Ben Portis


Ben Portis was the curator at the MacLaren Art Centre in Barrie Ontario from 2010 to 2013. From 2002 to 2009, he was an assistant curator, contemporary art at the Art Gallery of Ontario. In 2008 he arranged, with Kathleen Smith and the Images Festival, the first visit to Toronto by acclaimed New York dance filmmaker Charles Atlas. 

Ben Portis' Work


The Legacies of Untold Generations: Performing arts at the Aga Khan Museum By Ben Portis


Dance and Objecthood

By Ben Portis

In dance training, personality routinely gets tamped down. The dancer’s discipline begins with conditioned sublimation of his or her individual identity and experience, let alone spontaneity and expression. This leaves dance in a curiously anachronistic position with respect to a new generational trend in the arts – interdisciplinarity.


Triple Bill

By Ben Portis Triple Bill Toronto Dance Theatre

Martingales, the new choreography by Christopher House that premiered in Toronto Dance Theatre’s (TDT) November run at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre, received much more anticipation, attention and adulation than the other two works on the program – House’s Early Departures (1991) and Thomas Hauert’s Pond Skaters (2013), both remounts. This happened despite the fact that Martingales made its debut in a raw and provisional state.


Peggy Baker’s Gallery: Considering land | body | breath at the Art Gallery of Ontario

Peggy Baker Dance Projects By Ben Portis land / body / breath Peggy Baker Dance Projects

In May 2014, Peggy Baker’s land | body | breath was performed in the Thomson Collection galleries of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Reviewer Ben Portis contextualizes the work, by considering Baker’s extensive performance history at the gallery.

Noémie Lafrance

By Ben Portis

In Conversation


(Nevertheless …)

Fujiwara Dance Inventions By Ben Portis EUNOIA

The first choreographic adaptation of Christian Bök’s pièce de résistance, his conceptual prose poem Eunoia (2001), as conceived by Denise Fujiwara is tremendously delightful, witty and entertaining, yet nevertheless … somehow … a letdown.


TDT Tour de Force

By Ben Portis Eleven Accords

With Eleven Accords, Christopher House seeks a new potential for relational art, trusting in the latent artistic and social ecology of his disciplined company to imbue meaning.

On the Ground

At The Art of Flamenco Symposium

By Ben Portis

The Dance Current attended the recent Art of Flamenco Symposium in Toronto, gleaning insights into cantes, bulerías and Carmen Amaya.


History Lesson

By Ben Portis Toronto Heritage Dance

The 2013 season of Toronto Heritage Dance (THD), its second, assembled a stellar program of works by the pioneers of contemporary dance in Toronto, including Patricia Beatty, David Earle, Judy Jarvis and Danny Grossman, and Nenagh Leigh.

New Day Rising

Brendan Fernandes Returns to Dance By Ben Portis

On the heels of a spectacular career in the visual arts, Brendan Fernandes returns to dance with a vengeance.

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