Photo: Colin Frotten

MICHAEL RAYSON

Since coming into our Professional Training Program, our talented second year student, Michael Rayson, has received the highest accolades from his teachers. Faculty commends his intelligence and excellent work ethic.  He is a fantastic dancer and, without doubt, has huge potential.  He is a natural leader and a generous, dependable, and trustworthy student. He is hardworking and dedicated, and technically very strong. He exudes positivity, enthusiasm, and a determination to succeed.  Michael has taken on roles for student-run productions, and these various responsibilities have required him to work well under pressure and demonstrate leadership skills.

Michael excels in academics as well as in his physical, technical, and performance practice.  Winner of the 2019 Dance History Award, he demonstrated excellent research and communication skills and an inquiring mind – receiving the top mark in his class. Additionally, he has an insatiable thirst for learning about all aspects of the art form and the professional field, and has taken on roles for student-run productions at the School on the Marketing and Publicity team, and as Program Editor and Business Manager.

Michael started dancing at age 12, which for a dancer is seen to be a late start, but he pushed himself to train hard to catch up to dancers his age. He is passionate about promoting males in dance, and breaking gender stereotypes. To this end, in 2017, he was involved in Aboycantoo, a project from Trinity Design Photography, where photos of Michael exploring movement through improvisation were captured in order to promote and encourage males to dance. The project features boys who are influencing the dialogue around gender stereotypes. Throughout his dance career, he is determined to break down the stigma that currently affects males in dance, and he cannot wait to make a difference.

Michael is keen to teach, choreograph, and help other young dancers discover the joy and power of dance.  During the 2017/18 dance season, he was a hip hop dance teacher for children aged 5-16, at The Bisland Dance Centre, in Oshawa, where he trained.  From 2014 to 2017, he was an assistant teacher for recreational musical theatre dance classes, again at The Bisland Centre. He has recently been volunteering to assist choreographers to set their choreography. In such a fulfilling role, he had the opportunity to work one-on-one with the dancers to help them reach their full potential.

As a volunteer and advocate, and with the desire to give back in a meaningful way, Michael was a dancer in the On The Floor SickKids formal fund-raising gala, Marquee The Best of Broadway, in 2018, that raised money for the ChildLife Department at SickKids Hospital in Richmond Hill, Ontario. He believes that volunteerism and giving back have tremendous value, demonstrating a sense of appreciation, allowing you to gain new perspectives, shaping you into a more knowledgeable person/artist, as well as supporting those around you. It is especially important to give back and volunteer in your own community, whether that be the dance community or the community in which you live.

We are delighted to have Michael’s energy and positive spirit with us at the School, and look forward to watching his progress through the rest of his time with us, and into the future.

Photo: New York City Dance Alliance

Photo: Opus Dance Collective

Photo: Dirie Geele