Deirdre Kelly


Deirdre Kelly is a Toronto-based author, dance critic and investigative reporter with a focus on the arts and popular culture. She writes regularly for Dance Magazine in New York, Dance Gazette in London, and NUVO in Vancouver, and is a contributor to the International Dictionary of Ballet (St. James Press) and AWOL: Tales for Travel-Inspired Minds (Vintage Books).
A staff writer at The Globe and Mail for 32 years, she was her newspaper’s award-winning dance critic, from 1985 until 2001, before transitioning to the Style section as its senior fashion reporter in Milan, Paris, New York and cities across Canada. A National Newspaper Award finalist in the category of feature writing, she also reported on pop music, international art crime, the Yugoslav wars, the 9/11 New York terrorist attacks, and labour issues involving prominent dancers at the National Ballet of Canada. As interim cultural bureau chief in Montreal, she covered the arts in Quebec and Eastern Canada and wrote a popular weekly column for the Entertainment section. In 2017, she left The Globe and Mail to become Editor of Toronto’s The York University Magazine. 
The best-selling author of Paris Times Eight and Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection, she has also written for a wide range of international titles, including Marie Claire in London, Elle in New York and Vogue in Australia. A two-time recipient of the Nathan Cohen Award for Excellence in Theatre Criticism (2020 and 2014) for her dance writing, she is presently at work on her next book, an examination of The Beatles and their influence on fashion. 

Deirdre Kelly's Work

Dance Criticism: Perceptions, Challenges and the Future

Excerpts from our panel featuring dance artists Jera Wolfe and Nova Bhattacharya and critics Jenna Shummoogum and Deirdre Kelly By Jera Wolfe, Nova Bhattacharya, Jenna Shummoogum, Deirdre Kelly, Timea Wharton-Suri

Part of a three-part series that rolled out across print, radio and online in collaboration with Turnout Radio, this conversation looks at the politics surrounding dance criticism and how it impacts dance artists, dance critics and audience members.


Belinda McGuire’s ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ Dancefilm Invigorates a Challenged Art Form

Order in the Eye of the Beholder is available until April 30 By Deirdre Kelly

User control is a constitutive feature of electronic gaming but foreign to contemporary dance, making this project by the Canadian-born, New York-based indie dance artist Belinda McGuire genuinely innovative.

Give Me A Break

By Deirdre Kelly

Why are there so few women commissioned to make work in ballet companies? Deirdre Kelly talks to Kathleen Rea, Debbie Wilson, Gabrielle Lamb, Emily Molnar and Sarah Doucet about their reactions to recent events in the Canadian ballet community and what they wish to see moving forward.

Kevin Ormsby’s Cachet

By Deirdre Kelly

Since the 1990s Kevin Ormsby has been making waves on the dance scene in Canada and abroad. Fostering a mixed style that blends various diasporic, national and western dance forms, Ormsby founded his company Kashe Dance five years ago. He has been rewarded for his efforts with numerous awards and recognized as a savvy businessman and choreographer by his peers.


The Ballerina of the Future

Changes Afoot By Deirdre Kelly

Ballerinas today are healthier than they used to be, as a result of a growing awareness of what the body needs to function at optimum levels of athletic performance.

The Ballerina of the Future

Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection By Deirdre Kelly

In an excerpt adapted from her new book Ballerina: Sex, Scandal and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection, Deirdre Kelly argues for a rethinking of ballet and a new understanding and appreciation of its leading ladies.