First Dance plays at the Performing Arts Centre - will run for two weeks.

theartsBy Lana Kamaric

October 3, 2014



Traditional ballroom dancing involves a man leading and a woman following. So what happens when the dance is performed with two men? Who leads and who follows? Trevor Copp, founder of Burlington’s Tottering Biped Theatre, and Jeff Fox, professional ballroom instructor and choreographer, seem to have successfully resolved this issue with their piece First Dance.

Copp and Fox First_DanceNow playing at the Burlington Performing Art Centre, First Dance tells the story of Ted, played by Copp, and Aaron, played by Fox. Ted is determined to create a meaningful first dance for his wedding, one that he can proudly perform with his future husband in front of his entire family. For help he turns to Aaron, a competitive dancer and his former lover. As the characters interact through dance we learn the story of their past relationship, their struggles through adolescence and their search for identity in a world of designated gender roles.

With traditional ballroom dance the roles are specifically outlined for male and female partners – the male instigates the dance and the female follows. Outside of the ballroom this notion of male dominance is completely outdated in a society that strives for gender equality and presents an obvious challenge for same sex couples performing a traditional ballroom dance.

As Ted and Aaron compete to take turns leading and following their bodies create a visual dialogue. They struggle to find a balance between Aaron’s classic textbook perfection and Ted’s desire to break free from tradition and create a dance that makes sense when performed with two men. The characters strive to create a harmony between both partners, each having the opportunity to lead and follow, each having the opportunity to start. Copp refers to this transitional technique from leading to following as a “liquid lead.” While their characters wrestle for control of who leads and who follows, Copp and Fox alternate between the roles with seamless fluidity. Gliding in and out of each other’s arms, they create a stunning balance of strength and grace.

Copp Trevor and Fox Jeff

The piece is not performed on an elaborate set – instead the dancers paint the space with their movement. A simple backdrop spills onto the floor with a black and white checkerboard pattern mirroring the contrast between male and female dance roles. While this piece focuses on the relationship between two gay men, the struggle with identity is an issue we can all relate to at one time or another. First Dance demonstrates a personal journey with a universal concept. As Aaron and Ted share their final steps and the dance reaches its end all the pieces fall into place and leave you with a quiet sense of resolution.


October 2 through to the 5th and from the 9th to the 11th. Matinee performances are included. Moderately priced. Tickets can be booked on the Performing Arts web site.  Box office 905-681-6000

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1 comment to First Dance plays at the Performing Arts Centre – will run for two weeks.

  • tenni

    I had seen an earlier production of this play. Previously, there was a fascinating video projection that interplayed with the actors. Is it still in the play?

    The play is a very good form of more innovative theatre with more edginess than is seen at BPAC. The play is well worth viewing. Congratulations to Mr. Copp and congratulations to Ms. Kamaric. I look forward to seeing /reading more from them both!

    I look forward to more edgy productions being presented at BPAC.