Festival Curator Feature: Catrina von Radecki and Aria Evans

Photo by: Bliss Thompson
Aria Evans, photo by Bliss Thompson
Catrina von Radecki

In September, we announced the departure of Catrina von Radecki as Artistic Director. However, before then Catrina was still busy curating the 2024 Guelph Dance Festival alongside Aria Evans who is the current Associate Festival Curator for Guelph Dance. We are happy to share some insights from Aria and Catrina about their collaborative curating and what they hope audiences will take away from the Guelph Dance Festival.

Can you share any motivations that you had while curating the 2024 Guelph Dance Festival? 

Aria: This year I was really interested in there being representation of different contemporary dance forms with different aesthetics to bring new variety into the programming. 

How has the process of curating collaboratively been different from a solo curation process?

Aria: I love curating alongside other artistic voices because I think our ideas are always more expansive when we have multiple perspectives intertwined into the decision making process. I have loved finding balance and range together. 

Catrina: I have always felt that the curation process is collaborative. 

Janet Johnson and I co-curated the festival for more than 17 years and as Artistic Director I regularly brought in guest curators to create special programs for the festival such as Short and Sweet and later Double Time curated and produced by Katie Ewald or Rowen McBride-Pilon curating and producing the Emerging Artist Intensive and, for the past three years, Aria Evans has curated and produced Screen Dances. 

Curating for a festival is always about listening and responding to the community you serve as well as working in collaboration with the artists and people who live in your community. I deeply enjoy building relationships with people in my community and having the opportunity to challenge my way of thinking and being in the world. 

I felt very honoured to be working with Aria Evans over the past three years and now having Aria taking on a larger role with the festival as one of our first Artistic Associates. The relationship has always felt very natural and smooth as we both enjoy discussing what we have been seeing in the national dance scene and what we are most excited about supporting right now.

What impressions do you hope audiences will be left with after experiencing the artists and programming from the 2024 Festival?

Aria: I hope people are inspired by what they witness and also have inquiries and questions about the work around what it prompted them to think about. 

Catrina: While I always hope that audiences will enjoy their weekend, I usually care less that they will “like” a particular work. I think it is a crucial part of art to challenge, inform, provoke and stimulate.

I do think audiences will be wowed, filled with electric energy, awed by the coming together of people and ideas, touched deeply, and incredibly thankful that we have dance in our lives and in our Guelph community. I do hope that audiences, artists and all the people that make the festival happen will feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves and want to continue to be a part of it as performers, patrons, volunteers, donors and sponsors. Even though I now live in Chelsea, Quebec, and will no longer be the Artistic Director, I do hope to continue to be a part of the festival for many decades to come! 

I am truly thankful for the incredible Guelph community, the artists that make work in our beautiful country and the incredible board and staff that will lead the Guelph Dance Festival into the future.

Be sure to check out all the festival programming for May 31 to June 2 so you can plan your weekend! Secure your tickets now, single event tickets and festival passes are still available!

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