Portal Dance

Saturday, June 4

7:00-7:30 PM – Community Walk (River Run Centre, 35 Woolwich St & Online)

7:30-8:30 PM – Performance (SEED Warehouse, 69 Huron St & Online)

Sunday, June 5

5:00-5:30 PM – Community Walk (River Run Centre, 35 Woolwich St & Online)

5:30-6:30 PM – Performance (SEED Warehouse, 69 Huron St & Online)


NOTE ON PERFORMANCE LOCATION: Portal Dance explores new work, The Returned, by taking the audience on a riverside walk of Guelph interspersed with a variety of choreographic moments on the jetty, in the ruins, along the river’s edge etc. This 15 minute walk will commence at 7PM on Saturday and 5 PM on Sunday at the Jetty behind the River Run Centre (35 Woolwich Street) ending at the doors of the Seed Warehouse (69 Huron Street). Upon arrival at the SEED Warehouse our festival ushers will be collecting audience tickets, if you pre-purchased (or selling tickets if you are in need of one) and the show inside the warehouse will start at 7:30 PM on Saturday and at 5:30 PM on Sunday. Patrons with limited mobility or those running late, rest assured that you will be able to fully enjoy and appreciate the performance even if the riverside pre-show walk is missed.

*Please note: In the case of inclement weather, the community walk will occur inside the SEED Warehouse (69 Huron Street), beginning at 7:00 PM (Saturday) and 5:00 (Sunday), with the performance to follow, as per usual.

*Please note: Masks/face coverings are required for the entire duration of the performance at the SEED Warehouse


The Returned is a new contemporary dance work that seeks to understand the time and place in which we currently live, as well as the time that came before. Portal Dance dancers uncover these “fossil memories” by exploring shades of memory, forms of recovery, cellular history, individual body maps and what haunts us as humans. The Returned is curious about the cyclical nature of time and how what we see & know to be true in this moment is perhaps merely a frame within a revolving timeline that weaves but ultimately circles synthesizing us to returning atoms, molecules of memories……

The Returned is a piece about where we are as a collective species, where we might have been and where we could be going. It is about fiercely looking life in the eye while connecting to the footsteps of those that existed before.

Choreographer: Janet Johnson

Performers: Drew Berry, Haley Dimeck, Julia Garlisi, Ben Harvey, Megan Robinson,Yu Kamishige

Guest dancers: 

Guelph Youth Dance Company: Azalea Borges, Marissa Chung, Sadie Clark, Sarah Cook-Cummings, Luka Hazl, Cybelle LeBlanc, Katherine Phippen, Meagan Pitts

Community Dancers: Lauren Alaan, Jennifer Alaan, Joan Agosta, Stacy Anderson, Dawn Austen, Candice Barrett, Shana Blackburn, SarahJane Burton, Shannon Brown, Cate Craine, Vera Dyck, Jill Francis, Enza Gaumond, Linda Hunter, Kristin Johnson, Monica Jureczek, Yu Kamishige, Shannon Kingsbury, Nathalie Lauriault, Lia Maldaner, Natasha Pravaz, Stephanie Roberts, Lindsay Roe, Michaela Ross, Mica Tosi,

Technical Director & Lighting Designer: Andrew McCormac

Stage Manager: Chloe Currie

Composition by: Jeff Bird & Ben Grossman

Filmmaker: Jenn Norton

Costume designer: Dakota Burpee

Audio artist: Dawn Matheson

Consultant: Jan Sherman


After graduating from York University’s Dance Program, Janet Johnson spent six years in Toronto.  While there she co-founded, directed & choreographed for the eclectic company, Pedestrian Waltz Dance Project  as well as danced with renown choreographers such as Darcey Callison, Conrad Alexandrowicz, Andrea Nann, Yvonne Ng &  Julia Sasso to name a few. 

Since 1995 Janet has been living in the Guelph area where she actively pursues outreach dance efforts through teaching, performing, choreographing, presenting & directing. Janet has been a resident modern dance teacher throughout Guelph, at McMaster University’s Centre for Dance, at George Brown College, at Waterloo University and a frequent recipient of the Ontario Arts Council’s Arts in Education Grant. In 1998 Janet co-founded the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival & in 2005 The Guelph Youth Training Program. In 2007 Janet was nominated for the Woman of Distinction award in the category of Arts and Culture in Guelph. Janet has also had the pleasure of dancing more recently for choreographers, Suzanne Miller, Kathleen Rea, Karen Kaeja & Susan Lee and was a company dancer with DanceTheatre David Earle 1998-2015. Janet completed her MA in dance in 2010 from York University with a focus on how art can stimulate & nurture a sense of community.

Janet formed her own dance company, Portal Dance in 2011 & in 2013/17 became certified in Gyrokinesis & Gyrotonic & Conditioning-with-Imagery. Deeply committed to integrating dance and movement in more marginalized populations, Janet has worked with Youth experiencing self-harm and mental health crisis as well as with adults experiencing homelessness and Parkinsons.


Special thanks to:

Lynette Segal, Rowen McBride-Pilon, Lily Burpee, & Kelly Steadman for artistic input in the original conceptions. The Seed, the Guelph Youth Dance Training Program, the Royal City Mission, 10C, the Guelph Arts Council the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Guelph Musagetes Grant.



Photo by Drew Berry

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