2013 was the year of…

2013 was the year of…

women? extreme weather? Rob Ford? Miley Cyrus? the selfie?

I love reading the news at this time of year when the media reminds us of all that has transpired over that last 12 months. Those sometimes controversial top ten lists and best of the year articles are always great fodder for dinner table debate. What were your most memorable moments of 2013?
Looking back at my own experience, this was a year of intense research and writing, ambitious and fruitful artistic pursuits, and the emergence of several new professional collaborations. Here are some highlights, including a bit of what’s in store for 2014.

The year began with pen to paper, including a three part series for The Dance Current magazine called State of the Artist. Read all three by purchasing the back issues here:
Part III (September/October) – Partnerships in Action


In April I began rehearsals for my new production Everyday Marvels. With co-directors Susie Burpee and Marie-Josée Chartier, I worked with a group of RBC employees to create three short contemporary dance pieces. This courageous group of 20 bankers were preparing to perform all night long at the Gardiner Museum as part of Toronto’s Nuit Blanche event in October. Watch Part I of this 5 part video series chronicling their experience, filmed and created by Linnea Swan.
July brought an opportunity for artistic research and renewed creative inspiration at the Grasslands National Park near Val Marie, Saskatchewan. I spent 10 days exploring the east and west block of the park, experimenting with dance, film and prairie landscape. Check out the photos here.

In late October I spent a week working in residence at the Registry Theatre in Kitchener. I remounted my one woman show HOMEbody – lessons in prairie living while also offering special classes and engagement opportunities for local dance schools and community members. I was fortunate to have a wonderful team of collaborators with me, including Jordana Deveau, Marianna Rosato, Oz Weaver and Lindsay Anne Black. Registry Theatre staff Sam Vartiniuk and Allan Hoch also lent valuable support. The residency culminated in a performance on November 2nd.

Images by Kevin Konnyu

2014 will no doubt bring many new adventures. This January I will begin a new contract as a Sessional Lecturer at the University of Toronto, co-designing and leading an Arts Advocacy course for upper year Arts Management program students with Devon Ostrom.
In February, I headed west to Calgary to speak about arts advocacy at the city’s 2nd annual Arts Champions Congress. I continued to work with the Calgary Arts Development Agency as an external critic to their developing Arts Plan. My contributions are available online here.


In May I hosted an open dance class with Marie-Josée Chartier at the Gardiner Museum as part of Doors Open Toronto. The cast and creative team of Everyday Marvels was joined by visitng participants and observers for a fun afternoon of dancing.

In August I was so pleased to return to the studio with Jesse Dell and Jordana Deveau to remount my intensely physical duet The Den. Featured in the late night WYSIWYG series, The Den was presented at this year’s Dance: Made in Canada festival at the Betty Oliphant Theatre. Check out these great photos by Craig Chambers.

In November I attended the annual Business for the Arts Arnold Party, this year honouring young arts volunteer and philanthropist Stephen Delaney. Winner of the prestigious Arnold Edinborough award, Delaney is also the founder of the CreatiVenture Collective – a  patron movement connecting small dance organizations with the support of businesses and young patrons. To celebrate Stephen, Everyday Marvels made a reprieve at the beautiful Carlu, showcasing favourite excerpts from the full show. Lucky me, I also had the good fortune of meeting Canadian music icon Gordon Lightfoot who was in attendance.

a patron movement connecting small arts organizations with the support of businesses and young patrons in Canada. – See more at: http://culturedays.ca/blog/2013/09/30/new-gen-arts-giving-impact/#sthash.NypG2N7L.dpuf
a patron movement connecting small arts organizations with the support of businesses and young patrons in Canada. – See more at: http://culturedays.ca/blog/2013/09/30/new-gen-arts-giving-impact/#sthash.NypG2N7L.dpuf
a patron movement connecting small arts organizations with the support of businesses and young patrons in Canada. – See more at: http://culturedays.ca/blog/2013/09/30/new-gen-arts-giving-impact/#sthash.NypG2N7L.dpup
In March I’ll head west again to the Banff Centre for the 17th annual Canadian Arts Summit and later this spring, Everyday Marvels will travel to Guelph as a Mainstage production at the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival.
Wishing you and yours all the best for a happy and creative 2014!
From Calgary, I headed to the beautiful Banff Centre as an artist-in-residence to complete my Metcalf Innovation Fellowship research paper focused on developing new strategies to support next generation arts development. The paper, titled Choreographing our Future was finally launched in November and you can download a free copy here.

In June I began a new collaboration with Business for the Arts, taking on a role as Project Manager for the Canadian Arts Summit – a unique national leadership forum that brings together the chief executives, artistic directors, and board chairs of Canada’s largest 50 not-for-profit cultural institutions. The 17th annual Arts Summit will take place March 28-30, 2014 at the Banff Centre.

September was an epic month creatively, with intense preparations for the October 5th premiere of Everyday Marvels. A collaboration between more than 60 artists, this production was by far my most ambitious yet. Named one of the top things to see at Nuit Blanche by the Globe and Mail and Toronto Life Magazine, Everyday Marvels attracted close to 10,000 people to the Gardiner Museum from dusk til dawn during Nuit Blanche. Audiences waited in line for over an hour to witness the cast of 40+ professional and amateur performers as they brought to life the everyday objects featured in poet Lorna Crozier’s The Book of Marvels. No doubt the highlight of the project for me was having Lorna herself experience the interpretation of her poetry through dance. Watch footage of the show here.

Images by Kevin Konnyu

The year ended on a high note creatively when the newly branded dance group at RBC – The Mobile Assets – performed Flashlight from Everyday Marvels  at the RBC Early Risers Charity Concert. Hosted at the John Basset Theatre, they stood out as a brave and unique act among the many solo and ensemble vocal acts in the show. I bet even Gord Nixon was impressed! The event raised over $16,000 for this year’s charity, Youth Employment Services.

Images by Kevin Konnyu

Also on the horizon, the creation of Everyday Marvels – The Documentary with an anticipated release in late April.



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