This summer, DanceWorks bids farewell to long serving General Manager, Rosslyn Jacob Edwards, who is retiring after thirty-plus years of work with the organization. Here, Rosslyn shares some of her story from the U.K. to Toronto, and politics to performance.
DanceWorks: Can you tell us about where you are from?
Rosslyn: I was born in Herstmonceux, about sixty miles from London, UK, where I moved to in the early sixties. I spent some time in the civil service and then took a position as an assistant to an MP at the South Paddington constituency office. I loved this job and probably would have stayed had Alan (my husband) and I not relocated to Montreal, where we stayed for eleven years. Then, we were on to Ottawa and I worked at the SAW Gallery and Ottawa School of Art. We finally moved to Toronto where I worked at Inner City Angels before joining DanceWorks in 1989.
DanceWorks: What were your responsibilities when you started at DanceWorks?
Rosslyn: I began at DanceWorks as an intern (aging one of course)! I took over as General Manager after the previous staff member left. My main goal was always the stabilization of the organization while supporting the artistic vision of the curator.
DanceWorks: As you look back on your time with DanceWorks, how has the organization changed?
Rosslyn: DanceWorks has stayed committed to its mandate while improving the production standards of the presentations. For example, larger venues, increased artists fees, more consistent marketing, and outreach for artists.
DanceWorks: Do you remember the first DanceWorks performance you saw?
Rosslyn: I believe the first DanceWorks show I saw was a DanceTalk at the Music Gallery in the fall of 1989. It served to show me how little I knew about the discipline since my interpretation of the movement couldn’t have been less in-keeping with the choreographer’s stated intent! Hopefully my thirty plus years with the company has gone some way to rectify this!
My first Mainstage event was a double bill featuring the fabulous Linda Mancini from New York with Lee Ann Smith and Lisa Cochrane.
DanceWorks: Thanks so much, Rosslyn. Happy Retirement!