The Mirror
Evolution of a dancer
JUSTIN SKINNER

Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue area resident Armineh Keshishian’s evolution as a writer and choreographer has brought her and a group of like-minded dancers all the way to the Winter Garden Theatre.
Keshishian has been writing stories for years and began conveying them in dance in 2005 when she founded Awareness Unlimited Productions. While she has staged performances before, her upcoming show Evolution … of the Human Kind serves as a culmination of many of her stories.
“I wrote the stories at different times and wanted the show to tie these seemingly unrelated stories through movement,” she said.
The result is a show that touches on a number of themes, but focuses primarily on breaking down physical, racial, spiritual and gender barriers. The dancers work in a variety of styles ranging from modern to jazz to belly dancing, but Evolution has a definite Middle Eastern flair.
“There’s a strong theme that has to do with the idea of veils,” Keshishian said. “The veil can be thought of in different ways. Obviously, in many cultures women have to wear veils, but overall I think veils can be seen as the rules and regulations of society.”
Evolution carries strong messages concerning self-actualization, and while the focus in on women gaining a sense of empowerment, many of the themes Keshishian has chosen to explore are universal.
“Regardless of religion, culture or even sex, if I feel love or anger, those are emotions that everyone shares,” she said. “There are a lot of characters, and I think that people will find something in each one that they can relate to.”
The performance itself is empowering for the women, as belly dancing is considered taboo in many Middle Eastern cultures. Half of the dancers in Awareness Unlimited are of Middle Eastern descent, and all share Keshishian’s love of movement.
“The dancers from the Middle East have that passion for Middle Eastern dancing,” she said. “But the whole group is very multicultural, which is what I really love about the group.”
Keshishian said that the performers involved in Awareness Unlimited Productions sometimes rehearse in her North Toronto studio, with larger rehearsals taking place at the Toronto Dance Theatre.
Evolution … of the Human Kind takes place at the Winter Garden Theatre, 189 Yonge St., with shows taking place at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12. Keshishian will hold mix-and-mingle receptions after each performance. For tickets or information, visit www.ticketmaster.ca or call 416-872-5555.

Evolution of a dancer

Local artist to showcase work at Winter Garden Theatre
BY JUSTIN SKINNER
MAY 3, 2007 09:28 AM