MFA Graduates 2020
Maria is an established independent flamenco dancer, choreographer, singer and teacher based in Vancouver, BC. She received her BFA in Visual Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Maria has obtained multiple professional development grants to study flamenco in Spain. She was also awarded a mentorship to work with Miriam Allard in Montreal. Maria has performed in countless productions and festivals. Some of these include The Coetaní Experimental Flamenco Festival in Greece, The Vancouver International Flamenco Festival, as well as The Victoria Flamenco Festival. Maria was a company dancer for Al Mozaico Flamenco Dance Academy and a teacher at Karen Flamenco. She also graduated from Centro Flamenco’s PTP dance program. In 2016 Maria established Maria Avila Flamenco Dance School in Vancouver. She currently performs with Calle Verde, Raíces y Alas, and La Triana. For more information visit: www.mariaavilaflamenco.com.
Emilio Colalillo is a Toronto based professional dancer and choreographer. Colalillo studied classical ballet, modern, jazz and contemporary and received his BFA degree in Dance from Ryerson University. As a dancer he has toured the world internationally with Corpus Dance Projects, Creativiva, A2D2 and his own company emiMOTION to Europe, Middle East, Asia, Caribbean and North America. He has danced for the Canadian Opera Company as a lead dancer in "La Traviata" and performed for the opening and closing ceremonies of the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games. Colalillo has worked and performed for many contemporary & jazz choreographers including; Newton Moraes, William Yong, Hanna Kiel, Colin Connor and Marie Josee Chartier. He has back up danced for Nick Jonas and Jason Derulo. In 2017, he danced the role of Tybalt in “Romeo and Juliet” a contemporary ballet version performed in Los Angeles with Contempo Arts Productions. He dances for various film and television shows.
Dance is his passion which led him to explore his creativity and become a choreographer. He is the founder of emiMOTION, a contemporary based dance company. Colalillo has choreographed 5 full length dance works known for his use of physicality, emotion and avant garde nature. Colalillo is the winner of the Paula Citron Award at Fresh Blood 2013 for his choreography of his duet "Avadita". Colalillo is inspired by his Italian culture and incorporates commedia dell'arte in his works. Colalillo also enjoys teaching and inspiring the youth. He has choreographed for Innovative Musical Theatre for their theatre program choreographing Footloose and Shrek The Musical. Colalillo has also choreographed Aladdin, Alice In Wonderland, The Little Prince and Pinnochio which toured internationally all over the UAE and Asia.
MFA Graduates 2019
Lisa holds a BFA in Dance from Ryerson University and a B.Ed from York University’s consecutive program. As a dance educator Lisa has had the opportunity to work in the role of full time dance teacher and choreographer at Cawthra Park Secondary School and St. Thomas Aquinas Centre For the Arts training the students and maintaining curriculum requirements for dancers in grades 9-12 . She has worked collaboratively with her colleagues in bringing guest artists to the schools for both training and creative purposes. Lisa Brkich is co-founder of Two Sister’s Dance Projects together with her sister Christine. Her choreographic works have won her acclaim with such awards as the Encore Series Prize for Best Choreography, the OMT Choreographer’s Choice Awards along with the Most Entertaining Show for Kids at the Huronia Arts Festival. Lisa currently works as choreographer in collaboration with The Oakville Children’s Chorus under the direction of Dr. Sarah Morrison. Lisa co-authored the children’s book entitled “Plies and Pleases” with her sister Christine and continues to write and create for the “Legwamers” series.
Upon graduating from Ryerson Theatre School's Dance Program, Christine Brkich co-established InMotion Dance Company in 1996. Ms. Brkich was responsible for organizing, choreographing, and performing in Dancing Through Front-Tears, the company's successful tour of Croatia's Adriatic Coast. Her contemporary choreography for the company includes “All’s Fair In Love And...” , “ FISH”, “Size Zero”, and many more performed in Toronto, Montreal, and Europe.
Christine has also choreographed various musical productions such as “Oklahoma!” for which she received the Encore Award, and co-choreographed productions such as “Fiddler On The Roof”, “Grease!”, “The Secret Garden”, for which she received the Drama Series Award for Best Choreography, “Hair!” and “Blood Brothers” for West End Studio Theatre.
In 2000, InMotion Dance School was born as a feeder school to the company under the direction of Christine and Lisa Brkich. Christine has enjoyed being an integral part of the scholastic journey of dance students who have been accepted in the National Ballet of Canada’s Associate Program, Ryerson Theatre School, and York University dance programs.
From out of the many successes and challenges that come with teaching small children, Christine was excited to co-create “The Legwarmers”, under the production of Two Sisters Dance Projects. This production is a LIVE stage production series, mandated to teach youth about life lessons through the voice of dance, and the power of strong family ties through the magic of its characters. This production spawned into the publication of its first book “The Legwarmers in Plies and Pleases” in 2012. Passion for dance, and a strong pedagogical background developed over time is brought to the forefront here in a creative way to inspire young audiences to believe in themselves and to understand that family is never out of reach.
Christine is a frequent guest teacher for various dance workshops and master classes in the Paula Morgan Technique. She is an Associate Member of The Russian Ballet Society, and an examiner for the Performing Arts Educators of Canada (PAEC) in both the Ballet and Modern dance divisions whilst also the Chair of the Modern Dance Committee, and an Executive Board member for the organization. A full time wife and mother of two beautiful young and vibrant children, Christine Brkich is thrilled to add a new chapter of adventures to her life in returning to university to complete her Master of Fine Arts at York University.
Ottawa native, Patricia Allison graduated from L'École de danse contemporaine de Montréal in 2007. Patricia relocated to Toronto and has been working as a freelance Choreographer, Movement Coach and Performer since 2010. She specializes in working in theatre and on narrative based work, believing that movement and text provide the perfect balance to communicating story. Patricia has most recently worked as a choreographer on A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Megan Watson for Shakespeare in the Ruff and critically acclaimed Pool (No Water) directed by Jill Harper for Cue6 Theatre. Patricia produces live dance- theatre performances and contemporary short films under the company name LastName FirstName Productions, which is a company she founded in 2010 upon moving to Toronto.
MFA Graduates 2016
Prior to pursuing an MFA in Choreography from York Universities Dance Department, Allison received her professional training at Sheridan College in the Music Theatre — Performance Program. Professional credits include the North American tour of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels", “Spamalot”, “Moon Over Buffalo”, "Crazy For You" (Drayton Entertainment), "The Producers" (Neptune Theatre), "Les Feux Follets" (Charlottetown Festival), “Cabaret”, “Mary Poppins” (Theatre Aquarius), “Chicago” (Stage West) and “Singin in the Rain” (Capitol Theatre). Allison was one of the founding members of C Theater Works where she co-produced and choreographed the inaugural production of “Marathon of Hope" at the Sheridan Studio Theatre. Most recently she choreographed the sold out run of “The Little Mermaid Jr.” for the Capitol Theatre in Port Hope Ontario.
Allison regularly attends workshops and master classes including the prestigious improvisation workshop held at Celebration Barn Theater, taught by master teacher Keith Johnstone. She also founded Toronto's hit girl group "The Foxy Femmes" in 2009, an act that performed regularly in Toronto. Her major inspiration to date has been from collaborative work, whether as an ensemble member in large scale productions, or as team member of smaller installments. This inspiration is the impetus for her thesis work; A study of Women’s Work in the Chorus of Canadian Musical Theatre.
Michelle Silagy is a graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Professional Training Program and has been active in Toronto as an independent choreographer, dancer, and teacher since graduation. She began teaching in the School’s Young Dancers’ Program in 1989 and is currently its Program Director. Over the past 23 years, Silagy has received many awards through the Ontario Arts Council’s Artists in Education program to bring dance to schools throughout Toronto and the province. As well, she has taught dance to youth at the Canadian Opera Company, the Institute of Child Study, and the Toronto French School. As a mentor artist with The Royal Conservatory of Music’s Learning Through the Arts program, Silagy has worked across Canada and abroad as a creative movement specialist, including incentives in London, England, the Bloorview Macmillan Centre in Toronto, and Winnipeg’s Inner-city.
Silagy has an innate reverie for bodies in motion. Her curiosity about what motivates anyone to express themselves through movement is at the heart of what she wishes to explore with her collaborators. Michelle is interested in all forms of learning forums ranging from conventional approaches to approaches yet to be discovered. Silagy’s extensive work with youth joyfully informs her desire to create with artists of all disciplines through collaboration in dance. Her choreography, made in the company of Toronto’s independent community, has been referred to as “exquisite…filled with beautiful images that speak of rest, tranquility and hope” (Globe and Mail). Her full-length work, Necessary Velocity, premiered at the Winchester Street Theatre with the valued support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council.
Silagy’s choreographic work has been presented at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam, du Maurier Theatre Centre [now Enwave Theatre], Dusk Dances festivals throughout the country, Koerner Hall, and at Series 8:08, which she co-founded. She is the inaugural recipient of the Toronto Dance Artist Award (for choreography) from the Toronto Community Foundation.
As the Young Dancers’ Program Director, Silagy is constantly seeking ways to improve the program, provide performance opportunities for young dancers, and involve youth from the local communities of Cabbagetown, Regent Park, and St. Jamestown. She was instrumental in setting up a sponsorship program for children and young people from Regent Park and St. Jamestown to allow them to participate in the YDP. Additionally, she advocated for the inclusion of a Creative Movement Made for Me class, an integrated class for children of mixed abilities. Silagy traveled to London, England for the Youth Dance England 2010 Conference where she was first introduced to dance for all bodies. She has received two prestigious grants from the Canada Council for the Arts to pursue her DanceAbility Teacher Certification at ImpulsTanz in Vienna 2012, and to pursue the newly-conceived advanced DanceAbility Training in Monte Video, Uruguay, in 2015. In 2014, Silagy traveled by invitation to Mexico with 15 international artists, to envision next steps for DanceAbility International with DanceAbility founder Alito Alessi. She has also been invited to perform new work with DanceAbility while in Mexico. Silagy is currently in the second year of her MFA candidacy in Dance at York University. She is also developing a new multi-media dance work for children with multi-abilities in partnership with Theatre Direct in 2015 and 2016.
Nikolaos Markakis is a co-founder of Half Second Echo Dance Collective. He was first introduced to dance at the Cretan Association of Toronto Knossos, where he studied Cretan Folkloric dance. He was introduced to Western styles of dance in High School and followed his passion of movement to York University where he completed his Bachelors of Fine Arts in 2013. Post his undergraduate degree, he has performed and choreographed with Half Second Echo and performed for; Shannon Litzenberger, Valerie Calam, David Earl, Marie-Josee Chartier, and Susie Burpee. Outside of the Dance world Nikolaos is the President of the Winters College Alumni Network, and the East Coast Vice President of the Pancretan Youth Association of America. Currently Nikolaos is researching the possibility of hybrid choreography between Cretan Folkloric and Contemporary dance practices. His main objective is to use his two embodied dance recourses in his creative practice to allow an organic approach, and cultivating an environment for his two worlds of dance to live simultaneously.
Suma Nair’s artistic pursuits began with dance. Growing up in the Middle East, she was initiated into the study of Bharatanatyam when she was seven. She continues to practice, teach and perform the style extensively. Suma draws upon her training as an Indian Classical dancer to create the foundation to explore new forms of dance expression that combine Indian Classical and Contemporary styles. She has also received training in the creative artistic practice of Laban Movement Analysis. With an education in Business Management and Mass Communications, Suma Nair blends her existing skill sets with a career in dance as a choreographer and performer.
She has also received training in Documentary Filmmaking, and has worked on several videos documenting artistes and other professionals alike. As part of the Documentary program, she was chosen as part of a three-member team to create educational videos in post-earthquake Haiti for the NGO Save The Children. She has worked in the fields of Event Management and Public Relations, only to realize that she could use the expertise she developed there to build a career in the performing arts. Currently an MFA Dance graduate student at York University, she was recently awarded the Susan Crocker and John Hunkin Scholarship in Fine Arts for 2014-2015.
MFA Graduates 2014
Originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Valerie Calam began dancing at age 7. She moved to Toronto at age 18 to attend the School of Toronto Dance Theatre's Professional Training Program where she was first introduced to modern dance, falling in love with the Graham Technique. After graduation, she had the privilege of working with Dancetheatre David Earle and Danny Grossman Dance Company. Under the Artistic Direction of Christopher House, Valerie was a member of Toronto Dance Theatre from 1999-2009 where she also worked with Peter Chin, Sasha Ivonochko, Sharon Moore, Stephanie Skura and others.
Recently, Valerie has performed with Les Production Figlio, Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, ProArteDanza and The Dietrich Group. Valerie is the 2011 winner of the KM Hunter Award for Dance. Valerie has been presenting choreography in Toronto since 1997 and recently formed Company Vice Versa to umbrella her work in choreography, sound design and dance video. Valerie has been nominated for four Mavor Moore Dora Awards including Outstanding New Choreography in 2007. She presented her first full-evening work “Children of the Triangle” in January 2012 through a partnership with CreatiVenture Collective. She guest teaches and choreographs at Ryerson University as part of Ryerson Dances 2009 and 2011.
Marie France Forcier is the artistic director of Forcier Stage Works. She was first introduced to dance in her native Montréal, where she gained DEC degrees in Sociology and Dance as a bursary recipient. Forcier later moved to Toronto to attend the professional training program of The School of TDT, from which she graduated in 2005. Her various contemporary choreographic works were since presented in venues and residencies across Canada as well as in the USA, France, India and China.
Under Forcier Stage Works, she created and produced Nucleus (2007), Passageways to Diluted Happiness (2008) and Facts of Influence (2010), all DanceWorks CoWorks Series events. Lab Rats, the company’s 4th major production is scheduled to open in Toronto in January 2013. As a performer and rehearsal director, Forcier has worked for several companies and independent choreographers in varied disciplines including contemporary dance, film, family theatricals and aerial circus. She is a seasoned touring artist with now seven seasons of international performing under her belt. Forcier is a member of CADA, Dance Ontario and the DTRC.
Patrizia Gianforcaro is a graduate of Ryerson's Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program under the direction of Nadia Potts. Through her dance career she has had the privilege of touring Europe, South America and the United States. Patrizia has performed the works of Mia Michaels, Travis Wall, Marie Jose Chartier, Roberto Campanella, Malgorzata Nowacka, Courtnae Bowman Newton Moreas and Debra Brown to name a few. She has worked for companies such as Cirque Du Soleil, The Chimera Project, The Dance Migration, Cadence Ballet, Manzo Entertainment,, and The Newton Moreas Dance Theatre. Her film credits include, “Take the Lead” featuring Antonio Banderas, Bravo Fact Presents: “Baba” by ELD Films and Cirque's " Delirium" show Live from the O2 in London England.
Ms. Gianforcaro has been teaching and choreographing since the age of 15. Currently, she stays involved in many dance projects in Toronto and acts as guest choreographer at many arts High Schools and private dance studio’s. She is also, a Co-Owner and Artistic Director of Lady Luck Productions, specializing in creating live performance shows for special events, dinner theatres and more. Representing the highest caliber of talents in Toronto, these Ladies make any event ideas come to life, literally!
As a Performer, Educator and Advocate of Injury free Dance Conditioning. Sharon Harvey has been following her bliss for most of her life, while working within the Dance community. As a Workshop Facilitator for teacher, dancers and movers of all walk of life. She promotes the importance of healthy dance conditioning and Afro-Modern Dance. The Key to the vitality of what she does is her radiant energy, her passion for the work and her unique approach to the creative process.
Sharon the dancer has performed in various works and worked with talented Choreographers, that has groomed her independence, as an Artist that uncovers stories untold, strengthen the Athleticisms and Artistry of dance forms and encourage the Empowerment and Presence of the female voice. From Badu Dance Theatre ‘Marie Joseph Angelique’, Canboulay Dance Theatre ‘Beryl ‘O’Beryl’, Adventures of a Black girl in search of God (under the choreographic direction of Vivine Scarlet), Holly Small ‘Souls’, Ballet Creole ‘Contemporary Voices’ and full circle to the present with company Azaguno ‘Flight’ under the choreographic direction of Dr. Zelma Badu-Younge. Sharon looks forward to paying it forward.
Graduate of York University’s BFA dance program Sharon is coming back to pursuing her Graduate studies fall of 2012. She will be combining her two passions Dance Choreography and Costume Design.
Ruth Levin’s central passion is the study of the human experience. A graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, she has had the great pleasure and challenge of exploring this passion in the dance studio. Deepening this study for the past six years with a dedicated spiritual practice, the studio and stage serve as venues for bringing this wisdom into a discipline and into the world.
Her work as a performer and movement teacher serve to merge awareness of the body and the transformative power of the imagination as tools for celebrating the human heart and affecting positive change. She has had the tremendous privilege of working with world class teachers in both fields of study, including in the field of dance, Peggy Baker, Margie Gillis, Danny Grossman, James Kudelka, as well as the principle faculty at the School of TDT. Her guides in the direct study of mind are Achariya Doug Duncan and the eclectic and enlivened people that make up the Clear Sky Sangha.
Victoria Mata is a mixed bag of indigenous, african and european descendant Venezuelan-Canadian raised in the Andes of Venezuela, Northern California, Central France, New York and Toronto. A choreographer, dancer, muralist, urban planner and activist, Victoria has developed and directed over a dozen choreographies, that have been performed in New York, San Francisco, Caracas, El Salvador and Toronto. A Toronto-Oakland-based artist, “Discendant” is a product and fabrication of her passion for creative collaborations and ancestral research through artistic mediums.
Victoria is the co-founder of MataDanZe, a Toronto-based women's dance and theater collective with a mission to “empower womyn through movement" and has had the privilege of performing with Dora Nominated and Award winning Aluna Theather Company for the last three years. Victoria is primarily a self-taught dancer with complementary training at the Indigenous Dance Residency program at the prestigious Banff Arts Centre in Alberta, Toronto Dance Theater's Summer Intensive and Ballet Creole Summer Training. As an arts facilitator, muralist and urban planner, she utilizes the arts as a vehicle to inform policy and urban planning decision makers at the city planning level through murals and Identity Exploration projects.
Michelle McClelland has studied dance for 15+ years, primarily at the Studio of Dance & Performing Arts in Whitby. She completed her RAD Intermediate Ballet Vocational Exam in 2006 and her ISTD Advanced 1 Modern in 2007 with Distinction. It was at the Studio that Michelle discovered her love for teaching and choreography. After high school, Michelle attended the Queen’s University International Study Center in England to continue her academic studies. In 2011, she achieved her BAH from Queen’s in Film & Media and English Literature with Distinction. Michelle used her time in the Queen's film program to explore dance through the cinematic lens. For her 4th year thesis, she completed a 25-minute documentary on the dedication required to become a professional dancer.
While completing her BAH, Michelle took various dance classes in both Kingston and Toronto to continue her training and to explore new choreographic techniques. Along with her studies at York, Michelle is currently training for her Associate in ISTD Modern Theatre at Traditions Academy of Dance, where she is a substitute teacher. Michelle is overjoyed to be a part of the York MFA Dance program and cannot wait to take her work to the next level!
John Ottmann’s career as a dancer, choreographer, teacher, rehearsal director and artistic director has spanned 27 years. He has garnered a reputation as a highly versatile, powerful dance artist, choreographer and inspiring mentor known for pushing and crossing the boundaries of ballet and contemporary dance. As a performer Ottmann danced with several companies including the National Ballet of Canada, Ballet BC, Mascall Dance, Fortier Danse Créations, Holy Body Tattoo and co-founded the collective, Quorum. As the Artistic Director of the Quinte Ballet School of Canada he implemented his progressive approach to teaching and mentoring.
Ottmann has also taught and/or rehearsal directed for organizations including: Cirque du Soleil (“ZAIA”), Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, BJM Danse, La La La Human Steps, Coleman Lemieux Company, Compangnie Marie Chouinard, O Vertigo Danse, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Toronto Dance Theater, Ballet BC, Dutch National Ballet, Transformation Danse, Vancouver Ballet Society, Anna Wyman School of Dance Arts, Main Dance Bridging Program, Simon Fraser University, LADMMI. Ottmann has created over 20 choreographies.
His work has been shown at The Canada Dance Festival, the Vancouver International Dance Festival, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Danse Cité –Traces Interprétes, The Fringe Festival Montreal, Dancing on the Edge Festival, and the National Ballet of Canada choreographic workshop. Newly transplanted to Toronto, Ottmann is a course director at York University and rehearsal director for Coleman Lemieux Company.
MFA Graduates 2013
A dancer and choreographer born in Bogota Colombia, John Henry Genera has a degree in art education. He also studied advertising at the Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano and contemporary dance at the Higher Academy of Arts in Bogota. In 1996, he created his own company, Blancoscuro, and produced several original works. In 1997, he participated as a dancer in a Colombian-French project, "The Bridge". Since 1998 he has danced with the Foundation L'explose as a cast member in more than 10 works and has toured around the world performing in well-known theatres. In 2005 he was awarded UNESCO’s Ashberg scholarship, which allows artists to do a residency abroad.
In Canada, he had the opportunity to work as a guest dancer in companies such as Parbleux, Newton Moraes Dance Theatre and Kaha:wi Dance Theatre. In 2006 he won the scholarship in dance creation by the Ministry of Culture Bogotá for the production of the play "Melancolía", also in 2009 for the production of the play "La Trampa". Dance Manager of the Secretariat of Culture Recreation and Sport in Bogota for the last two years and a teacher at Javeriana University in Bogota since 2008.
Vanessa’s intensive training in hip hop, house and contemporary dance have given a unique perspective and edge to her choreography and creation process. Developing ‘freestyle’ or improvised dance as an element of choreography (particularly when working with non-dancers), has proven imperative to creative and diverse choreographic explorations. With many years of experience teaching a wide range of levels and ages, Vanessa specializes in employing teaching methods that breakdown movement to their essentials, truly helping movers of all abilities to understand their own bodies and progress towards discovering a personal style of their own.
Since graduating from York University (Bachelor of Fine Arts; Bachelor of Education), Vanessa has had the pleasure of performing and teaching locally and internationally for artists/companies such as Maxine Heppner, Keiko Kitano, DiscoLoveChild, Flavor Shop (Philippines, Hawaii, Canada), Meagan O'Shea, Parahumans Dance Theatre, IDAC, A-XIS Dance, and Janis Claxton (Ireland).
Catherine Murray is originally from North Vancouver, BC. She received her BFA in Dance from Ryerson University under the direction of Nadia Potts in 2005. While at Ryerson, Catherine had the opportunity to work with Julia Sasso and Andrea Nann. Catherine is the co-founder and Program Director of Project: Humanity, a not for profit organization that uses the arts to raise social awareness with a strong emphasis on community service. For the past five years, she has been involved in arts outreach with marginalized communities, theatre production and not-for-profit business. Catherine is looking forward to the opportunity to concentrate on her artistry with the MFA in dance program.
Bee Pallomina is a dancer whose multifaceted practice explores movement in diverse arenas. Born and raised in Toronto, she graduated from the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and has performed for a number of independent choreographers and dance companies.
Long-term collaborative relationships include Jessica Runge (since 1996-2004), Dancetheatre David Earle (since 1998), Ame Henderson/Public Recordings (since 2008) and Dancemakers (1998 to 2000). She has also appeared in several short dance films by filmmakers Magali Charrier, Michael Downing, John Lauener, John Oswald and Karen Kaeja. Ongoing collaborations include performative-installation with multi-media artist Lee Henderson and Saskatchewan dance-artist Johanna Bundon. Bee also choreographs, improvises, and teaches moksha yoga, contemporary dance and somatic practice.
Pamela Rasbach is a Toronto-based choreographer and Artistic Director of Typecast Dance Company. She is a graduate of both Ryerson University’s dance program and Canada’s National Ballet School. Pamela has choreographed for Ryerson University, Cawthra Park Secondary School, Claude Watson School of the Arts, the Ontario School of Ballet, and Ballet Jörgen as part of their Solos and Duets Program. In Spring 2009 Pamela was one of nine international artists who participated in Berlin’s TAKT Kunstprojektraum, at which she presented two short dance films. Along with Typecast, she has choreographed multiple full-length works and has choreographed for various festivals including Nuit Blanche, DanceOntario’s Dance Weekend, Fresh Blood, and International Dance Day.
MFA Graduates 2012
lse has trained in various disciplines and has a unique background in dance and movement. She started as a gymnast and briefly studied at the school of contemporary dance of the Ballet Nacional de México. A graduate of the Ontario College of Art, Ilse brings a unique perspective to dance. She has been a member of the Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company since 1997 and studied flamenco at Amor de Dios studios in Madrid and extensively in Seville. Since 1999, Ilse’s dance career has expanded as a soloist to include performances across Canada and internationally flamenco artists and with contemporary dancers, experimental theatre, Opera, Independent music, video and film. She also performs and tours as a dancer/musician with the Jorge Miguel Flamenco Ensemble. In 2007, Ilse received a professional development grant from the Canada Council for the Arts and spent half of the year in Seville for an intensive study period dancing with several masters and learning flamenco singing (cante) with internationally acclaimed Esperanza Fernández, daughter of Curro Fernández.
While in Seville she performed and connected with many flamenco dancers, singers and musicians not only from Spain, also around the world. Her dedication and commitment to this art form have lead her to Spain consistently to connect, learn, perform and create with other artists. In 2005, Ilse founded Los Amigos de Pilar, a dance and music ensemble that is continuously growing to reflect the contemporary status of flamenco not only in a traditional style, but delving into artistic realm of visual art, music and theatre.
Nancy danced with Feld Ballets/NY, The Cleveland/ San Jose Ballet, The Alberta Ballet, and Wilkes-Barre Ballet Theatre. In 1987, at the prestigious New York International Ballet Competition Nancy was awarded Special Recognition for Artistic Achievement, the only North American dancer to win an award that year.
As a soloist in the company of Eliot Feld, Nancy performed featured roles in A Footstep of Air, The Jig is Up, and Bloom's Wake and performed or originated roles in Common Ground, Endsong, Contrapose, and classic works including Skara Brae, The Consort and At Midnight. As a principal dancer with The Cleveland/ San Jose Ballet, Nancy performed Maria and the Tsarina in The Nutcracker, The Cowgirl in Rodeo, Emilia in The Moor's Pavane, Le Chef Bandit in Roland Petit's Carmen, Hermia in Midsummer Night's Dream, and Russian Girl in George Balanchine's Serenade, among many others.
As a principal dancer with the Alberta Ballet from 1988 to 1990, Nancy appeared in the title role in Birgit Cullberg's adaptation of Miss Julie, Swanilda in Coppelia, the principal in Balanchine's Donizetti Variations and the Sugar Plum Fairy in Brydon Paige's The Nutcracker. Nancy began to explore her own choreographic work in 2009, creating 4 short dance works for a Hi-Definition video, entitled Collected Short Stories. Later that year she choreographed Savior, part of Rebecca Belmore's performance piece, Gone Indian for Nuit Blanche. She was invited by Bengt Jörgen in 2009 and 2010 to create duets for Ballet Jörgen's Solos and Duets workshop series. Most recently she choreographed the film Seven Seconds to premiere at the imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in October of 2010.
Shannon Roberts graduated from Ryerson University with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance Dance under the direction of Nadia Potts in 2009. In 2008 she worked with Holly Small in "Three Rags" and in 2007 she worked with Louis Laberge-cote "Axis Mundi." She worked with David Earle and Kenny Pearl in the remount of "Sacra Conversazione in 2009." Her training includes Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop, Figure Skating and Flying Trapeze. Recently she has branched into Bollywood, back up dancing and music videos.
Shannon lived in China for six months where she developed a dance and theatre program that incorporated learning English. She is an adamant traveler and has been all over Europe studying culture and performance. Shannon has been in several festivals such as Talent Defined in June and the Dance2Danse Festival in August. Her stage pieces are very much inspired by social issues that she is passionate toward and has studied. She is also inspired by people, artwork and cultures experienced through out her travels around the World. Shannon is interested in fusing Modern dance with her athletic background creating a unique performance style. Shannon is starting her Master of Fine Arts focusing on choreography and dance dramaturgy and is ready to discover her voice as a choreographer.
MFA Graduates 2011
Alison Daley is an independent choreographer and performance artist originally from Toronto, Ontario. She has performed and shown her own work in festivals and independent productions across Canada, Europe, and Asia. After completing her formal dance training in Montreal she took off to Japan where she danced with Tokyo based company, Tokyo Space Dance. Returning to Canada in 2006 she started to create again and has shown work in both Montreal and Toronto.
Katya Kuznetsova fuses movement vocabularies from ballroom to butoh and enjoys employing theater, film, and technology to create ways to communicate with the audience. Born in the Russian Far East, she trained in professional ballroom dance, touring in Russia, China, and the United States. In 1996, she moved to Anchorage, Alaska, where she earned a BA in Arts Administration and an MA in Dance and Adult Education from the University of Alaska Anchorage (UAA), and enjoyed a ten-year teaching career.
Kuznetsova’s works have been commissioned by the Alaska Dance Theatre, University of Alaska Anchorage Department of Theatre and Dance, and Montana Rhythm Explosion Workshop. In 2005, her piece Cruzada received gala recognition at the Northwestern Regional Conference American College Dance Festival, at Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA. Currently based in Toronto, Canada, she is investigating new choreographic grounds through the MFA in Choreography and Dance Dramaturgy at York University.
Angela Blumberg was born 1980 in Germany. She studied Dramaturgy from 2001-2003 before she decided to move to London where she completed her Bachelors Degree in Contemporary Dance at the Laban Centre. Since 2006 Angela has been a freelance dance artist, presenting her own work in Germany, the UK, Sweden and Canada. She works as a guest dancer for The Van - L Dance Company and is a certified GYROTONIC® instructor. In September 2009 Angela moved to Toronto in Canada to take a Masters Degree in Choreography.
Anastasia Maywood is originally from Edmonton, Alberta. She received her BA Honors Drama degree from the University of Alberta, where she also danced and choreographed with the Orchesis Modern Dance Group for nine years. Her recent choreographic credits in Edmonton included Transient/The Magpie Collection (Orchesis Dance Motif and Dancefest@Nextfest 2009) and the Global Youth Assembly Opening Ceremonies (Summer 2009). Since September 2009, she has been enjoying the challenges and breakthroughs through the MFA in Dance program and York University in Toronto.
MFA Graduates 2010
Choreographer, teacher and dancer has collaborated with theater, musical and dance companies in Canada, USA and Colombia. She was born in Bogota- Colombia where she studied the Scenic Arts Program in dance. As independent choreographer she has developed several works and received important awards, grants and recognitions. She has lived in San Francisco and New York where investigated different tendencies on dance. As dance teacher she has worked in Montreal, Hamilton, Kitchener, San Francisco, New Jersey and Colombia.
As dancer and actress, she has joined the companies: Marc De Garmo and Dancers (NY-USA), L’Explose (Colombia), and The MT Space (Kitchener, Canada) between others. Her recently credits includes: choreographer for Nohayquiensepa Aluna Theatre, Summerworks 2009 Toronto. Currently, she is at York University studying her MFA in dance.
Choreographer, Dora-nominated dancer and York alumna (BFA ’90), has originated roles in almost fifty world premieres by nationally renowned Canadian choreographers including Kaeja d’Dance (company member since 1997), Holly Small, Maxine Heppner, Yvonne Ng, and Peter Chin. Susan has performed and taught in Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia.
Her teaching focuses on contact improvisation, partnering techniques and structures for improvisation as a performance art. Susan’s creative interest lies in improvisation as performance art, the integration of live music and dance and combining dance with other disciplines and media. Her choreography, described as “…a tour de force of magic and mystery” (the Globe and Mail), has been presented in dance festivals and series in Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax and Peterborough. She is currently pursuing her MFA degree in Dance at York University.
“refreshing and original” - Paula Citron, The Globe and Mail
Raised on a farm near London, Ontario Tracey developed a connection to movement while running through corn fields and jumping from hay lofts with her younger brother in tow. She feels privileged to make her living today choreographing, interpreting, teaching and facilitating dance. Based in Toronto, Tracey’s choreography has been commissioned and presented by many organizations and series including, Dance Ontario, DanceWorks, Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre, York Dance Ensemble, Season Finale of Series 8:08, Kinetic Studio (Halifax), Festival de Danse en l’Atlantique (Cap-Pele, NB), Toronto International Dance Festival/fFIDA, HowDareShe Productions, and Larchaud Dance Project. She has had the pleasure of performing in works by exciting independent choreographers including, Larchaud Dance Project, Jesse Dell, Darcey Callison, Meagan O’Shea and Ali Gratian, as well as working as an outside eye to several artists.
Tracey is a board member for the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists and a member of the Canadian Dance Assembly and Dance Ontario. She is the Alternative Technique Class Program Manager and Outreach Coordinator for Series 8:08 and teaches dance to children. She holds a BFA in dance and is an MFA candidate in Choreography at York University, Toronto. Currently Tracey is creating three dance works connected by the theme of cartography and looks forward to an upcoming collaboration on body language with visual artist Brendan Fernandes.
Internationally acclaimed director/ choreographer based in Toronto. He was most recently the artistic director for Yukon First Nations Gala (Winter Olympics 2010) and was commissioned to choreograph a dance work for the Toronto OlympicTorch Relay Celebration. He is the Founding Artistic Director of the Aboriginal Dance Program at the Banff Centre for the Arts (1996-2000) and was artistic director/ choreographer for Spirits in the Sun: The First Canadian Indigenous Arts Festival (1998) in Phoenix, Arizona.
His other credits include :choreographer for The Aborginal Achievement Awards (1997); Nunavut Official Opening (1999); Tribe (1998); A Hunter Called Memory (Sundance); The Jaguar Project (The DuMaurier World Stage Theatre Festival); Awards include: Canada/U.S.A./Mexico Artist Scholarship Award; The Laidlaw Arts Foundation Grant Award for New Choreography; and The Canadian Heritage Grant Award in Dance.