Danc­ing their way into each other’s hearts

How T.O.’s sum­mer dance fes­ti­val kicked off a love story be­tween two of its per­form­ers

Midtown Post - - Currents -

We were en­gaged five months later and mar­ried less than a year af­ter.”

Michael Cald­well has many fond mem­o­ries with Dusk Dances. He is the guest cu­ra­tor for this year’s event, held at Withrow Park from Aug. 5 to 12, but it was at this event 11 years ago when he felt an ini­tial spark with his hus­band, fel­low dancer Louis LabergeCôté. Here’s how it all went down.

How they met

Michael: We first met when I was au­di­tion­ing for the School of Toronto Dance The­atre. Louis was on the au­di­tion panel, as he was a mem­ber with Toronto Dance The­atre. Over the next few years, we passed each other in hall­ways and worked to­gether a few times with­out ac­tu­ally ever hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion be­yond sur­face-level pleas­antries. It wasn’t un­til the sum­mer of 2007, when we were room­mates on the Dusk Dances tour, that we of­fi­cially got to know each other and be­came a cou­ple.

The first date

Louis: Our first date was a dou­ble fea­ture at the Sco­tia­bank The­atre — Rata­touille and The Simp­sons

Movie — fol­lowed by a late night din­ner at Fran’s at Yonge and Col­lege. We had spent about six weeks to­gether on tour and had al­ready de­vel­oped a close re­la­tion­ship, but it was im­por­tant for us to go on a “real” date to make sure it wasn’t just the tour bub­ble that was driv­ing our de­sires.

The courtship

Michael: Once we re­turned from the six-week Dusk Dances tour, we started dat­ing right away and quickly formed a com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ship af­ter about a month. We were en­gaged five months later and mar­ried less than a year af­ter we got to know each other on tour. I guess it’s like the say­ing goes, “When you know, you know.” The wed­ding Louis: Our gen­er­ous friends of­fered their back­yard to us, and we had a small wed­ding with about 50 guests. At first, we did not go on an of­fi­cial hon­ey­moon as we were work­ing and danc­ing for the sum­mer — though we cer­tainly treated the fol­low­ing Dusk Dances tour as a cel­e­bra­tion of sorts. About a year later, we spent a week at an all-in­clu­sive re­sort in the Riviera Maya in Mex­ico.

Bal­anc­ing ca­reers and mar­riage

Michael: We are both very ac­tive in the dance com­mu­nity in Toronto, in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent ca­pac­i­ties. I value sym­me­try in our re­la­tion­ship, so it is so great to be paired with some­one that truly un­der­stands the stresses and suc­cesses of a ca­reer in dance. As for bal­ance, we find that we are se­lec­tive about when and how we speak about dance at home. It’s good for us to have a sep­a­ra­tion from our work life by ex­plor­ing dif­fer­ent as­pects of our­selves in our home life.

Shared hob­bies

Louis: Is Net­flix a hobby? Oth­er­wise, we are def­i­nitely food­ies and love good food and wine. We try to go to a fine-din­ing restau­rant once a month to par­take in a multi-course din­ner with wine pair­ings. It brings us so much joy.

The home

Michael: We have lived near Carl­ton and Church for years (since even be­fore we were mar­ried) and have no in­ten­tion of leav­ing any­time soon, es­pe­cially with Louis’s re­cent ap­point­ment as an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor in the dance pro­gram at the Ry­er­son School of Per­for­mance.

Se­cret to suc­cess

Louis: Hu­mour. We laugh all the time, mak­ing jokes, try­ing on funny ac­cents and just be­ing silly to­gether. Our work lives are so hec­tic that we find re­lief and so­lace in each other’s pres­ence.

Look­ing to the fu­ture

Michael: Our im­me­di­ate fu­ture is firmly planted in dance. In ad­di­tion to Louis’s teach­ing at Ry­er­son, he is also pre­sent­ing a ma­jor solo work en­ti­tled The Art

of De­gen­er­a­tion at the Ci­tadel at the end of Oc­to­ber. I am the fes­ti­val pro­ducer at Dusk Dances and artis­tic pro­ducer at Fall for Dance North in early Oc­to­ber. So we re­ally pre­fer to live in the present as much as pos­si­ble and al­low the ins and outs of life to guide us for­ward. We strive for fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity but try to re­main as flex­i­ble as pos­si­ble to take ad­van­tage of what­ever might come our way.

L–R: Laberge-Côté and Cald­well were mar­ried in May 2008

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