What We’ve Been Up to: 
Our Evolving Leadership

We’d like to take the time to highlight our staff members in their new roles, all of which have naturally evolved from their previous work with Guelph Dance, since the departure of Catrina von Radecki as Artistic Director. Certainly Catrina left big shoes to fill, and part of her plan to depart included an evolved leadership model which allows collaborative leadership between Directors plus the inclusion of Artistic Associates. We’re happy to now spotlight each of our staff members and current Artistic Associate.

Leslie Fisher: Director of Programming and Community Engagement

Previously Outreach and Development Director, Leslie will now be overseeing all programming at Guelph Dance. A compassionate leader, with an unwavering can-do spirit, Leslie is truly a champion of the belief that everyone deserves opportunities to engage with dance. 

What’s something interesting you’ve learned since starting your new role? Despite being very nervous about stepping into new shoes and the weight of responsibility,  my confidence is growing. As each day goes by I am reminded that this work is all about people and relationships and while I consider myself an introvert I love meeting people, I love collaborating and I get so excited about seeing and hearing about artists’ creative work and ideas.

What are you most excited about for the future of Guelph Dance? I am excited to see how we as an organization can continue to grow and evolve, specifically how we can help nurture our growing local dance community, delight our faithful audiences and introduce more of our community to dance!

What other work do you partake in? I have the great privilege of teaching dance at Guelph Youth Dance and with Park’n Dance. I primarily teach creative dance, contemporary dance and composition to the 8 and under crowd and Adults living with parkisons. I am in constant wonderment with my students and their observations, curiosities and ideas. I also get to be a mom to two incredible teenage humans who amaze me daily. 

Adriana Rosselli: Managing Director
Photo by: Mariana Jerez Photography

Formerly the General Manager, Adriana is our organizational superhero who manages all of our administrative workings. She is a grounding force whose sharp intelligence, creative problem solving, and wisdom keeps our train running.

What’s your favourite part of your job? My favourite part of working at Guelph Dance is seeing the faces of our audiences, artists, program participants and volunteers at our festival, camps and other events. The joy dance brings to our community is unmeasurable and the reason why I, and I am sure the rest of the team, works tirelessly year round.

What are your hopes for Guelph Dance? Longevity and sustainability alongside growing and responsive community involvement. With a 25-year history supporting us, I would love to see what the organization is able to accomplish in the next 25.

What other work do you partake in? Where do I start? I am an arts worker with a great entrepreneurial spirit and too many things cooking at the same time, so if you are looking to organize an artistic project or venture, get married in Ontario or have a relaxing vacation in Costa Rica, I might just be able to help you.

Teagan Ariss: Communications and Development Coordinator
Photo by: Shanique Peart

Teagan will be expanding her communications work into donor and sponsor relationships. She previously worked at Camps, assisted with the Emerging Artist Intensive, and performed in the Youth Moves Series at the Festival as a teenager! 

What’s a word that comes to mind when you think of Guelph Dance Opportunity. For growth, for inspiration, for connection, for discovery.

What do you like most about doing your work? I enjoy that I get to be creative with this work with writing, managing content, and devising ideas for social media. I appreciate that my ideas are supported by the staff so I feel that I can bring myself to this work. 

What are you looking forward to in the upcoming year? I adore the Festival and have been an enthusiastic audience member for a while. I love the variety of experiences it offers of different forms and sites. I’m always left feeling energized and inspired by what I see. So, I’m definitely looking forward to the 2024 festival which is going to be fantastic!

Aria Evans: Artistic Associate
Photo by: Bliss Thompson
Photo by: Bliss Thompson

Our first Artistic Associate is the brilliant Aria Evans. Aria thoughtfully and impressively curated two seasons of Guelph Dance’s Screen Dances Series (SDS) which engaged twenty-one artists to produce sixteen dance films over two seasons. We are lucky to continue working with Aria as their expert curatorial perspective has been significantly positive to our programming.

What’s a word that comes to mind when you think of Guelph Dance?The word ‘invitation’ comes to mind. There are so many aspects of the festival; the park, the mainstage, residencies, the church activations, creative process opportunities, volunteering etc. Guelph Dance has always felt very warm, friendly and inviting to me. When I curate I am thinking about the balance between entertaining and challenging audiences while focusing on creating invitations for people to participate. 

What’s your favourite part of your job? Being connected to and aware of the work people are making as well as witnessing the conversations that people’s work is generating in our milieu is a deep joy for me. I love learning how each person’s process is unique and the way we uncover and create dance can be so different. Supporting artists and providing a platform for their work is a huge love of mine! I am so honoured that I get to be a part of manifesting more dance in the world at large.

Do you have any hobbies outside of work? This year I have committed to making a mini-collage every day. Some days I go back over collages that I have already made and continue to layer and paint on them and other days I start something new. I choose a song and listen to it while I cut, glue and paint. I am trying to add more time for hobbies in my life and so far I am really enjoying this practice!

In the future, we look forward to collaborating with new and different Artistic Associates, so keep an eye out for announcements regarding that! 

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