Stephanie Ballard is a critically acclaimed choreographer, personal coach and educator whose work has garnered the prestigious Clifford E. Lee Award and the Canada Council for the Arts Jacqueline Lemieux Prize. She has been affiliated with Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers for over 45 years. As Artistic Advisor, Company Manager and Choreographer for the Margie Gillis Dance Foundation she toured extensively in Asia, the US, Canada and Europe.
She is Artist in Residence and Archivist for the School of Contemporary Dancers Professional Program and is Artistic Advisor for Peter Quanz and QDance. She is on Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Programming Committee and is an active member of The Canadian Dance Alliance. As Director of the Winnipeg Dance Preservation Initiative she plays an active role in advocating for Dance in Manitoba and throughout Canada.
Rachel Browne (1934-2012) began her training in ballet and, on high school graduation, she moved to New York City. Later she accompanied Benjamin Harkarvy when he became artistic director of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Her choreography, Odetta’s Songs and Dances (1964), marked a transition from a classical aesthetic to an earthy, modern sensibility. In 1964 Browne started Contemporary Dancers, which, became an important commissioner of new Canadian choreographers.
Early in 1983 Rachel Browne resigned as artistic director of the Contemporary Dancers, although she retained her ties with the company acting as a fund-raiser, teacher and advisor. In the mid-1980s, Browne launched into a new phase of her career as a choreographer, performer and teacher. In 1995 Browne received the Jean A. Chalmers Award for Creativity in Dance and was awarded the Order of Canada in 1997. She was the recipient of the 2000 Canada Council Jacqueline Lemieux Prize.
David Earle is one of Canada’s most gifted and prolific choreographers.
He began his modern dance training with Yone Kvietys in Toronto, and spent two years on scholarship at the Martha Graham School in New York. He danced in New York with the José Limón Dance Company and, in London, England, assisted Robert Cohan with the newly formed London Contemporary Dance Theatre.
Returning to Toronto, he co-founded Toronto Dance Theatre with Patricia Beatty and Peter Randazzo. Between 1968 and 1996, he performed, taught, served as artistic director and created over 150 works for the company. He founded Dancetheatre David Earle in 1997, and continues to create new work, as commissions for performance with choirs, orchestras and chamber ensembles.
Earle has received many honours and awards including the Toronto Arts Award, Jean A. Chalmers Award, the Canada Council’s Jacqueline Lemieux Prize, an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Queen’s University, the Walter Carsen Prize for Excellence in the Performing Arts, the Order of Canada, and most recently a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award.
Nenagh Leigh co-founded Toronto Heritage Dance with Patricia Beatty in 2002.
An Australian-born Canadian, she initially trained for ballet, and created her first professional choreography before emigrating to Canada in 1970. Arriving in Fredericton she studied with June Vaughan, a dancer from the Erick Hawkins Dance Company. In 1973, she founded a contemporary dance group at the University of New Brunswick, which evolved into the Maritime Contemporary Dance Company, and created 22 works for this company. She also created the choreography for the acclaimed 1977 TNB production of EQUUS.
Resident in Toronto since 1980, Nenagh studied with Toronto Dance Theatre founders Patricia Beatty, David Earle, Peter Randazzo and others. She founded and served for 12 years as Artistic Director/Producer for Spring Rites, an annual showcase for Toronto independent choreographers, creating 12 new works.
Her work has been shown in Canada, the USA and Australia. Her choreography exhibits a distinctive, highly personal and sculptural style. With Mary Jane Warner, she currently serves as Director of Toronto Heritage Dance.
Peter Randazzo joined the Martha Graham Company in 1962 and originated several significant roles.
He toured America with José Limón and performed with Donald McKayle and Eleo Pomare as well as Aileen Passloff at Judson Church. He also danced in The King and I on Broadway. In 1968 he left New York City to co-found Toronto Dance Theatre with Patricia Beatty and David Earle.
His choreographic style is distinctively sharp, angular and staccato, and is best seen in his dramatic earlier works. Later choreographies revealed a darkly comic side and relied more on pure movement.
Often inspired by the visual arts, he created L’assassin Menace based on the painting by Rene Magritte. Also inspired by the paintings of Edward Hopper, he created a trilogy, Nighthawks, Enter the Dawn and Summer Evening. A Simple Melody, created in 1977, became the TDT touring closer and the company’s most popular work.
Patricia Beatty co-founded Toronto Heritage Dance with Nenagh Leigh in 2002.
She has taught and inspired generations of dancers and choreographers throughout her 40-year career. She performed with Pearl Lang and Mary Anthony in New York before returning to Toronto to teach, perform and create.
Beatty is particularly known for her special theatre presentations which include Painters and the Dance (1983), two seasons of Dancing The Goddess (1993 and 1995) and Esperanza (2003). She is the author of Form Without Formula: A Concise Guide to the Choreographic Process now in its fifth printing.
She has received numerous awards for her pioneering work in modern dance in Canada, including the Toronto Arts Award, which she shares with David Earle and Peter Randazzo for their creation of Toronto Dance Theatre and their creative output there for 25 years, a Dance Ontario Award, also shared with Earle and Randazzo, and the Order of Canada for her contribution to the cultural life of our country.
Robert Desrosiers, one of Canada’s most innovative and theatrical choreographers, danced with the National Ballet of Canada before continuing to perform and train in France, England, and the United States.
He founded Desrosiers Dance Theatre in 1980. His work was soon acclaimed for its blend of dance, elaborate sets and costumes, film/video, music and inventive stagings.
His early works included Nightclown (1980), Bad Weather (1982), Ultracity (1986), and the full-length multimedia work Lumiere (1986). Later works included Jeux (1990), Full Moon (1991), Black & White in Colour (1993). His company toured internationally until its closure in 1999. Recently, he has created two works for Ballet Jorgen Rendezvous (2007) and Bouffonia (2013).
Desrosiers won the Jacqueline Lemieux Prize in 1980 and the Jean A. Chalmers Award for Choreography in 1985.
Danny Grossman studied modern dance with Gloria Unti in San Francisco before joining the Paul Taylor Dance Company, where he spent 10 years performing with the company.
In 1973 he joined Toronto Dance Theatre as a guest artist and faculty member. In 1975, Grossman choreographed Higher to great praise, leading to the formation of the Danny Grossman Dance Company in 1977. He has since created more than 50 works.
His choreography has been in the repertoire of Toronto Dance Theatre, the Paris Opera Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and the National Ballet of Canada.
Grossman has been the recipient of several awards including the Dora Mavor Moore Award, the Jean A. Chalmers Award, the Dance Ontario Award, and the Toronto Arts Council Foundation’s William Kilbourn Lifetime Achievement Award.
Peter Quanz is an award-winning Canadian choreographer of international renown known for his ground breaking choreographic collaborations in dance, music and visual art. He is Director of QDance, a creative laboratory for new dance as well as being an independent dance maker. His diverse aesthetic encompasses classical and contemporary ballet, contemporary dance/theatre, and classical Chinese dance. Cultural immersion is a significant component of his work. Quanz has choreographed for dance companies, opera, and theatre, and has created ballets for some of the world’s leading ballet companies.
Recently, Quanz has delved into a research/creation process with Montréal Danse, “Instant Community.” Quanz has built exceptional collaborative relationships with several Chinese dance companies including the Guangzhou Ballet, and the Wuxi Song & Dance Theatre, which in 2016 toured across Canada and to New York City with his full-length ballet, The Red-Crowned Crane.
Holly Small is an award-winning dance artist and educator whose professional career encompasses 40 years of dance creation, performance and teaching. With a longstanding commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration, Small instigated dozens of projects with dancers, musicians, composers, designers and new media artists. She was also a Professor in the Department of Dance, York University, Toronto for 30 years. Her creative accomplishments have been recognized by a Millennium Award from the Canada Council, a Chalmers Fellowship, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Woman of the Year Award and numerous arts council and foundation grants. Small’s monumental collaborative work, Souls, a full-length piece for 46 performers ranging in age from 10 to 71, co-produced with the Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre, was named “one of the year’s 10 best” dance productions of 2001 by both The Globe and Mail and NOW Magazine.