Andrew Tay was born in Windsor, Ontario where he attended the Walkerville Centre for the Creative Arts. Since finishing his B.F.A in contemporary dance at Concordia University, Andrew has presented his work at venues and festivals throughout Canada, New York and Europe. His work has appeared in films, installations and multimedia projects for companies such as Moment Factory, Bravo! and Gentilhomme. He has worked with well-known choreographer Doris Ulhich (Vienna) in the creation of More than Naked, which toured extensively throughout Europe.
In 2005 Andrew co-founded (with collaborator Sasha Kleinplatz) the company Wants&Needs Danse. Since then the company has produced the wildly popular dance events Piss in the Pool, Short&Sweet and Involved in Montreal. In June 2012, the duo choreographed the Cirque du Soleil show Les Frontieres de Pixels and were nominated for a Quebec Notables award in the Arts&Culture category.
Residencies have included the Foundation Jean-Pierre Perrault, the summer artist in residency program at studio 303, Usine C (Montreal), Montreal Danse Choreographic Atelier, The Harbourfront Centre (Toronto), the K3 centre for choreographic research (Hamburg), sign 6 (Brussels) and Skånes Konstförening (Malmo, Sweden).
Andrew was awarded the Dance WEB scholarship in May 2012 (Vienna, Impulstanz festival). In 2013 he was chosen to participate in the Rencontres internationales de jeunes créateurs (Montreal, Festival TransAmériques 2013) and 8 Days, an annual intergenerational meeting of dance artists from across Canada organized by the company Public Recordings. He has also participated in The Copycat Academy (as part of the Luminato Festival, Toronto) curated by Hannah Hurtzig (Berlin) for two editions, and created work with dancers at Toronto Dance Theatre through the company’s inaugural Emerging Voices Project in 2015. He has served as a board member of ELAN (the English Language Artists Network in Quebec) and the RQD – le Regroupement québécois de la danse.
In 2016, his work Fame Prayer / EATING was awarded the Vanguard Award for Risk and Innovation from the Summerworks Performance Festival Toronto. Fame Prayer was subsequently presented at Fierce UK (Birmingham) 2017 Theatre La Chapelle (Montreal) 2018 and Diver Festival (Tel Aviv) 2019. Make Banana Cry (co-authored with Stephen Thompson) premiered at the M.A.I in 2017, and was later presented La Galerie de l’UQAM in the context of the exhibit Refus Contraire 2018 as well as the Nottdance Festival and Fierce UK in 2019. The work will continue to tour internationally for 2020.
Before relocating to Toronto in August 2020 to begin his leadership at TDT, Andrew was the Artistic Curator of the O Vertigo Centre for Creation in Montreal since January 2017, reimagining the company’s activities in its new mandate as a choreographic centre and artist incubator. He actively thinks about community, irreverence and resistance in both his performance and curatorial practices.
Managing Director (on leave)
Jessica Whitford joined TDT as Managing Director in 2018 after a decade of working as a producer for contemporary dance and live performance in Toronto and London, UK. She realizes TDT’s artistic vision through sound financial management, effective organizational planning and collaborative partnerships. Since joining the company, Jessica has created a supportive work environment for staff and volunteers in which to grow and learn, expanded the administrative team and committed to competitive wages across the company. She has strengthened marketing and development strategies for stronger audience and donor engagement and works closely with the organizations at Winchester Street Theatre to ensure the space supports the greater arts community and to implement a long-term strategy. She was part of the artistic leadership search committee and is excited to work with Andrew to develop significant artistic opportunities and increase TDT’s visibility regionally and internationally. Jessica holds an MBA in Non-Profit Management & Leadership from the Schulich School of Business at York University and a B.A. in Dance from the University of Calgary.
Interim Managing Director
As cultural worker, Michael Toppings has worked for some 25 years in both the visual and performing arts in several provinces such as Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia, and for organizations such as New Dance Horizons in Regina, Dancing on the Edge in Vancouver, the Banff Centre, PPS Danse & Sinha Danse here in Montreal. Toppings was the Executive and Artistic Director at MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) where he worked from 2009 through to 2022. Most recently, he has held the position of artistic advisor with La Machinerie.
Toppings is also an interdisciplinary artist who was born and raised in Quebec, although he has lived nearly half of his life elsewhere. He has created works that attempt to modify the reading experience in order to transform the reader’s role to one of spectator, listener and active participant. His artistic practice also, therefore, blur boundaries between publication and exhibition and production. His works are brews of varnish and raw, popular cultural references and social realism, oscillating between the sublime and the pedestrian, between the factual and the fictional.
Rosemary James assumed the role of Rehearsal Director in 1992 after a successful career performing with Toronto Dance Theatre. Among many responsibilities, she was pivotal in remounting the choreography of Christopher House, former Artistic Director of TDT (1994-2020). Since 1987, James has taught in the Professional Training Program at The School of TDT and was the Training and Performing Associate from 2009-2021, under the expert leadership of Patricia Fraser (1993-2021). She has taught modern dance courses at York University and is currently a contract lecturer at Toronto Metropolitan University. James is passionate about sharing the Martha Graham Technique to future generations of dancers. She is also teaching this valuable and foundational movement vocabulary at Performing Dance Arts. In 2021, she initiated and interviewed former TDT colleagues for an audio series entitled, Reconnecting with Black Dancers from the 80’s and Early 90’s. As well in 2021, James collaborated with Mary Jane Warner to produce the film tribute, Celebrating Patricia Beatty: Artist, Choreographer, Teacher. In 2022, she was the rehearsal director for Christopher House’s solo evening work entitled New Tricks, and the rehearsal director/dramaturge for 100 Years of Cinematic Solitude in 300 Moving Pieces for the Immer Collective. James holds a Bachelor and Master of Arts in dance from York University.
Originally from Japan, Yuichiro Inoue first gained recognition as one of the country’s top Kung-Fu kids. His ballet training soon followed and by the age of 15 he moved to Germany to train on scholarship at the John Cranko Ballet School in Stuttgart. He went on to perform as a member of Staatstheater Braunschweig, the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe and the Saarlaendisches Statts Theatre in Saarbruecken before moving to Toronto to complete the Teacher Training Program at Canada’s National Ballet School (RAD status). Upon graduation he was hired at TDT and is thrilled to be in his 16th season with the company. Yuichiro has taught at TDT, The School of TDT, Canada’s National Ballet School, Dance Teq, the Quinte Ballet School, and the Pia Bouman School of Dance, The Canadian School of Ballet and for schools and companies throughout Japan, including Kobe University. His choreography has been commissioned for film, festivals and international competitions.
Peter Kelly is a queer Toronto based dancer, performance maker, artistic director, teacher, producer, and personal trainer. Peter trained in fitness through the International Sports Science Association (ISSA), is a graduate of the Dance Performance Studies program at George Brown College, and is currently in his eighth season as a company dancer with Toronto Dance Theatre (TDT). Beyond TDT, Peter has worked with SummerWorks Performance Festival as the Patron Services Coordinator, with The Toronto Dance Community Love-In as a Space Host, with Dance Ontario as the Provincial Networks Coordinator, and is currently the Artistic Director of New Blue Emerging Dance. As a performance maker, Peter strives to construct performance works that tackle taboos, barriers, and stigmas associated with nudity, BDSM, sexual identity, and kink. Peter has had the opportunity to present work at Guelph Dance Festival, London Dance Festival, Queer Cab (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre), and Impact Festival, among others.
Megumi Kokuba was born on the southernmost island of Japan, Okinawa. She studied ballet with joy from the age of two. After graduating from College in Okinawa, Megumi came across contemporary dance and was smitten. She moved to Toronto to train in dance and is a proud graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. Megumi joined the company as a TD Dance Intern in 2012/2013, and she has had many inspiring creation and performance opportunities in Toronto ever since.
As a dance artist, her main focus is to help maintain a supportive work environment. Actions like listening, holding space and prioritizing active communication are at the forefront of her personal practice.
Erin Poole (she/her) is a dance artist in Tkaronto. She has been a member of the ensemble with Toronto Dance Theatre for the past six seasons and has contributed to and performed in many works and processes. At TDT and as an independent artist, Erin has had the opportunity to work with Christopher House, Jeanine Durning, Ame Henderson, Alyssa Martin, Laurence Lemieux, José Navas/Compagnie Flak (Montréal), among others.
A conversational piece of Erin’s, i think i am able to listen and tend to her body, was published in the Capilano Review’s Winter 2021 issue. She also choreographed and performed in the short music film All Our Departed/El Malei Rachamim (Alphabet of Wrongdoing/Daniela Gesundheit, LA).
Roberto is the new era no longer restricted by time she walks the earth with patience noticing how all is changing he doesn’t interfere she listens he watches ready for nothing yet it all shows it’s true colours the sun and the moon have her life and it’s the random that keeps him alive.
I am Roberto Soria, and as a seeker of pleasure it only makes sense that movement has been a part of my life for so many years.
a dj/creator of noise
a company dancer for toronto dance theatre
and friendly so if you see me in the street come say hi!
With a background in dance, music, and theatre, Emma Joy is an arts manager and Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) who is passionate about community engagement and supporting artists in their practices. She holds an Honours Bachelor Degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Human Resources Management from Wilfrid Laurier University, as well as a Post-Graduate Diploma in Arts Management from University of Western Ontario.
From working within small administrative teams, Emma has gained a breadth of hands-on experience in digital marketing, box office management, public relations, event and programming management, and fundraising campaigns. Her involvement in organizing events and productions in school led her to work at TAP Centre for Creativity (previously named The ARTS Project) for two years in London, Ontario. While involved in the planning of and communications for TAP’s programming and campaigns, Emma also coordinated the launch of the organization’s new name and brand identity in collaboration with Arcane Digital. She then joined the Toronto Dance Theatre team in 2019 and has since provided a wide range of communications support for both programmatic and institutional projects, including the launch of TDT’s new visual identity in collaboration with Trajectory Brands Inc in 2021. In addition to her role at TDT, Emma earned her CHRP designation in February 2022.
Jasmine Au is a Toronto-based movement artist and emerging arts manager. She is a recent 2021 graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University’s Performance Dance program where she graduated with an Honours BFA and a minor in marketing. Jasmine’s current training as a dancer, performer, and mover is heavily invested in contemporary dance. Her prime ambition as an artist is to present dynamic contemporary movement and embrace her role as a storyteller and messenger.
Additionally, Jasmine is passionate in her pursuit of arts administration and contributing to the dance form from a managerial standpoint. After finishing her studies, Jasmine gained arts management experience with prominent organizations such as adelheid dance projects, Fall for Dance North, Sara Porter Productions, Orillia Centre for Arts + Culture, The AMY Project, and The National Arts Centre. She also currently sits on the Board of Directors at Peggy Baker Dance Projects. Jasmine is excited to be unifying her academic and administrative background with her dance training, and is looking forward to joining TDT as associate producer.
Based in Toronto, Aden is a dynamic, hands-on production manager with an ingrained passion for the performing arts. After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Performance Production from Toronto Metropolitan University in 2021, Aden jumped straight into Toronto’s vibrant performing arts scene, getting his hands dirty and learning the ropes.
Navigating the intricacies of the city’s bustling arts scene, Aden has successfully donned the hat of an independent production manager. His journey in the arts has given him the opportunity to work with some of the most exciting performance companies in Toronto. These collaborations include time spent with Holla Jazz, Fall For Dance North, Talk is Free Theatre, Volcano Theatre, and the TranscenDance Project, each offering unique experiences and learnings in the vast landscape of the arts.
Aden is excited to bring his knowledge and skills honed during his time as an independent production manager to this latest venture with Toronto Dance Theatre! He takes on the role of production manager for TDT, excited for the endless possibilities and eager to contribute to the ever-evolving world of performance.
Metcalf Intern, Artistic Direction
Metcalf Intern, Artistic Direction
Co-Artistic Director and Founder of Jasad Dance Projects, Meryem Alaoui is a dancer-choreographer from Morocco, living in Toronto. Her work is often an invitation towards a softer and sensorial experience of dance, influenced by her ongoing studies in Body-Mind Centering®, an integrated and embodied approach to movement, the body and consciousness.
A graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre (now Dance Arts Institute), she has danced for choreographers Amanda Acorn, Peggy Baker, Angela Blumberg, Julia Male and Antony Hamilton with the company Dancemakers, among others. Her choreographic works, including ‘Ensemble’, ‘Sand Body’ and ‘Solo (not solo) Water Study’, have been shown in Morocco, Quebec and Ontario, respectively.
Meryem has received residency support nationally and internationally, and funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council.
She also enjoys being involved in community and arts-education projects such as with Arts Etobicoke, Dreamwalker Dance, Kaeja d’Dance and The Arab Community Centre of Toronto.
For more information about Meryem’s work and Jasad, visit: www.jasad.ca
Meryem is very excited about the opportunity to learn from this internship shadowing TDT’s Artistic Director, Andrew Tay, during this season, thanks to the support of the Metcalf Foundation.
Vickie Fagan is an award-winning filmmaker and writer. She launched Fagan Media Group in 2010. Vickie’s media background includes over fifteen years with Chum Television, where she worked as a producer of arts documentaries, short films, and series television.
Fagan acted as creator, producer, and co-writer on the holiday film” The Curse of Clara, A Holiday Tale,” based on a short story written by Fagan. A co-production with Smiley Guy Studios and Veronica Tennant Productions, the animated film premiered on CBC Television in December 2015 and continues to air annually. The Curse of Clara won the 2017 Canadian Screen Award for Best Animated Series or Program.
Her extensive communications background encompasses work as an interviewer, writer, and producer. Her writing has been featured in the Globe and Mail, TVO digital, Descant Literary Journal, Dance Collection Danse Magazine, and Zoomer online.
Fagan is the Director of Development for Dance Collection Dance and Producer of the annual DCD Hall of Fame event.
Special Projects Manager
Special Projects Manager
Alison Daley is a creative leader who is endlessly passionate about dance and its ability to help people connect, learn, grow, and succeed. For over a decade, her work as an educator, arts administrator, program director, research associate, and dance artist has been invested in making the arts more accessible, working with youth, and creating inclusive spaces where people feel heard, supported, and inspired. Alison holds a BFA in dance from Concordia, an MFA in choreography from York, and a B.Ed. from Queen’s with a specialist in Arts and Community Education.
Toronto Dance Theatre is a charitable organization with an active volunteer Board of Directors who are responsible for its governance. Members are drawn from a diverse group of community professionals who consult with and guide the organization’s activities, and are committed to operating a financially responsible dance theatre company.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
President/Treasurer – Drew Baillie
Vice-President – Sharon Walker
Past President – Leslie-Ann Holbrow
Secretary – Alexis MacDonald
Directors – Nicole D’Cruz, Melissa-Anne LaBranche, Stanislav Mantulenko, Leah Maves, Cecilia Omole, T.J. Tasker