Friday, 17 April 2015

Unleash Your Imagination with Katie Ewald

We want you to have the inside scoop, so in the weeks leading up to the 2015 Guelph Dance Festival, the artists will take you behind the scenes and you will hear from the Co-Artistic Directors about their creative vision. You can stretch your boundaries and unleash your imaginations before the Festival even starts! So go ahead, follow your instincts and read on...

This week on the blog, we hear from Katie Ewald, who is curating a component of On the Stage B entitled ReCalibrate. All of the artists involved in this collection can't wait to share their work with you! Get your tickets for the performance on Saturday June 6 at 8pm through the River Run Centre Box Office!

"How can we make the audience a partner in adventure instead of a consumer?" - Frie Leysen

Katie: I never thought I would curate anything, let alone curate a dance show with sixteen choreographers. But recently, I did just that. And I learned something: I've been a professional dancer for almost fifteen years, but I was somehow surprised to discover that I had developed a secret skill along the way. I know how to give performers what they need so that they can do what they're good at: perform. 

So what do dance artists need? They need space. And trust. And a clean floor. And support in doing what they want to do. And if you can gather a bunch of people to witness the event, well that is just about perfect.  

Recently, I’ve been thinking about how much being an artist has changed in my short career. In her closing keynote address at the 2015 Australian Theatre Forum, Belgian festival director and curator Frie Leysen said “We urgently have to reconsider the role of theatres and festivals, as instruments to facilitate and valorise artists again. And we need more flexible structures, production houses that can work tailor-made with artists.” I’ve been thinking about how artists are often put in the role of having to please others in order to be granted space, money and time to make their art, and how this can undermine the very impulses that make us artists. I want to help facilitate and valorise the artist. I believe we need art in the world that is encouraged to fulfil the vision not of the powers that be, but of the artists themselves.  

Through the Local Initiatives project, Guelph Dance has given me this support and time. With ReCalibrate, I am now able to turn around and offer this support to artists who are, for the most part, local. I am continually impressed and encouraged by Guelph Dance and their trust in local talent. I am honoured to work with them again.

The ReCalibrate artists are Jasmin McGraw, Simon Portigal, Janet Morton, and Lynette Segal, I have asked them to re-imagine and re-construct a recent work that they have performed, and adapt it to the context of Stage B on June 6 at the Co-operators Hall in the River Run Centre.  

I will be working with these four amazing people to see what they can do with the initial work that they presented for Short&Sweet: Guelph Edition at Kazoo! Fest, to expand it for a different situation. They are talented and distinctive artists with different experiences and methods of engaging with performance.

What connects all of the works is their strong conceptual basis, and the fact that none of the pieces used ‘music,’ but rather sound design or text. I want to offer the audience a journey into these three distinct worlds, to entrust with them the demands of being present to art. 

I can’t wait to see what the artists come up with. I know it will be compelling.

L to R: Jasmin McGraw, Lynette Segal with Janet Morton, and Simon Portigal, performing at Kazoo! Fest. Photos by Jacklyn Barber.
Jasmin: Last Friday night at Silence, the concrete space was jam-packed, with barely any room to move. The space was a blank raw canvas and the night was produced in such a way the dancers felt an incredible amount of respect and support. Not an easy feat, so much trust. It was the first time in a while where I danced and felt supported enough to create from a place deep within myself and express it without prejudice.

Without the clean professional production feel, the edges of the performance space were not so defined.  The dance pieces bled right into the room. Not with the intention to bring dance down to meet the public, but instead to be so close that the spectators were a part of the experience and had no choice but to let it over-ride their intellect and hit them in the gut. 

The new challenge is: How to Re-Calibrate this experience to a formal stage?  I don’t believe that it can be the same animal but it does pose an interesting question. Is there a way to have the audience be actively connected to the work on stage without having them standing right next to you? And can I be true to the message of the night? This is the challenge.

Lynette: I am honoured and thrilled to have embarked upon a collaborative artistic relationship with the remarkably talented and wise Janet Morton. We have created a forum to bring our art practices and dialogue together, as we go forth as female artists in our middle passage. Although Janet has had an interest in the ravelling and unravelling of things in her art for a long time, this will be our second shared iteration of this concept.

Let's make sure these incredible artists have a full house! Get your tickets now: seats are assigned and prices go up May 31.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Unveiling the 2015 Guelph Dance Festival

We are very excited to announce the line-up for the 17th annual Guelph Dance Festival which will take place all over downtown Guelph from Thursday June 4 to Sunday June 7. We are hoping you will stretch your boundaries and unleash your imaginations with us this year. After taking in all of the beautiful photos and moving piece descriptions available at, we encourage you to follow your instincts and map out your Festival weekend early!
The complete 2015 Guelph Dance Festival line-up.
We are thrilled to bring artists from across the country while also supporting our growing local dance community. This year we are hosting Margie Gillis (Montreal), who is celebrating her 40th anniversary as an internationally-renowned and deeply personal soloist. Jody Oberfelder (New York) is also a very special treat as she will be combining the talents of 3 of her company dancers with that of 3 of our local dancers in a week-long residency, culminating in a one-night-only performance. We are equally proud to present local artists Julia Garlisi and Katie Ewald as choreographers, dancers, and even curators in the Stage series of this year's Festival!

As always, we aim to balance the 
virtuosic, sensual, and highly emotional with the quirky and unexpected. The four companies performing in our popular Park series will make you laugh, cry, and dance in your seats! Programming is suitable for all ages, so bring your families for a walk in the park. Youth Moves, where dancers under the age of 19 take the stage by storm, makes for the sweetest possible ending to the Festival weekend!
You'll be seeing this poster by LINDdesign all around town soon!
Don't let the professionals have all of the fun! If this incredible line-up has got you inspired, take note of the five opportunities you'll have to get up and dance with us! Public workshops, designed for all levels (ages 14+), allow Festival artists to share their styles with you. On Saturday June 6, Margie Gillis will help you "dance from the inside out", and on Sunday June 7, Tentacle Tribe will expand your vocabulary to include "conceptual hip hop". New this year, we're giving you two chances to sample the variety of movement forms offered in our great city! Join us in Exhibition Park before and after the Saturday and Sunday Park performances for our 3rd annual Dance Market. And last but not least, linger after the Stage B performance on Saturday June 6 for an After Party, free to the public, hosted by Guelph's own King Neptune & His Tridents, courtesy of Hillside Festival. We can't wait to share the dance floor with you!

Purchase tickets early to avoid disappointment! Tickets for all performances at River Run Centre can be purchased through their box office. All other events are pay-what-you-can or can be reserved through our website.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Meet Our Team of March Break Camp Instructors

Our Arts Explosion March Break and Summer Camps are a fun-filled, pressure-free exploration of the arts. Renowned local and national artists encourage children from 4-13 in all art forms. This March Break Camp is perfect for the child who loves to create: they'll sing in a glee club, dance up a storm, make art, and get theatrical! Book with the River Run Centre now to have them join this fabulous roster of local artists from March 16-20, 2015! New this year, we are also offering full-day camp for the Orange Group (born 2009-2010) and an extra hour of post-camp care, perfect for busy parents! Read our last camp blog for more details.

On today's blog, our teachers tell us why they are excited to work with your kids and what you can expect from their workshops!
Music instructors Carey West (L) and Shannon Kingsbury (R) performing at our 2014 In the Park series. Photo by Pulse Photography.
Local songstress Shannon Kingsbury returns to our camp for music and stories with the Orange group. "Having had the pleasure of teaching with Arts Explosion for many years, I greatly look forward to being part of the excitement and energy that is co-created by the enthusiastic campers, youth volunteers and arts educators. It is especially a delight to witness first time campers sprout their creative wings. 

Young campers will love using their voices, bodies, small instruments, and props in creative music play. Each music session will conclude with a traditional song story, providing a comforting interval of calm in the campers' active day."

Having worked as a music specialist in elementary schools over the last decade and performing with bands from all genres, Carey West was a great addition to our camps in the summer! She will be instructing the Red and Blue Groups (campers born 2002-2008). "
I’m excited to facilitate music and movement at this year’s March Break Camp because I had such a fantastic time working with Arts Explosion last summer! The kids were all so comfortable moving and singing. I saw a lot of musicality in their dance as well as in their voices. They were all so expressive! This camp hits the sweet spot between hard work and straight up fun. The result is a week of good times and great art.

In the music component we start with language, and add movement. These two elements serve as an anchor to help kids layer sounds and create songs. Campers can expect to use their whole body as an instrument, and play their unique part in order to create a larger whole."
Lynette Segal joins us for Creative Movement with the Orange and Red Groups. Photo by Eden Segal-Grossman.
Renowned local dancer and RMT Lynette Segal will be exploring Creative Movement with the Orange and Red Groups. "Another exciting March Break Camp! I'm thrilled to continue working with the wee ones again and with the 6-8 year olds. What a delight it is to learn about each camper, watching them express precisely their unique personalities. By exploring how their bodies move, the forms they can make and feelings evoked in-so-doing, we set compassion, coordination and confidence in motion."
It is a delight to watch Courtney Riddell in action with our campers of all ages!
Courtney Riddell, a First Light Theatre teacher and one-woman show extraordinaire, joins us again this year to work with all three age groups. "I'm super excited to teach this March Break Camp to see the campers come out of their shells and fall in love with the crazy world of theatre. For this camp I want to give some focus on how to create characters. We will explore this through some fun theatre games."
Local dancer Katie Ewald performed at the 2014 Guelph Dance Festival. Photo by Jacklyn Barber.
We are excited to welcome Festival performer and Pilates instructor Katie Ewald to our camp roster as the Contemporary Dance instructor for the Blue Group! "I am excited to meet the campers and to get to know each other through dancing. I have been very fortunate to study and work with some of the leading contemporary dancers and choreographers of our time. I am happy I can share that knowledge with the Guelph community. We will explore the space and the ways we can move through it!"
Visual artist Adrienne Spier poses with her exhibit of repurposed school desks.
Adrienne Spier is a multidisciplinary artist and educator who has exhibited her work across Canada and internationally. She has an MFA from Concordia University, completed the Independent Studio Program at the Toronto School of Art, and has a BA in Fine Art from University of Guelph. She is a qualified teacher, and has been teaching art for over twenty years to children and adults at a variety of schools, camps, and after school programs. She looks forward to exploring a variety of visual materials with campers this March Break.
Don't miss out on this amazing experience for your children ages 4-13! Now, in addition to the 5% sibling discount for our camps, we are offering 20% off your total order with the River Run centre when you purchase two full weeks of our camps, whether that is March Break and a week in the summer, both weeks in the summer, or all three! In-person and phone orders only. Take advantage of this steal of a deal now!

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Get Up and Dance at Hillside Inside!

The countdown to Hillside Inside is definitely on! With headliners like STARS and Hey Rosetta!, this mid-winter festival is not to be missed. We are so happy that this action-packed weekend can also include some dance!

On the blog today, we hear from Guelph Dance Co-Artistic Director Catrina von Radecki and Hillside Festival Executive Director Marie Zimmerman on the groovy ways that dance will be woven throughout the weekend-long festival.

We've been co-presenting dance at Hillside Inside since 2011 when the Fab 5 had the idea that we would do a collective "Art Attack" at the River Run Centre in the lobby. The aim was to take people completely off-guard, and it worked beautifully: 700 or so people entered the lobby at intermission and were suddenly surrounded by music, dance and spoken word. It was the buzz around town for weeks afterward!  

Now, five years later, we are thinking that since people are used to us taking this surprise approach that we should now shift toward more formal introductions of the performances. So, this year, we have advertised both intermission performances instead of just springing them on people. We are excited about the intermission pieces because they mark our fifth year of getting contemporary dance in front of Hillsiders, who are well known for their love of movement and their veneration of the body.  Most Hillsiders are familiar with African, Middle Eastern, Celtic, and Afro-Cuban dance styles because we have a Drum & Dance program at the summer festival. But contemporary dance is less familiar, and yet it is so overwhelmingly gorgeous.

The piece for intermission at the 
Oliver Mtukudzi and Alex Cuba show is choreographed by Megan O'Donnell, a Guelph dancer. I have seen her work in the Guelph Shebang and I was really impressed by how grounded her poetry is. 

Catrina: Her piece entitled A Time to Come Home will be performed by an amazing line-up of local dancers: Suzette Sherman, Georgia Simms, Kristine Muth, Jordana Deveau, Lisa Bush, Susan Oxley, and Jenna Oxley. The dancers will sweep through the Canada Company Hall, bringing the audience into the woods with them is time to come home... and to go back into the theatre for the rest of the show. 

: When I saw Frog In Hand perform Cafe Noisette at Guelph Dance's CSA Nooner at the University of Guelph, I knew the piece would work well for the STARS and Hey Rosetta! show. It's got the kind of high-energy cheekiness and rebellion that STARS has played with in the past - flirting with gangsterism as it clashes with innocence.  The piece will contrast just enough with the music on the bill that it will seem like a breath of fresh air.  I hope it sparks lots of questions about the Dance Festival. It would be great if people could glean from this performance that contemporary dance is not the brooding, highfalutin' stuff that mainstream culture makes it out to be. It's relevant; it's athletic; it's in-your-face; and it's exciting.

For the first time ever, the Guelph Dance Festival is ​offering a dance workshop at Hillside Inside. We are glad that they can keep it alive, as it is an audience favourite. The Dance Festival has stepped in with Frog In Hand who will do a swing workshop on Sunday Feb 8th at 2pm at DanceTheatre David Earle Studios on Quebec Street. We are thrilled. Imagine: swing in the winter! We can't wait for this one!

It is not often you get to let it all out on the dance floor, so don't miss this chance! We know Hillsiders love to have fun, and performers/teachers Mayumi Lashbrook and Mateo Galindo Torres will bring it!

The Guelph Dance Festival is able to program dance at other performing arts festivals thanks to the Guelph Fab 5, a partnership between the Guelph Dance Festival, Hillside Festival, Guelph Film Festival (FOMM), Guelph Jazz Festival, and Eden Mills Writers' Festival, and thanks to support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.  

It is our belief that our audiences share our passion for the arts and that by presenting dance at Hillside, we will expose new audiences to our incredible art form and we will be able to support more local and national artists. We also hope you will be enthralled by what you see and will come join us at the Guelph Dance Festival this June 4-7th, 2015. Not only will you see Frog In Hand perform in our In the Park series, you will also see artists from across Canada and many artists from right here in Guelph, perform in our parks, streets, studios, and theatres!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Exciting Changes Coming to our Popular Camps!

We were happy to announce in November that our popular Arts Explosion Camps are returning for another year! We have stimulating multi-arts programming for children ages 4-13 for a total of three weeks, so mark your calendars: March 16-20, July 6-10, and July 13-17. March Break Camp is fast approaching, so we want to let you in on some big news… 

On the blog today, the Guelph Dance Co-Artistic Directors chat with us about the exciting changes to our camps.

Janet: Guelph Dance is now offering full day programming for our Orange campers, born 2009-2010. Several factors have pushed us in this direction, including that most kindergarteners are at school for a full day and that busy parents have been asking us for this option.

Since this age group has previously only participated in a half-day camp from 9:30-noon, we know that folks might be wondering what the new format will look like. The morning will include a creative movement class with Lynette Segal, a visual arts adventure with Emma Martin, a snack break, and a songs and stories session with Shannon Kingsbury. They will then join the other campers for lunch hour, half of which is spent indoors and the other half outdoors. The afternoon will involve some theatrical fun with Courtney Riddell, a snack break, and some quiet time. At the end of the day, all of the campers will come together for a closing circle of games and sharing what they learned.

Local dance artist Lynette Segal and her 4-5 year old campers wake up from hibernation like bears at last year's March Break Camp.
Catrina: We are also now offering longer post-camp care for all age groups. As always, the arts programming ends at 3:30, at which point parents can pick-up their campers if they like. We offer unstructured supervised care for free until 4:30, and are now adding another hour of care until 5:30 for those who need it. This extra hour will be $5 per day or $25 for the full week. We know that working parents are especially in need of this flexibility on pick-up times, so we did a lot of research on other great camps in our city to make sure that we were making our system as fair as possible.

We are confident that these changes will make the camp a better, fuller experience for all age groups. As always, our incredible team of instructors, staff, and volunteers are excited to guide your children through a pressure-free exploration of the arts!

For more information on the 2015 Arts Explosion Camps, please see our website. To register for any of the camp weeks, please visit the River Run Centre website, or contact the box office at 519-763-3000.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Curating Quotes from our Community

In honour of the giving spirit of the holiday season, and the very successful Giving Tuesday Canada and Guelph Gives campaigns this year, we are asking community members to tell us why you love us! Selected quotes will appear in a new ad campaign. Its free to you and a huge help to us! Talk about microvolunteering at its finest.

We would love to hear from Festival-goers, parents of Arts Explosion campers, teachers who have brought in our Workshops in Schools, volunteers, donors, sponsors, and other community members who support Guelph Dance. Simply email us with your quote, or reach out on Facebook or Twitter.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Art, Business & Dance Converge for 2nd Annual Online Auction

Do your holiday shopping and support one of your favourite charities! Our annual online auction is bigger and better this year! New items will be launched on our Facebook page every day from November 3-27. Fans can bid on items until November 28th at 8pm.
Your contribution to Guelph Dance helps bring pay-what-you-can programming to the streets and parks of Guelph, low-cost workshops to public schools, and innovative and exciting contemporary dance performances to our community. We need you to keep us going strong, and with the holidays right around the corner, there is no better time to give and get! Thank you for your support and happy bidding!

On the blog today, we hear from two local artists who created something especially for our auction. Hear why the love Guelph Dance and wanted to contribute in their unique way!

Guelph Dance is an inspiring bunch! A vital part of Guelph's energetic arts scene, Guelph Dance connects us to the international world of dance in the most breathtaking way. As an artist who works every day to sustain myself, I am delighted to be able to share the hefty task of keeping one of our local arts gems chugging along. You gotta dance! 

kukucaju's Dancing Dog seems a prefect fit for a A+ organization that shares their infatuation with dance 
with us all.
kukucaju's Dancing Dog was launched on the first day of our auction, so visit our Facebook page to bid now!
Anwen: I love the fine folk behind the Guelph Dance Festival and thoroughly enjoy the performances when I get to them. It's such an amazing inspiration to so many people! I wanted to make a little something to help them keep doing the great things they do! 

This dancer doll from Humble Toys will make an appearance later this month, so stay tuned to our Facebook page to bid on her early!

We are so thankful to these artists for their time and energy, and we encourage you to check out their other designs! Shop for kukucaju's paintings on wood at and Humble Toys at

Acqua Salon, Affinity Dance Arts, Airborne Trampoline, The Albion, Beauty by Lindsay, Beelightful Candles, Cafe Insomnia, Children’s Art Factory, Crossfit Guelph, The Dance Current, Dance International Magazine, Dancetheatre David Earle, Everdale Farm, Fina Vista Farms, Fitness After 50, Flour Barrel, Grey Rock Clothing, Gryphons Athletics, Guelph Museums, Guelph Youth Dance Training Program, Hillside Festival, Humble Toys, Hush Salon & Spa, IF.. Footwear, Janet Johnson Gyrokinesis, kukucaju, Lynette Segal Massage, Maria Pezzano Studio Boutique, Michelle Miller Jewellery, Moksha Yoga, Mosaic Catering, New Moon Organics, Norfolk Manor, Ouderkirk & Taylor, Play with Clay, Pilates in Guelph, Red Brick Cafe, River Run Centre, Roncesvalles Physiotherapy, Shannon Kingsbury Music, Simple Home Solutions, Speed River Bicycle, Speed River Paddling, Sweet Temptations Cupcakery, Taste Fine Foods, Tealee, TML Business Support, Victoria Park East Golf Club, Victoria Park Valley Golf Club, Vinnie’s Mr. Fix It, Wellington Brewery, and Wimpy’s Diner. Our auction truly has something for everyone!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Wanted: 3 Fearless Dances for Jody Oberfelder Projects

Guelph Dance is partnering with Jody Oberfelder Projects of New York City on a residency to remount a piece for the 2015 Guelph Dance Festival. 4Chambers is an intimate, sensorial journey, witnessed by only 12 audience members at a time. Show Business Weekly called it “an opportunity to feel alive”.

Jody is looking for 3 strong, agile, fearless, and personable dancers who are interested in creating this experience for the audience, along with 3 dancers travelling in from NYC. This is an excellent opportunity for artistic exchange and development. Interested dancers from Guelph and the surrounding area should send a video clip, whether its from a performance or improvisation in the studio, to Jody at More information on the project can be found at the Jody Oberfelder Projects website.

Guelph Dance would like to thank the Guelph Community Foundation for their generous support of this initiative, which will strengthen the local dance community through artistic exchange.

On the blog today, Jody and her dancers demonstrate what she is looking for. If you think you fit the bill, send her your video now!




Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Memories from Camp: Compliments All Around

Our 2014 Arts Explosion Summer Camps, from July 7-11 and 14-18, were a huge success! Heartfelt thanks go out to all of the instructors, volunteers, River Run Centre staff, and campers for an inspiring and energizing two weeks! Parents: if you didn't have a chance to fill out a survey on your last day of camp, please take a minute to do so online here

This blog is dedicated to all of our enthusiastic, creative, brave, energetic, and groovy campers from the last two weeks. During our 'closing circle' at the end of the day, we worked on posters with our age group that listed each person's name. After having learned about their new friends in the classes, at snack time, and over lunch, it was the campers' and counsellors' responsibility to articulate what every camper was especially talented at, and what complimentary words describe their personality. Here is what they came up with. Warning: contents may be heartwarming. Note that the campers are identified by their first initial only.

Week 1, July 7-11

Red Group
I. - talented at art, very enthusiastic, great ideas in hip hop

S. - always does well in dance, has great energy all day
C. - very creative and very good at skipping
A. - always focused and hardworking in art, is sweet and nice to everyone
B. - did great in hip hop and contemporary, is a great role model to other campers
L. - a very good listener, very independent
M. - always does well in art, great at making friends
A. - does well in dance, tries everything with a smile on his face
J. - makes friends easily, improved listening skills throughout the week
C. - has awesome ideas, became bigger part of the group
A. - such a good listener, such a happy kid
H. - clearly loves art, adds energy to everything
Z. - a great sharer, is sweet and nice to everyone
C. - great in drama class, tries everything enthusiastically
L. - clearly loves art, is a happy smiling kid
T. - shines in contemporary, makes friends easily
R. - great at starting games, good at coming up with hip hop moves
S. - brought her A game in hip hop, is sweet to everyone
J. - good at being silly, has a great smile
G. - super creative, improved listening skills throughout the week
J. - made a great secret handshake in class, nice to have around
E. - great at drama and skipping, makes friends with everyone
S. - came out of her shell in drama, is a great participant
J. - shines in art, always has a smile on his face
D. - very independent, became bigger part of the group

Blue Group
A. - fun, big smile, enthusiastic, creative
G. - generous, nice, creative
M. - sporty, always laughing, energetic
L. - great dancer, nice to everyone, funny, good soccer player

E. - hard worker, high energy, great ideas, good memory
G. - great dancer, friendly, awesome fashion sense
R. - always smiling, nice, fashionable, hard worker
A. - friendly, good participant, nice smile
V. - sparkly, always in a good mood, good conversation starter
B. - has good ideas, quiet but nice to everyone
O. - good dancer, great energy, big smile
E. - flexible, bubbly, always making jokes
J. - a joker, giggly, big warm smile

C. - fun, energetic, artistic, smart, friendly
N. - calm, good participant, caring
K. - came out of his shell, good hip hop moves

Green Group
S. - nice hair, flexible, focused, picked up choreography well, makes nice art
P. - good actress, good fashion sense, great at handstands
C. - dedicated and worked through injury, good actress, persistent

O. - kind, soft-spoken, good gymnast, pretty, good actress
K. - picked up choreography well, nice, soft-spoken, focused, makes nice art
J. - funny, good participant, artistic, good ideas in drama, good actress
L. - good dancer, flexible, funny, creative ideas, confident
H. - intelligent, all-round awesome, nice smile, good dancer
R. - funny, cool shirts, good dancer especially on barre, silly, confident
M. - funny, bubbly, good at dance and acting, acts her age, good leader
I. - nice hair, good at soccer, sweet, funny, active
A. - nice, peaceful, good dancer and actress, funny, makes nice art
I. - funny, pretty, active, brave, calm, sweet
M. - confident, funny, persistent, good at making art, tall!
E. - good dancer, very dramatic, good ideas
S. - speedy, good singer, stylish, bubbly
L. - confident, generous, she perseveres

Week 2, July 14-18

Red Group
T. - good dancer and artist, nice to everyone, confident

A. - makes nice art, good friend, caring, good ideas
L. - good dancer, caring, sweet
B. - makes nice art, good friend/sister, caring, became bigger part of the group
C. - good ideas, dedicated to his art, good friend/brother, started to dance more

J. - kind and loving, shares, good dancer, outgoing, loves to skip!
S. - shares, good dancer, good friend, helpful

J. - energetic, silly, good friend, more focused
R. - good friend and good dancer, silly, nice, better listening
D. - great participant in dance, generous, awesome in art
A. - energetic, silly, responsible, confident
A. - great at playing, good friend and artist, loves gymnastics, makes friends easily
C. - thoughtful, loving, confident, good dancer
E. - good friend, awesome skipper, thoughtful, great at making music
H. - friendly, kind-hearted, cute, confident, budding artist and dancer
A. - good friend and artist, silly, has great ideas, makes friends easily
M. - kind, good friend, caring, has great moves
L. - good friend, artist and dancer, courageous, kind
S. - silly, brave, good dancer and artist, great skipper, friendly
L. - responsible, kind-hearted, good friend and dancer
J. - funny, kind, responsible, great in dance and art

Blue Group
P. - smiley, good friend, funny, good at handstands, fashionista
L. - high energy, positive, always smiling, good singer, good participant
K. - flexible, funny, active participant, good friend, silly, dedicated collector

J. - confident, weird and wonderful, funny, always happy, artistic, nice
H. - good singer, very artistic, friendly to everyone, nice
R. - nice to everyone, good dancer, smiley, cute, good friend, such soft hair!
O. - really good participant, nice, hard worker, artistic, very good skater, colourful
W. - hard worker, smiley, curious, always positive, very caring
S. - creative, weird in a good way, unique, good dancer, artistic, sporty, enthusiastic
E. - strong leader, good friend, funny/silly, quirky, nice, bubbly, good skater
I. - good hockey player, very good friend, always participates, creative
C. - funny, good friend, nice to everyone, confident, artistic, bubbly, good singer
A. - really good at drawing, unique, confident, big personality, funny
S. - good participant, nice, positive, caring, good friend
M. - good dancer, sassy in a good way, energetic, colourful, friendly

Tickets for our 2015 March Break Camp will go on sale December 1, 2014, so stay tuned for the details! Spaces go quickly - don't miss out on this fun-fulled, pressure-free exploration of the arts!

Monday, 21 July 2014

2014 Guelph Dance Festival Captured by Pulse Photography

Our photographers, Teigan Baker and Chris Seto of Pulse Photography, scrambled as much as we did to make it to every Festival event, beating the crowd to find the best vantage points. We are so excited to share some reflections from Teigan, who shot the Festival while nursing a broken foot. That is dedication to the craft!

Teigan: From May 29 to June 1, the city of Guelph came alive with the extraordinary art of dance. It was impossible not to become inspired by the dancers who performed. I had goosebumps on multiple occasions, despite the perfect summer weather we were blessed with. The Festival was an unforgettable one, brimming with heaps of inventiveness, entertainment and talent.
Everyday Marvels by Shannon Litzenberger Contemporary Dance, on Stage B of the 2014 Guelph Dance Festival. Photo by Pulse Photography.
Teigan: As a dancer myself, the challenge that comes from performing in unusual venues is not lost on me. Grass, pavement, a downtown dance studio, a living room, and even in and around a parked car, were all unexpected locales for movement, and the dancers performed flawlessly. It was so uplifting to witness Guelph become enlivened with spins, leaps, kicks, pops and struts.
Auto-Fiction by Human Playground, at the In the Park performances of the 2014 Guelph Dance Festival. Photo by Pulse Photography.
JACK YOUR BODY by Mix Mix Dance Collective, at the After Party & Late Night Show of the 2014 Guelph Dance Festival. Photo by Pulse Photography.
Teigan: I want to commend all of the brilliant artists and performers who animated our city with such beauty. A thank you also to my enormously talented partner, Chris Seto, who shot this festival with me.

The images featured here are some of my favourites from the weekend, but heaps more are available online at, with the password letsdance. All photos are on sale! To purchase images, please contact me at
at once (im)possible by Jessica Runge, at the In the Studio performances of the 2014 Guelph Dance Festival. Photo by Pulse Photography.
Beside You by MOonhORsE Dance Theatre, at the In the Studio performances of the 2014 Guelph Dance Festival. Photo by Pulse Photography.
Abandon by Dasein Dance School, at the Youth Moves performance of the 2014 Guelph Dance Festival. Photo by Pulse Photography.
A workshop at the Dance Market event of the 2014 Guelph Dance Festival. Photo by Pulse Photography.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Embrace Adventure with Mocean Dance: Susanne & Lesandra's 3rd Festival

In the weeks leading up to Guelph Dance Festival 2014, some of the Festival artists will share their vision with us here on the blog. These intimate, behind-the-scenes looks will bring us closer to the artistry, process, and experience of dance. We encourage you to not just read these amazing stories, but to ask questions and engage in conversation about dance in our comments section below. Embrace adventure with us in 2014!

Susanne Chui shares a bit about her experience working with choreographer Lesandra Dodson for the third time. Mocean Dance performs at On the Stage A on Friday, May 30 at 8pm at the Co-operators Hall of River Run Centre. Tickets are available now through the River Run Centre Box Office!

Susanne: In preparation for writing this blog post, I reflect that this is actually my third time performing in the Guelph Dance Festival, and each time it has been in work by Lesandra Dodson. I further reflect that each time Lesandra and I travelled to the Festival, we have been at very different stages in our lives, and in our work as dance artists. In fact, the Guelph Dance Festival has acted as a kind of marker in the ongoing flow of time.
Photo of Mocean Dance by Holly Crooks.

Susanne: Our first appearance at the Festival was 2003, when we performed the quartet Kuere, with TILT: sound + motion dance company, where I was a dancer, fresh out of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and Lesandra was choreographer-in-residence. The second time, in 2011, we presented a solo I commissioned from Lesandra, called Her blameless mystery.  By then, both Lesandra and I had moved from Toronto and were living out east, myself in Halifax, NS and Lesandra in Fredericton, NB. I had made the transition from being primarily a ‘for hire’ dancer in the ‘big city’ to a wearing the many hats of being an independent dance artist in a smaller city. Lesandra had kids and built a family life in New Brunswick, while becoming immersed in that community and continuing her choreographic practice.

Now in 2014, I am returning to the Festival as Artistic Director of Mocean Dance company, having made another big ‘move’ from independent dance life to running a company. Lesandra also took on a leadership position in her community, as Executive Director of the Charlotte Street Arts Centre.
Photo of Mocean Dance by Holly Crooks.
Susanne: Inasmuch as our lives have changed over the past 11 years since Sandy and I first came to Guelph, her choreographic work has also shifted, evolved, and changed with time. Over this period I have been in a fortunate position to sense this shift, literally through my body, by performing her work. So how has it changed? Well I would say that the biggest shift is a  ‘distilling towards the essential’. Where Kuere was highly physical, dense, fast paced, layered with text, the work we will be presenting this year, A leash for two hounds, is sparser, less ‘dancey’, more pared down. In creating this piece, Lesandra wanted to challenge herself to work within limits. The first was how to create a duet on a man and a woman that is not a traditional male-female “relationship.” The second was to not use text or video, two elements that were becoming common in her work, and played a large role in Her blameless mystery. The third was to use props, but also with the limitation of using them outside of their intended way. As she worked with Darryl and I, she further began to impose limitations, including the significant choice to have us face the back for almost the entire piece. The question then became what can be expressed when the face is taken away?
Photo of Mocean Dance by Lesandra Dodson.

Susanne: To me, these limitations are part of Lesandra’s search for the essential. She has always been a huge ‘editor’ of her material, she’s not the kind of person who is married to the movement: if it’s not speaking to her, it’s cut! (So much so that we joke that all her pieces end up only being 12 minutes long!) But I think this shift towards essentialism goes beyond editing. I think it speaks to a deeper desire that is surfacing in Lesandra. She appears to be at a stage in her life where less is more, where depth trumps breadth, where the ‘why’ is more important than the ‘what’. I see this in her life as well, having survived the amazing circus of independent dance life, raising a family, and running an arts centre, she is taking a step back and looking at what is essential to move forward. I’ve seen this shift in many of my peers and I’m starting to feel a pull in this direction as well. To me this is what makes following an artist’s work over the long term so exciting: you get to see the work evolve as a reflection of the evolution of the artist herself. I’m pleased be able to witness this process and be part its’ expression through dancing Lesandra’s work. I wonder if audiences in Guelph will remember the other two times we presented at the Festival, and if they too will experience this subtle shift. Looking forward to finding out!

See you soon,
Susanne Chui

Based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Mocean Dance is nationally recognized as a leading company from the Atlantic region. Led by Artistic Director Susanne Chui and Artistic Associate Sara Coffin, Mocean brings together artists to create, produce and tour exciting new work annually, collaborating with some of North America’s finest choreographers. Now in its thirteenth season, Mocean is committed to its home base in Nova Scotia, contributing to the province’s growing dance and arts community by providing opportunities for creation, performance, collaboration, development and education.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Embrace Adventure with Our Platinum Sponsors

As we gear up for the Festival this weekend, we would like to highlight our Platinum Sponsors, who have all contributed $5,000-$9,999 of support to our 2014 Embrace Adventure season. Intrigue Media, 1460 CJOY/106.1 Magic, and 93.3 CFRU have all been promoting the 2014 Festival, helping to make sure that you - our lovely and enthusiastic audience members - mark your calendars, buy your tickets for the Stage and Studio, and show up at the Park with picnics and sunscreen!

Did you see Festival footage in the waiting room at your doctor's office, while enjoying a pint at Bobby O'Brien's, or while in line for a table at Eggcetra? Intrigue Media has helped us engage you - our community members - year-round, by playing this snappy little video on "Intrigue TVs" across our great city! There is nothing better than clips of stunning performances to get you excited for the next year's line-up! Special thanks to Emma Rogers and Jeff Dale for their energy and ideas.

Do you remember hearing about our Arts Explosion March Break Camps or the action-packed Festival we have planned for you when you were in the cereal aisle at the grocery store or commuting into work? 1460 CJOY AM and 106.1 Magic FM have been recording and playing our ads for the last two Festivals, helping us to reach you in your homes and workplaces. We can't wait to see you at all of the Festival events with your family members and co-workers! Special thanks to Brenda Reid-Gibson for her enthusiasm and support.

Do you study in the Bullring, exercise at the Gryphons Athletic Centre, or work on the University of Guelph Campus? Our partnership with 93.3 CFRU has been helping to bring the University community and the wider Guelph community closer together over the last two years We look forward to seeing the friendly faces of University students and staff in the crowds next weekend! Special thanks to Heather Jarvis and Sophie Clark for the enthusiasm and insightful interviews.

All of us at Guelph Dance hope that you will follow in the footsteps of Intrigue Media, CJOY/Magic, and CFRU by Embracing Adventure with us from May 29-June 1!

Sincere thanks also go out to our Funders, Partners, and other Sponsors. We appreciate the unique relationship we have with each of you, and the varying contributions that you all make towards this exciting Festival weekend. On behalf of the Guelph community, thank you for making this "cultural jewel" possible.

2014 Festival Sponsor Board. Design by LINDdesign.
For more information on the 2014 Guelph Dance Festival, please see the full schedule here. If your business is interested in becoming a Sponsor, or if you would like to support us personally, please read up on all the ways to Support Dance!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Embrace Adventure with Katie Ewald & Lynette Segal: Spotlight on our Local Dance Artists

In the weeks leading up to Guelph Dance Festival 2014, some of the Festival artists will share their vision with us here on the blog. These intimate, behind-the-scenes looks will bring us closer to the artistry, process, and experience of dance. We encourage you to not just read these amazing stories, but to ask questions and engage in conversation about dance in our comments section below. Embrace adventure with us in 2014!

Katie Ewald and Lynette Segal both share some of their story here. Both of them perform at Local Initiatives on Friday May 30 from 4-6pm, at Boarding House Arts, 6 Dublin Street South. Suggested donation $15, or pay-what-you-can. Wine and tasters provided by OX, beer provided by Wellington Brewery.

Lynette: The time I’ve carved aside to play with Steph Yates has become such a valuable, enriching part of my days. As a musical and visual artist, Steph has courageously stepped outside of her comfort zone, and literally stretched herself in ways she hasn't in many, many years. In the studio together, we've created movement sequences, both of us offering ideas we then play with; flip, reverse, slow down, speed-up, etc. She sees patterns, textures, and sound qualities that open up new dimensions to our explorations. When I've come with a sound concept, she inventively finds ways to create it. Steph is a sensitive, gifted and open-minded multi-disciplinary artist. This extremely positive creative process has provided a refreshing exposure to the collaborative dialogue between artists working in diverse fields. Now, back to work!

Photo of Lynette Segal and Steph Yates by Isabel Segal-Grossman. Artwork by Michaela Cruz.
Katie: Guelph. My groovy new home full of artist moms.

As an artist I have been lucky enough to live, go to school, and work in Europe; tour with Danielle Leveille Danse to festivals all over the world; establish my place in experimental dance company Public Recordings as a long time and much appreciated collaborator; and work with the lauded English theatre company Forced Entertainment early in my career.

I moved to Guelph because of pure gut feeling. I hadn’t really ever been here except to one day of Hillside in 2007 to watch my husband-to-be play music. I had heard a lot about the city from him, who spent his formative days in a rock band here. In 2010, pregnant and nauseous, I heard myself saying, “Let’s go to Guelph! There is an amazing music scene there and a DANCE FESTIVAL!”. It became a mantra of sorts in the days leading up to the big move from our life in Montreal. We came here, and 5 months later had a kid.

When I met Janet Johnson and Catrina von Radecki, I was so happy! They are sensitive, wise, curious, courageous dancer moms.  I am really inspired by them both and was immediately brought into the fold. My gut feeling was validated.  

Photo of Katie Ewald by Jacklyn Barber.
Katie: I am pleased to share this Local Initiatives show with Lynette Segal, another inspiring Guelph dancer mom, and the talented musician Steph Yates. The whole building will open its doors and the Arts Incubator studios will feature work by visual artist Adrienne Spier (yet another amazing artist mom!) in collaboration with Robert Kingsbury, a usual suspect in Guelph’s dance scene. Along side all of this, Capacity 3 Gallery, with the Festival of Moving Media, will be presenting a film by Tim Wilson.  This collaboration and cross-disciplinary mingling was exactly what I had hoped for our event.

When Catrina first mentioned the possibility of choosing the space I perform in for the Festival, I immediately thought of the Boarding House building. 
Disappearing Geography requires a strong architectural presence and this particular building has history and character. This piece is both an ode to the architecture that is present in the room and my negotiation of performing solo. Musagetes has very graciously given me permission to perform in their office space. It has that ‘je ne sais quoi’ that the most evocative spaces have. The second I walked into that room I wanted to do my dance there. I am very grateful for the support of Musagetes, and Danica Evering in particular, for taking a risk by showing this project in the place where they work.

Photo of Katie Ewald by Jacklyn Barber.
Katie: It makes me happy that we are engaging the whole Boarding House building with Local Initiatives, and that people will be investigating all kinds of spaces there. Architecture, its role and presence in our lives, has captivated me for a long time. I feel spaces and notice things. I like to just notice, and see if that noticing changes anything. I will be performing Disappearing Geography for the first time as a durational piece. It will be performed from 4pm-6pm, with Musagetes doors closing at 4:45, so you can move over to the Boarding House Gallery and see Echo. The doors will re-open after Lynette’s piece, and I will continue until 6pm.
It will be an intimate experience, as the number of people who can be in the Musagetes room will be limited. But I invite you to come, leave, come back. Have a glass of wine. Repeat.

Lynette Segal studied at Concordia and York Universities, Les Ateliers de Dance Moderne de Montreal, and The School of the Toronto Dance Theatre. Lynette has worked with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, Dancer’s Studio West, One Yellow Rabbit, 502 Dance Lab, and Portal Dance Projects. In addition to independent solo work, she has been honoured by opportunities to work with Matt Brubeck, Barb Bryce, Ben Grossman, Susanna Hood, Karen Kaeja, Janet Johnson, Robert Kingsbury, Shannon Kingsbury, Susan Lee, Lisa Nelson, Sara Porter, Oliver Schroer, Georgia Simms, Sue Smith, Kelly Steadman, Rebecca Todd, Catrina Von Radecki, and Miranda Tufnell. She co-founded Fall on Your Feet, a movement collective which focuses on teaching and performing movement improvisation. Lynette has taught improvisation to children, youth, and adults and continues to be a busy Massage Therapist for nearly twenty years.

Steph Yates studied ballet in Hamilton under Catherine Samuel, who ruled over the class with a kind hand and wore her hair in a beehive updo. After dancing for two years, Yates abandoned her practice at the resolute age of 8. Now living in Guelph, a good deal more grown-up, she writes and plays music in several bands, one being Esther Grey, and carries on a visual art practice centred on print, mixed media, and stop-motion animation. Yates’ current artistic interests are pattern, imperfection, movement, shadow, and crossing boundaries.

Katie Ewald is a dance artist based in Guelph, Ontario. She received her BFA from Concordia University and studied at P.A.R.T.S. (Performing Arts Research and Training Studios) in Brussels. She has collaborated with choreographers Ame Henderson/Public Recordings, Martin Bélanger/LAPS, k.g. Guttman, Lin Snelling, Chanti Wadge, Janet Johnson/Portal Dance Projects, and worked with Daniel Léveillé Danse from 2005-2008. She performed with the experimental theatre company Forced Entertainment in The Voices from 2003-2005. In 2000, she was the only dancer nominated for The Canada Council for the Arts Fund for Future Generations Millennium Prize. She has taught dance workshops across Canada and is currently collaborating on a new duet with Toronto dance artist Mairead Filgate.