The Love Project

family dance party, meagan o'shea, stand up dance, the love project / Monday, October 12th, 2015

History of The Love Project

What seems like a long time ago, and just a few months ago all at once, I began the process of making what is now The Love Project. In 2007 or 2008, I began as a short piece for four teenagers in YMI Dancing at Pia Bouman School called How to fall in love in 9 easy steps, featuring vignettes of 9 ideas that the dancers identified as important in relationships. The idea was hot. Parents said “This needs to be seen. Its hard to talk about all of this, but this is an easy way in.”

I started writing grants and pitching. I created the next iteration for students in the professional training program at The School of Dance, The Love Project, Volume 1, in 2010.

The Love Project received creation funding through Ontario Arts Council’s Arts Education Projects (on my third application) and Creator’s Reserve through Theatre Direct.

With four dancers and a musical consultant we began the creation process in a residency at Theatre Direct in Artscape Wychwood Barns in Toronto in 2011. I created a draft of the piece, showed it as a work in progress at the end of the residency and realized I didn’t like the tone I’d struck. So over the next two years I continued the creative process in windows of time around the holidays with free space from Theatre Direct and bartered time with dancers.

There are now many dancers who have contributed to the development and performed in The Love Project: Darcy Gerhart, Shannon Hirsch, Lara Roberts, Mieke Leewis (YMI Dancing), Andrea Spaziani, Alicia Grant, Andrew Taylor, Andrew Hartley, Luke Garwood, Krista Posyniak, Christy Stoeten, Irvin Chow, Austin Fagan, Robyn Breen, Jane Alison McKinney, Christine Birch, Corrado Cerruto, Patricia Allison, Brodie Stevenson and Shakeil Rollock. Also a huge acknowledgement to Larissa Taurins-Crawford without whose dedication this wouldn’t have moved forward in several key moments.

Finally, in May 2014, we were invited into Oakwood Collegiate Institute to workshop the show with Heather Saum’s Grade 11 dance class. The following season, in January 2014, we performed The Love Project, with a sound design by Alex Williams and some of Andrew Penner’s original music, for an audience of local grade 8’s and Oakwood’s grade 10’s and 12’s, as well as Prologue for the Performing Arts’ selection committee.

Shy gasps from junior high students, knowing giggles from the more knowing teens, “That was real art!” from the selection committee – success! Now all we had to do was create a study guide and perform a showcase for teachers and parent committee members who book shows in schools.

Last February, we performed and taught two workshops at Ruth Thompson Middle School. They loved it. They laughed and gasped and hooted and clapped. They asked great questions. They loved dancing. They tweeted and IG’d us. They asked for the soundtrack.

The Love Project enjoyed a great first season with Prologue, performing for an estimated 3,000 students and 100 teachers.

We are ready to go again. Please join us.

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The Love Project at Oakwood CI
The Love Project at Oakwood CI; dancers: Christine Birch, Andrew Hartley, Irvin Chow, Jane Alison McKinney, Andrea Spaziani

The Love Project, our innovative ensemble dance piece performed by emerging dance professionals for ‘tween and teen audiences, is once again touring Toronto and area schools. We’re also remounting it for a showcase in Vancouver so that it can tour to schools throughout BC.

We are thrilled to present a one night only performance of The Love Project at Wychwood Direct at the Artscape Wychwood Barns – home of Theatre Direct.

The Love Project is a timely, physically daring, funny and poignant dance performance that explores elements of healthy relationships. Structured like a recipe for good love, respect, communication and empowered choice-making are represented through sections like Chemistry, Taking Risks and Building Trust, Compassion and Forgiveness.

Please join us for an evening of dance and discussion. Enjoy some nibbles and craft brew on tap, as well as some fun and games – and prizes!

Friday October 23rd, 7 pm, Wychwood Theatre at Artscape Wychwood Barns

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