Kathryn Ash was on the Board of Directors of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre for 18 years and was President from 1995 to 2008.  Kathryn worked tirelessly for the School and offered constant guidance and wisdom in legal and governance issues. The Kathryn Ash Awards recognize Kathryn’s dedication to the School and reflect her passionate commitment to the areas of scholarship, leadership, and creation.


Allen Kaeja Wins 2016 Kathryn Ash Choreographic Commission

We are delighted to announce that Allen Kaeja has won the Kathryn Ash Choreographic Commission for 2016-17. This award is presented to a choreographer for the commissioning of a new creation for the students of the School. As an expression of the School’s, and Kathryn’s, dedication to new creation and the professional development of our alumni, priority is given to a choreographer who is a graduate of the Professional Training Program.

Tia Kushniruk wins the 2016 Kathryn Ash Scholarship

The Scholarship is a merit-based award given to a deserving student going into their final year of study and is the equivalent to one-half of one year’s tuition which, in 2016/17, is $2,700.00. The winner of this year’s Scholarship is Tia Kushniruk.

The Scholarship is awarded for:
• consistent demonstration of artistic and technical accomplishment
• receptiveness to the learning process
• curiosity, investigation, and exploration
• evidence of progress
• performance quality in class and on the stage
• work ethic, commitment, attendance, and professionalism
• integrity and dedication
• a passion for the craft of the dancer, and the art of dance

Tia Kushniruk is an excellent dancer who, over the past two years, has invested great effort in her daily training and made steady progress. Her approach to class is incredibly focused and she brings energy and spirit into the studio. She has physical intelligence, is a compelling performer, and is memorable – both onstage and off. Tia works with diligence and commitment to an artistic life, and is open and receptive to new ideas. She wrote a strong application which impressed the panel, and her evaluations lent strong support to her file.

Tia is focused, determined, dedicated; she dances with energy, commitment, and intelligence … and is a joy to teach.

The Kathryn Ash Leadership Award

The Leadership Award is presented to a third year student who has displayed leadership qualities and has made a significant contribution to the life of the school. This is a cash award. The co-winners of this year’s Leadership Award are Marie-Pier Beauregard and Katherine Semchuk.

Marie-Pier Beauregard
Marie-Pier has a beautiful spirit and is a deeply caring individual. She champions the students and the issues they deal with every day.

One of her nominators said, “Ever since I came to the school, MP has been so kind and welcoming towards all of the students. She takes the time to get to know you individually, and shows how much of a gentle and compassionate soul she is. She is also an extremely driven, productive, and hard-working person, both in the studio and out. MP brings a smile to my face every day!”

Another said, “She has opened her heart to everyone in the school without any judgement. She is easy to talk to and cares about what you have to say. She is curious about the students as artists and sees people for who they are. She loves to share and promote art in the dance community and is supportive of everybody’s creative adventures. She has touched my heart and many more with her acceptance of every one of us”.

Katherine Semchuk
Katherine is a leader as an exemplar of artistic practice. She is an outstanding dancer, has played a key leadership role at the school; taking on major responsibilities throughout all of her three years in the program. Katherine rallies, organizes, leads, and inspires the student body. Faculty, staff, and choreographers are impressed by her hard work and dedication.

One nominator said, “Katherine is such a wonderful presence in the studio, with a generous nature and go-for-it attitude.”

Another said, “During the Choreographic Workshop process, she was the liaison between the second and third year classes and was extremely patient and gracious. Katherine was always open for discussion and she never shied away from helping us out. It never feels like she is above us in the hierarchy, but she is our equal. She is able to communicate her thoughts clearly, yet still listen to and respect others’ opinions. She is one of the most humble people I have met. Her kindness and joy for life filter through into her actions and Katherine always makes everyone’s attitude lighten up even in times of stress. Katherine demonstrates a natural knack for leading. For advice, assistance, or concerns, I know that my classmates and colleagues can trust her to help them in their time of need. Katherine is humble, respectful, and gracious. She is the student body’s most trustworthy candidate for issues that matter.”