"Tori Lawrence + Co. creates holistic aesthetic experiences, amalgamating many subtle moments into a complete whole that carefully considers all aspects of performance. Their latest work, JUNKSPACE, choreographed by Lawrence, was previewed in an abandoned warehouse in Philadelphia’s Germantown [...] JUNKSPACE’s sensitive design is an exercise in being, resonating with what is already in the space, and indeed what came before any of us ever set foot in it [...] Another work may have attempted to conquer the warehouse, to resist being swallowed by its magnitude; worse, another work may have ignored it entirely, creating a piece that needed four walls and a floor and nothing more. Yet here, Lawrence’s work communes directly with the space; its strength arises from its acknowledgement of both the physical and energetic states present. JUNKSPACE moves deftly about the building with deference to and camaraderie with the warehouse; all that it once contained and all it has yet to."
THINKINGDANCE.NET, written by Kat Sullivan
"Tori Lawrence + Co. has staged a haunting Fringe event, Awakened Ruins, to animate this majestic 1847 National Historic Landmark [...] five women dancers caked in white clay and wearing corseted muslin bodices progress through the three adjoining rotundas that were Girard College's first classrooms. Tori Lawrence's choreography, replete with fine articulations and carefully placed tableaux, often resembles a slow-moving sculpture as much as a dance. One breakout moment recalls The Rite of Spring, both in pianist Patrick Fink's rhythms and in the hunkered-down group stomps. Memory, decay, and slow-moving time are rich elements of Awakened Ruins."
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, written by Lisa Kraus
"In the arresting 20-minute Awakened Ruins—created by Philly’s Tori Lawrence + Co.—five female bodies caked in clay, moving to a melancholy score breathed by a violinist and pianist, evoke the sadness and grandeur of spaces eroded by time, the elements and fading memories. Amid a week of events at the Barnes, Awakened Ruins promises to be one of the most poignant moments of all."
"The space is grand and beautiful but reveals vulnerability with deep wounds of corrosion. This piece embodies this architecture through live music, thoughtful choreography, talented dancers and striking but crumbling costumes that hint at the structures journey itself."
"Tori Lawrence is quickly becoming known in Philly's dance scene for her site-specific installations that explore connections between architecture and choreography. For a few magical summer evenings, the 23-year old choreographer transformed Girard College's Founder's Hall, a historic landmark otherwise unseen by Philadelphia's residents, into a grand performance space for her newest piece, Awakened Ruins."
"Tori Lawrence's Awakened Ruins, a site-specific dance created for Girard College and modified for the stage, was a lovely meditation on the disconnect between intention and action [...] dancers, caked with chalky powder and leaving plumes of white dust in their wakes, trudged laboriously around the space in distinct sets. The music, vibrant and hopeful, was a marked contrast to lethargic movement phrases. It is only when Lippolis' stone creature broke free, stumbling and sliding around the space, that music and intention combined in service of a narrative. Lippolis tottered wildly like a newborn calf, then whirled, gasped and finally wandered off-stage toward the exit as the music grew reedy and high in a surprisingly tender development."
"At Girard College, Lawrence’s dancers and setting spoke of an inevitable decay in transformation, the withering of once strong fortresses of flesh and stone. Like the crumbling hall, the collapsing bodies in Lawrence’s work, with their pained sighs and grimaces of muted agony, bear nature’s cruel marks."
"When we heard that the Barnes had commissioned a dance we didn’t get it at first, but then we remembered Le Danse, the Matisse work commissioned by Albert Barnes…and now it all makes sense! A new site-specific work is scheduled to premiere Dec. 14 at 7:30PM, created by Tori Lawrence and Co., along with Brooklyn-based music ensemble Bing & Ruth and three dancers..."
"Down in the windowless basement of an outmoded power plant, choreographer Tori Lawrence leads a four-woman troupe through the vast, watery darkness. Their dresses soaked, their hair casting arcs of droplets, the dancers careen about the space with little regard for the bewildered audience. They slip and slide, they grab and lift and drop one another, staring straight ahead all the while. That's not a blanket of blankness in their expressions, but of disbelief, terror, resignation, rue. A short film projected atop their bodies and an eerie score by Bing & Ruth only add to the flow. "
PHILADELPHIA CITY PAPER
"Tori’s dancers performed a magical piece which was more theatrical and powerful than I had imagined [...] Tori’s work is innovative and emotionally powerful. Her artist vision and advocacy for that vision are to be commended."
KATHLEEN GREENE, PUBLIC PROGRAMS MANAGER AT THE BARNES FOUNDATION
"Another hair-standing-on-the-back-of-my-neck performance. [...] How different was the grandeur of last night's performance, amidst the peeling paint and crumbling plaster of the time-worn upper levels of the latter building. Your performance makes an incredibly powerful statement. Not only did the dancers awaken those ruins; they adorned them. Thank you. "
"This was an amazing experience--I'm so glad I was there. I had goosebumps - wonderful production!"
"Awesome performance. The most moving dance piece I have witnessed. The venue, lighting, music and dancing all melded together to create a mesmerizing yet life-fulfilling emotion. Look forward to more from this company."
"It was a beautiful, haunting performance, brilliantly inhabiting this fascinating space and moving among and even with the audience. An inspiring first for this new dance company! Can't wait for more."