Summer and Fall Awards

  • Sophia Lebessis in Sandra Laronde and Jera Wolfe's Miigis / Photo by Donald Lee
  • Des Marais / Photo courtesy of HEC Montréal
  • Headley / Photo courtesy of 100 Black Canadian Women
  • Hollingsworth / Photo courtesy of Ontario Black History Society
  • Marcuse / Photo courtesy of Trudeau Foundation
  • Pite / Photo courtesy of British Olivier Awards
  • Film still from Bhairava
  • Laurin / Photo by Monic Richard
  • Harjo / Photo courtesy of Jennifer Martin
  • Stacey Horton in her own work Concussion / Photo by Maureen Bradley
  • Temple-Smith / Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann
  • Stambolic / Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann
  • Olafson / Photo courtesy of Winnipeg Arts Council
  • Forcier / Photo by Hugo Glendinning
  • de Leeuw / Photo courtesy of Dance Victoria ; Cole / Photo courtesy of Dance Victoria
  • Maxine Segalowitz / Photo by Helen Simard
  • Taffe / Photo courtesy of Taffe
  • Chambers / Photo courtesy of Chambers
  • Heather Ogden and Guillaume Côté in Nijinsky / Photo by Erik Tomasson
  • Campanella / Photo courtesy of RBC

Editor’s Note: The Dance Current aims to include all prizes recieved by dance artists and administrators from across Canada. However, this is not a comprehensive list. If you would like your award acknowledged, please email dc.editor@thedancecurrent.com with as much advance notice as possible. 


Pierre Des Marais, co-artistic director of Montréal’s Danse Danse, is one of two winners of the Cultural Management Award, presented by HEC Montréal’s Carmelle and Rémi Marcoux. He was chosen for the award based his “his lengthy career wholly devoted to creating and performing contemporary dance.”

Co-artistic director of Toronto’s Collective of Black Artists Charmaine Headley has been selected to be featured in the book 100 Black Canadian Women – 2018. The goal of the publication is meant to “inspire Black girls and women by showcasing examples of the many contributions Black women have and continue to make in Canadian society.” The initiative will also help to historicize these vital trailblazers and “posthumous heroes.”

Tap dancer Joey Hollingsworth received Ontario Black History Society’s inaugural lifetime achievement award for his work breaking racial barriers through dance. “He was one of the first African-Canadian performers on television,” says Natasha Henry, president of the society. Among his many roles, Hollingsworth was a regular on Mister Rogers’ Neighbourhood for over ten years, appeared on CBC’s Pick Up the Stars in 1954 and on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1962. The award was presented in January.

This April, Judith Marcuse was named a mentor by the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation’s mentorship program. Marcuse is a senior fellow of Ashoka International and an artistin-residence and adjunct professor in the faculty of education at Simon Fraser University. She was awarded this three-year term because of her work as an “advocate for the integration of arts-based dialogue into diverse socialchange contexts.”

Vancouver choreographer Crystal Pite won a second British Laurence Olivier Award for her work Flight Pattern, created for The Royal Ballet. Named best new dance production, the work was inspired by the refugee crisis and was the first work created by a female choreographer for The Royal Ballet in eighteen years. The ceremony was held on April 8th.

Canadian dancer Shale Wagman has won the prestigious Rudolf Nureyev Foundation Prize at the fourty-sixth Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland. He was one of eight prize winners at the competition.

Red Sky Performance was nominated for Best Instrumental Album of the year by the Indigenous Music Awards for Miigis, which accompanies the company’s dance work by the same title. Miigis was also awarded a Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Excellence in Conservation in February 2018. Sandra Laronde, executive and artistic director of Red Sky Performance, was awarded a Meritorious Service Decoration by Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada, on February 20th. Laronde is among only 1300 Canadians to have received this honour to date.

Bhairava, a film directed by Marlene Millar and Philip Szporer, was awarded the Cinedans Encouragement Award. Set against the mystical ruins of Hampi, India, the film features renowned Indian dancer Shantala Shivalingappa, of whom the jury noted, “Her musicality is sublime and she is able to compete inside the image and within this majestic landscape, and makes the landscape move with her.” Watch the trailer here.

Prominent Québecoise choreographer Ginette Laurin was awarded the Governor General’s Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award in Dance. Trained in dance and gymnastics, Laurin was the founder of O Vertigo in 1984 and worked with the company for thirty years. For Laurin, “There are infinite ways to combine human bodies and create a dance.”

Six Nations hoop dancer Ascension Harjo won the Junior World Hoop Championship (teen category) in February. It is his second year competing in the championship, which is held yearly in Phoenix, Arizona. Learn more about Harjo.

Victoria-based Stacey Horton is the winner of Dance Victoria’s Chrystal Dance Prize for Independent Artists. The prize supports new works by independent dance artists living in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia or the Yukon who wish to work with a dance artist outside Canada. With the prize, Horton aims to work with dramaturge Gabi Beier to bring her work Concussion to the stage in Berlin. Dance Victoria, through its Chrystal Dance Fund, awarded Ballet BC assets to commission a new Romeo and Juliet, choreographed by French dancemaker Medhi Walerski.

Dance artist France Geoffroy is the recipient of the Michael J. Fox Award from the Canada Council for the Arts. The award is a one time prize of $25,000, donated to the Council by Fox, who donated his winnings after receiving a Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award at the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards in 2017. 

Described as a pioneer, Geoffroy has been dancing for over twenty years and is the co-founder and artistic director of Corpuscule Danse. Founded in 2000 with dancers Isaac Savoie and Martine Lusignan, the company is the first professional integrated dance company in Québec. 

The company has been presented in both Canada and the United States, commissioning choreographers from across Canada and beyond. Past works include Etcetera by British choreographer Kuldip Singh-Barmi and Confort à retardement by Canadian choreographer John Ottmann. Alongside performing, the company offers workshops that anyone can participate in regardless of age, dance experience, status and mobility. 

Included in Geoffrey’s artistic collaborations, she was the subject of the documentary Passage by Daniel Shannon, which follows her dance career, as well as featured in an episode of La Croisée des Chemins, a documentary series by Mark Chatel. 

The Canada Council for the Arts recognizes this as a step further in their commitment to equity. The council is committed to promoting fairness, which not only includes equal funding opportunities but also help with the application processes. 

At the time of this writing the award is scheduled to be presented on June 2, 2018, during the National Ballet of Canada’s Sharing Dance Day at Émilie Gamelin Park in Montréal.

The School of Toronto Dance Theatre wrapped up their school year with a series of awards. The 2018 Kathryn Ash Leadership Award was received by Tyra Temple-Smith. The Kathryn Ash scholarship was shared by second-year students Yiming Cai and Gwendolyn Mitchell. The recipients of the Walker Wood Foundation Bursary are Morgan Aronyk-Schell and Lucie Schmidt. The Winchester Prize was awarded to Kristen-Innes Stambolic who was chosen for her choreographic distinction and perceived potential for creative development. The honour allows the recipient to develop their work along with the guidance of a mentor, as well as the possibility of presenting their work at SummerWorks Performance Festival in Toronto.

In June, choreographer Alvin Erasga Tolentino received the Vancouver ExploreAsian Heritage Month Award 2018 for his contributions to the arts and culture of Pan Asia. Tolentino is the founder of Co.ERASGA Dance, an esteemed dance filmmaker and a cultural advocate. In Canada, the month of May is officially recognized as Asian Heritage Month, with 2018 including a focus on Pan-Asian migration and the legacy, culture and accomplishments of the growing communities of Canadians with Pan-Asian heritage.

Intermedia and performance artist Freya Björg Olafson is the recipient of the Winnipeg Arts Council’s 2018 Making A Mark Award. Awarded by Video Pool Media Arts Centre, the honour recognizes the excellence of a mid-career artist in any discipline who is receiving critical recognition for excellence in their art practice in Winnipeg and beyond.

Rosanna Terracciano is the recipient of the 2017 Jacqueline Lemieux Prize for Dance. The prestigious award is presented by the Canada Council for the Arts and recognizes an established dance professional who has made an outstanding contribution to dance in Canada. The award was established in 1980.

Susan Gallop, a dancer, teacher, choreographer and director, has been inducted into the Cape Breton Business and Philanthropy Hall of Fame. Gallop has been a fixture in the Cape Breton dance community for fifty years and continues to contribute in uncountable ways. Gallop is the founder and owner of Cape Breton School of the Arts and is only the second individual to open a dance studio on the island. The first studio was the Doris MacDonald Dance Academy, where Gallop trained from the ages of six to seventeen.

Choreographer Paul-André Fortier has been appointed to the Ordre national du Québec. The award is the highest honour given by the Québec government and was given to thirteen additional recipients. Fortier has made a contribution to Québec dance over the past forty years through his contributions as a creator, performer and teacher.

Dance Victoria presented this year’s Chrystal Dance Prize for Emerging Artists to Holden Cole from Port Alberni and Adrian de Leeuw from Victoria. The emerging artist prize is a scholarship program for dance artists wanting to continue their training at a recognized institution outside of Canada. Cole was recently accepted into The Juilliard School in New York, and de Leeuw completed his first year at the Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program.

Contemporary dance artist and choreographer Helen Simard was the recipient of the Most Outstanding Choreography Award at the Montréal Fringe Festival for her show Dance Side Of The Moon. Simard was also a nominee for the MainLine Creativity Award.

Vancouver’s The Dance Centre announced the BC Dance Award recipients. Julia Taffe, artistic director of Aeriosa, received the Isadora Award for Excellence in Dance, and Justine A. Chambers received the biennial Lola Award. “These awards illustrate the depth of artistry and the diversity of choreographic approaches and investigations in British Columbia’s dance community today,” explains Mirna Zagar, executive director of The Dance Centre. “They also attest to how dance manifests itself in our society both on and offstage, how this ever-evolving art form transforms and challenges the traditional understanding of what dance is and what it can be and how dance can magically reshape our world and contribute to new connections to our environment.”

The National Ballet of Canada has been named the Best Company of the Year by the Association professionnelle de la critique de théâtre, musique et danse, a group of 140 French and international journalists. The prestigious award follows in the wake of the Canadian company’s 2017 tour to Paris.

Vancouver choreographer Crystal Pite has received an honorary degree from Simon Fraser University. Pite was honoured with the title of Doctor of Fine Arts from the faculty of communication, art and technology.

Toronto-based dance artist and choreographer Roberto Campanella is one of the recipients of RBC’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award 2018. Originally from Italy, Campanella is a former dancer with The National Ballet of Canada, the artistic director and founder of ProArteDanza, and a sought-after choreographer for TV and film, working on projects such as the Oscar Award winning film The Shape of Water. Learn more about Campanella.


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