Contemporary dance from Canada, the United States and Italy at Chutzpah! 2019

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Chutzpah! Festival | Various venues | October 24 – November 24, 2019

The Chutzpah Festival, now part of the fall arts calendar instead of being scheduled in March, is back with their characteristic offering of world class contemporary dance spread over a month from October 24 to November 24.

This year’s line-up features the world premiere of ProArteDanza’s The 9th (a contemporary ballet set to Beethoven’s 9th Symphony), choreographed by Robert Glumbek and Roberto Campanella, a former National Ballet of Canada dancer who choreographed the Academy Award-winning film The Shape of Water. There is also a North American premiere from Italy’s MM Contemporary Dance: Gershwin Suites choreographed by Michele Merola and Schubert Frames choreographed by Enrico Morelli. UNA Project’s Coloring is a Canadian premiere by Choreographer and Artistic Director Chuck Wilt.

Based in Toronto, ProArteDanza fuses ballet and modern dance while presenting the works of highly-acclaimed choreographers. The company returns to Toronto to present The 9th November 6 – 9. “Beethoven’s music was our North Star,” says Campanella about the development of this choreography over the past 10 years, “and the production speaks to the overarching themes of unity, freedom, and brotherhood; indeed, it is no accident that when the Berlin Wall finally fell — the legendary notes of ‘Ode to Joy’ from the 9th Symphony rang out.” 

MM Contemporary Dance makes their highly anticipated return to Chutzpah after their North American premieres Bolero and The Rite of Spring were huge hits at the 2018 Festival. The company is known for their endurance and strength as they perform demanding, technically impressive choreography. The company, directed by award-winning choreographer Michele Merola, regularly performs throughout Europe, Asia, and South America.

In Enrico Morelli’s Schubert Frames, a collection of excerpts of Shubert’s music provide the soundtrack to a work that is described as interpreting feelings of love, melancholy, regret, and hope. Michele Merola’s Gershwin Suites uses Gershwin’s music along with a new composition by Stefano Corrias to accompany his choreography inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper.

The evening will also feature an opening piece from the 2019 Chutzpah! Dance Artists in Residence (and former Ballet BC dancers), Alexis Fletcher and Andrew Bartee.

UNA projects, led by Artistic Director and Choreographer Chuck Wilt and based in both New York and California, will present Wilt’s COLORING. The piece is described as “An episodic dance inspired by themes of identity, unity, and mutual respect through researching queer histories, drawing inspiration from personal narratives from members of the LGBTQ community.” The eight UNA dancers will be joined by guest drag queen and cellist Rose Nylons.

Opening this show is a new duet by Vanessa Goodman and Belinda McGuire, in collaboration with lighting designer James Proudfoot. The Other Half is inspired by Goodman and McGuire’s youth as they reconnect after 18 years apart.

The festival’s closing night event, the Dance & Comedy Inclusion Performance,will feature dance by Rebecca Margolick and Troy Ogilvie along with stand-up comedy from Pamela Schuller. The purpose of the show is also to present and highlight Margolick and Ogilvie’s new movement dance work created with, directed with, and performed with members and guests of the Inclusion Community of the Jewish Community Centre — the culmination of a week-long project of sharing, exploring and creating through art.

Full details and performance times can be found at

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