photo provided by the company.