Sunday, 23 April 2017

Leap of Faith

This is the second in a series of writings by Michele Green on enduring friendship and returning to dance later in life. Michele performs with Artist in Resident Suzette Sherman 'On the Stage' on Saturday, June 3, 8:00 pm, at the River Run Centre. 

by Michele Green

Never say never.

At 64 years old, one would think it safe to conclude that one’s journey as a dancer has truly ended. Especially considering that I haven’t danced professionally since 1976 and have been retired from a twenty-year career as a dance instructor for sixteen years. But things happen.

Happily retired and living northwest of Toronto, I re-connected with longtime friend and college Suzette Sherman who lives in the area. We enjoyed various classes in yoga, pilates and other fitness adventures together over the ensuing fifteen years while Suzette continued working with DanceTheatre DavidEarle in Guelph as instructor, teacher, mentor and performer. But, other than the period when I was writing the book ‘David Earle, a Choreographic Biography’ and spending hours at the studio interviewing David, my shadow has never darkened the studio door.

Over the years, Suzette has expressed an interest in dancing with me again. A ‘bucket list’ type of interest. My answer was always a slightly hysterical ‘my dancing days are over’.

And then, last summer, Suzette received funding for a residency with the 2017 Guelph Dance Festival during which she could collaborate with someone of her choice to create a work. Suzette discussed this with me from the beginning and I supported the names on her ‘possibility’ list. She mentioned putting me on the list a couple times and received my stock response.

But something happened over the summer. We were both approaching our 64th birthdays and I woke up one morning thinking ‘why not?’ Worstcase scenario I would try one class and one of us would say ‘this isn’t going to work’. So after Suzette weathered a few unsuccessful attempts to work out schedules with others on her list, we settled on a plan.

On Friday, October 21st, 2016, I warmed up in the studio for an advanced class after a forty-year hiatus with the understanding that I would only do what I thought I could and then slip over to the corner like a wounded animal to watch. My personal goal was to make it through half of the floor work – fifteen minutes.

The body is a wonderful instrument. Although this instrument felt like it was critically in need of a tune-up, the movement I remembered and loved flowed back into my muscles; adrenaline flooded my brain. I made it through the entire class, jumps included. It was a glorious moment. Suzette hugged me and told me she couldn’t believe it. She was not alone. Dance fever was running through my veins and I knew it would take a lot to put the brakes on this journey now.

It is very intimidating to watch a seasoned professional like Suzette instruct a class. I’ve had several opportunities over the last few years to watch her teach, but participating is, of course, an entirely different experience. She has honed her skill to a level where the movements come organically, looking effortless and exquisite. She teaches with such attention to detail and love of the art form that every correction to the class is like the gift of a precious jewel. I had so much to re-learn, re-train and rejuvenate. It was all a bit overwhelming. But I like a challenge.

The next morning I woke up and could hardly move. Despite being in what might be considered excellent condition for my age, there were muscles I hadn’t used in years. My lower back was screaming at me from the contractions and spirals. My legs ached from fan kicks and grande battements. The bottoms of my feet felt raw from turns and jumps. It was great. I couldn’t wait for the next class.

We spent many hours listening to music that might be appropriate for our piece. Suzette has worked previously with pianist Emilyn Stam, and we eventually settled on a beautiful piano piece of hers entitled ‘Dusk’. With a theme based loosely on the forty-two years of our friendship, we set to work.

Two-hour weekly rehearsals started on November 8 at the local racquetball club where Suzette had rented space for us. We immediately loved working together again and the rehearsals breezed by much too quickly.

Suzette was generous with her praise and gentle with her ‘suggestions’ to lead me away from the years of habits I had built from teaching and motivating children. We videoed the number as it progressed and, although watching myself came with a fair share of grumbling on my part due to the disappointment between what I looked like in my mind and what reality was showing me, the videos proved endlessly helpful.

I added a second weekly technique class around the time that rehearsals started and we tagged short rehearsals on to the end of those two classes. In total I was doing about five hours of rehearsals and three hours of class time each week. It was not long before this old body started to protest. Other than basic stiffness, my foot protested for a few days, then my hip and then my back. It seemed there was always something nagging at me. I was still finding it difficult to pick up combinations in class and the combined frustration built to where I questioned this decision.
My biggest fear was to disappoint Suzette – either by backing out or (even worse) by not backing out of the project. This project was an opportunity for Suzette to spend studio time doing something she loved other than teaching or directing. Pure creative ‘fun’ and I began to doubt if I could rise to the challenge and to meet her expectations.

As good friends, we talked it out and I had to accept that the limitations I felt were not showing as much as I imagined. I was improving, gaining strength and renewing technique and our rehearsal time was truly enjoyable and creative. So we motored on.

Before we knew it, Christmas break had arrived and, although I begrudged the time off, my body was grateful for a three-week break. We had loosely finished the five-minute number and felt a real sense of accomplishment. Suzette seemed pleased with the results, although, considering that we both love the rehearsal and cleaning process, we used up every second of rehearsal time changing, tweaking and polishing each movement.

And so, into January. I was eager to begin, but, sidelined by the vicious flu that was running rampant through the country, I slithered rather than leapt back to classes and rehearsals.

Over the months I had become acquainted with the core of advanced dancers who attended most classes. Every young woman was gracious, kind and willing to help an old woman struggling with combinations across the floor. In the short time I had participated in classes I could see their technique improve, their grace and understanding of the movements clarified. All of course, because of Suzette’s relentless desire to not just ‘give a class’ but to truly ‘teach a class’. The difference lies in her deep understanding of the technique and her ability to explain in detail the essence and focus of the movements. Her standards are very high, just being in the class and following along is not good enough. Those listening could not help but improve and I hoped I was one of them.

Suzette began reviewing the two solos that would bookend our duet in the show. As the only other person in the room I became the critical eye, watching for moments or movements that could be improved. Of course, those moments were virtually non-existent as her movements flowed so organically it was difficult to imagine any other path than the one she pursued. The seed of doubt resurfaced inside me. What was I thinking planning to be on the stage with this icon of modern dance? But Suzette could see the changes in my technique, my movement and the toning of my body, although it was more difficult for me to assess, and so we continued.

In early March we began teaching the duet to four of the senior women – Kelly Steadman, Megan O’Donnell, Georgia Simms and Jenna Oxley. The process was exciting to see how each couple changed the physical shape of the work. But the larger challenge would be how they would interpret the emotional context of a dance that was built around a forty-year friendship. Learning steps and timing is only a stepping stone to actual ‘dancing’ and finding their own individual meaning to make the piece their own would be critical.

A third installment in this series is forthcoming. For tickets to see Suzette and Michele perform, visit the River Run Centre box office (519-763-3000).

Bottom photo: Ellen Snowball

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Suzette Sherman and Michele Green: True Friends

Read the first installment in a series that highlights the friendship between Guelph Dance Artist in Residence Suzette Sherman and Michele (Presly) Green. Kindled by dance, nurtured over the years, and now finding a new and life-giving path, their friendship is truly a treasure. They will be performing On the Stage, June 3, 8 pm. We recommend getting your tickets soon as so many people can't wait to see Suzette back on the stage in Guelph!

It is said that true friends can be apart for years and, upon reconnecting, are able to continue where they left off. So it has been with Suzette Sherman and Michele Green. A friendship that has spanned forty-one years and culminates in a reunion of dance on stage at the 2017 Guelph Dance Festival.

Their paths narrowly missed connecting in the early 1970s when Michele was dancing with Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers. The year she left to start Saskatchewan Dance Theatre with husband, Jim Green and former teacher Lucia Pavlychenko, Suzette arrived in Winnipeg as an apprentice. Two years later Suzette was called upon to join Saskatchewan Dance Theatre and the connection was made.

Already a seasoned dancer, Michele was a mentor for Suzette, leading by example as they toured small-town Saskatchewan.  By 1976 SDT had disbanded and, although Suzette and Michele both relocated to Toronto, Michele moved away from dance as Suzette climbed the ranks of Toronto Dance Theatre, remaining for nineteen years. They stayed in occasional contact while Michele raised her two children and ran a successful dance studio.

In 2000 Michele retired from teaching and, having seen the beauty of the area northwest of Toronto on visits to Suzette and Glenn’s property, decided, along with Jim, to move to the area. A close proximity immediately renewed their connection and they began taking yoga classes together while Michele delved into a writing career. Hearing how passionate Suzette was about her continuing career with Dancetheatre David Earle in Guelph and David’s impressive body of work, Michele eventually found herself working for Dance Collection Danse writing a catalogue of David’s choreography. This work eventually expanded into the book David Earle, A ChoreographicBiography (published 2006). Suzette’s massive involvement in David’s choreography as both dancer and teacher, along with her arsenal of programs, press releases, tour schedules and photographs was an immense part of this project.
In 2016 as both were entering their 65thyear, the opportunity came to return to the dance studio together. This time Suzette the seasoned mentor, gently guiding Michele back into dance as they collaborated to create a piece for the festival. The experience has strengthened a bond of friendship and brought their journey together full circle.

Stay tuned for the second installment on the story of these true friends which will be posted soon! 

Suzette Sherman performs alongside Belinda McGuire and Dreamwalker Dance Company, On the Stage, Cooperator's Hall, River Run Centre, Saturday, June 3, 8:00 pm. Tickets can be purchased at the River Run Centre box office or by phoning 519-763-3000.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Festival Artistic Director Tells You What She's Excited About this Season!

We asked Catrina von Radecki, Festival Artistic Director, to tell us what excites her in this season's Festival. Here's what she told us.

As Artistic Director of the Guelph Dance Festival, I am so excited to tell you about the upcoming 19th annual festival, May 31-June 4! This year, we are celebrating Canada’s incredibly diverse culture with dance from Halifax, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Guelph. Contemporary, urban, Indigenous, Chinese, and Afro-Caribbean dance will all be represented in our events that include On the Stage, In the Park, In theStudio, and Youth Moves. This year’s festival highlights the life cycle of birth, growth, death, and renewal. You will see in this year’s festival that we are nurturing dance artists from various generations and doing our part to keep the Canadian dance ecology healthy and vibrant.

An important aspect of putting on a dance festival is getting to know dancers from across the country. This year, I traveled to the New Dance Festival in St. John’s and to the Coastal First Nations Dance Festival in Vancouver. Among the passionate discussions between dance presenters from across the country was one about the presentation of Indigenous Dance at our various events. At both Festivals that I attended, I made new relationships that are already bearing fruit. In Vancouver, I participated in a hoop dance workshop led by Jessica McMann, a Cree native from Cowessess First Nation. I realized right away that her incredible teaching skills would be a perfect complement to the In the Park performances that will be done by two-time world champion hoop dancer Lisa Odjig (Toronto). Jessica will be in Guelph in mid-May to teach five full day workshops at five elementary schools! We are thrilled to offer this and are hopeful that the youth will then make plans to attend the Park performances by Lisa (who will be giving a hoop workshop for the general public following her Sunday performance).

And speaking of cultural diversity, I am also delighted that KasheDance (Toronto) will be performing In the Parks! Led by Jamaican-born Kevin Ormsby,the company will perform “Facing Home: Love & Redemption,” a piece that draws on Jamaican reggae and dancehall culture, while coming face to face with issues around homophobia. KasheDance works in the idiom of Afro-contemporary dance; its dancers are technical, virtuosic, and deeply committed to the depth of human expression.

Our local focus this year is on Guelph-based dance icon Suzette Sherman, who has worked with David Earle for over 30 years as dancer and Associate Director, and is beloved by many local dancers here. After meeting with a broad range of dancers in the community, it became clear that they are interested in ongoing professional support in the form of residencies and performing opportunities. To that end, Suzette is our Artist in Residence this year. She has taught a group of dedicated teen dancers in a masterclass, will be doing talks and demonstrations at two area senior centres, will be teaching 3 masterclasses for the public during the festival, and is working with a group of local professional dancers including her longtime friend and colleague Michele Green (whose journal will be posted on our blog soon) in the creation of new choreography that will premiere On the Stage on Saturday, June 3. We recommend getting your tickets soon – today even – as the show is more than half sold!

I am also looking forward to OURO Collective’s unique blend of contemporary and urban dance that will be performed In the Parks, Throwdown Collective’s tight and intricate performance In the Studio’s three performances, Belinda McGuire’s virtuosic and athletic solo On the Stage, the exquisite and eloquent Andrea Nann of Dreamwalker Dance Company, also On the Stage, and the numerous youth who will descend upon Guelph for the always invigorating Youth Moves performance as well as the performance by the 40 dancers of the Young Company of Halifax Dance and the Guelph Youth Dance Company, performing in the beautiful outdoor spaces of Hanlon Creek Park and Exhibition Park.

There’s more: workshops, talkbacks, and receptions! Get all the details at our website. Guelph Dance kicks off the Summer festival season – so make sure to attend as many events as you can! I look forward to seeing you at the theatre, studio, and parks!

Photos top to bottom: Lisa Odjig (courtesy of artist); KasheDance (photo by Stuart Reeves); Suzette Sherman (photo by John Lauener); Throwdown Collective (photo by Jeremy Mimnaugh)

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

"Movement is a pretty direct route to happiness"

Our Education and Outreach programs have received a new boost this season, in part due to generous funding from the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between The Guelph Community Foundation, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast. That funding has expanded our Workshops in Schools program this year to include professional development workshops for dance educators and for public school teachers, as well as increasing the number of workshops we can offer schools serving a higher number of economically disadvantaged students. The morale boost from that grant encouraged us to re-think our summer camp offerings for our older campers, and to expand our camps from two to three weeks next summer.
Janet Johnson, Guelph Dance's Artistic Director of Outreach, shared the following short piece about feeling newly inspired about her work in outreach and education.
With the encouragement and supportive assistance of Kit Clark, Guelph Dance's General Manager, I have been able to expand Guelph Dance's educational reach and areas of investigation. This expansion has included in-depth exchanges and training with other dance educators, the initiation of a great partnership with the Upper Grand District School system and the expansion of our summer camps to include richer art experiences for our pre-teen youth.

Janet Johnson, in performance
I am deeply inspired and fueled by these areas of expansion and am newly "wowed" by the importance of art education and experiences in our lives. For me, and I trust for others, movement is a pretty direct route to happiness. Dance helps to keep us buoyant and inspired.
As I venture into my current Workshops-in-Schools program at Sir Isaac Brock Public School, I see clearly how children drive us forward through their words and actions. They ask us to be better and to show them possibility.
Are you feeling inspired now too? Perhaps it's a good time to register a child in your life in our March Break Camp, or make a donation to Guelph Dance. Easy to do....feels so good.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

The Power of Thanks

Gratitude is a big buzz word these days. And for good reason. We have much to be thankful for, even amidst some truly terrible things that happen on a daily basis. Saying "Thank You" is a big deal. It means you've been recognized, that your efforts have been noticed, that you're not being taken for granted, and that your contributions have made a difference.

Running a dance festival can get a little chaotic at times...staff and volunteers are truly in the present moment as they run to post a sign about a rain location, or make sure a youth dancer hasn't been left behind, or ensure that artists have water to drink after their performances, or chat with a patron about a particular performance. So, as we emerge from our Festival weekend, we want very much to thank each and every person, funder, sponsor, neighbourhood group, and volunteer, who contributed towards the creation of a very successful Festival. We absolutely could not pull any of this off without your support!

Big thanks to our Platinum Sponsors: 1460 CJOY, Magic 106.1, CFRU, and Intrigue Media.

Big thanks to all of our other sponsors noted in the sponsor board below.

Big thanks to our Funders: Department of Canadian Heritage, Canada Council,Ontario Arts Council,City of Guelph, Guelph Community Foundation, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Good Foundation, Rotary Club of Guelph Trillium.

Big thanks to the Guelph Dance Board of Directors: Richard Gorrie, Michelle Miller, Heather Finn, Marie Zimmerman, Jillian Cockburn, Kim Bolton, Lynda Walters, and Lindsay Morris.

Big thanks to our Fab 5 partners: Hillside Festival, Guelph Jazz Festival, Guelph Film Festival, and Eden Mills Writer's Festival, and to our Fab 5 social media coordinator Marshall Bell.

Big thanks to Hanlon Creek Neighbourhood Group, Exhibition Park Neighbourhood Group, and 2 Rivers Festival for creating partnerships beneficial to so many.

Big thanks to our numerous volunteers at our camps and festival, helping with kids, collecting donations, handing out programs, setting up tables, etc.

Big thanks to the folks who joined our team for the Festival: Taras Cymbalisty, Dorothy Fisher, Leslie Fisher, Amber Sherwood-Robinson, Solana Del Bel Belluz, Davian Hart, Daniel Poulin, Kelly Steadman.

Big thanks to all of the individuals who donated money to our organization all year long. You hold us accountable!

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Le Patin Libre Glides into Guelph

 We asked Alexandre Hamel, Founder of Le Patin Libre to tell us more about the origins of the company, and how a group of former competitive ice skaters began to make art on ice. His words are evocative, and a wonderful video about the making of the work they're performing in Guelph is at the end of this post. You should definitely scroll all the way through and watch it!

Le Patin Libre performs on Stage A, Friday, June 3, 8 pm, at the University of Guelph's gold ice rink. They also teach an ice skating workshop, suitable for all levels, on Saturday, June 4, 9:30 am.
Tickets available by clicking here or by phoning 519-763-3000.

Photos by Alicia Clarke
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Vertical Influences is a contemporary ice-skating show.

Now, what's contemporary ice-skating? It's the result of a 10-year artistic adventure.

I launched Le Patin Libre in 2006. I was then a retiring figure skater. I competed on the international scene, skated professionally for Disney On Ice and in a few other big traditional figure skating shows. Sparkles and all... In 2006, I was also a Fine Arts student, at Concordia University in Montreal. I was studying film production.

During the 15 years of my intensive training as a figure skater, I always felt I didn't fit into what figure skaters reverently call “Le Monde du Patin,” or “The Skating World.” I always found my training companions very obedient and blindly engulfed in this closed universe of competition, hyper-sexualisation, drama, superficialism and....sparkles, always more sparkles. But, I loved the moves and the challenge so much! I just kept going until university provided me a good excuse to get out of it. Figure skating is like a sect. It's not that easy to get out of, especially after your parents have “invested” $15,000 a year in that weird training, secretly and crazily hoping you'll be an Olympic champion.

At university, I was part of little indie video projects. I loved it! Still infused with the love of skating, I gathered a few skaters I knew to launch a little indie ice-show project. It seemed natural to me. This doesn't exist in figure skating, however. Normally, it's all about big money, big producers, big sport federations, an establishment approving it all, etc.

So, year one of the project included a few short performances on frozen ponds in little towns around Montreal. We performed in winter carnivals. It was simple and naive. Good skaters, funny numbers, a bit of acrobatics, a slightly rock 'n roll attitude and....finally... no sparkles! Not a single one! I called the troupe Le Patin Libre. It means The Free Skate.

The shows were prepared very quickly because we didn't have access to much ice time, between hockey games and traditional figure skating stuff. Doing anything happy and un-conservative is forbidden at public skating sessions (even empty ones), so we could not dance or practice there. We did rehearse outdoors, in the winter, but that's often unreliable and feet freeze in an hour in those horrible hard-leather tight ballet shoes with blades.

However simple and quickly thrown together, our little shows pleased people. The local media talked about “rebel figure skaters,” the troupe grew, and we were quickly invited to France for shows organized by private ice rinks.

In France, we were offered a deal: do a few shows for free in exchange for practice ice time. All of the ice rinks are empty at night and in the morning, when hockey players are at work or at school. In city-run ice rinks, the bureaucracy makes such deals impossible, but in the private ice rinks of France, we just borrowed the keys from the owners and went skating for long hours whenever the ice rink was closed or unused. At night, sometimes! We started to go often, for residences that grew longer and longer. We literally exiled in France, to have access to this ice time.

Finally having time to do more than just throw shows together, we started to ask ourselves deep questions:
·       Why are we doing ice shows?
·       Why do we stick with this thing even though ice rinks are so complicated?
·       Why do we freeze our asses in sad looking, foul-smelling refrigerated garages?

I don't even remember how it came to us but the answer was simple: Glide!

It's what makes hockey more exciting than soccer. It's what makes surfing more sexy than beach volley-ball. It's why people fly to the Rockies to ski, when they could snowshoe in their backyards.

Glide is the possibility to dissociate movement through space from the gestures organically associated to human locomotion: walking, running, jumping, crawling, etc. This means a body can be immobile but move quickly. One of the skating-artists of the troupe calls it “grounded flight.”

Glide is the only thing we have and that dancers, circus artists or comedians don't have.

Glide is what's left when you take out those damned sparkles. And I mean “sparkles” in the large sense: TV shows, podiums, judging systems, syrupy music, themes, commentators, princesses.

Later, I would learn that glide is our specificity. With it, we could reach artistic modernity.

And we understood right away that the choreographic possibilities would be endless and completely new.

As soon as we were conscious of this, our shows started to feel better, richer and more natural. Our years of training as top-level figure skaters finally made sense! Where we felt compelled to add barrel jumping, tap skating and fire breathing (check our YouTube channel), in our first naive years, we started to just glide. Simple, pure and rigorously choreographed glide.

And the rest is just lots of sweat, big financial risks and the lives of 5 skating-artists completely invested in this over the course of a few years.

To make the story short, we developed that stuff, self-produced a show in London after another one of those residences in Europe, had a little box-office success, were noticed by the programmers of a big theatre and of a big dance festival (Sadler's Wells and Dance Umbrella), were offered real residencies and professional support and finally developed Vertical Influences. It got us some awards and accolades, and the show is so fun to do, I would perform it even if I were invisible.

So, that's what we're bringing to Guelph! And by the way, Guelph's Arena is not smelly and not even that cold! It's a really good one, and I'm not only saying this because they agreed to cancel a few hockey games to let this happen. We can't wait!
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Check out this wonderful video about the making of Vertical Influences


Thursday, 19 May 2016

Choreographer Suzanne Miller Muses on THIRST

We asked Montreal choreographer Suzanne Miller to share some thoughts on her piece The Water Project: THIRST which will be performed on Stage B, Saturday, June 4, 8:00 pm. Read on to gain some insight into her fascinating mind - and then, without delay! - get your tickets for this performance. Seating is assigned at the River Run Centre, so you'll want to arrange for the best seats now!
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The Water Project: THIRST
Choreographer's Notes, by Suzanne Miller (May 16, 2016)

Interestingly, the percentage of water contained within our body mirrors the percentage of water in the earths’ body.

Water marks our existence and continues to reveal life itself never fully knowing either beginnings or ends.

photo: Francois Bergeron
On June 4th, I share the stage with dancer/collaborator/perfect dance partner Karsten Kroll, with whom I’ve danced since 2000, and composer/musician/life partner Allan Paivio with whom I’ve worked since 1985.

Performed on a mirrored floor surface and riddled in plastic, THIRST uses the three states of water’s transformation -- SOLID, LIQUID and VAPOUR -- as a resource to direct the choreography, scenography and music composition. The kaleidoscopic effect of the mirrors creates a hybrid body where boundaries between, BONE, BLOOD and BREATH – are mixed.

The mirrors also provide water for an interpretation of “The Dying Swan.” This ends the production - it pays homage to the iconic solo choreographed by Mikhail Folkine (1905), made famous by the legendary Anna Pavlova.

We look forward to returning to Guelph Dance festival and are eager to reunite with our family and extended community.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Partnerships Magnify Festival Offerings

We managed to get Guelph Dance’s Festival Artistic Director, Catrina von Radecki, to sit down for a few minutes so that we could ask her a few questions about how partnerships are making a difference in the Dance Festival’s offerings.

Who are Guelph Dance’s partners are this year during the Festival?
This Festival season, we have expanded our partnerships to include not just our wonderful Fab 5 colleagues (Guelph Jazz Festival, Guelph Film Festival, Hillside Festival, and Eden Mills Writers Festival), but also the 2Rivers Festival, Exhibition Park Neighbourhood Group, Hanlon Creek ParkNeighbourhood Group, and Capacitance.
What are some of the benefits of these partnerships?
The benefits of partnerships cannot be understated! We enrich each other’s programming and assist in promoting each other’s events. The sum is greater than its parts.

The 2Rivers Festival is an annual festival celebrating the beautiful Speed and Eramosa rivers, which meet in the city of Guelph. This year, our Hanlon Creek Park performance (Friday, June 3, 5:30 pm) is included as one of their events, along with a wide variety of activities including nature hikes, heritage walks, opportunities to paddle the rivers, and arts events.
Our partnership with the
Hanlon Creek Neighbourhood Group includes their helping us promote the event to their neighbourhood, and….they’re providing free ice cream during our event! The Exhibition Park Neighbourhood Group’s Creativity Picnic takes place immediately following our Saturday In the Park performance, providing a full and rich afternoon of arts activities for people of all ages. EPNG is also helping to promote our Festival to people in their Neighbourhood.

Our partnership with
Capacitance, curated by Lynette Segal, is a wonderful example of how we have helped to foster an active dance community in Guelph. Capacitance is our Local Initiatives event this season (Sunday, June 5, 2 pm), and is being co-presented by the Guelph Jazz Festival. The performance is multi-disciplinary and improvisational, and offers a more experimental approach in contemporary performance.

Other Fab 5 partnerships during the Festival include Eden Mills Writers’ Festival co-presenting Sara Porter at the In the Studio show (Saturday, June 4, 4 pm); Guelph Jazz Festival co-presenting the Guelph Youth Jazz Ensemble during the In the Park series (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday); and the Guelph Film Festival co-presenting the screening of ORA, an innovative dance film that will be show during On the Stage B at the River Run Centre (Saturday, June 4, 8 pm).  Our programming is just so much richer with the contributions of our fellow festivals!

What extras can Guelph Dance audience members expect to see due to these partnerships?
·       Live music during the In the Park shows
·       Multi-disciplinary and experimental performance in the Local Initiatives performance
·       An intermingling of dance and storytelling at the In the Studio show
·       Avant-garde films with a focus on dance at Stage B
·       Activities for kids as well as parents during the Creativity Picnic at Exhibition Park

What IS a ‘Creativity Picnic’ anyway?!  
Hosted by the Exhibition Park Neighbourhood Group, the Creativity Picnic offers music, magic, and a wee bit of mayhem from 1-4 pm on Saturday, June 4. It immediately follows the In the Park show. The Children’s Art Factory, Five the Magician, the Making Box, the Art Gallery of Guelph, and Cardboard-ia are among the activities and entertainment that will be available.

Bring a picnic, stay and play for the day on our new playground. J.O.E. coffee will be there with coffee, drinks and treats; and Blue Water Creamery is bringing its delicious ice cream.

We have local and lovely talent such as: The Children’s Art Factory, Five the Magician, The Making Box, and the Art Gallery of Guelph's ‘Inflatable Art Gallery’. Plus we'll have activities from the Guelph Civic Museum, Cardboard-ia, Kids Make Guelph, and more!

Stay up to date on the Creativity Picnic by following EPNG’s Facebook page.

Anything else you'd like to say about GD's partnerships?
Partnerships are fundamental to what we do and are found in all aspects of the Guelph Dance Festival and outreach activities. Partnerships enable us to branch out to new audiences, afford larger scale and a greater variety of work, and access more resources to reach new audiences and to provide artists with great opportunities.  

As the Guelph Dance community grows we are excited to continue to develop and deepen partnerships so that we can be sure we are listening and responding to our community’s needs, that we are intricately immersed in the community we live in, and holding hands with the amazing people that make Guelph such an incredible place to live. 

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Our audience members are our most important partners. Without you, there would be no one to witness the dance. Check out the full festival schedule now!