Wendy Chiles is a gifted dance teacher and has had a long association with The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. She teaches in the Professional Training Program and the adult Contemporary Dance Classes, and she is one of the most established Graham teachers in Canada. Her long-standing association with the School also includes the teaching of Dance History.
Chiles began her dance training studying ballet, flamenco, jazz, and tap. These dance forms became the foundations for her contemporary dance career. Her post-secondary studies earned her a B.F.A. in dance from York University in Toronto. Upon graduation she continued her studies at the Cunningham Dance Studio (New York), the London School of Contemporary Dance (U.K.), The Martha Graham Dance School (New York), and The School of Toronto Dance Theatre.
For five years she was a company member of Toronto Dance Theatre, where she performed in the works of Patricia Beatty, David Earle, and Peter Randazzo. After dancing with the company, she continued to work as an independent dancer and as a guest artist in the Greater Toronto Area. She performed with many artists including Katherine Brown, The Clichettes, Murray Darroch, the Danny Grossman Dance Company, Susan MacNaughton, Judith Miller, Holly Small, and Toronto Independent Dance Enterprise.
As an active performing artist, Chiles expanded her range of abilities and worked in the fields of film and theatre, as well as acting as choreographer and rehearsal director for The Clichettes and The Nylons.
Highlights of her career include guest teacher and choreographer for: Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre, Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts, Claude Watson School for the Arts, Hart House (University of Toronto), Rosedale Heights School of the Arts, Sheridan College’s Music Theatre Program, the University of Waterloo, and York University. In addition she was a member of the faculty at Unionville High School for the Performing Arts (dance) for 22 years, teaching grades 9 through 12. She was integral in helping to implement the Arts Curriculum at Unionville High School, as well as being the Artistic Director of the school’s dance company for 10 years.
Chiles had the honour to be invited to South Korea in 2002. She returned to Seoul, Korea in 2013, 2014, and 2015, as a jury member and chair-person at the UNESCO-approved Korean International Modern Dance Competition. Most recently, she adjudicated for the Manitoba Provincial Dance Festival and taught the contemporary classes for Dans Encorps’ Summer Dance Intensive.
Chiles believes in the many gifts that a dance training program can offer an individual. Beyond the health benefits implicit in the physical training of the body, dance can encourage self-awareness, and an awareness of the advantages that the arts offer to society and the community at large. Creativity, self-expression, and sensitivity to humanity are the essential elements that inspire Chiles’ teaching.