Informal encounters of the dancing kind

York dance professor Darcey Callison (left) and friends are presenting an eclectic program of dance works in the Dance Independent Project, running March 8 to 10 at York University. This informal presentation offers in-your-face dance in an intimate space, featuring some of Canada’s leading dance artists.

Callison, director of York’s Graduate Program in Dance, has presented his work across Canada and in Mexico. A member of T.I.D.E. (Toronto Independent Dance Enterprise) for many seasons, Callison formed his own company, Da Collision, in 1990. He has created numerous dances for Da Collision, including Drawing Down the Moon (1996), Morning of Queens (1995), With the Moon Falling From Your Eyes (1994) and Dolls (1993). His credits also include choreography for the CanStage productions of Ratbag, which was nominated for nine Dora Mavor Moore Awards, and choreography for Scott McLeod’s film 26 Rules.

Joining Callison is Joanna De Souza (left), one of the country’s pre-eminent Indian classical dancers and choreographers. She has studied kathak dance for almost 30 years both in India and North America, and is perhaps the only Canadian-born artist to achieve a master’s degree in kathak from India’s prestigious Prayag Sangit Samiti academy. Co-founder of the internationally acclaimed M-DO/Toronto Tabla Ensemble, a centre for world music and dance, she is well-known as an artist who transcends cultural barriers. The recipient of numerous accolades and awards, she was named one of Canada’s top 10 dance performers in 1997. Her work with First Nations singer Sadie Buck, actors Jack Burning and Madeline Bergeron, Suwa Daiko Japanese Taiko drum ensemble, The Tea Party and flamenco dance artist Esmeralda Enrique, was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best Choreography and has been the subject of an award-winning CBC Television documentary. In 2002, she was honoured with a Special Achievement Award through Masala! Mendhi! Masti! for her contribution to South Asian arts and culture.

Toronto’s Danny Grossman Dance Company, led by one of the most influential figures in Canadian modern dance, Danny Grossman (right), has contributed many signature works to the Canadian repertoire. Known for the humour, beauty, athleticism and social commentary inherent in Grossman’s choreography, the company has toured extensively throughout Canada and internationally, with performances in some 17 countries from Venezuela to Britain, and at major dance festivals in North America, West Germany, Italy and Israel.

Claudia Moore (left) is an influential force in dance. Moore’s choreography has been described as “body poetry” by the critics. Artistic director of MOonhORsE dance theatre, she has been creating and performing movement for theatre, film, multi-disciplinary collaboration and her own dance theatre productions since the late 1970s. The choreographer for Atom Egoyan’s award-winning film Exotica, her recent works include by Night (2004), CASA (2003), on earth (2002), and the Dora Mavor Moore Award-winning Wishes and Small Midnight, co-created with Tedd Robinson.

Sharing the program with these established artists is the York Dance Ensemble, the spirited repertory company of the Dance Department. Directed by Dance Department instructor Susan Cash, the company comprises up-and-coming young performers Robyn Alfonso, Caitlin Brown, Jen Cole, Jennifer Ellis, Kim Floyd, Karrina Hooper, Celine Marks, Jamesy Patrick, Cara Spooner and Candice Spykers. All are students in York’s Dance Program.

The Dance Independent Project runs March 8 and 9 at 7pm and March 10 at 5:30pm in Studio F, Room 244 in the Accolade East building located on York’s Keele campus. Admission is free. For more information, call the Dance Department hotline at 416-650-8030.

This article was submitted to YFile by Mary-Lou Schagena in the Faculty of Fine Arts.