In rehearsal and in performance, dancers are immersed in the act of creation, re-creation, and interpretation. They experience different choreographic processes, learn valuable performance skills, and are prepared to become the most versatile of instruments as professional dancers.
Students have opportunities to perform special commissions or remounts of work by acclaimed Canadian choreographers; works by Christopher House from the repertoire of Toronto Dance Theatre; works by talented emerging creators; and classic dances by significant international choreographers.
More and more I find that I can feel communication happening onstage; the reason I’m dancing is for you. My experience performing at the School is pushing me to continue dancing after each show. – Natalia Lisina, graduate, from Kazan, Russia
Winter and spring programs involve the entire student body in new creations and remounts of master work.
Third year dancers perform a distinctive additional program of solos, duets, and small ensemble works by renowned choreographers in the spring of their final year.
The numerous sessions with practising professional choreographers and company directors ensure that students have direct experience of a professional rehearsal context. These sessions also ensure that professional dance artists see students at work, which is often a more effective way for students to secure employment than attending open auditions. – Christopher Bannerman, Canadian Heritage Assessor
Third year students present their own choreographic work as a culmination of the Creative Process course, designed to guide them through the choreographic process, from conception through creation and rehearsal, and finally to performance. Production management for this Choreographic Workshop is provided by second year students.
I value the opportunity to perform a lot – in the repertory shows, and also in the student-run Coffee House shows, and the Choreographic Workshops. All of these opportunities are very much appreciated, and have helped me a lot. – Miguel Perreault, graduate, from Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Québec
More informal student-run Coffee House performances regularly present original student choreography.
When we create our own work for the student-run Coffee House, it’s wonderful to know that you’re in a safe place, and you won’t be judged too much. – Juana María Galindo Torres, graduate, from Bogotá, Colombia
All of the above performances take place in our home theatre, the Winchester Street Theatre.
Canada Dance Festival and Special Additional Performances
Graduating classes have appeared at the Canada Dance Festival (CDF) since 2006, performing with students from a nationwide consortium of contemporary professional training programs. Additionally a renowned choreographer has worked separately with each school, assembling the final piece in Ottawa. Tedd Robinson and Ginette Laurin have created past work for the consortium; in 2012, graduating dancers performed repertory by Jean-Pierre Perreault. In 2014, Tedd Robinson once again created a stunning new work which was performed on the National Arts Centre Theatre stage. The choreographer for the 2016 graduating class was Robert Desrosiers. In 2018, Harold Rhéaume was commissioned to create a new work; as the CDF was on hiatus that year, the work was presented instead at the New Blue Festival in Toronto, to great acclaim. Future graduating classes will have the opportunity to continue this tradition, in these or other festivals.
Various projects have involved students in special additional performances, including Tribute to Rachel Browne at the Fleck Dance Theatre, in Jean-Pierre Perreault’s Joe et Rodolphe at the National Arts Centre Theatre in Ottawa, and Paul-André Fortier’s October Sky at Nuit Blanche in Toronto. They have also performed in excerpts from Serge Bennathan’s The Trilogy of Sable/Sand in the Abilities Arts Festival celebration of the Neat Strange Music of Ahmed Hassan at the Betty Oliphant Theatre, and in works by Rachel Browne, Danny Grossman, Bill James, Kaeja d’Dance, Ginette Laurin, Julia Sasso, and Gerry Trentham.
Additionally, our students have participated in performances of the Old and Young and Reckless Together series in Toronto, featuring remounts of classic works by senior choreographers, most recently the work of Paul-André Fortier.
Since 2018, our students have had the opportunity to perform at the SummerWorks Performance Festival, in works which have won the School’s Winchester Prize. Through the generosity of Lindy Green and Sam Chaiton, this prize is presented for choreographic distinction and perceived potential for creative development. In 2018, three of our dancers performed in Kristen Stambolic’s prize-winning work One for Five, and in 2019, seven dancers appeared in two new works; The Nine Brains of the Human Mind, by Tanveer Alam, and those, on the surface, by Kari Labrentz.
It’s really exciting to remember all the pieces we’ve danced together; we’ve created completely different worlds in different pieces. Everyone has grown so much; we came in not knowing very much, and we are about to leave knowing quite a lot. – Marco Placencio, graduate, from Sao Paulo, Brazil