Named the 2020 Clifford E. Lee award recipient by the Banff Centre for the Arts, one of Canada’s top street dancers, choreographers, judges and community leaders is bringing an international creative team and intergenerational group of dancers to Toronto.
Crazy Smooth takes his audience through a rigorous investigation of the effects of aging on street dancers and of the evolution of self through his most recent show, In My Body.
Using elements of poetry, multi-media and dance, Smooth has put together something that’s been percolating inside him for some time.
“I guess in the past three to four years, the ideas, the reflections … became strong enough to give birth to the idea of a show,” Smooth says. “Now, in terms of the creative process, I have different thoughts [and] different ways to create and this one, because I knew the size of the show that I wanted to create, I [knew I] wanted to have a lot of dancers. I wanted to have a bigger production value than I had in the past with some of my works.”
Smooth also credits those behind the scenes, as well as those offering other elements to his piece.
“I knew, I needed a team, and I don’t have the expertise in multimedia. I don’t have the expertise in writing and poetry,” he says. “So, I gathered my All-Star team of people [and] collaborators to help me work on on this piece.”
Through breaking, popping and locking, house and contemporary, street dancing is represented in a way that allows the audience to get familiar with the style while furthering their knowledge of its history.
Street dancing is one of the most visually impressive and physically demanding of the dance genres, and leaves no room for the expression of vulnerability.
The mind, spirit and soul, although often considered to be the “same-thing” or unidentifiable to an average audience, are often explored much further by dancers and other artists. In My Body is set to explore those three elements within one’s self and how they are often intertwined in such a way that separating them remains difficult.
The aspiration for Crazy Smooth is to find that place where all three align to create perfect moments.
Known to her peers as an anomaly in her craft, multi-faceted Toronto performer Lisa Auguste finds herself in what Smooth calls the “bridge-years” of the street-dancing timeline. Exploring what the timeline means for street dancers through an impressive cast of intergenerational dancers, In My Body shows us that age is merely a number and that the bravest thing a dancer can do is grow old.
When asked about the the elements; the mind, body and soul, Auguste spoke about how one of those three resonates with her most.
“The soul is everything,” Auguste says. “If I am allowing myself to surrender to my order to render to the form of whatever [I’m doing], there is a vulnerability that, in my opinion, 99 per cent of the time comes out, whether you witness it or not, whether you recognize it or not; but there is a true moment of release. The release of thought. The release of emotion. A stepping point to a new idea — that point is the catharsis the soul is the reaching.”
Audiences will have only three opportunities to witness the Toronto premiere of In My Body. Performances are scheduled for March 17–19, with all performances scheduled for 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online.