By Tova Friedman
Ryerson dance group Short Dances presented both group and solo routines at the Rose Will Gallery on Friday night.
As part of their series of monthly showcases, seven dancers performed in the intimate venue and some also spoke about the meaning behind their routines. During the busyness of the school year, many students find it difficult to unwind and Maricris Rivera, the head of Short Dances, said these performances help her do just that.
“I am in my last semester of my undergrad at Ryerson so life has been pretty crazy for me. I feel like I never had the opportunity to slow down,” said Rivera. “I figured Short Dances was a place for me to explore that idea and to lose myself in the moment.”
The idea of having a personal story and using it as an emotional element in their performances was a transcending theme throughout the evening. According to Justin DeGuglielmo, a member of Short Dances and LA-based dance company Marinspired: The Story Tellers said Short Dances is a welcoming space for expression, which was the reason he joined.
“I find that there are less and less places in the city where dancers can explore the feeling of dance, without so much focus being put on what looks aesthetically good,” he said. “Short Dances allows us to come together and explore the real reason why we all started dancing in the first place.”
Due to most of their performances being in front of intimate crowds, the idea of self-expression is less intimidating. According to Sierra Goulding, a first-year creative industries student at Ryerson, this type of environment allowed her to feel more comfortable performing.
“I wanted a space that I felt comfortable performing in with only a certain number of people,” she said. “It is a nicer environment for me to perform in, rather than in front of a huge audience.”
As the show progressed, Short Dances also included two singing acts, which were performed by Ryerson theatre student, Cameron Walker Fox-Revett, along with Rivera.
“Expressing yourself doesn’t necessarily have to only be through dance,” said Rivera. “In the past, we have actually had live musicians come in and accompany the dancers as well.”
Robin Bleasdale, the owner of the studio Dance Fusion, is a Short Dances fan and feels comfort in supporting local artists.
“I have been to many Short Dances events and always enjoy them,” she said. “It gives hope for a ‘struggling artist’ so it is very important we support events like these.”