Zoja Smutny

Zoja Smutny works at the intersection of choreography, visual arts, music and writing. She joins us as one of our inaugural Resident Artists over the next two years to work on her concept album Rosé Porn. Her research towards a live performance in 2015-16 is founded in her curiosities around intimacy, presence, pop culture, the cinematic frame, critical theory, and shared practices.

Artist statement

‘In a world obsessed with making something “new” at all moments to sell in the art market, I am curious if we as artists can somehow create a space to work together in order to work alone, if we can share a space, an open mind, a heart and become curious about potential and not product, but about the possibility of comprehending what is already there in order to feed our own practice.

In a time where an artist is expected to have a higher education, know what is current internationally, know how to talk about their work, collaborate, dislocate, create, and make money, I’m questioning if positioning sharing as an example of a way of working and making in order to transgress our own individual practice is even possible?

How can we turn the encounter of sharing practices into a practice of its own?

How can we let go of authorship to find a new methodology for creating performance by sharing what we already do?

How can we work together in order to work alone?

My ability to enter and work within other disciplines using my skills and curiosities as a choreographer is what interests me now. How to enter another artist’s practice, and then create work based on that encounter. While these choreographed conversations are being formed I am constantly thinking about the audience, in what way does the work that is being created need an audience?

I am not actually so curious about creating something new, ground breaking, brilliant, I honestly don’t even know what those words mean. What I am interested in is working with what’s already there, what is actually present with the collaborators I have chosen to work with for each project, and being challenged by how to share it with the audience, to absolutely make sure they need to be there in order for the work to exist.’


Zoja Smutny recently completed her Masters, Solo/Dance/Authorship at UDK in Berlin. She spends her time making choreographies, performing, and teaching between Berlin, Toronto, and Montreal. Her work lives somewhere between the frames of live and cinematic performance. Smutny’s choreographed work deals with questions of captured time, real time and still time. Her main body of research involves a collaborative practice with Toronto visual artist Guntar Kravis. Smutny’s live and video work has been presented at international festivals in both Europe and Canada. Her dance video between time, which she also created with Kravis, screened at the Court Metrage at the 64th annual Festival des Cannes in 2011 and again in 2012 as part of a screening of fashion films curated by Portable.com in New York City. Most recently their new short film RECENT FUTURE has been presented at Gallery TPW in Toronto and at Mousonturm in Frankfurt. Her live solo and group work has been presented in Prague, Athens, Berlin, Vienna, Montreal, Halifax, Toronto, and Mexico. Currently she is working on a conceptual album entitled Rosé Porn, and a collaborative practice with four interdisciplinary artists called a Choreographed Conversation.

See Zoja in action:

In Touch – 1976 & Recent Future [January 22-24 @ 8pm]

Art Practice for All – Workshop with Zoja Smutny [January 24 @ 12pm-4pm]

2015-2016 Season Preview: Michel and Smutny In-Progress Showings [April 29-30, @ 8pm]

Dana Michel

Dana Michel is internationally renowned for her intelligent, witty and unconventional solo performances. During her time at Dancemakers she will be challenging herself to make work on a group of dancers, representing a radical shift in her creative practice even as she investigates the potential of drawing on previously investigated concepts. In doing so, she will question the continued sense of expectation she feels around the content and form of her work, looking at both the re-invention of process and the re-iteration of ideas.

Artist Statement      

 ‘An amalgam of choreography, intuitive improvisation and performance art, my artistic practice is rooted in exploring identity as a disordered multiplicity.  I work with notions of performative alchemy and post-cultural bricolage – using live moments, object appropriation, personal history, future desires and current preoccupations to create an empathetic centrifuge of experience between myself and witnesses. Today, my work can perhaps best be described by its influences:  lucid cinematography, living sculpture, physical comedy, psychological excavation, deconstructed social commentary, the bulimic logic of Hip Hop, and child-like naïveté.

In metaphor I think of humans as mathematical concept to help me understand the world.  I consider myself, and others, to be like proofs – complex entities made up of billions of equations. The topics that I choose to explore in my work, such as identity duality and marginalized existences tend to be intimate parts of my personal equation. I feel that making work by tapping into my life experiences is the most effective path to self-knowledge and to meaningful connection with others.

When researching, I alternate between work that takes place in and out of the studio. After pouring over a subject via writing, reading, discussion and audiovisual research, I relax my focus and let the body take over. I feed myself with sound, silence, and dissonance, at times over-stuffing my body and psyche with stimulation to see its response – then the minute details pop into my scopic and kinetic vision. Sometimes these details manifest in visceral-based movement and sounds and other times in ideas influenced by colour, texture or light. These details are what clarify creative direction.

Because of my background in competitive sport, I am often drawn to using difficulty as a choreographic navigation methodology.  Encouraging my performances into places of emergency and vulnerability allow me to dig deeper into the material and to therefore share richer and perhaps more honest findings.  My relatively late and blind introduction to the world of contemporary art seems to infuse a sort of Art Brut sensibility to my performance work.

My pieces have been created and shared in diverse spaces, cities and countries.  Inhabiting both traditional and non-traditional sites has become a key component in the creation of my work.  It is important for me to be able to speak to different cuts of the population in different moments of time, and I am always aware of how these changes of location effect both the sending and the receiving of the work.

I aim to construct works in such a manner that there is much to gain no matter what the public’s knowledge or background. All perceptions of the work are just as valid and important as its intentions – a notion of exponential multiplicity of reactions is welcome.  My work is meant to leave a vast open space for viewers to understand whatever they want and need from understanding.  A goal is to encourage a broadening of interpretation, and an inflation of space for audience members to create their own logic of witnessing and experiencing.  I am interested in sharing a journey where along the way, new ways of seeing can be formed.’


Dana Michel is a choreographer and performer based in Montreal, Canada.  Before entering the BFA in Contemporary Dance program at Concordia University in her late twenties, she was a marketing executive, competitive runner and football player. In 2011, She had the honour of being a danceWEB scholar, allowing her to deepen her research process at the ImPulsTanz International Dance Festival in Vienna, Austria.

Michel’s newest solo, Yellow Towel, premiered at the 2013 Festival TransAmériques (Montreal) to critical acclaim.  The work featured on the “Top Five” and the “Top Ten” 2013 dance moments in the Voir newspaper (Montreal) and Dance Current Magazine (Canada) respectively, and was singled out as one of the most remarkable productions at the 2014 American Realness Festival (New York City) by the New York Times.  Recently, she was awarded the newly created Impulstanz Award in recognition for artistic excellence after presenting Yellow Towel at Impulstanz 2014.

Catch Dana’s work:

In Touch – 1976 and Recent Future [January 22-24, @ 8pm]

1976, Have Several [January 28-31 @ 8pm]

1976, The Moves – Public Dance Class [January 31 @ 12-5pm]

2015-2016 Season Preview: Michel and Smutny In-Progress Showings [April 29-30 @ 8pm]

Recent Press about Dana Michel

Dana Michel named one of the top performers of 2014 by the New York Times: New York Times

Dana Michel's Yellow Towel named one of the top 10 shows of 2014 by Time Out New York: Time Out New York

Antony Hamilton

Artistic Statement

My practice sits at the nexus of experimentation, with a multitude of disciplinary interests interwoven through the different works. Following instinct and intuition, I develop self-contained fully realized parallel worlds for the theatre that seem to have their own laws, logic and rituals. I am concerned with developing both formal choreographic language, and also hyper-real theatrical situations. In 2008 I formed Antony Hamilton Projects to create contemporary performances informed by an interest in multi-disciplinary practices. In these works I may combine experimental movement, visual art, costume, sound design, video or lighting to achieve an enigmatic outcome.



Antony Hamilton is an independent choreographer. His award-winning creations involve a sophisticated melding of movement, sound and visual design. His major works include the seminal Black Project 1 (2012), internationally acclaimed MEETING (2015) and NYX for the 2015 Melbourne Festival. He has created numerous national and international commissions including Keep Everything and I Like This for Chunky MoveBlack Project 3 for The Lyon Opera Ballet, and Sentinel for Skanes Dansteater. Antony was the inaugural recipient of the Russell Page Fellowship in 2004, the Tanja Liedtke Fellowship in 2009, a Creative Australia Fellowship in 2012, and the Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship in 2014. He was a guest dance curator at The National Gallery of Victoria in 2013-14, honorary Resident Director of Lucy Guerin Inc. in 2014, and inaugural Resident Artist at Arts House in 2015.


Taken by Maya Lowenstein at Antony Hamilton's rehearsal for his Work-in-Progress






8:00 PM


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Join us after the June 23 performance for a reception, sponsored in part by the Australian High Commission in Ottawa


Photo: Antony Hamilton’s “Meeting” (2015), photo by Gregory Lorenzutti, with Antony Hamilton & Alisdair Macindoe 

Photo: Antony Hamilton’s “Meeting” (2015), photo by Gregory Lorenzutti, with Antony Hamilton & Alisdair Macindoe