Festival Artist Bios
Artists from far and wide converge in Guelph for our 19th Annual Festival, May 31-June 4, 2017.
In the Park
The Guelph Youth Dance Company was formed in 2008, by Janet Johnson and Catrina von Radecki as a means of further celebrating, enhancing and training young dancers. Now in our 9th year, we have some very strong, talented, ambitious and highly creative dancers who perform together regularly in events such as Hillside Inside (Guelph), DanceOntario Weekend (Toronto), Art Harvest (London), Carousel Dance Centre (Waterloo) and in a variety of locations in Guelph including the Guelph Dance Festival. These same dancers have worked with some of the best dancers and choreographers from across Canada including David Earle (Guelph), Suzette Sherman (Guelph) Karen Kaeja (Toronto), Lina Cruz (Montreal), Suzanne Miller (Montreal), Jordana Deveau (Toronto), Anik Bourvrette (Ottawa), and Kate Hilliard (Toronto).
Lisa Odjig, Odawa Ojibwe nation from Wikwemikong Manitoulin Island, is a two time world champion hoop dancer along with six additional hoop dance championship titles won throughout Canada and United States. Lisa was a semi finalist on Canada’s Got Talent and was recently filmed in an ELLE Magazine video shoot called ‘The Movement’ in New York City.
Kevin A. Ormsby is Artistic Director of KasheDance and Adjunct Artist at the Dance Exchange (Washington D.C.). He is a Canada Council for the Arts’ Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award (2014) recipient and a Toronto Arts Council’s Cultural Leaders Lab Fellow (2015). He has honed his passion for dance, advocacy, writing and education while performing in Canada, the Caribbean and the United States with various companies and projects in works by Garth Fagan, Marie Josée Chartier, Allison Cummings, Patrick Parson, Ron K. Brown, Menaka Thakkur, Mark Morris and Bill T. Jones. He also works as the Program Manager for Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO)
OURO Collective is an eclectic, Vancouver-based dance collective that uses hip-hop, waacking, breaking, popping and contemporary dance as the foundation for the creation and production of new work. OURO is united around the common goal of pushing the boundaries of how street dance-based works are created and presented. Since their start in the fall of 2014, OURO has performed at Dancing on the Edge, CypherFest International Street Dance Festival, Vancouver International Dance Festival and for New Works. They are currently in their third season and working on their first full length work, which will tour to Japan in July 2017.
Christopher Walker, choreographer, KasheDance, is an Associate Professor of Dance and the Artistic Director of the First Wave program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also a choreographer and dancer with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, and Co-founder/Artistic Director of NuMoRune Collaborative—an ensemble of dancers, choreographers, storytellers and musicians, who come together under a united artistic vision to create collaborative works. He is the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards including the New York-Thayer Fellowship, and the GOJ PM Award. A recipient of the prestigious UW-Madison Romnes Fellowship, Mr. Walker was the annual Philip Sherlock Lecturer 2016 in Kingston, Jamaica.
Young Company of Halifax Dance has been creating exceptional pre-professional contemporary dance since 1988 and is a vital first step into the world of professional dance for serious young dancers. It was founded to give gifted young artists the opportunity to compliment their technical training with valuable performance experience. The Company offers its’ dancers the tremendous opportunity of dancing in works created with and for them, by some of the best choreographers in the country. It is also an important educational tool for the promotion of dance to local and provincial audiences.
Robin Young. Sifu Robin Young has been involved with the Chinese Martial Arts and Fut Shan Lion Dancing since 1968 under the late masters Lor King Hung and Chin Fong. He has been teaching Lor’s Hung Kuen Kung Fu since 1979 in Toronto, Kitchener, and Guelph, Ontario. He has demonstrated in Canada, the US, Philippines Islands and China. Sifu Young has been teaching at the Guelph Jing Mo Kung Fu Club in Guelph, Ontario since 1993.
On the Stage
Sarah Chase, co-creator/director of Dreamwalker Dance Company‘s A Crazy Kind of Hope, is AD of Astrid Dance. Sarah’s work has toured extensively throughout Canada and Europe. She has created commissions for Toronto Dance Theatre, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Robin Poitras & Ron Stewart, Montréal Danse, and Theatre Replacement. She is an Associate Artist of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.
Michele (Presly) Green, collaborator with Suzette Sherman on Thread Through Time, began her professional dance career with Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers (1971-1973). She co-founded Saskatchewan Dance Theatre with husband Jim Green and former teacher Lucia Pavlychenko (1973-1976). In 1980 Michele, Jim and their two children moved to Stouffville, Ontario, where she opened The DanceCentre successfully teaching until retiring twenty years later. Turning her sights to writing, Michele worked for a decade as a core writer for the In The Hills magazine. In 2006 Dance Collection Danse Press published her book David Earle, a Choreographic Biography.
Belinda McGuire (Dancer, Director, Choreographer), graduated from The Juilliard School (BFA 2006). Through Belinda McGuire Dance Projects, she performs primarily solo work, choreographs and engages in collaboration and production. McGuire was nominated for the 2013 Dora Award for Outstanding Performance (The Heist Project) and has taken part in choreographic residencies at Springboard Danse Montréal, Centre de Création O Vertigo, Ross Creek Centre for the Arts, Éspace Marie Chouinard, ICKamsterdam, and The Yard. Her choreography has been presented across North America. She danced with The Limón Dance Company, Gallim Dance, Doug Varone and Dancers and The Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre.
Andrea Nann, co-creator/performer of Dreamwalker Dance Company‘s A Crazy Kind of Hope, is AD of Dreamwalker Dance Company, and creator of The Whole Shebang / The Ontario Shebang. A graduate of York University, Andrea was a full-time member of the Danny Grossman Dance Company (1988-2005). She choreographs for stage, film and various outdoor sites.
Suzette Sherman was begging for dance lessons at age three. It has been a lifelong journey since. She studied in Chicago and New York then apprenticed at Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers. She danced with Saskatchewan Dance Theatre, Toronto Dance Theatre for two decades touring worldwide, Dancetheatre David Earle since its inception in 1997, and many acclaimed independent choreographers. A teacher throughout, Suzette is proud to work closely with David Earle sharing his technique and repertoire with generations of dancers. Her career includes several film and television productions. Currently continuing teaching and performing she is exploring a new creative voice choreographing. Suzette lives happily in the country with husband Glenn and rescue dog Jesse.
In the Studio
Throwdown Collective is a Toronto-based contemporary dance company that supports the collaborative creative pursuits of founders Zhenya Cerneacov, Mairéad Filgate and Brodie Stevenson. Since 2008 the collective has been co-creating physically dynamic work for both stage and the outdoors, including three site-specific commissions for Dusk Dances that went on to tour throughout Ontario and to Quebec and British Columbia. In 2015 Throwdown Collective premiered Various Concert, their first work for the stage, at the dance: made in canada/fait au canada Festival where it received the Audience Choice Award and subsequently the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Original Choreography.
Carousel Dance Company
Carousel Dance Company is a children’s performance group currently with 40 members ranging in age from 10-17 years. Dance Company members work with faculty and guest choreographers to create and perform dance works throughout the year. Touring Company members have had the opportunity to work with guest artists from across Canada including Pulga Muchochoma, Allen Kaeja and Ballet Jorgen. The company performs locally, nationally and internationally and has participated in Dance and the Child International Conferences in Finland, Utah, The Netherlands, Taiwan and Denmark. This non-competitive performance group has strong commitment and a love of dance.
Contemporary School of Dance
The Contemporary School of Dance opened in 1997 and has grown to one of the most reputable dance schools in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. The school provides dance training to approximately four hundred students in many different styles of dance. Directed by Natasha Mansell (BFA Hons Dance, BSc Hons Psychology), the CSD Dance Company is a group of 40 dancers, ages 9-18, who want to expand their knowledge of dance through additional performance opportunities, including regional arts performances and festivals, ceremonies, flashmobs and parades. The Company A dancers are thrilled to be performing at Guelph Dance again this year!
Dasein Dance’s Young Company
Dasein Dance’s Young Company is comprised of dancers ages 10-15 who are enrolled in our Aspirant Ballet Program. Founded in 2011 in London, Ontario by Artistic Director, Lacey Smith, Dasein Dance provides a professional training facility dedicated to the development of young artists in ballet and contemporary dance forms. Our mandate is to provide a space for serious young dancers to develop their technique and artistry in a non-competitive environment that is focused on education. We believe the art of dance is not simply about the dancer; it is the dancer in relationship to the world, to others and to their history. www.daseindance.com
En Pointe Development Inc. Young Company
Brandy Coghlin studied as a professional student at The National Ballet School of Canada. She received her Dance Diploma from Arts Umbrella in Vancouver, BC in 2010. Brandy is also certified to teach Donna Krasnow’s Conditioning with Imagery Training for Dancers. Brandy founded EnPointe Development as a independent venture to launch a regional summer ballet program allowing students ages 9-13 to train, develop technique, and provide performance opportunities. Brandy continues to derive great pleasure and satisfaction bringing the joy of healthy training to her students that provides further inspiration to her as a professional dancer.
Swansea School of Dance
Lucy Rupert, choreographer of Swansea School of Dance’s The Forgotten Vowel, is the artistic director of Blue Ceiling dance and an in-demand freelance dance and theatre artist known for passionate and vulnerable performances. She is a regular collaborator with Theatre Rusticle and Fujiwara Dance Inventions and recently performed with Chartier Danse. www.blueceilingdance.com
YMI Dancing is a pre-professional youth company established in 1991. Its mandate is to bring performance dance to the general community. The company has performed for numerous festivals, Public Schools, Libraries and for charitable and fundraising events. The company has enjoyed the teaching and choreography of professional dancers such as Julia Aplin, Susie Burpee, Meagan O’Shea, Julia Sasso, Mairéad Filgate and Darryl C. Tracy. YMI Dancing provides an exciting opportunity for students to develop technique and to hone their performance skills.
Young Company of Halifax Dance
The Young Company of Halifax Dance has has been creating exceptional pre-professional contemporary dance since 1988 and is a vital first step into the world of professional dance for serious young dancers. It was founded to give gifted young artists the opportunity to complement their technical training with valuable performance experience. The Company offers its dancers the tremendous opportunity of dancing in works created with and for them, by some of the best choreographers in the country. It is also an important educational tool for the promotion of dance to local and provincial audiences.