In this issue we celebrate our gifted core faculty member and Resident Choreographer Julia Sasso, who had a very active summer, performing, mentoring, teaching, and rehearsing for more performances. In June, she was thrilled to appear with Danny Grossman in his “swan song” celebratory performance, Labour of Love (Its Innate Proclivities and Myriad Variations), at the Citadel. She was honoured when Danny asked her to be in the show; it was her first time working with him, and she danced a 2014 duet, Double-Self Portrait, with the indomitable Eddie Kastrau. Eddie sent her a video of the piece before they began rehearsals, and Julia, who had had major knee surgery only a year earlier, was delighted to see that the movement vocabulary was all well within her range; before the surgery, she would have been unable to do the work. Julia loved performing again, and says it was a big thrill to do the show; it was great to be with Danny for a week, and she found him gracious and fun to be with during the show week. Pat Fraser, after seeing the show, said: “Her performance was riveting, precise, subtle, nuanced, and an extremely mature interpretation of a minimalist but very complex work. She and Eddie were absolutely mesmerizing together.”
In July, Julia taught at our Summer School, leading two improvisation sessions, and creating a new work for the enthusiastic young dancers. Also in the summer, Julia was the project manager for the Winchester Prize, shepherding this year’s winning work, Kristen Stambolic’s one for five, from the Choreographic Workshop through to the SummerWorks performance in August. Julia loved working with Kristen, and found her creative, constructive, and patient – a magnificent collaborator.
Yet another project Julia worked on over the summer – one that began four years ago – was rehearsal for Allison Cummings’ work Exhale, set to premiere at Dancemakers Centre for Creation October 17 – 20, 2018. The work also includes performers Bill Coleman, Andrya Duff, Jenn Goodwin, and Brodie Stevenson.
Now in September, besides preparing to perform again next month, Julia is also back in teaching mode, both for us and up at York University. At the School, she will teach Improvisation 1, and Creative Process 2 and 3, and she is set to create a new work for us in the spring, as well as to direct the Choreographic Workshop once again. At York, where she has taught now for several years, she works mainly with the 4th year graduating students, and has endeavoured to create a bridge between the York dance community and downtown, encouraging her students to see performances in the city, and to connect with their counterparts at the School, and at Ryerson. She has increasingly acted as outside eye for emerging choreographers, including several York grads, among them Aria Evans and Tracey Norman.
Julia is delighted to be back once again at the School – and we are equally delighted to have her on our stellar team. We look forward to seeing her onstage next month, and she looks forward to many more performing opportunities, as well as to her next big creative project – just beginning to incubate. Here’s to another active and exhilarating year!
Photos of Julia and students of the School by Greg Mizak.