From our Artistic Director
Our Professional Training Program students are busy rehearsing with a roster of incredible choreographers including Peggy Baker, Marc Boivin, Peter Chin, Robert Desrosiers, Christopher House, and Darryl Tracy. You can see them perform in IMPULSE 2012 from November 29 – December 1 and December 6 – 8, 2012 at the Winchester Street Theatre.
Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers will be honouring the late Rachel Browne, a matriarch of modern dance in Canada, with a performance celebrating its founder. Browne was active her entire life as a choreographer, mentor, and performer, dedicating her life to her art. She appeared on stage as recently as 2010, and continued to create new work and remount many of her signature dances until her passing, in her sleep, while attending the 2012 Canada Dance Festival in Ottawa. I met Rachel in the 1970s and began working with her in the late 1980s. She envisioned and created dances of quiet power. In rehearsals with her felt I shared, as a true collaborator, in her search for the image that would “speak”; the metaphor that would resonate. Those images, though often dark, served to reveal a vision of hope. Rachel was an inspiration - a testament to the determination and perseverance of the creative spirit. TOWARD LIGHT – A Tribute to Rachel Browne will be performed at the Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre on January 12, 2013 at 8pm. The School of Toronto Dance Theatre is honoured to be included in this performance. Dancers from the graduating class will perform her work KJ4 to music by Keith Jarrett. Please join us for this very special event.
There are more ways than one to support the School!
The School of Toronto Dance Theatre is in the midst of our Annual Giving Campaign, but there are many ways you can support our programs.
You can support the School by:
In this season of giving, we invite you to choose how you would like to support the School. Choose one, or choose them all! Support tomorrow’s contemporary dancers, today.
Faculty profile - Rosemary James
The School’s Training and Performance Associate, Rosemary James, is an accomplished dance professional. Born in New York State and raised in Toronto, Rosemary danced with Toronto Dance Theatre (TDT) for several seasons before assuming the role of rehearsal director for the company in 1992. She also began teaching Graham technique for the Professional Training Program and Summer School and is known for her challenging 8:30 am classes!
As rehearsal director for both TDT and the School, Rosemary is often called upon to remount choreography by Christopher House, Artistic Director of TDT. She shared some thoughts with us on the rehearsal process:
Teaching company repertoire to the next generation of dancers is challenging. I often start with the most complex sections that require more rehearsals than others. These sections are usually movements combined with difficult musical phrasing, or sections involving all the dancers. I always rehearse the previous day’s material, which allows the dancers to connect physically and musically right away with the choreography. I am constantly referencing back to what they have learned in class and asking them to apply it to the choreography – such as turnout, taking their hips up with jumps, or shifting the weight. Repetition is necessary for any dancer to understand the movement and musical intricacies involved with choreography. A large part of rehearsal direction is teaching professional and student dancers to assume responsibilities and ownership for the dance material.
When I watch the students perform I feel the evidence of preparation, long hours, and hard work in the studio, which leaves me feeling proud that these young dancers have an opportunity to experience the choreography of Christopher House.
The graduating class of 2012 was challenged to recreate the high-energy work Vena Cava, which they performed at MOMENTUM 2012 and as part of the Canada Dance Festival in Ottawa in June 2012. Rosemary has just finished working with the company dancers to remount both Vena Cava and Four Towers, for their showcase Rare Mix which was performed at Harbourfront Centre from November 6 – 10, 2012.
She is currently working with our third-year students on Barnyard, another work by Christopher House, which you can see performed at IMPULSE 2012.
Photos: David Leyes
Student profile - Colby McGovern
The School of Toronto Dance Theatre is delighted to announce that second-year student Colby McGovern has been awarded the 2012 Developing Artist Grant in Contemporary Dance by The Hnatyshyn Foundation. The $10,000 grant is awarded to university-level students to allow them to pursue their studies in their chosen artistic discipline. The grant winners were adjudicated anonymously by expert juries of nationally renowned arts professionals.
The School faculty was unanimous in nominating Colby as an outstanding young artist with tremendous potential for a distinguished career in performance. As well as abundant talent, he has determination, focus, drive, and a wonderful positive energy that will take him far.
In his artist’s statement, Colby wrote: “Dance is my form of release, my affirmation, my inspiration, and my way to find myself in the world. But most importantly to me, it is my way to connect with people in the deepest and most honest way.” Colby was thrilled to receive the award, and thanks The Hnatyshyn Foundation for their generosity. “This grant will allow me to concentrate on developing my artistry, and to clearly focus on the work I have to do to succeed. I greatly appreciate the support the School’s faculty, and my classmates, have given me throughout this process.”
The Hnatyshyn Foundation is a private charity established by the late Right Honourable Ramon John Hnatyshyn, Canada’s twenty-fourth Governor General. Its programs are funded by donations from government, foundations, corporations and individuals. The Department of Canadian Heritage has provided nearly $2.4 million in matching funds to the Foundation.
Photo: Sarah Leuschen
Alumni Profile - Michael Caldwell
A 2006 graduate of the Professional Training Program, Michael Caldwell has found great success as a Toronto-based choreographer and performer. Before coming to the School as a student, Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in art history and film from Syracuse University. After taking classes in our evening recreational program, he was approached by faculty and asked to audition for the full-time program. Michael had very little dance background before starting the Professional Training Program, and it gave him an “amazing base of training to enter the professional world.” During his time as a student, he was able to connect with many visiting guest artists and choreographers, many of whom he has worked with since - a testament to how the School cultivates a community of dance colleagues for our students.
Since graduating, Michael has been actively performing for many of Canada's esteemed dance creators and companies, including Peggy Baker, Sylvie Bouchard, Guillaume Côté, Danny Grossman, Maxine Heppner, Sasha Ivanochko, James Kudelka, Louis Laberge-Côté, Tedd Robinson, and William Yong. An “intense dynamo on stage” (Scene 4), he has also appeared with Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, Corpus Dance Projects, Dusk Dances, Kaeja d'Dance, and Kaha:wi Dance Theatre among others. His talent has taken him across the globe as he has performed across Canada and the United States, in Europe, Asia, and Australia. In 2007, Michael was an interpreter at Le Groupe Dance Lab, studying with the iconic Peter Boneham.
Michael’s recent, and critically acclaimed, choreographic works include: Ash Unravel, a solo based on his journey to Vietnam, The Horologium, a whimsical group piece created for Dusk Dances, Boogie Back, a community work for non-dancers in Kaeja d’Dance’s Porch View Dances, and Mary, a dynamic new solo for Stéphanie Tremblay Abubo.
He remains very involved in life at the School. Michael has been on our Board of Directors since 2009, and is delighted to serve as a Board Member to assist in the development of a new generation of dance artists. Incredibly active in the dance community, he is also the chair of the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists - Ontario Chapter, and is a Metcalf Foundation Performing Arts Intern for MOonhORsE Dance Theatre (Claudia Moore), specifically for the Old & Young & Reckless Together performance series.
Photo: Kristy Kennedy
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