I was transported. Apparated. Flown, to that second star to the right and straight on ‘til morning, right into this new land. It was a spectacle, like nothing I had ever seen before, and what a bright star it was: North Toronto’s Fashion Show Neverland.
On the evenings of February 3rd and 4th, audiences in NT’s auditorium were taken into J.M. Barrie’s iconic Neverland. But in this Neverland, they didn’t find Peter Pan or
Tinkerbell flying around; this was Jess Adamson, Laura Murphy, Cicely Campbell,
and the entire 2012 Fashion Show team’s Neverland.
“I love Disney movies so I had high expectations for this years fashion show,” says spectator Nina Adelman. “But it went above and beyond any of my expectations and just blew me away.”
When sitting down with the directors, they emphasized that the theme of this show indeed was to look beyond the image of Neverland that many of us have engrained in our minds thanks to Mickey Mouse, and look more towards the idea of nostalgia as we take the next step in our lives.
“The point of the show was to show us moving on,” explains co-director Jess Adamson. “It was perfect for our graduating year.”
As one of the most theatrical fashion shows North Toronto has ever seen, a clear story was told throughout the entire production, and gave students something they could relate to. Each scene captured abstract stages of the harsh but inevitable reality of growing up.
It began with Shadows, the “reflections of our growth” as Jess Adamson explained to the audience. Through its tremendous choreography and unbelievable lifts and acrobatics, the opening scene was fun and playful, yet also dark and mysterious. And as the Neverland team puts it, it “transformed from the fun and playful symbol of childhood, to a twisted image of what lies before us.”
The overall choreography of Neverland was nothing less than amazing. With a variety of choreographers who ranged across different grades, a great amount of talent and hard work was displayed throughout each scene. Not only that, but because of the various choreographers, the audience was given the chance to see a number of different styles of choreography. For instance, the sharp, chaotic (not to mention in
sync) movements in Witches Haven created a whole new mood in the show compared
to the peppy, energetic and dance-competition-smile filled Pixie Hollow, which
was the preceding scene. In the scene Black Castle, the dancing was aggressive
and jagged, just like the ruins of the Neverland fortress. It contrasted to the
scene before it, Mermaids, filled with flirtatious and seductive choreography
to show their alluring lagoon, which was meant to drag you into “your watery
grave”. In a fashion show at North Toronto, high quality and a balanced variety of choreography styles is essential towards creating an incredible show, which is exactly what was achieved this year.
One of the scenes that stood out for me and many others – including co-director Laura Murphy – was Lost Boys. The intimate yet incredibly talented group of jazz dancers completely portrayed the idea of the sense of friendship held by the Lost Boys, and that at the end, they must “mourn the loss of the days of simplicity, bonds, and the inseparable comradeship they once shared,” as they grow up and have to move on. The fun, carefree choreography was extremely well performed by the dancers. The six
girls had such unbelievable energy throughout the scene and had one of the best
interpretations I had ever seen of Florence and the Machine’s “The Dog Days Are
Over”. Friendship is something that each of us could not live without through
our childhood, and leaving those friends behind to move on to new stages in our
lives is something that has to be done.
In this year’s show, the special talent numbers were the highlight for many audience members. From flying gymnasts to a punk-rock trio, from an adorable love duet to a hauntingly beautiful string quartet and vocalist, from two different harmonious vocal trios to the unforgettable DJ; North Toronto’s fashion shows have never seen so much amazing special talent in just one production. Not only was it amazing to watch all
these incredible performers in Neverland, but it also allowed North Toronto
students to showcase their various talents that might have gone unheard or
unseen if it weren’t for fashion show.
Maze of Regrets was another great highlight in my experience of Neverland. I found that the choreography in the piece was exactly in essence to what the scene was all about: looking back on your life and wishing you could have taken the roads you chose not to, and finally accepting that the only place you can go is forward. The movements were regretful, full of resent, and gave off the impression that the models kept
trying to give up or try to turn around, but they kept going. This scene was also
one of the best in terms of designs: floor length dresses of muted blues
showing resent and regret, but with flourishes of gold or silver to show that
glimmer of hope.
One of the great things about Fashion Show Neverland was that it was different from past years’ fashion shows not only by the dresses, choreography, music or executive team, but that this years’ theme actually was positive and for the first time in the past two years, was not about the world ending.
“There’s no need for our generation to be so negative,” Cicely Campbell explains.
Laura Murphy adds, “Our show showed that people can still get the message in a positive way.” Growing up is a hard thing to do, but it’s a part of life – it’s something that we all have to expect. The directors felt that this year’s show didn’t need to once again show that one day our world will come to an end.
That’s why Neverpeak Mountain was the perfect way to end the show. The directors admitted that they were originally going to end the show with Crocodile Quagmire, but putting in Neverpeak Mountain allowed for the show to end on a positive and happy note. “The fear of what is to come has passed,” and the models danced around the stage carefree and happy with the way things turned out, and finished by creating a mountain, looking up towards the great things that are to come.
The dresses. From the jaw dropping floral gown that Jess Adamson donned as MC between scenes, to the ten-pound mermaid evening gown, and so many more. This year’s fashion show displayed some of its greatest dresses yet.
It is without a doubt that Fashion Show Neverland was one of the best fashion shows North Toronto has ever seen, and they broke a record in raising the most money that fashion show has ever made towards Charity Week.
Cicely says that her biggest surprise throughout her whole experience this year was becoming director.
Laura explains how her parents had never been so proud of her.
Jess says she found that “it turned out so well. But the week before we were all crying.”
If Peter Pan flew into your bedroom window late one night (as I’m sure many of us wished he did when we were younger) and flew you to Neverland, you’d never forget it. Luckily for everyone who watched, performed in, or created the show, we’ve already experienced it.
Check out Fashion Show Neverland pictures and publications at: