January 6, 2023

A new home for The School of Toronto Dance Theatre

Dancers: Amelia Brown, Maya Santos O’Keefe. Photo by Jeremy Mimnagh.

After 45 years of calling Winchester Street Theatre our home, The School of Toronto Dance Theatre has outgrown its studio spaces. Following an extensive search, it is with great excitement we share with you that the School will be opening its very own space and moving to Daniels Spectrum in May 2023.

Artscape’s Daniels Spectrum is a fully accessible community cultural hub in Toronto’s Regent Park neighbourhood, and is home to many outstanding arts-based and community-focused organizations. With its mandate to foster creative learning and innovation, and enriching the understanding of the arts, the School believes our programming, dreams and goals will be well situated at Daniels Spectrum. “The School is an invaluable foundation that encourages human expression through performance opportunities, choreography, and leadership in order to change the face of Contemporary dance in Canada, and around the world. Following a competitive request for proposal process, the School was selected based on their impressive submission, outlining how their practice creates ample possibilities for dancers in Canada – a theme that is directly in line with our mission at Artscape, which is to enable artists and help them thrive. We’re greatly looking forward to welcoming The School of Toronto Dance Theatre in May to Studio 130 of the Daniels Spectrum building,” says Artscape.

Artscape’s Daniels Spectrum | Lisa Logan Photography

Our core Professional Training Program (PTP) is structured for three cohorts to train simultaneously. Our new home will provide multiple studio spaces and amenities for all our students to train and study under the same roof, at the same time. With the recent revisions to the PTP curriculum, our Communities Program is also evolving, and its aim is to be transformational. At Daniels Spectrum, we will have the space required to realize our ambition for meaningful communities engagement. By providing both entry level and specialized dance classes and workshops, our aim is to uplift, inspire and share the joy of learning with our partner communities, and to support the professional sector through residencies and affordable shorter term studio rentals.

Further, Artistic & Pedagogical Director Sasha Ivanochko sees this move as an essential act of advocacy for the art form. With the recent loss of a number of dance studios in the city, we really have to fight for the survival of the art form, and to create dignified, healthy and secure spaces for artists and local communities to develop. “I believe learners should feel centred in their learning environment to develop with confidence, and to raise the bar for both professional standards and societal relevance for when they enter the field,” says Sasha. Our departure from Winchester Street Theatre opens up opportunities for dance organizations and independent artists from the dance community to have greater access to the facilities, an exceptional space steeped in history and brimming with possibilities for the right tenants. 
Exterior of Winchester Street Theatre

Since 1978, the School has proudly shared Winchester Street Theatre with Toronto Dance Theatre. As our programming evolved, we increasingly relied on other local dance venues to meet our space needs. While we have deeply enjoyed and are grateful for these decades-long space partnerships, we must better serve our students and intersect more meaningfully with the larger dance community by establishing and operating a new space for dance studies, research and career development. Our beloved, healthy and long relationship with Toronto Dance Theatre and the Toronto Dance Foundation is not coming to an end, but the School has entered into a phase of differentiation and evolution.

The School is currently executing a rebranding process, welcoming change that better represents our curriculum and programming. These future-focused transformations position the School to provide the best training for the next generation of emerging dance artists. “We have high goals for student education and training. The aim is to move beyond developing dancers for the stage, but to prepare artists to participate ethically and knowledgeably in society,” says Sasha.

The School would like to thank Toronto Dance Foundation, Toronto Dance Theatre, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, The National Ballet School, and more recently, Citadel & Compagnie for being excellent partners of the School and being a part of our ongoing journey of fostering dance in Toronto and Canada.

Exterior of Daniels Spectrum

Artscape’s Daniels Spectrum | Lisa Logan Photography

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