DanceWorks Announces 2019-20 Mainstage Series

Dance Curator Mimi Beck announces DanceWorks’ five Mainstage Series events for the 2019/20 season. High quality, culturally pluralistic dance programming will immerse audiences in moments of connection, understanding and renewal.  Contemporary reflections of Indigenous identity and historically significant dance, music and media, placed in today’s context, will encourage empathy across cultures and abilities.

Touring companies Dancers of Damelahamid (Vancouver) and Propeller Dance (Ottawa) will appear, along with world premieres by Toronto-based artists and companies, including:

In Absentia, by senior choreographer Sharon B. Moore, produced and performed by emerging company JDdance; Eden Planted, a multi-media group work by William Yong of Zata Omm; and Dances With Trane by Natasha Powell of Holla Jazz.

Oct 18 – 19, 2019: Dancers of Damelahamid
Following the brilliance of Flicker on the DanceWorks 2017-18 Mainstage, preeminent Vancouver-based professional Indigenous touring company Dancers of Damelahamid returns to Toronto to open the season with Mînowin. A recent showing of the work during the Vancouver International Dance Showcase and Coastal Dance Festival was hailed for its vibrant use of technology, highlighting a cultural capture and making the invisible visible. Featuring hand carved masks, done in traditional practice from selected trees, and hand sewn regalia and moccasins, Mînowin promises to be quietly spectacular!

Nov 21 – 23, 2019: JDdance
Harkening to the hardship and humour of life, In Absentia celebrates the unexpected beauty that blossoms in the aftermath of calamity. Blown about by the forces of an extraordinary world, two humans traverse a vivid and fantastical journey of creation and destruction, unfolding in an ever-shifting landscape of fragile circumstance. Athletic and spiritual, visceral and theatrical, In Absentia boldly weaves together dance, puppetry, intricate set, lighting, video and prop design. This world premiere is created by Sharon B. Moore for JDdance co-artistic directors Jesse Dell and Jordana Deveau.

Feb 5 – 8, 2020: Zata Omm
William Yong, in a return engagement with DanceWorks, brings the world premiere of Eden Planted after successful presentations of Frames (2009) and Eight Ways From Mara (2011) on the Mainstage. Yong’s unique approach to dancemaking is firmly rooted in original movement and new media technology. Eden Planted contemplates the fall of humanity reversed, the return to the garden of innocence, and the restoration of Eden. An exercise in futurology and an anthropology of mutants, it promises to be a refreshing, thoughtful, hybrid work.

Mar 13 – 14, 2020: Propeller Dance
Propeller Dance is one of Canada’s foremost Contemporary integrated dance companies, celebrating artists of diverse bodies and minds. Experience the power of possibility through two powerful pieces: Flesh and Spokes and Spasticus, that defy perceptions and open hearts to a celebration of shared differences. In Flesh and Spokes by Renata Soutter, dancers flow through an abstract landscape, weaving patterns as they show the basic human need for connection through curiosity, resistance and finally, acceptance. In Spasticus, by Liz Winkelaar, Propeller gives Ian Dury’s irreverent ‘spastic’ anthem legs and wheels in an anarchic, joyous, dark, sexy, funny and explosive rocking tribute. Chains are removed, bodies find movement, spirits soar and the oppressed rise up, proudly declaring, “I am Spasticus!”

Apr 2 – 4, 2020: Holla Jazz (Co-Presentation with TO Live)
The final Mainstage Series event of the season is a co-presentation with TO Live of Natasha Powell’s Dances with Trane, a new creation from Holla Jazz inspired by the prolific work of American jazz artist, John Coltrane. With choreography by Natasha Powell in collaboration with the dancers, this homage draws inspiration and ideas from the infamous Coltrane Circle illustration. Using the music of Coltrane as a guide, this collection of dances will explore how our relationships to ourselves, those around us, and the unseen, can exist in multiple ways.

DanceWorks 2019-20 Mainstage Series – limitless possibilities from multiple perspectives.

DanceWorks Mainstage Series 2019/20
Oct 18 – 19, 2019   Dancers of Damelahamid (Vancouver) Harbourfront Centre Theatre
Nov 21 – 23, 2019  JDdance (Toronto) Harbourfront Centre Theatre
Feb 5 – 8, 2020   Zata Omm (Toronto)  Harbourfront Centre Theatre
Mar 13 – 14, 2020 Propeller Dance (Ottawa) Fleck Dance Theatre
Apr 2 – 4, 2020  Holla Jazz (Toronto) Greenwin Theatre, Co-Presentation with TO Live

For more information, interviews, subscriptions and single tickets, call DanceWorks at 416-204-1082 or visit
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Margaret Grenier
is choreographer, lead dancer, Executive and Artistic Director for the Company. She choreographed the full length works Setting the Path and Sharing the Spirit which toured internationally to New Zealand and the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, China. Her other works include Visitors Who Never Left, a site specific work, Dancing our Stories, Spirit Transforming, In Abundance and Flicker. Margaret has directed and produced the Coastal First Nations Dance Festival since 2008. She holds an MA in Arts Education from Simon Fraser University and was a sessional instructor at Simon Fraser University for Foundations in Aboriginal Education, Language and Culture in 2007. Margaret was a faculty member for the Banff Centre Indigenous Dance Residency in 2013 and presented at the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education in Australia 2008, Peru 2011 and Hawaii 2015. Margaret serves on the Board of The Dance Centre as well as the Canadian Dance Assembly.

Sharon B. Moore
creates as a choreographer, director and writer for dance, theatre, film and circus. She is a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and a former member of Contemporary Dancers of Canada under the direction of Tedd Robinson. Her most recent creations have been seen in N.Y.C. (Joyce Soho), San Francisco (O.D.C. Theatre), Russia, Rochester, London and Nashville. Alongside Canadian composer/director Derek Aasland, Moore runs Cinetic Creations, a company dedicated to picture wide movement worlds for feature film and large scale theatrical works. Their recent work, The Thirst for Love and Water, presented by Panamania Live! at Toronto’s City Hall reflecting pool, was viewed live by over 800,000 people. Their works have received multiple Dora Mavor Moore nominations for original choreography, production, performance and lighting, as well as a Dora for outstanding female performance. Cinetic Creations produces original contemporary circus work around the world.
JDdance, founded by Jesse Dell and Jordana Deveau in 2009, has presented work in: Dance Matters, The Toronto Fringe Festival, Scotia Bank Nuit Blanche, Guelph Dance Festival, the inaugural Festival of Dance Annapolis Royal (FODAR) in Nova Scotia, the Dans Kamera Istanbul film festival, and dance:made in Canada. They have staged two full-evening productions: Ink to flesh (2010) created and produced by JDdance and presented by The Young Centre for the Performing Arts; and episodesIandscapes (2013) co-created and co-produced with Tracey Norman and presented by DanceWorks CoWorks.

William Yong
is the Artistic Director of Zata Omm – Zen And The Actualization Of Modern Movement ( – based in Toronto. He has spent the past decade breaking new ground by collaborating with scientists, artists, and engineers in bold and innovative ways to re-imagine dance for our technological age. He has made the dance organization a site for research focussing on the integration of dance, technology and broader culture. A major dance critic hails his work “…It shows Yong going where no Canadian choreographer before him has gone before…so much originality…” He has created many choreographic works for the company including the latest full-length production, Steer. Writers described the piece as “…spell-binding, disturbing, fascinating, provocative, and profound theatre.” (Lighting and Sound America Magazine). “Otherworldly, impossibly beautiful. These are unknown compounds creating a new universe.” (Blue Ceiling Dance).

Renata Soutter
is a co-founder of Propeller Dance who has dedicated her professional career to socially-engaged dance innovation through creation, performance and education. Soutter co-developed (with Shara Weaver and company dancers) a methodology of collaborative creation that focuses on the unique aesthetics of artists with disability and the primacy of self-expression. Her influences include the natural world, and a strong belief in the power and beauty of diverse cultural expression and pride. She is a Diamond Jubilee recipient (2012) and Finalist for Ottawa Arts Council’s mid-career Artist award. Her latest work Living the Desirable Life was a celebrated part of Canada 2017.

Elizabeth Winkelaar, Artistic Associate of Propeller Dance, has been dancing with the company since its inception. She earned a Master’s degree in Canadian Studies at Carleton University, leading to an interest in Disability Art and Culture and to Propeller Dance. In addition to dancing in with company, she has taught outreach workshops for Propeller, assisted with the children’s program, and pioneered the Company’s seniors’ program. Winkelaar received the Celebration of People’s Artistic Excellence Award (2012), and through Propeller’s Emerging Choreographers program, directed and originated the dance piece Spasticus (2016, GCTC).

Natasha Powell is a Toronto-based dancer, choreographer, and Artistic Director of Holla Jazz. Her vast training in a variety of dance forms has led to appearances in film, television and stage. While co-director of Catalyst Dance Company she co-created a number small and large scale works, most notably their production The 5th Element in the 2011 Toronto Fringe. She was also the co-creator of the dance-theatre project, Gimme One Riddim: A Tribute to Ska. In 2013, grant awards from the Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council supported her residency in New York to study the roots of jazz dance, lindy hop, and their connection to the popular street dances as we know them today. This residency was the birth of a new chapter for Natasha leading to the creation of her company, Holla Jazz – an arena where all jazz dances, hip hop, and house intersect to reinvigorate the idea of freedom and expressing one’s own identity through the spirit of jazz.  The company’s production, FLOOR’D was nominated for 4 Dora Mavor Moore Awards in the Dance Division, including Outstanding Original Choreography by Natasha, and received the award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble.


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