Artistic Staff

Artistic Director
B.A. (Hons), Dance, York University, 1975
M.A., Dance, York University, 2012

Patricia Fraser is a senior independent dance artist, teacher, and arts advisor.  She graduated from York University with a bachelor’s degree in dance under founding chair Grant Strate, and went on to study at the schools of London Contemporary Dance Theatre, the Martha Graham Company, the José Limón Company, and Toronto Dance Theatre.  Even before her graduation, Fraser performed with Dancemakers during their 1975 season, and then she moved to Scotland to become Director of Dance at the Glasgow Art Centre.  She returned to Canada to rejoin Dancemakers in 1977, becoming Co-Artistic Director (with Carol Anderson) from 1980 through 1985.  During her time at Dancemakers, Fraser went on to develop as one of the company’s finest dancers, performing in works by Conrad Alexandrowicz, Robert Cohan, Karen Jamieson, James Kudelka, Norman Morrice, Paul Taylor, and many others.

Fraser was Assistant Professor at York University in the dance department from 1985 through 1988, and then she left to pursue an independent career as a much sought-after performer and teacher.  She has taught and performed extensively across Canada, as well as in Europe, and the United States, at such places as The Banff Centre, L’École de danse contemporaine de Montréal (formerly LADMMI), Montréal Danse, Simon Fraser University, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, and York University.  She was a founding director of the Teachers’ Collective with Patricia Miner and Sylvain Brochu.  She became Artistic Director of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre in 1993.

A recipient of many grants and awards, Fraser has also been a juror for the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards, the Chalmers Training Awards, and the Dora Mavor Moore Awards.  A grant from The Canada Council for the Arts enabled her to undertake extensive international research on professional dance training.

In 2009, with the support of a Metcalf Foundation grant, Fraser took a six-month sabbatical to study dance training in Europe.  In 2010, she was named as the inaugural winner of the Robert Johnston Award for exemplary Human Resources practices in the arts and culture sector.  In 2012, she was a finalist for the Toronto Foundation for the Arts’ William Kilbourn Award for the Celebration of Toronto’s Cultural Life.  She was awarded her M.A. in Dance from York University in 2012.

Artistic Associate

B.A. Languages, University of Toronto, 1965

Susan Macpherson was a founding member of Toronto Dance Theatre, dancing with the company for 11 years. She has also performed with the Danny Grossman Dance Company, the Charles Weidman Company (New York), and the London Contemporary Dance Theatre (U.K.); as a solo artist, her repertoire included work by Christopher Bannerman, Anna Blewchamp, Robert Cohan, Murray Darroch, Margaret Dragu, David Earle, Paul-André Fortier, Danny Grossman/Judy Jarvis, Doris Humphrey, James Kudelka, and Linda Rabin. Her solo dance program, A Personal Collection, was presented in Berlin, Berne, London, Montréal, Munich, Ottawa, Paris, Quebec, and Toronto. Since leaving full-time performing in 1986, Macpherson has continued to perform periodically, appearing in the work of Peggy Baker, Rachel Browne, Elizabeth Chitty, Bill James, Jan Komárek, and Laura Taler. In 2003, she appeared in the revival of David Earle’s Court of Miracles.

In 2008, Macpherson danced and spoke at Premiere Dance Theatre’s 25th Anniversary celebration, From the Horse’s Mouth, at the Premiere – now Fleck – Dance Theatre. Also in 2008, she appeared briefly in Laura Taler’s short film Love Story. In 2012, she performed Baker’s duet Spätstil with Pamela Grundy, at a gala honouring Miriam Adams.

Macpherson has been active as an advisor, assessor, and researcher on dance and dance-related issues for various arts funding bodies. In 1991, she produced an extensive research paper for the Canada Council that supported the subsequent opening of its funding criteria to include forms of dance other than ballet, modern dance, and experimental dance. She has a B.A. in languages from the University of Toronto, and she has edited several publications of Dance Collection Danse, including two editions of The Encyclopedia of Theatre Dance in Canada, and The Dictionary of Dance: Words, Terms and Phrases. In 2002, Macpherson received a Senior Arts Fellowship from the Canada Council for the Arts, to research strategies for artistic survival beyond late middle age, and to continue her exploration of intersections between dance and visual art.

Macpherson has taught for Toronto Dance Theatre and the School, and she has held teaching appointments at York University and the Université du Québec à Montréal. Since 1997, she has been Artistic Associate at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. Over the past thirty years, she has developed a parallel career in sculptural and functional ceramics.

Artistic Associate

Patricia Miner is one of Toronto’s key contemporary dance teachers. Her ideas and methods are reflected in her ongoing work with Toronto Dance Theatre, The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and a myriad of independent dancers and small companies. She taught for 16 years with the Teachers’ Training Program of Canada’s National Ballet School.

Miner has spent a lifetime in dance, training with master teachers in ballet, Graham, and Limón, in Toronto, London, and New York. Her performance career includes an apprenticeship with Toronto Dance Theatre, the early years of Dancemakers (which she co-directed with Peggy Baker from 1977 through 1979), an appearance with the José Limón Company, and innovative work with several New York choreographers. Miner is the recipient of the 2004 Dance Ontario Award.

Artistic Coordinator – Professional Programs

Andrea Roberts was a scholarship student in the Professional Training Program at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, where she has worked as both an administrator and rehearsal director since her graduation in 1997. She has spent the majority of her professional career exploring her artistic voice through improvisation and theatre training, and has performed in works by Peggy Baker, Sonya Biernath, Murray Darroch, Terrill Maguire, Sharon B. Moore, and Julia Sasso. As a rehearsal director/assistant, Roberts has been involved in the creative process for both new works and remounts by more than 20 choreographers, including Massimo Agostinelli, Sonya Biernath, Marc Boivin, Rachel Browne, Peter Chin, Corpus, Jennifer Dallas, Christopher House, Bill James, Karen Kuzak, Louis Laberge-Côté, José Limón, Coralee McLaren, Sharon B. Moore, David Pressault, Tedd Robinson, Julia Sasso, Roger Sinha, Mariko Tanabe, Michael Trent, and Gerry Trentham. She has acted as Rehearsal Director and Artistic Advisor for Jennifer Dallas / Kẹmi Contemporary Dance Projects since the company’s inception in 2007.
A recipient of The W. Lawrence Heisey Graduate Award in Fine Arts, Roberts holds a master’s degree in dance studies from York University. Her thesis used psychoanalytic visual art theory to discuss the dance-theatre work of Canadian choreographer Murray Darroch, and her research included co-production of a tribute performance following his passing in 2005. She has also done substantial original research into the history of Toronto’s Pavlychenko Studio. Roberts has an active interest in the conversations around performance archives, and has presented several papers throughout North America that investigate various aspects of creation, preservation, and (re)interpretation. She sits on the board of the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists (CADA-ON), and was adjudicator for the modern / contemporary section at the 2009 Surrey (BC) Festival of Dance. Most recently, she was awarded a generous Metcalf Foundation Renewal Grant which allowed her to attend one of the renowned Banff Centre Leadership Development programs in February 2014. She is currently studying Information Systems Management at Ryerson University.

Artistic Advisor to Professional Training Program

Artistic Director of Toronto Dance Theatre

Christopher House is a choreographer, dancer, director, teacher, and writer. Born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland, he joined Toronto Dance Theatre as a dancer in 1979, was named Resident Choreographer in 1981, and became Artistic Director of the company in 1994.

In partnership with his creative team, House has developed a variety of programs for TDT that reflect his commitment to ongoing education and shared learning, including work with young people, new audiences, and the local and international community of artists. He has commissioned work for TDT from more than forty Canadian and international choreographers such as, most recently, Susie Burpee, Peter Chin, Thomas Hauert, Ame Henderson, Jean-Sébastien Lourdais, Alban Richard, Heidi Strauss, and Emanuelle Vo-Dinh.

As a choreographer, he has made over sixty works for the TDT repertoire and has also created choreography for Ballet British Columbia, Lisbon’s Ballet Gulbenkian, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, and the National Ballet of Canada, among others, and solo works for such artists as Peggy Baker, Guillaume Côté, Patricia Fraser, and Claudia Moore. He has directed two collaborations with Joel Gibb and The Hidden Cameras and created several short films and videos. His most recent choreography includes Rivers (2012), Eleven Accords (2013), and Martingales (2014), all for Toronto Dance Theatre.

As a performer, he has appeared in new works by Sarah Chase, Peter Chin, David Earle, James Kudelka, Mark Morris, and Peter Randazzo, among others. While a guest with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, he performed the title role in Michel Fokine’s Petrouchka, also dancing in Kudelka’s In Paradisum, Nijinska’s Les Noces, as well as in his solo Schubert Dances, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.  He continues to perform in new choreography by Deborah Hay, Ame Henderson, and Jordan Tannahill.

House has taught technique, creative process, improvisation, and bodywork across Canada and in The Netherlands, the U.K., and the U.S.A. Since 2006, his ongoing involvement with the experimental practice of choreographer Deborah Hay has profoundly influenced his teaching and directing.

He has received many awards for his work, including three Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Outstanding New Choreography. He received the Muriel Sherrin Award for International Achievement in Dance in October 2009, was made an honorary doctor of letters by Memorial University in 2010, and received the Toronto Alliance for Performing Arts Silver Ticket Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts in 2012. In 2013 he was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance in Deborah Hay’s The Body in Question.

Christopher House is an Associate Dance Artist of Canada’s National Arts Centre.

Training and Performance Associate

Rosemary James was born in New York State and raised in Toronto. Following a successful career as a performer with Toronto Dance Theatre, she assumed the position of Rehearsal Director in 1992. James is the Training and Performing Associate at the School.

She has taught modern dance courses at York University and choreographed extensively for community-based arts education programs. She was the movement teacher and choreographer for the musicals Spoke, This City of Angels, and Swimming for Shore, and the Choreography Consultant for the award-winning synchronized skating team Gold Ice.
In addition to being a sought-after teacher, James holds a Bachelor and Master of Arts in dance from York University.

Administrative Staff

Managing Director
Gail Packwood has come full circle, returning to dance after starting her career with the Dance Umbrella of Ontario.

Prior to joining the School, Packwood was the Director of Project Management and Creative Logistics at Catalyst TCM, where she worked with both theatre and dance clients on management solutions, touring, and presenting projects. She was Executive Director for the Artists’ Health Centre Foundation (now Artists’ Health Alliance), working to secure affordable health treatment options for the artistic community in the Greater Toronto Area.

Packwood was a 2010 Arts Management Fellow at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., America’s national performing arts institution and the living memorial to President John F. Kennedy.

Prior to her time in Washington, Packwood was the Associate Producer at the Canadian Stage Company, and she worked for seven years with Mirvish Productions in various positions in company management and production. She is the Past President of the Board of Directors for the Theatre Centre, a highly regarded interdisciplinary arts incubator focused on supporting new work and new ways of working in Toronto’s West Queen West neighbourhood.

Packwood holds an M.A. from the Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama at the University of Toronto and a B.F.A. in Theatre from York University.

Student Services Coordinator

Born and raised in Russia, Lilya Sultanova has called Toronto her home since 2007. Prior to moving to Canada, she worked on a number of arts, culture, and education projects at British Council Moscow, as well as on marketing Britain as a tourist destination at VisitBritain.

After her move to Toronto, Lilya completed a post-graduate course in marketing and customer relationship management, while freelancing at performing arts venues in the city including Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall, and volunteering at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Before joining the team at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, she spent two seasons at Young People’s Theatre, and most recently at The Theatre Centre, Toronto’s newest live arts hub and incubator.

Communications and Outreach Coordinator

Vicky Crocker is an advertising and communications specialist with a particular interest in working with arts, culture, and education organizations to maximize their awareness, community engagement, and impact. Crocker has joined our team from Edinburgh, Scotland, where she was working as an Account Manager in an advertising agency, creating and developing national and international multimedia marketing campaigns for a variety of clients. Along with a degree in Linguistics (M.A. Hons) from the University of Edinburgh, her other work experience has included internships in production for film and radio studios.

During her time at University, Crocker became the President of the EU Dance Society, organising a large selection of dance classes for Edinburgh residents as well as being a member of the performance team herself. In 2014, Crocker embarked on a new adventure which brought her to Toronto after undertaking a period of dance training in New York City.