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KRIMA! - On Tour

Large-scale. Low tech. Non-theatre, Community setting.

KRIMA! one of Toronto’s top-10 dance shows of 2009
in Toronto’s Now Magazine

"Headlines writ large”

Paula Citron, Globe and Mail & Classical 96.3FM

"Simple in it’s power. A coups!"

Now Magazine

Professionals with community performers: a dance and inter-arts project: can be residency or short-term.
Already over 800 people have participated in 7 iterations in Canada. Italy and Greece. 

Let's bring it to your community. > email


Classical 96.3FM

Toronto March 1, 2009

reviewed by Paula Citron

KRIMA! : reviews

March 4, 2009


A weekly glance around the stage

by Jon Kaplan, Glenn Sumi

December 30, 2010

In 2011 we want... 

Krima! coup

Because of stripped-down budgets, we don’t often get to see dance shows with casts of, say, more than a dozen. Maxine Heppner’s KRIMA!, which had three performances last Sunday (March 1), boasted a cast of 100, and felt both intimate and large-scale.


Performed in the foyer of the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, the show – originally performed in Athens in 2006 (the title is Greek for “what a shame”) – began simply. On the landing of a staircase overlooking the foyer, dancer Andrea Nann executed a series of movements that evoked images of suicide, murder and drowning.


Gradually, other dancers – a virtual who’s – entered the foyer and began performing the same movements, the playing area becoming more and more crowded and frenzied. Soon they became a bloodthirsty mob or passengers on a creaky sinking ship (underscored by the effective sound design).


Meanwhile, in the audience, we watched, passive observers while the tension built. That, I think, is one of Heppner’s points. How can we stand by and say “What a shame!” while tragedy unfolds around us?


The final moments, as the dancers handed out pictures of themselves with a request to donate to the Daily Bread Food Bank on our way out, were simple in their power – and very appropriate.


... 2009’s KRIMA! What A Shame, which featured hundreds of dancers in the lobby of the Young Centre ....make us rethink what’s possible.


Maybe it’s because we see hundreds of shows a year, but site-specific performances can be an unforgettable experience.

Glenn Sumi’s Top 10 Dance Shows 

BY GLENN SUMI NOW | December 22-29, 2009 | VOL 29 NO 17 | Copyright 2010 NOW Communications


How can we sit by while tragedies are happening all the time? Maxine Heppner’s massively scaled project challenged our complacency and swept us up in a sea of 100 dancers, who crowded the Young Centre lobby in a series of powerful vignettes, some suggesting a Noah’s ark of survival and dignity.

In TOP 10 with DV8, Nederlans Dance Theatre, National Ballet of Canada Crystal PIte, Adleheid, MoonHorse Dance, Coleman Lemieux, Lola Dances, Toronto Dance Theatre.

Across Oceans – Maxine Heppner’s KRIMA!...what a shame


Maxine Heppner is an audacious choreographer. The title of her piece KRIMA! in Greek roughly translates as the French satiric “quel dommage” or “what a shame”. The work featured over 100 dancers crammed into the Atrium at the Young Centre.


In order to give audiences an empathetic experience with the sorrows of the world, Heppner literally created a mass disaster. Andrea Nann began the dance as she enacted both victim and assailant, miming different methods of death, whether self-induced or from outside sources. Hanging, electrocution, stabbing, gun shot and ritual Japanese suicide were all there in a repeating pattern that was picked up by waves of others.


Heppner also included two elderly men who ignored the disasters, two mothers with infants who passed through the mob, and veteran dancers Pia Bouman and Mi-Young Kim who performed a duet of nurture and survival amid the chaos.


By the end, the audience had experienced a close encounter with calamity. It was headlines writ large.

the public speaks

PDF document 

about KRIMA!

about KRIMA!

THINGS happen to good people in unexpected places, suddenly. Just when least expected, a drink spills, a window breaks, a siren screams, the world becomes loud…or silent. “ KRIMA!” we say, a smile in our voice, when the something is melodramatic, ultimately inconsequential. “ KRIMA!” we say, in a totally different voice, when the something forces itself deeply into our lives. 

The KRIMA project:   Life is full of surprises, good and bad, personal and global, horrific and mundane. Still we carry on. KRIMA is an dance and inter-arts project that leads participants to consider that we not immune to events that seem to happen only to people “less fortunate”, and that our human spirit is remarkably resilient, creative and generous.

What does Krima! mean?  Krima is a Greek expression meaning “what a shame” or “quel dommage” (from ancient Greek meaning “crime”) When someone says “krima” they may be teasing a friend, or they may be actually acknowledging that an event is “shameful” and should never be allowed to happen.


Glen Sumi wrote: 

“How can we sit by while tragedies are happening all the time? Maxine Heppner’s massively scaled project challenged our complacency and swept us up in a sea of 100 dancers, who crowded the Young Centre lobby in a series of powerful vignettes, some suggesting a Noah’s ark of survival and dignity.” (Toronto’s Now Magazine)


The project looks at the realities of “How do we get by, day-by-day?” through creation, reflection, discussion and performance. The project involves over 100 performers from all backgrounds to dance, make music, write, and create craft arts, using prepared material and personalizing the project to reflect and include local participants’ talents, skills and interests. Exchange between performers and with the public is core to the project’s environment.


The theme is gentle, harsh, pragmatic, and philosophical about life, hardship and the resilience of human      relationships.

The outcome is deeper awareness and new relationships between people and within communities through the shared experience of art-making.


The people:  designed to include 100+ people from all walks of life and all ages (personal, professional, economic, cultural) Participants are involved as performers and/or in the creation, production, administration. Krima builds on the group cooperation of people in the community that is hosting. It gives non-performers an opportunity to create side-by-side with professionals.


The place:  Krima is created for performance in small and very small spaces – it can be in theatres but imagine… a cafe, store or storefront, a room in community centre, an office lobby, small barn, library (…anything can happen anywhere anytime) – the show can and has been to just about anywhere there is interest. Already KRIMA has been successfully produced in very different environments with different casts in 3 cities in Canada (Toronto (Lobby of a theatre), Barrie (historic storefront) and Hamilton (art gallery)) and Athens, Greece (attic of a 4-storey townhouse cafe house).

The Show Structure: Imagine: a cafe-style place, the audience is relaxing before the show they’ve come to see, moving around, chatting with each other, sipping beverages, etc. Unannounced, “something” happens – a performer steps forward and acts out a series of melodramatic disasters. That “something” happens again, in another part of the room. It recurs, now with 3, now with 7, 15 people. The action escalates, developing and changing as more and more people of different sizes, ages, looks and the room becomes entirely filled by people dancing the “disasters”. The audience is enveloped by the event, “unexpectedly caught in the middle” so to speak. With the escalation the tone changes to border on tragedy. Then focused moments. A single person guides a group through the crowd to a more open “safe” place, Elders pick out a tune on a piano, lovers dance a duet, a calm of children playing, a man practicing his boxing technique, the rhythm of the punches transforms into dance music and a party with salsa, conga-lines, breaking… other things… a climax … and then, as life is, the climax dissolves to a quiet “calm after a storm”, and all that is left is the audiences’ memory of what happened as they sip the end of their drinks and slip on their coats to go home.


Awareness of here-now and community donations:  Carrying the spirit of the work into the everyday world, in past productions we partnered with a local charity to raise money and awareness of people in need. This can also be arranged with a charity in your community if you want to but is not required. As the audience exits the performance, moving from our imaginary world to the real world, donation boxes are at the exit doors. With or without the overt fund-raising, KRIMA serves to remind people that “but for the grace of god” they could be the people in need.

The main creative team: Maxine Heppner, artistic director, has over 40 years of experience working, teaching and creating worldwide with people of diverse life experiences. Takako Segawa, rehearsal director, native of Japan, works inter-culturally for the past 2 decades. The rest of the team, experienced in community engaged arts projects, includes 4-6 pro dancers (can be cast locally), technical director and project manager. If the host community does not have access, AO will also provide stage management and other support staff.


How is the piece put together?  The piece is based on a 5-minute dance that everyone learns. It takes a non-dancer approximately 75 minutes to learn it. Once the basic material is learned, Maxine and the professional creative team identify special skills that the local participants have working those skills into the show. (baton twirling? break-dancing? a particular dance-style?). Each community’s show is a little different from the others reflecting the character and skills of the people involved. Principle roles are shared between the Krima “team” and local professional and non-professional performers.

Local performers’ commitment:  how much rehearsal? Local performers commitment involves 1-2 first rehearsals, 2 general rehearsals and the whole day of the show (3 shows in 1 day). The movement material is learned in one rehearsal and then developed to highlight each performer’s strengths. Rehearsal times are set to accommodate varying schedules of performers. There will be some special walk-on roles and some more extended roles. People of all levels of experience, ages and backgrounds are needed as performers (from professionals to people who just want to perform, from babes in arms to elders). Ideally the cast will be even numbers of male & female performers but this is not essential.


How long does it take to prepare/rehearse for the Krima performance?  Krima can be rehearsed and ready to perform in as little as two weeks. Extended rehearsal time is preferable as word-of-mouth gathers more performers and builds excitement and interest. It is best when Maxine & rehearsal assistant come to the community well in advance to introduce the project locally and to see/choose the space where the piece will be performed. Initial organization and preparation: We plan the pre-rehearsal preparation schedule with the host community based on its own timeframe and how it is organized.

Fees, expenses and Technical Requirements  are tailored to each production, as every version is unique. Simply email us your interest. We will examine the capacities and go from there.


KRIMA! : credits

KRIMA! …what a shame is created and produced by Maxine Heppner Across Oceans.

Initial creation was in cooperation with Booze Cooperativa, Lucky Duck Productions, Athens Central Immigrant Aid Centre, and with Yelp!, and Eniamorfo dance companies, in Athens Greece. Funding for further development came from The Toronto Arts Council and Dance Ontario in Canada and private sponsors. The Toronto show was a co-production with The Young Centre for the Performing Arts, with a core of professionals and 8 different community arts groups. The Hamilton show was co-produced with Public Utility Performance at the Downtown Arts Centre. Krima!Barrie was a cooperation with Simcoe Contemporary Dancers and The David Busby Street Centre with over 150 citizens participating in the project and supported by Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council, Trillium Foundation, and City of Barrie.  Most recent is the iteration presented by the Italian Salerno Dance Fesitival.

Artistic Director/Design/Concept

Maxine Heppner


Maxine Heppner in collaboration with each community.


Principle Across Oceans dancers, local professionals and community performers.

Produced by

Maxine Heppner - Across Oceans Arts,

in collaboration with local arts and social service  organizations.


Athens, Greece (2006)

Toronto (ON) (2009 & 2012)

Hamilton (ON) (2009)

Barrie (ON) (2014 & 2015)

Many thanks to all participants in Greece and Canada for their generosity, honesty, spirit and talent.

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media gallery - Toronto

KRIMA! : media gallery Toronto (ON)

KRIMA! : media gallery Barrie (ON)

KRIMA! : media gallery Athens (GR)

media gallery - Barrie ON
media gallery - Athens GR
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