Ontario: Yours To Discover — through dance!

Artists, dancers and choreographers from all over Ontario will be represented at Dance Ontario’s DanceWeekend 2015, taking place January 16-18. This annual showcase, which will feature 28 globally-inspired professional dance companies, is about inspiring our local dance and arts communities by highlighting the exciting work that’s being created on home turf. We asked Dance Ontario programmer Rosslyn Jacob Edwards to tell us a bit more about what to expected at DanceWeekend 2015.

What is DanceWeekend and how did it get started?
Dance Weekend started in 1993 following a Dance Ontario study into the needs of culture specific dance groups. We moved to Harbourfront Centre the following year. The main intent is to feature our member groups, representing as many forms as possible in the hope that it will increase audiences for upcoming shows. We also hope to increase patrons dance literacy regarding various styles, and gauge and improve comfort levels with professional venues for new/young audiences through the informal format and in-out privileges.

How did you curate the weekend?
Very carefully! In addition to considerations regarding groups who will draw audiences, we look at showcasing as many forms as possible, introduce new dance groups and also a smattering of studios or training institutions.

Tell us about your commission process.
Dance Ontario sends out a Call for Submissions for the Commissions each year from which the Committee selects artists. This is an opportunity for independent artists to show their work in a great theatre to capacity audiences over two days; this year’s commissions are by Courtnae Bowman and Hanna Kiel. At least two  submissions were developed into Dora Award-winning choreographies.

What is the new Youth Award?
The Jacque Foesier Youth Dance Award was created last year to recognize the talents and dedication of a young dancer, aged 19 and under, who is passionate about their form and who contributes to their community. Last year’s winner was Makeda Benitez, a student of Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company.

There is a $10 suggested donation at the door for this show.