Panel Discussion: The Future of Contemporary Dance

by Catrina von Radecki

Guelph Dance Festival is excited to announce that we will be hosting a panel discussion on Friday, June 1st, 2018 from 12:30pm-2pm on the Future of Contemporary Dance. As we celebrate our 20th annual festival, we will be looking to our past to recognize our accomplishments and looking to the future to set the next steps.

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.  With the incredible power of the #MeToo, #BlackLivesMatter, and #NeverAgain movements and our efforts towards reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, Guelph Dance feels it is essential that we ensure a space in our theatres, park, and studios for voices that are often not given space to be heard. Guelph Dance Festival is an excellent platform for this as our audiences come to the festival to be challenged and exposed to something new. We encourage those that come to expect the unexpected and to be open to listen and to learn.

Though we recognize that we cannot represent everyone, we are happy to announce six key panelist that will open the discussion.  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, a multidisciplinary dancer and choreographer Guelph Dance Breaking Ground Mentor, and Hope Sarah Gumahad and Sydney Runions members of the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre.

                     Sandra Laronde
Sharon B. Moore

Ashley Perez. Photo by Emily Law
Emily Law
Katie Ewald. Photo by Jacklyn Barber
Suzette Sherman
Hope Sarah Gumahad. Photo by Francesca Chudnoff
 Sydney Runions. Photo by Francesca Chudnoff
Each panelist has been given carte blanche to speak for 10-minutes on whatever they feel is important for the future in the contemporary dance world. This will be a safe space for each panelist to speak and we invite the general public to come to listen. This is a time for listening.  For being heard. Here are some of the topics panelists are looking to explore:

Sharon Moore: “How do we keep our artistic integrity in a changing ethos?”
 Suzette Sherman: “I would like to share my vision of how revisiting the founding values of modern dance could help inspire a powerful future.”

 Katie Ewald: “The future of contemporary dance recognizes the abuse that people who identify as women have experienced within the dance community and beyond, and actively resists it, from the micro level (in the dance studio) to the macro level (curation and programming).

Following the panelist talks, we will then break out into smaller groups where everyone will have an opportunity to add their voices to the discussion. A final
coming together in a circle to report back on the meeting will end the afternoon session and provide diverse discussions which we hope will inspire people as we move forward into the future!

The Panel Discussion follows a Masterclass with Suzette Sherman from 10:30am-noon which will also be offered at Guelph Youth Studios, 42 Quebec Street.   We hope you will join us for the class as well- an excellent way to warm up for the discussions!

The Panel is Free!  Space is limited so please be sure to sign up in advance by visiting

For more information and to register for the masterclass visit:

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