2018 Guelph Dance Festival

In the Park

Cinetic Creations

Toronto, Ontario

CAKE! 2018

Choreographed by Sharon B. Moore

A young woman set on high-voltage, wends her way through an obstacle course trying to keep all the balls of life in the air while baking a cake! Her love of life and willingness to risk it all, in a bid to achieve triumphant perfection leads her into circumstance beyond her control and unexpected physical victories through the twists and turns of life, in all it’s ridiculous ways. Pans fly, flour explodes, balloons bob escaping her dream-like grasp! Confusion ensues as she keeps her five babies in the air, navigating through a veritable “everything but the kitchen sink” towards the finish line and one perfect CAKE!

Red Sky Performance

Toronto, Ontario

Miigis (excerpt) 2017

Choreographed by Jera Wolfe

Fusing contemporary Indigenous dance with powerful music, MIIGIS explores the catalysts, trade routes and stories of a journey from the Atlantic Coast to the Great Lakes, and the seven prophecies marked by miigis. Miigis is co-commissioned by the City of Toronto, The Bentway Conservancy and Fort York National Historic Site, with the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage.


Toronto, Ontario

La gigue en souvenir 2008

Choreographed by Sylvie Bouchard

La gigue en souvenir makes the past come alive through a journey inspired by the energy, the complexity and the vigour of the traditional dance from Québec. Six dancers perform on the music of Les Charbonniers de l’enfer, reinventing the folk tradition of the “gigue” in a contemporary fashion. La gigue en souvenir becomes a bridge between past and present and an ode to this most expressive of heritage. Join us for this rich and invigorating experience.


Montreal, Quebec

KLOROFYL (excerpt) 2011

Choreographed by Apolonia Velasquez & Ofilio Sinbadinho

Influenced from the 1964 Japanese film Seven Samurai, warriors need to regain their spark when they are forced to work together for survival. Their turbulent connections with a tribe break them from their emptiness. Once all is set and done, they have the chance to make a first conscious choice: return to their primal state of survival or achieve together what many find risky and impossible: THRIVE. This production is a representation of Gadfly’s signature movement rooted in Urban and Contemporary physicality, depth of theme: dance storytelling that sits in the sweet spot between artistry and entertainment.

Dance Market

After the In the Park performances try some different movement forms from local practitioners:

Binty Koroma & Bintou Barrow, Afro Tribal Dance

Living Yoga and Health

Barbara Dametto, Journey Dance

LIFT Guelph, Strength Training

Loyobo Fit

Park’n Dance

Monique ten Kortenaar, The Mitzvah Technique

On the Stage

Susie Burpee & Robyn Thomson Kacki


Cotton Handkerchiefs and Dog’s Tears 2017

Choreographed by Susie Burpee & Robyn Thomson Kacki

Cotton Handkerchiefs and Dog’s Tears

Dancing, not dancing with boxes and big hearts
in suits black and dog’s crying,
handkerchiefs dropping, and hands holding,
piano wailing …
but the dog.
– Anonymous 18th century poem translated from the Dutch

Tedd Robinson has created an “elegiac ‘Godot-esque’ world in which dancers Susie Burpee and Robyn Thomson Kacki appear as co-conspirators” (Holly Harris, Dance International).  Robinson’s signature handling of objects and use of idiosyncratic gesture creates a sense of ritual purpose in this enigmatic and poignant duet.

Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre

Toronto, Ontario

SEEDS.whisper 2017

Choreographed by Jennifer Archibald

We live in a world of noise. At what point are we free enough to allow our thoughts to go below surface level? Our body is constantly communicating with us, silently but powerfully. Do we listen to it? Choreographed by NYC’s Jennifer Archibald, SEEDS.whisper is a fierce and powerful blend of classical ballet and hip hop set to intense and driving music by Haushka.

“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” – Napoleon Hill

Fila 13 Productions

Montreal, Quebec

Tempo al Dente 2017

Choreographed by Lina Cruz

What to do with a two-faced clock running around like a chicken without a head? Domestication, domestication! Carefree and nonchalant, two adventurous characters depart on a grand voyage, a pet clock, finally perfectly domesticated, follows obediently at their feet… Highly marked by an individuality, the dancers’ movements interconnect symbiotically, as if a contagious clockwork mechanics was, after all, overpowering them… Besides clock domestication, this duet is composed of: shiphorns announcing departure, little sensitive humming cries, vivacious physicality, unison text, music, a ravaging resolution, quirky dance vocabulary, on and off singing, odd vocal expressions and a profound love of Time…

Kaeja d’Dance

Toronto, Ontario

Crave 2013

Choreographed by Karen Kaeja

Quadrupal Dora Mavor Moore 2017 nominated CRAVE and winner for outstanding male, CRAVE is poignant, romantic, whimsical and chaotic. A duet that mines intimacy while navigating loneliness, unsettledness and the hope that keeps us hanging on, Sarah Shugarman’s stunning score partners with the duo’s journey. As part of the pre-show, audience members are invited to join in an intimate slow dance on stage with a partner, friend or stranger—the perfect prelude to Crave.

Pamela Tzeng

Carlgary, Alberta

A Meditation on the End by Jo-Lee 2017

Choreographed by Pamela Tzeng

With death in arms, then at her feet, Jo-Lee muses on what has given her unconventionally conventional life meaning. In this bare bones duet, Tzeng leaps into fragmented memories of an imagined “other”, crafting a poetic and playful theatrical dance that embraces existential longing and mortality.

“A Meditation on the End” by Jo-Lee artistically mines the emotional landscape of grief.  The work draws from a fascination with the Buddhist concept of ‘bardos’ – the state of existence between two lives, after death and before one’s next birth and the phenomenon of life flashing before one’s eyes in near death experiences.

Mix Mix Dance Collective

Toronto, Ontario

Follow Me 2017

Choreographed by Emily Law & Ashley Perez

Follow Me was created for the 2017 Games of La Francophonie in Abidjan, where they were selected to be part of Team Canada as part of the cultural component! Their motivation for competing in the games was to celebrate the excellence in artistry, athleticism, and expression Canada has to offer.  The group performs with live music by DJ Classic Roots, who brings the sexy heartbeat of the boreal north to life with his unique brand of Electronica and pow wow techno.

In the Studio

Solana Del Bel Belluz

Montreal, Quebec

Titan 2018

Choreographed by Solana Del Bel Belluz

Titan is a physical meditation on the adaptive, responsive, and powerful architecture of the human body. The work is a continuous, folding and unfolding revolution of two bodies engaged with space and one another. It is also a duet intended to highlight the tender, striking, and personable qualities of the two interpreters: Nickle Peace-Williams and Magali Casaubon. How do we form a miniature maquette of our surroundings and place it at our core, allow it to move us? How can we become the tiny puppeteer which conducts the colossal titan of ourselves?

Amber Sherwood-Robinson

Guelph, Ontario

Unknown 2018

Choreographed by Amber Sherwood-Robinson

This piece was originally developed with eight dancers aged nine to 13, and seemed to turn into something dealing with conformity vs. individuality. Since re-working the piece on older dancers, it has taken on an all new meaning, driven by the music and the group’s experiences during the mentorship process. It was fascinating to see how the dancers’ ages and life experiences shaped the piece, and was so inspiring that it greatly informed the creative process. Incorporating elements inherent in both versions of the piece was important, as was the input of all those involved in the mentorship.

not applicable productions

Toronto, Ontario

Re:set 2018

Choreographed by Robert Kingsbury

An exploration of interfacing with virtual technologies that mines a decade of videogame-playing for sensations, movements and internal meanings. Is performative dance in its Western art canon context already a technology of virtual embodiment? How does a body wear a technology of movement?

Julia Garlisi

This piece explores the theme of anguish, defeat and personal resilience. In the moment of loss, there is a silence so loud it breaks the soul. The heart might beat but the pounding haunts the body evermore. This singular moment in time is the essence of the piece. How do we carry on alone after losing a significant part of ourselves and our lives?

Youth Moves

The Guelph Youth Dance Company

Guelph, Ontario

The Four Seasons Project: WINTER 2018

Choreographed by Lacey Smith

The Four Seasons Project was developed by Dasein Dance to bring youth together from different cities and to engage them in a collaborative creative process. Four youth groups from four cities will collectively create a reimagining of Vivaldi’s Four Season’s. The vocabulary has been developed, together with the youth, through a creative process provoked solely by Vivaldi’s score.

Julia Garlisi

Jerseyville, Ontario

Bildungsroman 2017

Choreographed by Julia Garlisi

This piece explores the emotional growth and spiritual journey of a young woman transitioning from adolescences to adulthood. Set to the music by Anges Obel, this highly dynamic solo dance blends moments of personal struggle with the perseverance of the human spirit. There are moments of power, loss, pain, urgency, grace and beauty as the dancer progresses and evolves in time and space. Though the term Bildungsroman has literary derivatives, and is primarily applicable in novels and prose, it is the chosen medium to express this story.

YMI Dancing

Toronto, Ontario

Girl Interrupted 2012

Choreographed by Bethany Litner

Inspired by the novel by Susanna Kaysen, this piece explores the issue of mental health within society, predominately amongst young women. Within the piece, the dancers express what it feels like to be affected and overcome by emotion, as well as the importance of supporting others who are undergoing the same internal struggles. The piece begins very orderly and structured, as it builds so does a sense of chaos and anxiety. This sense of lose of control shadows the feeling of hopelessness that people with mental health experience.

CSD Dance Company, Contemporary School of Dance

Waterloo, Ontario

Be The Change 2018

Choreographed by Georgina Rombough

The music motivates the choreography and inspires movement that embodies giving and receiving, caring and understanding, hope and peace.  Through improvisation tasks we explore movement inspired by the characteristics of human nature such as kindness, mercy and sympathy, and how gesture and contact movements can develop the meaning to the work.  We highlight the struggles and conflicts in society, as we promote being the change and not just waiting for the change! Each dancer directly supports a charitable organization, at local or global level, by purchasing a t-shirt from their chosen organization, to be worn as their costume.

Swansea School of Dance

Toronto, Ontario

Shoalmates 2015

Choreographed by Christy Stoeten

Shoalmates playfully ponders the shoaling and schooling patterns of fish. At times we’ll witness the dancers working together as a unit, and at other times moving independently. The challenge to remain connected to the group as a whole, both visually and spatially is present throughout the work. Though the movement qualities and spatial patterns are inspired by fish, human characteristics reveal themselves, as the dancers work towards their common goals.

Dasein Dance Young Company

London, Ontario

From Darkness 2018

Choreographed by Lacey Smith

Inspired by Gregorio Allegri’s stunning Miserere Mei, From Darkness explores the idea that light can only be found in darkness. “In our day and age, global society has been saturated with the wrong teaching of false positivity. The denial of darkness never equates the abundance of light. And the denial of your actual character never equates to the reality of your best character. … The caterpillar does not become a butterfly by telling everybody it has wings. It actually buries itself in darkness and grows those wings.”  ― C. JoyBell C.

Carousel Dance Company

Waterloo, Ontario

Colouring 2017

Choreographed by Ken Pham

Dedicated to a friend, colouring explores the difficulties of mental health in a toxic relationship from one person’s perspective. Unaware of the reflections we’ve created of ourselves within all the people we meet who are trying to help.


Masterclasses with Suzette Sherman

Suzette Sherman, longtime associate of master choreographer and teacher David Earle, will teach technique classes in his Graham based dance language. These classes are open to Festival participants and professional/advanced dancers. Come to experience expressing yourself through beautiful movement accompanied by exciting live percussion music.

Mix Mix Dance Collective Street Dance Workshop

The members of Mix Mix Dance Collective will bring you a whacking and house workshop.  Learn to groove, jack and skate to soulful house beats. The class is designed for beginner-level dancers, with an interest in street/urban dance forms/styles. Previous experience in street/urban dance styles is not required. Comfortable clothing for movement, including socks and sneakers/running shoes.  We hope you will then show us your new moves to the Guelph Dance Festival After Party at the Red Papaya!

“Getting on Your Feet” Contemporary Indigenous Dance Workshop with Red Sky Performance

“Getting on Your Feet,” facilitated by Red Sky Associate Artist, Eddie Elliott. This young Maori performer is both energizing and refreshing in his delivery of a workshop based traditional Maori dance forms and traditional storytelling methodologies. Youth will be extremely fortunate to engage in this impactful cultural exchange with this young Indigenous performer from New Zealand. Over the course of the workshop, you will see inhibitions diminish as they will be replaced by enthusiasm, openness, and joy!

Panel Discussion

Panel Discussion: The Future of Contemporary Dance

The 2018 Guelph Dance Festival hosted a panel discussion on the Future of Contemporary Dance. As we celebrated our 20th annual festival, we were looking to our past to recognize our accomplishments and looking to the future to set the next steps.

The Guelph Dance Festival would like to play a role in building relationships and providing a platform for women, youth, people of colour and Indigenous dance artists to tell their stories and speak their truths. 

Panelists include  Sandra Laronde from Red Sky Peformance, Katie Ewald, local dancer/choreographer, Suzette Sherman, local dancer/choreographer, Emily Law and Ashley Perez from Mix Mix Dance Collective, Sharon B. Moore, Toronto based multidisciplinary dancer and choreographer and mentor of the Guelph Dance Breaking Ground Mentorship Program and Hope Sarah Gumahad and Sydney Runions from Canadian COntemporary Dance Theatre.

If you missed the discussion you can listen to recording broadcasted by CFRU on June 14, 2018 by accessing PART 1 & PART 2 of their archives.

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