MISSION

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.

VALUES

The following organizational values drive our decision making: 

  1. Artistic curiosity, risk and reflection
  2. Diversity in all its manifestations
  3. Community, audience and stakeholder interaction and dance literacy
  4. Equitable support to a wide pool of artists
  5. Ethical creation and production practices

ARTISTIC VISION

“Dancemakers is a centre for the development of the field of contemporary dance: we offer spaces in which dance can ask of itself what it’s already doing, what it hopes to be doing, what it doesn’t know it’s doing, and a place where individuals within/close to/observing the art form can articulate these doings. We are a site for experimentation and research in dance, and through programmed residencies, presentations, and other ancillary events, we offer spaces where risk and reflection are encouraged. We cultivate an environment where artists can shift their focus to longer-term visioning of projects, and production can take its time. Central to our values is to be able to offer these spaces to as many artists as possible and consistently question how our resources can be best structured and distributed. We seek to be artistically, aesthetically, and organizationally responsive to developments in dance.”  Amelia Ehrhardt, Curator

History

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.