Kristin Govers’ return with The Awkward Ballerina
by Ishini Fernando
After winning the hearts of audiences with her performances at the Montreal Fringe Festival this year and getting nominations for awards in the Best English Production and Most Promising Emerging Artist categories, Kristin Govers returned with additional shows in September at Salle Pauline-Julien in the West Island.
The Awkward Ballerina – written and performed by Govers, directed by TJ Dawe and presented by Two Left Feet Productions MTL – is about Govers’ own struggles growing up with spastic cerebral palsy and a dream of becoming a ballerina.
The production is described as a coming-of-age story, one that led Govers to accepting her disability and reimagining her dreams. The autobiographical one-woman show details the hardships she had to overcome from a young age due to her physical limitations as well as relentless bullying she endured for being different. From recounting traumatic memories of being shoved into a garbage can as a child and not being able to get out on her own to the verbal abuse she suffered as she grew older, Govers does not hold back in sharing heartbreaking experiences of her past and present. We learn that the bullying wasn’t always intentional, but nonetheless impactful. It is not all sorrow, however, as her 70-minute show also describes the joys and triumphs of her youth along with the growing pains.
Rave reviews noted on Govers LinkedIn page, even following her first shows, indicate that Govers is a talented storyteller, able to balance humour and seriousness in her performances. They make it clear that her touching and raw delivery brings her audience on a rollercoaster ride of emotions, sometimes evoking uncontrollable laughter and other times utter devastation. She is inspiring and motivational in describing her perseverant pursuit of her dreams, all the while remaining honest and vulnerable about the unique trials she has overcome. Through her shows, she seeks to raise awareness about cerebral palsy and the damaging impact of bullying in modern society.