Skip to content

Guelph Dance

2015 Artist Bios

We have an exciting line-up of high-caliber professional dance artists performing in the 17th annual Guelph Dance Festival! All biographies are for the company or the choreographer, listed alphabetically by last name.

Cadence Youth Ballet

Toronto, ON

Building relationships between youth and professionals, Cadence Youth Ballet is a pre-professional training company for dancers 9-17 years of age dedicated to inspiring excellence in young artists. Under the Artistic Direction of Courtnae Bowman, Youth Ballet dancers receive training from Cadence’s own professional dancers and choreographers who are active in the professional field and who are passionate about forging relationships with the next generation of this community.

You can see Cadence Youth Ballet perform at Youth Moves.

Carousel Dance Company

Waterloo, ON

Carousel Dance Company is a children’s performance group from Waterloo, Ontario with 86 members ranging in age from 10-17 years. Company members work with faculty and guest choreographers to create and perform dance works throughout the year. The company performs locally, nationally, and internationally. They have participated in Dance and the Child International Conferences in Finland, Utah, The Netherlands, Taiwan, and are very excited to be attending the 2015 DaCi Conference in Denmark.

You can see the Carousel Dance Company perform at Youth Moves.

Rhonda Baker

Halifax, NS

Rhonda Baker is a Dora Award nominated artist living in Halifax, NS. She is currently hired as a performer with Mocean Dance, and through them has worked with Tedd Robinson, Serge Bennathan, Cory Bowles, Emily Gualtieri, and Sara Coffin. Rhonda has performed for Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie and Gallim Dance, and has worked with Chris Aiken and Angie Hauser on methods of developing the perceptual and poetic mind through improvisation, and has also participated as a collaborating artist in Halifax, NS with Lin Snelling, and Guy Cools for rewriting distance. Rhonda is a member of the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists.

You can see Rhonda Baker perform at Stage A.

Creative Children’s Dance Centre Inc.

Toronto, ON

Creative Children’s Dance Centre Inc. is a studio located in the Heart of Junction in Toronto. These young performers are leading the way for many young dancers at this creative space toward building a strong foundation of work ethic, creativity, and passion for dance. We have recently re-established a young company of dancers where the members explore all aspects of an independent dance artist. Under the direction of Laurie Raymond, the dancers research the choreographers they will hire to set work on them, create costumes and props, and fundraise to pay for choreographers and theatres.

You can see Creative Children’s Dance Centre Inc perform at Youth Moves.

Dasein Dance School

London, ON

Dasein Dance School is a professional training facility dedicated to the development of young artists in ballet and contemporary dance forms. It was founded in London, Ontario by Artistic Director Lacey Smith in 2013. 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. The Young Company is comprised of dancers ages 14-19 who are enrolled in our Pre-Professional Training Program.

You can see Dasein Dance School perform at Youth Moves.

Dasein Dance Theatre

London, ON

Dasein Dance Theatre is a London-based company that was founded by Lacey Smith in 2011. DDT’s primary mandate is to foster contemporary dance in their community. By doing so, they are dedicated to bringing accessible performances to London and regional audiences through work that examines the intrinsic beauty hidden in the dark recesses of the human experience. Dasein follows the threads of human psychology, to reveal the stories of what truly makes us human. The honest physicality of DDT’s dancers invites you to surrender to your primal self and embrace the adventure of being-in-the-world.

You can see Dasein Dance Theatre perform at In the Park and Youth Moves.

Katie Ewald

Guelph, ON

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.

You can see Katie Ewald’s curation at Stage B.

Frog in Hand

Mississauga, ON

Founded by sisters Noelle Hamlyn and Colleen Snell, Frog in Hand springs from the belief that art can be found in the most humble of places. They have developed a large group of collaborators – dancers, fight choreographers, musicians, actors, poets, and visual artists – who come together to create cross-disciplinary performances in unusual spaces. Performance highlights include Mississauga Waterfront Festival, Night Shift Waterloo, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Art Gallery of Ontario, and Off the Wall, a two-day public art marathon of creation and performance with twenty artists of all disciplines.

You can see Frog in Hand perform at In the Park.

Julia Garlisi

Guelph, ON

Julia is a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre Professional Training Program. Along with being a Senior Dance Artist of Dancetheatre David Earle she has the pleasure of working with numerous Canadian companies, choreographers, film directors, and music producers. Independently, Julia has been fortunate to work with Denise Duric, Janet Johnson, Newton Moraes, Suzette Sherman, Lacey Smith, Toronto Heritage Dance, and The Niagara Dance Company. Her choreography has been commissioned for Guelph Dance Festival, Stratford Spring Works Indie Theatre & Art Festival, DtDE, The Suzuki String School, Dusk Dances Hamilton, and internationally for the SIBA Ballet Workshop Gala Performance Tour.

You can see Julia Garlisi perform at Stage A.

Margie Gillis

Montreal, QC

Internationally-acclaimed modern dancer and choreographer Margie Gillis has been creating original works for over forty years. Her repertoire includes more than 100 creations, including her signature solos, as well as duets and group pieces. Her numerous awards and distinctions include the Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award from the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award Foundation and the Stella Adler Studio of New York MAD Spirit Award for Exceptional Humanitarian Actions by an Artist. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada. Margie Gillis’ masterful interpretation of the different facets of the human soul has won her loyal audiences over the years.

You can see Margie Gillis perform at Stage A.

Guelph Youth Dance Company

Guelph, ON

The GYD Company was formed in 2008, by Janet Johnson and Catrina von Radecki as a means of further celebrating, enhancing, and training young dancers. In recent years company members have performed at DanceOntario Weekend, Art Harvest, and Guelph Dance Festival; and have participated in a summer residency with Tara Luz Danse in Ottawa & an exchange with Moncton’s DansEncorps. They have worked with highly acclaimed professional guest choreographers including: Anik Bouvrette (Ottawa), Suzanne Miller (Montreal), Dancetheatre David Earle (Guelph), Jordana Deveau, Karen Kaeja, and Robert Desrosiers (Toronto). In order to build relationships with other creative youth in our community, they have built regular partnerships with the Suzuki String School, Season Singers, and Swansea School of Dance.

You can see the Guelph Youth Dance Company perform at Youth Moves.

Moree School of Dance Youth Company

Waterloo, ON

The piece the Moree School of Dance Youth Company will be performing was choreographed by Meghan MacNeil.
Meghan MacNeil is a dance artist based in Guelph, Ontario. She received her BFA in Dance from Ryerson University. As an independent choreographer her work has been part of Series 808 and the Toronto International Dance Festival. Past works include Counterpoise, premiered at the 2014 Guelph Dance Festival; Songbird Stories, a multi-media dance project debuted at the 2011 Halifax Fringe Festival; MORE, a work created with video artist Nicholas Loess and commissioned by Connection Dance Works; and Alter & Define, a duet with Toronto musician Laura C. Bates for the 2012 Guelph Dance Festival.

You can see Moree School of Dance Youth Company perform at Youth Moves.

Jody Oberfelder

New York, NY

Jody Oberfelder has choreographed an array of boldly physical dances including Approaching Climax, The Story Thus Far, and The Title Comes Last. She also directed Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Tale and Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas. Jody has taught at Middlebury College, Wayne State University, Moravian College, and Alfred University. Honours include a three-month residency at [email protected], a Joyce SoHo Residency, a NYFA BUILD Grant, and voted “Outstanding Choreographer” in the FringeNYC Festival. Jody has created eight films, including The Dance on Camera Festival (NY), Cinedans (Amsterdam), Indie Fest USA, Art Basel Festival (Miami), VideodanceBA (Buenos Aires), InShadow (Lisbon), among others. Oberfelder choreographed a 2014 Prada Commercial.

You can see Jody Oberfelder Projects perform at Stage B.

Portal Dance Project

Guelph, ON

The piece Portal Dance Project will be performing was choreographed by Janet Johnson and features Steven Heighton.
Janet Johnson
co-founded and is co-artistic director of Guelph Dance as well as the Guelph Youth Dance Training Program and Guelph Youth Dance Company. Janet is an avid teacher in the tri-city area, receiving regular funding from the Ontario Arts Council Artists-in-Education as well as teaching in post-secondary settings. Janet was a company member with Dancetheatre David Earle (1998-2012), created and presented her own choreographic works across Canada and formed her own dance company, Portal Dance Project in 2011. Janet received her MA in Dance from York University in 2010, and has recently become certified in Conditioning-with Imagery and Gyrokinesis, two new movement systems for the training of dancers as well as for the general population.

Steven Heighton’s most recent books are the Trillium Award finalist The Dead Are More Visible (stories); Workbook, a collection of memos and fragmentary essays; and Every Lost Country (a novel). His 2005 novel, Afterlands, appeared in six countries, was a New York Times Book Review editors’ choice, and was a best of year choice in ten publications in Canada, the USA, and the UK. His short fiction and poetry have received four gold National Magazine Awards and have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, as well as five editions of Best Canadian Stories. Heighton has been nominated for the Governor General’s Award and Britain’s W.H. Smith Award, and he is a fiction reviewer for the New York Times Book Review.

You can see Portal Dance Project perform, along with Steven Heighton, at Festival Kickoff/In the Studio.

Helen Simard

Montreal, QC

Helen Simard draws from her training to create her acts of physical poetry. From 2000 to 2012, she was Co-Artistic Director of Solid State Breakdance, with whom she toured Canada and Europe. Since 2011, Helen has presented her interdisciplinary creations at Short and Sweet, Piss in the Pool, Quartiers Danses, The Mainline Theatre, and Festival Phénomena. Helen has also worked as an interpreter for a number of dance and theatre companies, including Les Néos, Marta Marta House of Pride, Wants&Needs, Tusket Dance, and Cirque du Soleil. She holds a BFA from Concordia University and an MA from UQAM, and is currently pursuing a PhD at UQAM.

You can see Helen Simard perform at In the Park.

Swansea School of Dance

Toronto, ON

The piece Swansea School of Dance will be performing was choreographed by Michelle DeBrouwer.
Michelle DeBrouwer
graduated with a BFA in Dance from the University of Waterloo and continued her dance training at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre. Michelle is a certified teacher with the R.A.D. and holds an Associate certificate with Society of Russian Ballet. She is an American Ballet Theatre Certified Teacher in Pre-Primary through Level 3. Company Blonde Dance Projects was the brainchild of Michelle and, since its inception in 1999, she has acted as choreographer, dancer, and producer. Over the last 15 years, Michelle has been the Founder/Director of her own dance school – Swansea School of Dance.

You can see Swansea School of Dance perform at Youth Moves.

Tentacle Tribe

Montreal, QC

Tentacle Tribe is a Canadian-Swedish creative alliance between Emmanuelle Lê Phan and Elon Höglund. Their work experiments with intricate partnering, refined musicality, and a saturated dose of physical choreography. Tentacle Tribe was founded in 2012 while the two artists performed a duet for Cirque Du Soleil. Nobody Likes a Pixelated Squid has been presented in Calgary, Montreal, Olso, Stockholm, Toronto, and in various Mexican cities. Tentacle Tribe has two short dance films that have both toured internationally in film festivals. They have also been guest artists-in-residence at several universities where they taught workshops, lectured, and set pieces on students.

You can see Tentacle Tribe perform at Stage B.

Tony Chong Danse

Montreal, QC

Along with presenting many of his dance creations across Canada, Tony has been active as a mentor, artistic counsellor, photographer, and rehearsal director. He has also danced with La Compagnie Marie Chouinard, Carbon 14, Jean-Pierre Perreault, Cie Flak, Système D, and Louise Bédard Danse, and has collaborated with companies from abroad such as Germany’s Steptext Dance Theatre and Belgium’s Ballet C de la B with Christine de Smedt. From January 2005 – December 2008, Tony was the Co-Artistic Director and then the Artistic Director of Le Groupe Dance Lab in Ottawa.

You can see Tony Chong Danse perform at Stage A.

Toy Guns Dance Theatre

Edmonton, AB

Since its inception, Toy Guns Dance Theatre has been challenging the relationship between art and it’s audience. In their 2014 season, Toy Guns presented three world premier productions and received critical acclaim. Featured on The Uniter’s top ten dance performances of 2014 and Voted Edmonton’s Best Dance Company 2014 in Vue Magazine, Toy Guns has been called “Wildly energetic, wildly comedic, and wildly erotic” (Calgary Sun). Through the visionary artistic direction of Jake W Hastey, the company has pushed the boundaries of dance through interactive and immersive performances as well as award winning film and photographic work.

You can see Toy Guns Dance Theatre perform at In the Park.

YMI Dancing

Toronto, ON

The piece YMI Dancing will be performing was choreographed by Mairéad Filgate.
Mairéad Filgate collaborates regularly with Public Recordings, BoucharDanse, tiger princess dance projects, and Meredith Thompson. Recently, she has also performed in creations by Trisha Brown, Tino Seghal, Bill Coleman, Barb Lindenberg, and Kaeja d’Dance. The summers find her touring Ontario parks as a performer with notable Dusk Dances choreographers, as well in her own work with the Throwdown Collective. In 2012, Mairéad spent two months in New York City studying the work of Trisha Brown and Paul Taylor. She is also often a guest teacher and choreographer in Toronto and beyond.

You can see YMI Dancing perform at Youth Moves.

Donate Now

City of Guelph Ontario Arts Council Canada Council for the Arts Canadian Heritage Canada