Toronto is one of the most diverse cities in the world. It moves and breathes in its own vibrant tempo, creating a safe haven for artists of all eccentricities. Dancers of  all genres flock to this city to spread their wings – literally and figuratively – and together they make Toronto an even more beautiful place.

Sofí Gudiño  – Dancers of Toronto

 

  1. What is your earliest memory of dancing?

 

It’s actually one of my first memories- I was maybe two years old and watching my aunt perform in a flamenco show. It’s the kind of feeling you never forget, I felt a tremendous sense of belonging and an urge to move! My grandfather lifted me onto the stage to give her flowers at the end of the show, and that was that.

 

  1. Could you please share a bit about your dance training and aesthetic?

 

I grew up studying flamenco at the Academy of Spanish Dance in Toronto. By the time I was sixteen, all I had studied was flamenco, but I was looking for more chances to work and perform. That year, I responded to an audition posting for the Ismailova Theatre of Dance, where I spent four seasons learning and performing physical theatre, contemporary/modern dance, and even some clown work. I was in love with moving my body in these new ways- I had never rolled on the floor, created stage characters or had any physical contact. I know these things sound small, but the way it expanded my vocabulary also doubled my inspiration. In 2014, I founded my own company, The Inamorata Dance Collective, to experiment with crossovers between contemporary and flamenco dance.

 

  1. What inspires you as a dancer?

 

So much inspires me, but I think the biggest one recently has been risk. Dance can be beautiful, athletic, expansive, entertaining and so many things, but what really affects me as an audience member is when I see an artist taking a risk to do something no one has done before, something that other people may not understand or even enjoy. Art is very much alive, and so it is growing and shifting in its values and appearances. The people who do that inspire me.

 

  1. Why does dance matter?

 

Movement is a first language- we are all always moving and using movement to express ourselves and be aware of ourselves. Dance is an extension of this very simple, vast thing. I think one of the reasons it matters so much to me is that it allows me to work towards better awareness constantly, of my body and of others’ bodies and how we take up space.

 

  1. In your opinion, what is special about the dance scene here in Toronto?

 

Toronto has a special dance scene that is going through some very pivotal shifts. I love it because there is so much initiative here, and people are creating spaces constantly that never used to exist. Festivals, jams, one-off cabaret shows, studios. They are responding to the extreme competitiveness of funding and lack of jobs by creating more opportunities for themselves. It’s very gutsy.

 

  1. What are some things that you’d like to see change/evolve in our dance ecology?

 

I want dance to evolve to be more accessible to the general public. I think people are made to feel excluded if they don’t “understand” dance, can’t afford to see a show, or, worse, don’t even know it’s going on. As a community I think we have to work to open our doors more to let audiences know we are here, and to actively invite them in. It’s troublesome how much accessibility plays into whether or not some people are welcome in dance and some art not, as dancers or audience members. Whether we want to think of ourselves as part of these systems or not, a lot of the dance forms were popularized in courts amongst the bourgeoisie, and a lot of those values and limitations are still at play.

 

  1. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

 

That’s a big one. I know that I see myself continuing to explore work that takes flamenco out of the box, and creating classes to help flamencas and other traditional dancers to roll around on the ground and take risks. But beyond that, I am trying to stay present and allow things to develop in the unpredictable way that they do.