Future Dancers of Canada: Above and Beyond

The dance training and degree-granting programs across Canada have helped to mould a myriad of inspired and inspiring individuals. The Dance Current asked programs participating in the Future Dancers of Canada (Part 2) Online Gallery to provide some of their recent graduates of note. 
Arts Umbrella
Artemis Gordon, Artistic Director
Dance Professional Training Program
Recent Graduates:
  • Daniel Alwell (2014): dancer with Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal.
  • Kiera Hill (2013): dancer with Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal.
  • Rena Narumi (2011): dancer with The Royal Swedish Ballet.
  • Amalia Smith (2015): ensemble member, Batsheva Dance Company.
Concordia University
Silvy Panet-Raymond, Chair
Department of Contemporary Dance
BFA Major in Contemporary Dance and Graduate Studies
Recent Graduates:
  • Chloé Bourdages-Roy (2012): choreographer, co-director with filmmaker Francis Binet of Analepses, awarded Best Short Film Production in Dance at Festival Quartiers Danses. Their second film, Déracinement, will be presented in national and international festivals this coming year.
  • Emmanuel (Manu) Cyr: co-founder and head of Carmagnole Productions, instructor for Cirque du Monde and Cirqiniq project. As a puppeteer, he took part in the creation and presentation of Cirque de Soleil’s Wintuk.
  • Leah Goldstein, Emma-Kate Guimond and Julia Thomas: founders of the collective WIVES, an all-mermaid performance trio. Goldstein, a.k.a. Leah Fay, also sings with July Talk, and has acted in Diamond Tongues, directed by Pavan Moondi and Brian Robertson.
  • Stéphanie Morin Robert, Allison Burns, JD Papillon, Linnea Gwiazda, Joannie Pharand, Jenn Doan: producers and co-hosts of No More Radio presents Dirty Feet, a weekly podcast on the topic of dance and movement-based performing arts.


École de danse contemporaine de Montréal
Lucie Boissinot, Artistic and Program Director
Professional Training Program
Recent Graduates:
  • Isabelle Boulanger (2011): founder of La Grande Fente Compagnie, known for its music video choreographies for artists such as Ariane Moffatt.
  • Christine Daigle (2014): dancer with O Vertigo and co-founder of Collectif Quantum.
  • Jason Martin (2012): works with Danièle Desnoyers (Le Carré des Lombes), Daniel Léveillé Danse, La Compagnie Marie Chouinard, choreographer for Projet Fly.
L’École de danse de Québec
Quebec City
Lyne Binette, Educational Director
Dance-performance program in partnership with the Cégep de Sainte-Foy (DEC technique)
Contemporary Dance program (AEC)
Recent Graduates:
  • Sébastien Cossette-Masse (2011): Dancer for Le fils d’Adrien danse,  Cas Public and La compagnie Marie Chouinard.
  • Odile-Amélie Peters (2012): Dancer in Jardins-Catastrophes, a short film by the choreographer Alan Lake, dance in 605 Dance Collective and Le fils d’Adrien danse. 
  • Isabelle Arboleda Tovar (2014): Apprentice at Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company (Israël), studying at Folkwang University, Essen Germany. 
  • Geneviève Robitaille (2015): Co-founder, Collectif DANS TA FACE/In your face. 


L’École supérieure de ballet du Québec
Anik Bissonnette, Artistic Director
Professional Program
Recent Graduates:
  • Nicholas Bellefleur (2014): Cas Public.
  • Gabrielle Chenard (2014): Alberta Ballet II.
  • Marilyne Cyr (2014): apprentice for RUBBERBANDance.
  • Priscilla Dellazizzo (2013): trapezist for Productions Alter Ego.
  • Kennedy Henry (2014), Pier-Loup Lacour (2014), Guillaume Michaud, Saskya Pauzé-Bégin (2014): Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal.


George Brown Dance, official school of Canada’s Ballet Jörgen
Bengt Jörgen, Artistic Director
Dance Performance Preparation, Dance Performance Studies and Commercial Dance Studies

Recent Graduates:

  • Amelia Ehrhardt: administrative director at Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists, Ontario Chapter, dance curator for SummerWorks.
  • Robert Gontier: faculty member at Sheridan College in the Musical Theatre department.
  • Zak Kearns: The Wizard of Oz (national tour).
  • Peter Kelly: apprentice at Toronto Dance Theatre.
  • Heather Lumsden-Ruegg: Canada’s Ballet Jörgen.
  • Corrie Sakaluk: choreographer at Fresh Blood 2014, general manager at Dance Collection Danse.


Holland College School of Performing Arts
Peggy Reddin, Program Director for Dance and Theatre
Dance Performance

Recent Graduates:

  • Callista Gilks (2014): continuing studies at Modus Operandi
  • Lauren Thomson (2013): continuing studies at Sheridan College
  • Mariah Duffley (2014): continuing studies at Halifax Circus


Modus Operandi Contemporary Dance Program
Tiffany Tregarthen and David Raymond, Co-Artistic Directors
Professional Contemporary Dance Program

Recent Graduates:

  • Ralph Escamillan (graduated in 2015) is embarking on a new creation and national tour with Out Innerspace, touring internationally with 605 Collective, currently dancing new creations with Wen Wei Dance, Co. Erasga, Kinesis Dance Somatheatro and recently apprenticed with Kidd Pivot for The Tempest Replica.
  • Daina Ashbee (graduated 2011) is the 2015/16 artist in residence at Circuit Est Centre Choregraphique in Montreal. Her latest choreographic work was presented at The Musée d’éthnographie de Genève (Geneva, Switzerland) and La Chapelle Scenes Contemporaines (Montreal). She’s been awarded residencies at Studio 303 and MAI (Montreal, Arts Interculturels) in Montreal as well as creation and development grants on municipal, provincial and national levels and presentations for dance and dance film across Canada.
  • Lexi Vajda (graduated 2012) performs internationally with Shay Kuebler’s Radical System Art as well as dancing with 605 Collective, Out Innerspace, the response., Mascall Dance, Plastic Orchid Factory, Move: The Company, Machinenoisy, Karissa Barry and Emmalena Frederiksson. She was recently awarded a Canada Council of the Arts professional development grant, an Edam Dance Scholarship, and was one of four artists in residence at Unit/Pitt Gallery’s critical text and contemporary dance series. 


Canada’s National Ballet School
Mavis Staines, Artistic Director and CEO
Professional Ballet Program and
Post-Secondary Program
Recent Graduates:
  • Rachel Bar: formerly with the English National Ballet, currently a Ryerson University graduate student pursuing research on how dance helps people living with Parkinson’s disease.
  • Hannah Fisher: The National Ballet of Canada corps de ballet dancer, winner of the 2015 Erik Bruhn Prize.
  • Zoe Michalik: Ballet BC apprentice and 2014 Peter Dwyer Award recipient.


Quinte Ballet School of Canada
Belleville, Ont.
Catherine Taylor, Artistic Director
Professional Training Program
Recent Graduates:
  • Erin Kuwabara (2012): apprentice at Alabama Ballet.
  • Jamie Nix (2012): studied at Canada’s National Ballet School’s Post-GraduateProgram and is now dancing with Hessisches Staatsballett, Germany.
  • Isabella Rapino (2015): recipient of the 2015 Jacque Foesier Youth Dance Award, attended the Canada’s Ballet Jörgen Summer Intensive IV in Toronto and the Joffrey Ballet summer program in New York City.
  • Risa Terasawa (2011): Goh Ballet Graduate, semi-finalist at Prix de Lausanne, top twelve at Youth America Grand Prix in San Francisco, NRW Juniorballett at Ballett Dortmund, Germany.


Royal Winnipeg Ballet School
Arlene Minkhorst, Director
Professional Division: Ballet Academic,
Teacher Training and Aspirant Program
Recent Graduates:
  • Emily Chessa (2010): dancer with Ballet BC.
  • Jared Ebell (2012): dancer with Alberta Ballet.
  • Jesse Fraser (2009): dancer with Stuttgart Ballet, Germany.
  • Sophia Lee (2010): principal dancer with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, appeared in the role of “Annie” in the premiere of Mark Godden’s Going Home Star – Truth and Reconciliation.


Ryerson University
Vicki St. Denys, Program Director
BFA Dance Performance
Recent Graduates:
  • Justin de Bernardi (2013): founder of Dynamic Dance Workshop Company, founder of VIEW Dance Challenge, chosen as choreographer for Fresh Blood and was awarded Student Business of the Year by the chamber of commerce.
  • Marc Cardarelli (2010): Sleep No More in New York, Helix Dance Project, ProArte Danza, worked with Matjash Mrozewski on Bravo’s short film Nureyev. Other film credits include Disney’s Camp Rock, The Music Man, Honey and Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure.
  • Adrienne Lipson (2013): Hubbard Street Dance Company 2, Chicago.
  • Kelly Shaw (2010): danced with ProArte Danza, now part of Toronto Outreach and Exchange Strategy (TOES), a collaborative project between Toronto and New York City dancers.


School of Alberta Ballet
Edmund Stripe, Artistic Director
Professional Division and Professional Graduate Program
Recent Graduates:
  • Dash Grundy (Alberta Ballet II, 2015): dancer with Ballet Kelowna.
  • Ayami Maeda (2015): dancer with ABC Tokyo Ballet.
  • Rachel Thomson (Alberta Ballet II, 2015): artist with Nevada Ballet.
  • Kurt Werner (2012): dancer with Ballet Kelowna.
  • Shion Yuasa (2011): dancer with Tulsa Ballet, previously with San Francisco Ballet.


The School of Contemporary Dancers
Odette Heyn and Faye Thomson, Co-Directors
Four-year Professional Program
Recent Graduates:
  • Ainsley Hillyard and Alida Nyquist Schultz: co-founders of Good Women Dance Collective in Edmonton, recipients of The Edmonton Arts Council Awards and the Alberta Lotteries CIP Awards, voted “Best Local Dance Company” (Vue Magazine).
  • Ming Hon: independent dancer and performance artist, has presented at The National Gallery of Canada’s Prairie Scene, the CAM in Raleigh, N.C., and the Taipei Artist’s Village in Taiwan. She has received awards from The Canada Council for the Arts, the Manitoba Arts Council and was the recipient of the Winnipeg Arts Council’s “On The Rise” award for outstanding emerging and young established artists.
  • Arlo Reva: Red Sky Dance Company at the Banff Summer Festival, a member of Mouvement/Winnipeg Dance Projects, has performed with Kaha:wi Dance Theatre.


The School of Dance
Merrilee Hodgins A.R.A.D., Artistic Director
Sylvie Desrosiers BAV, Director of Contemporary Dance Studies
Professional Training Programme in Contemporary Dance
Recent Graduates:
  • Simon Renaud (2010): Dancer with Daniel Léveillé Danse (Montreal) and COMPAGNIE ODD (Ottawa Dance Directive). Intern/dancer with Toronto Dance Theatre in 2010. Company member with Dancemakers from 2011 to 2013. Has worked independently for choreographers Caroline Barrière, Tedd Robinson and Darryl Tracy and with the company ensemble l’abrupt in France. Also developing his own choreographic work; Variation d’une couleur and Les reines orphelines were presented in Toronto and Ottawa (p.s. we’re all here, Série danse 10, Dancematters, Artspin, Lo-Fi Dancemakers, ODD is OFF) and he was commissioned by the company Common People.
  • Kay Kenney (2012): Company dancer with COMPAGNIE ODD (Ottawa Dance Directive), and Social Growl Dance, under artistic direction of Riley Sims (Toronto).  In 2014 performed for Dorsale danse/Sylvie Desrosiers and worked in collaboration with Andrea Nann/Dreamwalker Dance (The Whole Shebang). Dancer for Dances By Youth For Youth (2012/2013/2014), a project mentored by Peter Boneham. Also performed work by independent choreographers Caroline Barrière (2012) and Cathy Kyle-Fenton (2013).
  • Jocelyn Todd (2012): Dancer and choreographer for Sounding Motion Company in London, England where she performed at the Suffolk High Tide Festival, and was invited to conduct movement research and exploration at London’s Barbican Theatre, and the Huddersfield University. Choreographer for Dorsale danse Projet Brut. In 2015, co-directed a new performance platform called Dark Horse Dance Projects. Jocelyn has presented work at the Ottawa Fringe Festival, the Festival de danse en milieu scolaire, Dark Horse Dance Projects, and in the fall will present at ODD as part of their FloorPlay series. Charles Cardin-Bourbeau (2013): Joined Montreal’s O Vertigo dance company in 2014. Dancer with COMPAGNIE ODD (Ottawa Dance Directive), where he performed works by Andrew Turner, Noam Gagnon, Tedd Robinson and artistic director Yvonne Coutts. Also performed works of independent choreographers Caroline Barrière and Darryl Tracy. Has danced and choreographed in the Dance By Youth For Youth project mentored by Peter Boneham.
  • Jessie Lhôte (2014): worked on a film project with choreographer Mélanie Demers for Montreal’s 375th anniversary. Danced for Dorsale danse Projet Brut, mentored by Peter Boneham. Has performed works by Jocelyn Todd (Ottawa) and Marissa Wong (Montreal).


The School of Toronto Dance Theatre
Patricia Fraser, Artistic Director
Professional Training Program
Recent Graduates:
  • Emma Kerson (2011): danced with Dancetheatre David Earle, Kemi Contemporary Dance Projects, Menaka Thakkar Dance Company, Niagara Dance Company, Toronto Heritage Dance and Walk Run Dance. She has also danced for a number of independent artists, including Jesse Dell, Kiri Figueriredo, Ana Groppler, Meagan O’Shea and Jillian Peever. In 2012 she co-produced and performed a full-length work choreographed by Sharon B. Moore. In 2014 she formed the company Common People with Andrew Hartley and commissioned a work by Simon Renaud, titled l’inanité des bibelots / love would only slow me down.
  • Jillian Peever (2011): co-founder of the Fickle Things collective, has performed with Peggy Baker and Danny Grossman. She has been developing her own choreography and has presented at Series 8:08 Choreographic Performance Workshop and at the Chimera Project’s Fresh Blood in 2013. She won the Audience Choice Award at Theatre Passe Muraille’s Crapshoot in 2013.
  • Shakeil Rollock (2015): co-winner of the 2015 Kathryn Ash Leadership Award and on tour with Newton Moraes’ Brazil, the Land of Tears and Soul in Brazil.
  • Jarrett Siddall (2012): dancer with Toronto Dance Theatre where he has performed in works by Susie Burpee, Peter Chin, Thomas Hauert, Ame Henderson, Christopher House, Heidi Strauss and Evan Webber.
  • Andrew Swan (2015): winner of the 2014 Hnatyshyn Developing Artist Grant.


University of Calgary
Bruce Barton, Director
School of Creative and Performing Arts
Programs: BA Dance, BA Dance / BKinesiology, Choreography & Performance Concentration, Minor in Dance
Recent Graduates:
  • Rufino Rodriquez: Graduated in 2015 with a BA in Dance. Since Spring 2013, he has been a dancer with W&M Physical Theatre under the artistic direction of Melissa Monteros and Wojtiech Mochniej.  He has been accepted into the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, UK, for the MA Creative Practice program which he plans to commence in Fall, 2016.
  • Serenella Sol: Graduated in 2013 with a BA in Political Science and a Minor in Dance. She has danced for La Caravan Company (2011), Jeunesse Company (2012), and Alberta Dance Festival 2011/2012/2013. Serenella presented her choreographic work in the Alberta Dance Festival 2011-2014, Fluid Festival SPARK 2011, and Montage 2012.  She is currently a dancer with W&M Physical Theatre under the artistic direction of Melissa Monteros and Wojtiech Mochniej where she has danced since Spring 2013 in “Triangular Theories of Love” (2014), “The Cube” (2013-2014) and “Waiting Rooms in Heaven” (2015) which was presented at the University of Calgary and in the 2015 Company Poland Tour.


York University
Susan Cash, Chair
Department of Dance
Dance Degree Programs: BA, BFA, MA, MFA, PhD
Recent Graduates:
  • Marie France Forcier (MFA, 2015): artistic director of Forcier Stage Works and award-winning dancer, choreographer and dance scholar. Her recent research examines contemporary choreography through the lens of post-traumatic stress. She is now a faculty member at the University of Calgary.
  • Andréa de Keijzer (BA Hons, 2010): performance, photography and video artist currently based in Montréal. Recent projects include This Ritual is Not an Accident (2015), Our Last Picture (2013-2014) and Wolves and Selves (2012). Her works have been presented in Toronto, Montréal, Mexico, Colombia and Italy.
  • Nikolaos Markakis (BFA Hons, 2013, MFA candidate 2016): emerging professional dancer, choreographer. His current MFA research focuses on the contemporary and traditional dance of Crete. A former member of York Dance Ensemble, he has worked with Dancetheatre David Earle and is co-founder of Half Second Echo, a collective of seven emerging dance artists.
  • Catherine Murray (MFA, 2013): choreographer and performer. Her award-winning MFA research focused on how choreography can be used as a tool for social change to open a discourse about the experience of pregnant teenagers and young mothers. A founder of Project: Humanity, she is an experienced arts outreach facilitator and has worked extensively with both marginalized communities as well as executive-level business clientele.