Megan Nadain, a native of North Vancouver, British Columbia, is a Toronto-based dancer, choreographer and dance educator. She is a graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. Currently she works as a dancer with Dancetheatre David Earle, and has worked independently with Darryl Tracy, inDANCE, Toronto Heritage Dance, and Miranda Abbott. In the summer of 2014, she performed with Dancetheatre David Earle in Düsseldorf, Germany at the tanzmesse dance festival. She was the 2007 recipient of the The Hnatyshyn Foundation Developing Artist Grant.
She is currently on faculty here at the School where she teaches Graham, acts as a rehearsal director, and teaches some of our Adult Recreational Classes. She is also on faculty at The School of Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre (CCDT) and directs their Core Apprentice Program. She facilitates the dance programs at several independent schools in Toronto including The York School and Toronto Montessori School. Two projects that she has been involved with that she is exceptionally passionate about are Moving together: Choreographic mappings of children with diverse dis/abilities and their neurological responses to a dance-play event with Coralee McLaren and Bridging Generations Through Dance with Dancing with Parkinson’s.
We caught up with Megan and asked her a few questions – about her work at the School, her passions and hobbies, and any advice she might have for prospective students:
What are your roles at the School?
At the School, I have the pleasure of working with the Professional Training Program dancers in a number of different environments including Cardio & Conditioning and Graham classes, as well as in rehearsal processes as a rehearsal director for Darryl Tracy. I also have the opportunity to connect with the larger community through teaching Adult Recreational Classes in the General School (which inspiringly pivoted to an outdoor class in the fall and will continue online next week), and also connecting with high school students through the Outreach Program. In the not too distant past I was also a student at the School, so my relationship to the institution has many tentacles, all which continue to inspire and excite me as an artist and educator.
What is your favourite part about working with the School?
Despite having just reflected on how much I love all parts, I would have to say teaching Graham is my personal favourite. It is a language that has become so near and dear to my heart, and it brings me great joy to be able to share that passion with the students. In recent years, I have learned so much about myself as artist and as a human being from David Earle and Suzette Sherman through their Graham classes, and I appreciate the opportunity to share some of that experience with the next generations of dancers. The amazing accompanists at the School also add to the incredible experience of Graham. I am so thankful to work with such inspiring artists all around! It is amazing how intimately you can get to know someone through their dance journey, so I am forever grateful to have the experience of getting to know each of the students through their Graham classes. In the wise words of David Earle, “a dancer in performance allows people to know more about them than they know about themselves.” It is a great honour to open up those possibilities.
What are your passions and hobbies outside of dance?
Cats. I love cats. I have two wonderful cats named Fred and Madeline (who many of the students have met via Zoom). I’m not sure if “cuddling my cats” counts as a hobby, but given that we’re in a global pandemic, I’m going to count it! Walks in the ravine have become a very important part of my life, and I often do some of my very best thinking on those paths. I’m also a huge Drag Race fan, with my all-time faves being Sasha Velour, Bob the Drag Queen and Monét X Change. I’ve also recently started watching Golden Girls, and I am absolutely obsessed!
Before working with the School (or teaching in general), what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
This would be a toss up between dressing up in a huge mascot-style Gummy Bear costume and touring around malls in Ontario with 4 breakdancers as publicity for Gummy Bear’s CD release (if you don’t know what I’m talking about check out this sweet tune – https://www.youtube.com/watch?
As a faculty member, do you have some advice, helpful tips, or anything else you’d like to say to prospective students?
For me, dancing is the thing that makes me feel like the truest, most authentic and best version of myself. It is a language that nourishes me and gives me hope for the future. The School of Toronto Dance Theatre is a wonderful place to explore, grow, share this experience. The bonds that are made there are everlasting, between classmates and within yourself. Dance is a truly gruelling world to exist in, but oh so very rewarding. The advice I have to give is still things I am working on myself. Strive to always find a balance between pushing yourself forward (that direction can look different for each of us) while also taking the time to acknowledge the strides you have made. It is also important to embrace unexpected twists and turns along the way as you move towards your dreams. A silly little Instagram meme that I have held on to reads, “Sometimes you have to let go of the picture of what you thought life would be like & learn to find joy in the story you’re living.” I think growing up in the dance world we have an idea of what success is, and while letting go of that may be a lifelong task, there is such beauty in enjoying your journey and carving your path with conviction and passion.
Any final thoughts?
Some final thoughts in the words of those I admire most:
“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts, and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” – Fred Rogers
“What matters is that something matters, and, if possible, matters very much.” – David Earle
“That is why I teach dance. Not because I expect you to major in dance. Not because I expect you to dance all your life. Not so you can relax and have more fun. But so you will be human. So you will recognize beauty. So you will be sensitive. So you will be closer to an infinite world. So you will have something to cling to. So you will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good…in short, more life. Of what value will it be to make a prosperous living unless you know how to live.” – author unknown
1. Cake or pie? Cake.
2. Invisibility or super strength? Invisibility.
3. Place you most want to travel? I mean… currently, Washington, DC because my partner is there and there is a global pandemic making visits a wee bit of a challenge.
4. Favourite season? Autumn.
5. Morning person or night owl? Morning person.
6. What inspires you? (gosh, this is a BIG QUESTION for a lightning round!) Probably the innocence and profound wisdom of young children.
We are delighted to have Megan with us, and wish her all the best throughout the 2020-21 School year and beyond!