Last June we celebrated 25 years of the Guelph Dance Festival. At that time, I did not know it would be my last as the Artistic Director. I had already moved to Chelsea, Quebec and the Guelph Dance team and I had been working behind the scenes for many years to ensure a smooth transition for the artistic leadership of Guelph Dance, I just didn’t know when the time would be right to pass the reigns. Now I know the time is right to hand Guelph Dance over to the capable people who will help see the festival through the next 25 years. We are excited to continue with the guest curator model that we have been piloting for the past three years. More on this news will be coming soon.
The past 25 years have been filled with incredible memories, relationships, growth and experiences. When Janet Johnson and I founded the festival in 1998 we had no idea that it would become such an important part of our local as well as national dance communities. Guelph Dance has been proud to help local dancers create new works, perform, teach and to become curators and program developers. We have brought artists to Guelph from across Canada as well as internationally. We have developed strong relationships with artists and take pride in being there to support their growth and development.
Our first festival in 1998 saw an audience of 650 and we are proud to now reach over 10 000 people through our yearly programming including outreach, camps, co-presentations and of course the festival itself the first week of June.
Bearing witness to the vulnerability, risk, passion and creativity that dance artists put into their works to tell their personal stories, to connect to community and to create community has been a huge privilege.It has also been an immense privilege to work alongside the incredible Guelph Dance board of directors and staff who work tirelessly, passionately and who are a huge inspiration to me each day. Relationships made in the arts run deep and I am confident that they will grow and flourish in new ways as we all transition into our new roles and I move into a new stage in my life.
I will miss everyone but I will not be far! I will continue to co-own and operate Guelph Youth Dance, a dance school for dancers of all ages, as well as my new school Danse Chelsea Dance in Chelsea, Quebec. My hands are definitely very full with these endeavours but I will also continue to see everyone at the beginning of June in our parks, theatres, galleries and studios.
Thank you so much for all your support for so many years. The festival and all those involved have left a legacy of positive change and it has been an honour to have been a part of it.
– Catrina von Radecki
Thank you Catrina for your immense dedication, unwavering drive, and fearless optimism. Twenty five years of Guelph Dance would not have been possible without you.
Catrina’s expertise, leadership, and spirit will continue to inspire us as we continue doing the fantastic work she started. While we will deeply miss having Catrina as a part of our team, we are excited for new beginnings and the continued evolution of Guelph Dance. We would like to take this opportunity to reintroduce the staff with their new roles. Leslie Fisher who has been with Guelph Dance for close to seven years, has taken the new role of Director of Programming and Community Engagement. Adriana Rosselli who has been with Guelph Dance for six years is now our Managing Director and Teagan Ariss’s role has expanded to now be the Communications and Development Coordinator.
Along with the staff’s evolved roles in the organization, we are thrilled to officially announce the involvement of Artistic Associates who will bring unique and essential perspectives to our programming. The first Artistic Associate is the brilliant Aria Evans. Aria thoughtfully and impressively curated two seasons of Guelph Dance’s Screen Dances Series (SDS) which engaged twenty-one artists to produce sixteen dance films over two seasons. We are lucky to continue working with Aria as their expert curatorial perspective has been significantly positive to our programming. The idea of sharing curation is not new to Guelph Dance and has been integral to our organization for some time. We are excited to share with you future announcements about the Artistic Associates. With the addition of these roles, we will continue expanding the range of perspectives in which we evolve in our programming. We look forward to broadening the reach that Guelph Dance has. Our mission, values, and pillars have been updated over the course of the last year and our programming will continue to reflect these guiding principles.
We look forward to seeing you this season for March Break and Summer Arts Explosion Camps as well as the Guelph Dance Festival the first week in June!