With a three-year-old and a nine-year-old to consider, it can be difficult to find shows that are accessible to the little one but not boring for the big one (to say nothing of boring for the semi-responsible adult accompanying them). When a show that’s pleasing to all three comes along, like The 26 Letter Dance, it feels like an entire March Break miracle
The 26 Letter Dance, created by Bouge de là, is based on the simplest concept: the company – led by Hélène Langevin, with co-choreography by Jean-François Légaré – has made a series of dances around the letters of the alphabet some of the dances are more specific and some conceptual, but each one attempts to capture the essence of the letter. The dancers employ a full vocabulary of modern dance, jazz, acrobatics, and even Zumba to make their alphabetical point.
(Dad note: if your small children are used to linear, plot-driven media, you may want to preempt a thousand instances of “why are they doing that?” by explaining ahead of time that the dances are an idea, and that they won’t miss anything if they just let it unfold.)
The dances are whimsical, vibrant and interesting to watch, with pleasing musical choices. The technical quality of the dance is very high, which makes it considerably more interesting to adults (and I would argue, to kids as well – they know when they’re being pandered to). There’s no sense here of people who couldn’t get hired to do something else – The 26 Letter Dance company is clearly committed to making great work for young audiences, and it shows.
The young audience around me was engaged and enthusiastic, not just about the blinking effects but about the accessible, artistic work. Who knew U and V could be so much fun? And though I am sure there are a few eye-rolling tweens having cranky days that could completely refuse to enjoy The 26 Letter Dance, I honestly think it would be work even for them.
- The 26 Letter Dance is playing until March 16th, 2019 at Young People’s Theatre (165 Front Street East).
- Shows run Monday – Sunday at various times. See the website for the full performance schedule.
- Relaxed Performances are available. See here for details.
- Tickets range from $10-$34 +HST and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 416-862-2222, ext. 2.
Photo of the cast by Rolline Laporte