Fight Directing / Teaching Testimonials
"Michael brings to his work not only the skill of a fight director but also the incredible sensitivity of an actor. He understands how a scene works and how an actor thinks. He speaks to actors in a language they understand and always makes them feel safe and comfortable. He gave us a more compelling scene than I had even imagined. I couldn't recommend him more highly. "
Daniel MacIvor (Henry, Monster, Arigato,Tokyo)
Playwright, Cake and Dirt
"Mike Dufays is an excellent fight director who I would work with again and again! His approach is very clear and precise but what I appreciated most was his ability to tailor the action to the emotional state that both actors are in. This way he creates fights that are realistic, exciting and safe all at the same time!"
Sterling Jarvis (Caroline or Change 2012 Dora Winner, The Lion King)
Actor, The Wild party 2015
"Michael Dufays is an incredible teacher. He is extremely patient; teaches in a clear, consise way; and is capable of making even the most awkward person look and feel like a capable fighter. After working with him (on Dangerous Liaisons), people were amazed that it was one of the first times I had fought in a show. I am very grateful for his patient and specific instruction."
Actor, Dangerous Liasons Stratford festival 2010
"Mike is a generous collaborator. He has the on-stage experience and vocabulary to know how to speak with actors about the fight scenes they are engaged in and through the mastery of his fight direction Mike achieved strong results in the rehearsal room -
I would highly recommend Mike and look forward to our next opportunity to work together. "
Director, The Wild Party, Canstage 2015
" I worked with Michael Dufays [...]on a production of Dangerous Liasons in which he and Todd Cambell choreographed a fight of subtly, delicacy humour and danger that was both a joy to work on and a challenge to achieve.
My experience with [...] Small Sword work was limited - but I was led through the basics and then the details of our fight meticulously so that by the time we were ready to perform we had very little difficulty adjusting the choreography at a moments notice.
I found Michael's knowledge and skill in this type of sword work obvious and impressive, and his patience in helping me not only learn the moves but explain the intellectual and emotional logic of the moves was greatly appreciated. And when there was something that I realized I couldn't do, either because of a character choice or simple inability there was never a hesitation in changing the move.
The fight has proved a great success in performance and most importantly it is an extension of the play and the characters journey and does not feel like an added piece of flash to end the evening.
I'd work with Michael again anytime."
Actor, Dangerous Laisons Stratford Festival 2010
“Working with Michael Dufays as a fight choreographer was a terrific experience. The fights were exciting, interesting, theatrical and grounded in serving the story of the play. His attention to detail, patience and expertise instilled confidence in all those involved in fights while still feeling safe. Not only is he a highly skilled fighter, and choreographer, but he is also able to communicate and teach the fights allowing and encouraging you to take ownership and make the fight your own. Michael Dufays is great asset to any production and to the theatre community because of his unique skills, dedication to his craft and professionalism. "
Daniela Vlaskalic (Drowning Girls)
Actor, Goodnight Desdemona, (Good Morning Juliet), 2013
"Mike is great to work with. He listens, he has ideas, he’s thinks about what serves the play. His instincts are strong and he knows how to tell a story through movement. A great collaborator and just what I needed for the show."
Director, Cake and Dirt, Tarragon theatre 2015
"Working with Mike was wonderful. He has a keen eye and an open mind. We explored several options and had clear, direct conversations about what felt and looked best. Also, Mike was ever ready and able to make adjustments quickly and efficiently in order to refine the story we were telling, which in the case of Cake and Dirt, was in flux right up until the moment we opened! "
Bethany Jillard (Stratford festival)
Actor, Cake and Dirt Tarragon 2015
"Mike has been employed by us as a fight director on our last three Shakespeare productions, and his work has made an invaluable contribution to the look and feel of our projects. Mike has been a tremendous asset for not only tailoring his approach to the needs of each particular actor, but also for tweaking his choreography so that each fighter looks like they operate at the same level without harming the integrity of the fight or the play as a whole.
Mike’s greatest contribution to our efforts has been that his fights have not only worked as visually-satisfying choreographies, but they have put telling the story ahead of all other concerns. Mike has always been respectful of our interpretations ,terrifically collaborative, and I have personally appreciated his insistence on remaining faithful to my vision as a director when rehearsing the actors prior to filming. He frequently comes to me with thoughts and ideas, but he isn’t precious about them; he is more than willing to adapt to what I throw at him."
Founder, Shakespeare at Play, www.shakespeareatplay.ca, 2013
"Michael Dufays in an actor and fight director of the highest calibre. Not only is his work of a consistently high quality but he is also enjoyable and easy to work with. When creating the fights for Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) at the Belfry theatre he utilized his fighters, the environment and made sure to serve the directors vision with such ingenuity and precision that the final product created was a stunning illusion of danger and completely safe. Many patrons and established theatre creators remarked that they were the best fights they had ever seen. Michael is one actor I cannot wait to work with again and whenever anyone needs a recommendation for an outstanding fight director his name will always spring to mind first."
Jameson Matthew Parker (the Bomitty of Errors - Jessie Award, Ride the Cyclone, 2013)
Actor, Goodnight Desdemona; Good Morning Juliet Belfry 2013
Michael Dufays directed me in two fights for "Goodnight Desdemona; Good Morning Juliet". Michael took into account my intermediate fight experience and created fights that we're both challenging and rewarding for me as a performer. He was always available and prepared to answer any questions or address any concerns I had. All fights in the show were compelling and did a wonderful job of supporting the story. I felt this was a result of his diligence when it came to form and intention. Above all, Michael made absolutely sure that everyone on stage felt safe at all times.
Nicola Elbro ( Sterling Award- Little Elephants; Jessie nominated-Mary's Wedding)
Actor, Goodnight Desdemona; Good Morning Juliet Belfry 2013