Dancemakers is committed to developing the field of contemporary dance practices. Through residencies, performances, workshops and ancillary activities, Dancemakers animates a space where practitioners and publics engage in a discourse around dance.
The following organizational values drive our decision making:
- Artistic curiosity, risk and reflection
- Diversity in all its manifestations
- Community, audience and stakeholder interaction and dance literacy
- Equitable support to a wide pool of artists
- Ethical creation and production practices
In 1974, a group of independent dancers, led by founders Andraya Smith and Marcy Radler, joined together to create, commission and perform new choreography. Peggy Baker and Robert Desrosiers were among the early company members. In the 70s and 80s, the company's artistic directors - Anna Blewchamp, Carol Anderson, Pat Miner, Baker, Pat Fraser and Bill James led the company in building a distinctive Canadian voice for dance. Under the artistic direction of Serge Bennathan from 1990 to 2006, the company's reputation continued to spread throughout Canada, the Americas and Europe.
In 2002, Bennathan and Andrea Vagianos established The Centre for Creation in its current home in Toronto's Distillery Historic District. The organization's new space includes a state-of-the-art flexible black box performance venue and a second rehearsal studio named after the late composer, company friend and dance advocate Michael J. Baker.
From 2006-2014, award-winning choreographer, performer and community leader Michael Trent redefined the company's relationship to contemporary practice as its Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer. Prior to his departure in 2014, Trent launched a Residency program model, a promising new way of re-framing the company's dance-making and its relationship to the public, with the a Curator position replacing the traditional Artistic Director role. The Residency model invites Resident Artists who are exceptional local, national and/or international choreographers to create work over staggered three year terms. Included in our Residency model is a range of multiplicitous and diverse programming activities that are designed to be flexible, responsive, and valuable for artists working today.
Benjamin Kamino and Emi Forster were the inaugural Co-Curators, with Amelia Ehrhardt taking up the sole position in September 2015.
Dancemakers’ home is in Toronto's Distillery Historic District.
Banner Image: Amanda Acorn, Ann Trépanier, and Mary-Dora Bloch-Hansen in Acorn's work "Leisure Palace" at Artspin's in/Future event. Photo by Andrew Williamson.