2016 Guelph Dance Festival

In the Park


Vancouver, British Columbia

Birds Land 2016

Choreographed by Julia Taffe

Birds Land is a two-part vertical and contemporary dance site work drawing inspiration from the behaviour of birds. Created on location in response to natural terrain, a trio of dancers explores the ground at Hanlon Creek Park (with special guest performers – the Youth Dance Day participants) and takes to the trees in Exhibition Park. Birds Land is based on a concept that Aeriosa developed in 2015 at Tofino Botanical Gardens and North Chesterman Beach on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

Frog in Hand

Mississauga, Ontario

Dragon 2015

Choreographed by Colleen Snell, in collaboration with the performers

Dragon tells the epic story of two men on a quest to slay a dragon, but their encounter does not go as planned. Instead, they learn the true meaning of courage and the redemptive power of empathy. This production blends swordplay with dance and visual design. Frog in Hand manipulates the dragon legend as a way of studying greed, humanity’s strained relationship with nature, the power of movement to cross borders between cultures and the overarching importance of myth and archetype in defining a collective human identity. This is of course in addition to swashbuckling fun and spine tingling thrills!

Ferenc Fehér


Tao Te (excerpt) 2010

Choreographed by Ferenc Fehér

The title of this duet for two male dancers derives from the legendary Chinese sage, Lao Tze’s famous and well-known work, Tao Te Ching – The Path of Virtue. In the title, Tao refers to the path, the way, the universal law; and Te refers to virtue – the power through which tao manifests itself. The task is to maintain harmony. The old script invites one to search for a virtuous and meaningful life but it also describes the failure that this search involves. A tension that is visible in the dance. The physical dance is a story of two men with different characters and attitudes. Are they friends, brothers, or just strangers? Their characters evolves through a series of situations, conflicts, inner struggles and failures. They change and develop just as the path changes. Can they find the desired harmony in the end?

Hidden Heart Collective

Guelph, Ontario

Oblivion Shift 2016

Choreographed by Mistyna Wilcock, Mike Tracz, Meghan MacNeil

Thousands of missed connections, bodies moving through space, wrapped up in their own oblivion. Connections made lack meaning and content….We drift, we shift, we connect, but do we really…we drift, we shift, we connect, and it goes on. Are we really there in the moment, or without conscious thought has there already been a shift to the next moment, seeking a better moment? How does it feel to have eyes open to really see, hear, and fully experience, unguarded?

Dance Market

In Exhibition Park after the In the Park performances try out some of these different movement forms with local practicioners:

Living Yoga & Health – Lisa GillOrme
Nia – Janet Ragan
Guelph Youth Dance – Kelly Steadman
Kinetic Pilates and Rehabilitation – Katie Ewald (Saturday only) // Mitzvah Technique – Monique ten Kortenaar (Sunday only)
Dance Therapy – Rebecca Barnstaple
Movement Therapy – Janet Lemon Williams
Gyrokinesis® – Janet Johnson (Sunday only)

On the Stage

Le Patin Libre

Montreal, Quebec

Vertical Influences 2014

Choreographed by Alexandre Hamel, Pascale Jodoin, Samory Ba, Jasmin Boivin, Taylor Dilley

Contemporary skating company Le Patin Libre uses virtuosic glide in Vertical Influences. Part I, ‘Influences,’ explores the relationship between individuals and groups. Moving through the tension of leadership, bullying, individualism, and rivalry, a group evolves towards harmony. In Part II, ‘Vertical,’ the audience moves to seating on the ice, where the skaters exhilarate with intensity and high-speed glide. The former competitive skaters of the company ditched the sequins to explore the potential of glide for choreographic expression. Join the company for a skating after party complete with DJ and lights! (Skates will be available at no charge).

Julia Sasso Dances

Toronto, Ontario

Sporting Life 1995

Choreographed by Julia Sasso

20 years after Sporting Life first premiered, Julia Sasso reimagines her multiple Dora award-nominated work in collaboration with a new generation of extraordinary interpreters. In a series of deliriously absurd vignettes, five characters reveal the futility of aggression and our potential for redemption. Explosively physical, potent, and poignant, Sasso’s seminal creation timelessly mirrors our fragilities and perverse lust for violence. “Who could forget the impact of Sporting Life… alive with aggressive energy… yet imbued with a humanistic concern.” – William Littler, The Toronto Star

Suzanne Miller & Allan Paivio Productions

Montreal, Quebec


Choreographed by Suzanne Miller

The Water Project: THIRST draws from bodily systems governed by water and the larger planetary body of earth and the world around us.  In this project, thirst is used as a metaphor for knowledge, freedom, peace, need, the insatiate – and the pitted hunger of greed. Thirst happens when water is not flowing – metaphorically, when flow no longer exists. The Water Project: THIRST considers both these dimensions, thinking about the flow of water as a source for movement and thinking about flow/no flow as a metaphor, as poetry. As dancers, investigating the science of fluids and their inherent dynamics through bodily systems are combined with the poetics of metaphor and meaning.

Film Screening

Ora 2011

ORA is a stunning meeting between the artistic worlds of choreographer José Navas and filmmaker Philippe Baylaucq. It is the first film to use 3D thermal imaging*, producing visuals like none that have ever been seen before: the luminous variations of body heat seen on skin, bodies emitting a multitude of colours, a space filled with movement that transforms itself. The film is inspired by Darwin’s theory of evolution and the myths of Narcissus and Prometheus.

In the Studio

Sara Porter

Toronto, Ontario

Sara does a Solo 2016

Choreographed by Sara Porter

After two decades as a dancer and a writer, Sara Porter stands at the collision of the two in her multi-disciplinary work Sara does a Solo. Turning her writing on herself in a fearless account of what we all face – an aging body and a reflective mind – Porter creates a world where intimacy and pathos, hilarity and beauty co-exist in the physical stories she tells about life as an artist and a parent. Part memoir, part stand-up comedy, part dance performance, Sara does a Solo is unlike anything else. A bold and beautiful account of mid-life.

Local Initiatives

Guelph, Ontario

Capacitance 2016

Lynette Segal, producer and curator
Featured performers: Shannon Cooney, Sue Lee, Sara Porter, Alison Cameron, and Brent Rowen

Capacitance 11, the last of a series of multidisciplinary performance improvisation and conversation. Curating eleven shows over a span of 10 months, Capacitance choose forty six exceptional artists from divergent disciplines to come together to co-create and collaborate, exploring the challenging and mysterious nature of improvisation.  Through spontaneous collaboration and discussion, audiences and artists alike are transported into unimagined territory. Capacitance will not only expand our collective experience, it will reveal how improvisation informs and transforms us!

Youth Moves

Durham School of ballet and Contemporary Dance Youth Performance Company

Whitby, Ontario

Allegory of the Cave 2014

Choreographed by Madeleine Twyman

In the inspiration for this piece, Plato distinguishes between people who mistake sensory knowledge for the truth and people who really see the truth. The enlightened one is symbolized by the dancer en pointe, and the corps work collectively to symbolize the prisoners. This dance explores flexibility of mind and the healing power of belief.

Visceral Movements

Toronto, Ontario

Shortcomings 2016

Choreographed by Peter Kelly & Carolyn Morris

Shortcomings in a movement exploration striving to bring the emotional context of self-efficacy: an individual’s belief in self to attain a specific performance though necessary behaviours. When shortcomings-a failure to meet a standards- act as a blockade, individual response is variable. With rapid, instricate movement and gestures that contracts the integrated delicate flow, personal responses to their shortcomings are fortified.

Contemporary School of Dance – CSD Dance Company

Waterloo, Ontario

The Art of Baring the Soul 2016

Choreographed by Natasha Mansell

The Art of Baring the Soul explores the creative process of a writer and the complex relationships between identity and expression. The writer blurs the boundaries of familiarity through relentless emotional investigation, always hoping to find resolution in the vulnerability of exposing the Self through art.

Dasein Dance

London, Ontario

Footprints 2014

Choreographed by Lacey Smith

Footprints is about coming of age. From past to present and finally future, the dancers uncover their fears of the unknown as they look forward. Recognizing that fear is but an illusion, they begin to uncover and embrace the reality that nothing is for certain and nothing is completely in our control. The dancers acknowledge the footprints that history has left before them as inspiration to forge their own unique path.

Carousel Dance Company

Waterloo, Ontario

Everybody Hurts 2012

Choreographed by Crystalle Kruis

Depression is one of the most challenging illnesses to deal with. We have difficulty knowing how to help those who suffer with depression and often lack the tools to provide proper support. Our society is just beginning to recognize the seriousness of mental illness. Thankfully, we are becoming more educated and aware of how depression impacts us all.

YMI Dancing

Toronto, Ontario

With My Life in My Hands 2011

Choreographed by Pia Bouman

With My Life in My Hands is about the search and affirmation of a person’s identity, while paralleled by an urge to belong. It reflects the strugge of treying to remain true to one’s identity in the midst of difficult decisions. A person’s understanding of what and who they are becomes the underlying theme in the piece, which is expressed through simple movement and gestures.

Guelph Youth Dance

Guelph, Ontario

Fire 2016

Choreographed by Janet Johnson

Fire is a new work for the GYD Company inspired by human tenacity and how we seek strength and resolve. Fire is a prayer of sorts, embodying flames, ashes, heat and re-growth. Fire is fueled by personal inspirations of the 13 dancers set to a ritual of rhythms, beating hearts and collective empowerment.

Swansea School of Dance

Toronto, Ontario

Mechanics of Flight 2016

Choreographed by Julia Aplin

Inspired by pilots, astronauts, amd angels, Mechanics of Flight is a physical exploration of the creativity, thought, mechanics and bravery it takes to fly. A team of flyers prepare a nest for four hatchlings who then prepare for their own journey into the unknown.

Moree School of Dance

Waterloo, Ontario

We Insist 2015

Choreographed by Meghan MacNeil

We Insist began with a small seed idea, the idea of change. Conversations grew into a physical dialogue on the consistency of change in our lives. In juxtaposition, we considered the longing to hold onto people, places and things. We Insist became an inquiry into how our own thoughts shape our experience of change.


Ice Dance with Le Patin Libre

Come onto the ice to learn some of the moves that Le Patin Libre uses in its innovative choreography. Not sure about your skating abilities? No worries…students will be grouped by ability (novice skaters, comfortable skaters, trained figure skaters) so that everyone can participate!

The Art of Letting Go: a brief introduction to the Skinner Releasing Technique with Julia Sasso

Open to all ages and levels of experience, this workshop provides an introduction to the Skinner Releasing Technique. SRT offers a pioneering, inclusive approach to moving evolved from a simple principle: when we let go of habitual holding patterns we can move more freely, powerfully, and articulately. We access energy, improve strength and flexibility and awaken creativity & spontaneity. A considerable influence on leading choreographers, dancers, artists and populations of all kinds worldwide, SRT can enhance any movement style while fostering artistic sensibility and creative unfolding. The workshop will include improvisation, hands-on partner studies, diverse music worlds and image-actions as powerful tools for transformation. It is an experiential and intuitive approach, taking into account the physical body and the energies that move through and around us. For many, SRT is catalytic in their lives with multi-faceted, far-reaching effects. www.skinnerreleasing.com

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