Creation Scholarship

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. She provided a role model to new Board members, staff at the School and student representatives to the Board. She exercised great skill and care in her duties and responsibilities to the School, and showed passion and dedication to contemporary dance and the training and education of young dancers.  The Kathryn Ash Awards recognize Kathryn’s dedication to the School and reflect her passionate commitment to the areas of creation and scholarship.


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 an alumni of the Professional Training Program.  The choreographer is given an honourarium in addition to their choreographic fee.

This year’s award winner is Riley Sims.

Riley Simms © Ethan Hsu

Riley Sims, a 2010 graduate of the School, is the Artistic Director of Social Growl Dance, which he established in 2012. The company has presented contemporary dance creations at festivals and venues including: The Alumnae Theatre, the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, The Citadel, Dark Horse Dance Projects Festival, Gallery 1313, and SummerWorks Performance Festival. Social Growl Dance has received creation residencies with Centre Q in Quebec, at lemonTree Creations in Toronto, and at Studio 142 in Germany. With the support of this Kathryn Ash Commission Award, Riley will create a new work for the School in the 2020/21 season.  We’re thrilled to make this award to Riley and excited to have him join us next year.

Congratulations, Riley!



THE KATHRYN ASH 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.  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

The Kathryn Ash Scholarship will be divided between Kurumi Yoshimoto and Yael Zifroni.

Remarks on Kurumi’s application from the panel of faculty and Board members include:

Kurumi is a highly accomplished, technically strong dancer. She is dedicated to her training, is very proactive in her approach to learning, and takes initiative to realize her goals. Her application was very compelling and heartfelt, and her passion for the art form shone through.  She reflected on her growth and on how she will move forward on her artistic path. Kurumi is action-oriented, utilizing her life learnings to inform her career trajectory.  The panel commended her hard work and determination, noted the positivity that came through in her evaluations, and believe that she has tremendous capacity as a dancer.

Remarks from the panel about Yael’s application include:

Yael is an interesting, intelligent, hard-working, and passionate dancer.  She is mature, astute, and has excellent observational skills for understanding and embodying movement material.  The panel noted that Yael demonstrates strong leadership capabilities and qualities and praised her passion for and interest in teaching. Yael’s application was strong and clear, and compellingly articulated her goals.   She is avidly committed to a career and life in dance, and the members of the panel were enthusiastic in their support for this fine dancer.

 Congratulations, Kurumi and Yael!