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About the Study: Canada Dance Mapping

March 27, 2015

Dance takes place almost anywhere: on the streets, at schools and in community centres across the country. It’s practiced by young and old and enjoyed in-person and online. The Canada Council is leading a major research project to get a clearer picture of Canada’s full dance ecosystem and its social and economic impacts. It is working with the Ontario Arts Council (a co-funder of the study), and in collaboration with the members of the dance community and arts funders at all levels. 


Marlene Alt was a key contributor to the Canada Dance Mapping Study, from its inception and through several phases of research, until March 2015. In particular she was instrumental in bringing to life the Dance Across Canada map, the largest map of dance on the planet.

We have also benefitted from the unique contributions of several talented young people, hired through a summer student program. We'd like to acknowledge and thank them for their efforts:

  • Simon Harchun (2012)
  • James Vuckovic (2013)
  • Jennifer Bin and Ben Compton (2014)

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee includes dance representatives from public arts funders who organized and launched the Canada Dance Mapping Study, as well as representatives from the professional dance community.

The mandates of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council, who are funding the Canada Dance Mapping Study, are to support professional artistic activity. It was, therefore, important that the Steering Committee reflect the professional sector and support the policies and principles of the two Councils. The committee consists of people who have an understanding of different dance genres, are connected to the dance field’s networks across the country, have a generosity of spirit and, most importantly, embrace the purpose of the Study. We acknowledge that the Steering Committee does not fully represent dance in Canada, nor could it, as such a group would be many times the size and unwieldy.

The intent of the Steering Committee is to act as ambassadors for the Study and help guide the research so that the results will be relevant and useful to the field. Its responsibilities are to advise, counsel, assist, support, moderate, and communicate the Study’s purpose and its realization. Some specific tasks are to:

  • Assist in the recruitment of researchers;
  • Provide guidance and direction for the Study, suggesting data sources and resource people, assisting with terminology and definitions, and determining priorities for filling research gaps and/or requiring deeper examination;
  • Respond to enquiries from researchers and review their draft reports.

For certain meetings and research projects we invite additional people with specialized knowledge in other areas as advisors, to augment the Steering Committee. In developing the Yes I Dance survey, we invited four people:

  • Dianne Milligan (Halifax) with knowledge about professional and recreational dance in the Atlantic provinces;
  • Renata Souter (Ottawa) with experience in mixed-ability dance and dance for young audiences;
  • Gerri Stemler (Winnipeg) with experience in recreational dance activities; and
  • Lys Stevens (Montreal) with knowledge about social dance as well as a vast array of dance genres. Lys had previously completed research for the Study, compiling an inventory of member-based dance associations and networks.

Committee Members

Caroline Lussier, Committee Co-chair

Caroline Lussier, Committee Co-chair Section Head, Dance,
Canada Council for the Arts 150 Elgin Street, P.O. Box 1047, Ottawa, ON K1P 5V8
Tel: 613-566-4414 ext. 5500 Toll Free: 1-800- 263 5588 ext. 5500
Email: caroline.lussier@canadacouncil.ca
Web: www.canadacouncil.ca

Dance artists and the dance milieu have always been a key determinant in Caroline’s career and her community involvement. Caroline joined La La La Human Steps as coordinative assistant to the artistic direction in 1990 and went on to become assistant director at Diagramme gestion culturelle, program officer for dance and multidisciplinary programs at the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, administrative director of the Compagnie Marie Chouinard, and associate director-general for Espace Libre. She became Administrative Director with the Festival TransAmériques in 2007 and in September 2011 took over as Section Head of Dance at the Canada Council.

Myles Warren, Committee Co-Chair

Myles Warren, Committee Co-Chair Dance and Awards,
Ontario Arts Council 151 Bloor Street West, 5th floor, Toronto, ON M5S 1T6
Tel: 416-969-7422 Toll Free: 1-800-387-0058 ext. 7422
Email: mwarren@arts.on.ca 
Web: www.arts.on.ca

Myles Warren is the Ontario Arts Council’s Dance and Awards Officer, appointed in 2002. Before joining the Ontario Arts Council, he worked as Executive Director of the Dance Umbrella of Ontario from 1992 to 2002 administering dance companies that included Menaka Thakkar Dance Company, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Sampradaya Dance Creations, MOonhORsE dance theatre, Fujiwara Dance Inventions, among others; General Manager, Desrosiers Dance Theatre, and arts consultant. Myles Warren was the co-leader of Arts for Change, a capacity building initiative for dance in Toronto, Ontario.

Kathy Allen

Kathy Allen Arts and Grants Consultant
City of Saskatoon, Community Development Branch
3130 Laurier Drive, Saskatoon, SK, S71 5J7
Email: kathy.allen@saskatoon.ca
Tel: 306-975-3391
Web: www.saskatoon.ca

Kathy Allen is the Arts and Grants Consultant at the City of Saskatoon. She was the Program Consultant for Dance, Music and Theatre at the Saskatchewan Arts Board from 2004 - 2013. Prior to that she worked as a freelance director and stage manager and was involved in many Canadian and World Theatre Premieres. A former artist in residence for the City of Saskatoon, she has toured Saskatchewan extensively as a workshop instructor in both the theatre and the visual arts.

Marc Bovin

Marc Boivin
Chairperson, Fondation Jean-Pierre Perrault
Email: marcrboivin@yahoo.com

Dancer, improviser, teacher, and choreographer, Marc Boivin began his dance career at Le Groupe de la Place Royale in Ottawa, under the directorship of Peter Boneham. Five years later he joined Ginette Laurin and her newly formed company O Vertigo Danse. He began to work as a freelance artist in 1991. Many renowned choreographers such as Louise Bédard, Sylvain Émard, Jean-Pierre Perreault, Tedd Robinson, Catherine Tardif and improvisers Andrew Harwood and Peter Bingham have since solicited his talent and skill as a dancer for their works. In 1999, Marc Boivin won the Jacqueline-Lemieux Prize, awarded by the Canada Council for the Arts. Affiliated with LADMMI, l’école de danse contemporaine since 1987, Boivin regularly guest teaches and choreographs in schools and professional organizations across Canada. He has been President of Fondation Jean-Pierre Perreault since 2005 and of the Regroupement québécois de la danse (RQD) since 2010.

Photo: Michael Slobodian

Ellen Busby

Ellen Busby, Committee
Financial Coordinator, Arts Disciplines Division, Canada Council for the Arts
150 Elgin Street, P.O. Box 1047, Ottawa, ON K1P 5V8
Email: ellen.busby@canadacouncil.ca
Tel: 613-566-4414 ext. 4090 Toll Free: 1-800- 263 5588 ext. 4090
Web: www.canadacouncil.ca

Ellen Busby was lured into the arts early in life, working alongside her parents in community theatre since the age of six. She later launched her professional career as a theatre technician and stage manager, eventually moving into arts management. She has held management positions with dance companies, service organizations and funding agencies. For ten years she worked as a consultant and mentor specializing in strategic planning, organizational change, financial models and grant writing. Ellen worked at the Canada Council for the Arts from 1987 to 1994, as Finance Officer in the Dance Section. In January 2009, she returned to the Dance Section as Program Officer and in May 2013, became Financial Coordinator in the Arts Disciplines Division.

Douglas Durand

Douglas (Doug) Durand
Cultural Planner, Cultural Services, City of Vancouver
Woodward's Heritage Building, Suite 501, 111 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 1H4
Email: douglas.durand@vancouver.ca
Web: http://vancouver.ca/parks-recreation-culture/arts-and-culture.aspx
Tel: 604-871-6007

Doug's arts administration career spans three decades in various capacities and art disciplines, but with a particular emphasis on dance. In 2000, he moved to London to work as a dance officer with Arts Council England. Upon returning to Canada in 2003, he was commissioned by the Canada Council for the Arts to research and write Dancing Our Stories, a collection of first-person narratives documenting dance animation practice in Canada. Doug joined the City of Vancouver’s Cultural Services as a cultural planner in 2005, delivering a program of grants and awards in support of the city’s non-profit arts organizations.

Judy Harquail
Ontario Presenting Network
Email: jharquail@gmail.com

Judy has over 25 years of experience working in the performing arts. Her previous accomplishments include directing and executing touring activity for some of Canada’s most highly respected dance and opera companies, developing and executing strategic marketing campaigns and working in collaboration with an extensive range of arts organizations and arts professionals across Canada, the United States, and throughout the world. Amongst the many projects she is currently working on, is as Program Manager for CCI – the Ontario Presenters Network where she is responsible for the Ontario Dances program, the biannual Ontario Dances Platform, the Fresh Start program and CCI’s block booking program. She also has extensive experience dealing with all levels of government funding agencies having worked on contract for the Canada Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage assisting in the launch of the Arts Presentation Canada Program in Ontario. Judy is the 2007 recipient of the National Arts Centre award for distinguished contribution to touring.

Lyne Lanthier

Lyne Lanthier
Chargée de programmes, Direction de la musique et de la danse
Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec
79, boul. René-Lévesque Est, 3e étage, Québec, QC G1R 5N5
Tel: : 514 864 2006 Toll free: 1 800 608 3350
Email : lynelanthier@calq.gouv.qc.ca
Web : www.calq.gouv.qc.ca

Lyne Lanthier holds a Bachelor degree in Psychology from the University of Ottawa. She studied dance at Main Dance Place (Vancouver), Simon Fraser University, l’Université du Québec à Montréal and with Linda Rabin. After dancing with the Karen Jamieson Dance Company (KJDC), she transitioned to arts management, working as a publicist and tour coordinator for KJDC, for the Canada Dance Festival and later for Montréal Danse. She has been working as a dance program officer since 1993, first at the Canada Council Touring Office and, since 1997, at the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

Geraldine Manossa

Geraldine Manossa
Indigenous Arts Consultant
Osoyoos, BC

Geraldine Manossa is a member of the Bigstone Cree Nation in Northern Alberta. She completed a Master of Arts degree from the University of Lethbridge, with a specialization in Cree Indigenous knowledge and performance. She has been writing about Indigenous performance processes and showcasing her work at various festivals across Canada including, Shared Habitat Festival (Toronto), Stream of New Dance Festival (Saskatchewan), Talking Stick Festival (Vancouver) and Dance Explosions (Calgary). Her performance methodologies have been highlighted in a video documentary titled Living Bodies created by University of Lethbridge professor, Lisa Doolittle. Her most recent publications are found in the Aboriginal Drama and Theatre Volume One – Critical Perspectives on Canadian Theatre in English, and “Uncovering Spirit,” based on a site specific performance, with choreographer Bill Coleman and playwright, Floyd Favel (Great Plains Research Centre Press).

Harry Paterson

Harry Paterson
Director of Production/Touring, Alberta Ballet
141 18th Ave SW, Calgary Alberta T2S 0B8
Tel: 403 245 4222 ext 524
Email: harryp@albertaballet.com
Web: www.albertaballet.com

Born in London, England, Harry began his career as a dancer/actor on stage as well as on screen with companies including BBC TV, BBC Radio, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, Le Ballet du Rhin, L’ORTF in Paris, and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal. Harry has been the Director of Production for Alberta Ballet since 1990. During this time he has overseen the production and budgets of hundreds of ballets and has established various touring opportunities worldwide for the Company. Harry came to Alberta Ballet from Montreal where he spent several years in senior production positions at various organizations such as Société de la Place des Arts, National Theatre School, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal, and the National Film Board of Canada. Harry has also been stage manager for several productions at the Delacorte Theater in New York, Stratford Festival and National Arts Centre. Harry’s professional career has taken him around the world to Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America, and South America.

Soraya Peerbaye

Soraya Peerbaye
Dance consultant and writer
Toronto, ON

Soraya Peerbaye is a dance consultant and writer living in Toronto. She served as the Toronto Arts Council dance officer from 2004 to 2012. Prior to that she was the Equity Coordinator at the Canada Council for the Arts. She has also served as an equity consultant for the Department of Canadian Heritage's Arts Training Fund (formerly the National Arts Training Contribution Program). Soraya holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph and is a poet whose first collection, Poems for the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names, was nominated for the Gerald Lampert Award.

Katrina Rice

Katrina Rice
Program Officer, Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council
P.O. Box 98, 1 Springdale Street, St. John's, NL, A1C 5H5
Tel: 709-726-2212 Toll Free: 1-866-726-2212
Email: krice@nfld.net
Web: www.nlac.nf.ca

Katrina has been with the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council (NLAC) for eleven years. She came to the NLAC with a background in visual arts, education, arts management and technology. She holds a BFAED with a concentration in textiles, graphic design, and arts education from the Nova Scotia Collage of Art and Design. Much of her spare time is spent researching arts administration practice, seeing NL arts performance and practice, volunteering for arts projects (and developing her personal art practice when time allows). She has a passion for being involved with projects and work where the goal is the understanding and betterment of artists in all arts disciplines. At the NLAC Katrina administers the Professional Project Grants and Professional Festivals Programs as well as maintaining the computer network of the NLAC.

Barbara Richman

Barbara Richman
Email: brichman1@me.com

Based in Nova Scotia, Barbara is currently a consultant in arts and heritage management, and Executive Director of Strategic Arts Management, a not-for-profit, support service organization for the performing arts. Over the past 30 years she has worked with independent artists, small and large organizations, and funding agencies, focusing on planning, operations, governance, and sustainable development. She has also taught arts management at Dalhousie University and held executive positions with Halifax Dance, Jest In Time Theatre, Debut Atlantic and Symphony Nova Scotia. Barbara served on the Boards of Dance In Canada Association, the Canadian Dance Assembly and the NS Masterworks Arts Awards Foundation, as well as the steering committee for the Nova Scotia Arts Council, and the NS Status of the Artist review committee.

Joyce Rosario

Joyce Rosario
Associate Curator, PuSh International Performing Arts Festival
Vancouver BC
Tel. office: 604.605.8284
Email: joyce@pushfestival.ca
Web: www.pushfestival.ca

For three years, Joyce was Executive Director for Made in BC - Dance on Tour, a regional dance presenter network dedicated to increasing audience reach and touring opportunities for contemporary dance in British Columbia. From 2002 to 2007, she worked with battery opera as company manager, and in 2006 as administrator for the Dancing on the Edge Festival. She served a one-year term on the BC Arts Council board in 1998 through a provincial ‘Youth on Boards’ initiative. She continues to serve on various boards and committees, including CanDance, the Emerging Arts Professional Network, and a new professional development initiative at CAPACOA, The Succession Plan. Joyce is a graduate of UBC Theatre Production/Design Program.

Yvon Soglo

Yvon ‘Crazy Smooth’ Soglo
Founder and Director, BBoyizm Dance Company
Email: crazysmooth@gmail.com
Web: www.bboyizm.ca

Dancer, choreographer, teacher, speaker, event organizer, Yvon (B-boy Crazy Smooth) has been dancing for over 10 years during which he has come to be one of Canada’s top street dancers. Like many of the world’s street dancers, Smooth is an autodidact, although his passion and respect for the art form have led him to study with some of New York’s top street dancers including Ken Swift, Brian Green, Shannon (Which Way Shah), Mr. Wiggles and Breaks Kru, to name a few. Smooth’s professional experience has gone from working as an instructor for acrobats from Cirque du Soleil to performing at the Nancy Jazz Festival in France and winning the Most Valuable B-boy award at the 2006 Kings of NY Competition. Smooth’s ongoing involvement in dance and the dance community resulted in him being a keynote speaker at the 2007 United Nations Youth Conference in Edmonton. His decision to dedicate his life to dance has enriched the community around him and transformed him into a humbled ambassador for the arts. Smooth now takes his never-ending mission to elevate and carry on the tradition of street dance culture to the world of performing arts. “Dance to express, not to impress.”

David Trent

Michael Trent
Choreographer, Performer, Teacher, Producer
Email: mtrent7@aol.com

Michael Trent makes things with people for others. He has garnered national recognition as a choreographer, dancer and teacher and has worked in these various roles alongside such notable collaborators as Louise Bédard, Peter Boneham, Sylvain Émard, k.g. Guttman, Ame Henderson, Christopher House, Sasha Ivanochko, Jean-Pierre Perreault, Doug Varone and Jacob Zimmer. He was the Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer of Dancemakers and the Centre for Creation from 2006-2014 and the Founding Artistic Director of the empty collective from 2000 to 2006.

Photo: David Coleman

‘Dance Conversation’ kicks off the project

The Canada Council hosted a ‘Dance Conversation’ on March 19, 2011 in Ottawa to help kick off this landmark study to map dance in Canada. The one-day event was facilitated by researchers Susanne Burns and Sue Harrison, authors of Dance Mapping: A window on dance 2004-2008 commissioned by Arts Council England. It brought together 40 individuals representing a broad spectrum of dance practitioners from nine provinces and two territories, from coast to coast. Participants contributed different experiences, diverse interests, Aboriginal knowledge, an understanding of the influences of culturally-specific communities and historical perspectives about dance in Canada.

Dance Conversation


The event began with a presentation on recent dance mapping research carried out in England and a briefing on the genesis of the dance mapping study in Canada and its progress to date.

The day was structured around a series of three breakout sessions. The discussions were stimulating, challenging and, above all, supportive of the proposal to conduct a dance mapping study in Canada. The day ended with a plenary session during which the participants endorsed the study’s framework and purpose.

Key messages from the ‘Dance Conversation’:

  • Inclusive — The research should explore a wide field of dance across Canada and be inclusive of all forms of involvement, including professional, community and participatory dance. The study should recognize the importance of the diversity of dance, and its relationship to our heritage as Canadians, to our spaces and places, to our geography and distance, and the urban, rural, remote and isolated dance communities.
  • Artist-centred — Throughout all stages of the research, the dance artist should be at its heart. It is important to acknowledge the distinction between those who make a living through dance and those who engage with it in other ways.
  • Intersections — The research should investigate the relationships and connections that intersect professional dance practice, participatory dance experience and education, health and other social sectors.
  • Non-hierarchical — It is important to recognize that hierarchies exist in dance but the research should not be constrained by them or limited to existing definitions of dance in Canada. The study should aim to be sufficiently all-encompassing so that we are able to capture those people who do not identify themselves as dancers or define what they do as dance but who, by our terms, are indeed practitioners.
  • Narratives — The research should develop a narrative-based approach that provides both qualitative and evidence-based quantitative data on dance across Canada to tell a story. The story should describe how dance has developed in Canada, explain what is, why it is that way and what is not there. The research process should provide space for individuals to describe dance in their own terms and to bring their stories to the study.
  • Language Clarity — It is important that terminology and the language of the report be inclusive or ‘user friendly’ so that people can see themselves in the study.
  • Future — The mapping should provide key data to strengthen and enhance our understanding of dance today, with the aim to inform planning and decision-making about different ways of working and collaborating in the dance field. The study may identify gaps and the need for further research that the dance field collectively can address to better position dance in Canada.


The Way Forward

The 'Dance Conversation' was organized by a committee comprised of seven representatives of municipal, provincial and federal public arts funders. The following day, this committee met and acknowledged the community’s strong desire to be engaged with the study in an integrated way. Consequently, the committee widened its membership to include representatives from the professional dance field. It was renamed a Steering Committee and will oversee the direction of the study.

Dance Conversation Two People


The research for the mapping study will be informed by the outcome of the ‘Dance Conversation.’ Directed by the Canada Council with the support of the Steering Committee and in partnership with municipal, provincial and federal public funders, the study will build upon this gathering in future community ‘conversations’ in order to reach deeply into all realms of the dance field. The success of the study depends on a process that ensures communication and engagement with the dance field throughout the life of the project.

Dance Conversation Participants

  • Calla Lachance, Neighbourhood Dance Works, NL
  • Lisa Porter, Independent dance artist, NL
  • Sue Urquhart, Atlantic Presenters Association, PEI
  • Dianne Milligan, Dance Nova Scotia, NS
  • Barbara Richman, Strategic Arts Management, NS
  • Lucie Boissinot, L'École de danse contemporaine (LADMMI), QC
  • Marc Boivin, Fondation Jean-Pierre Perrault, QC
  • Emmanuelle Calvé‚ Chorègraphe, interprète et enseignante, QC
  • Clothilde Cardinal, Danse Danse, QC
  • Cathy Levy, National Arts Centre/Centre national des arts, QC
  • Caroline Lussier, Festival TransAmériques, QC
  • Yvon Soglo, Bboy Crazy Smooth, QC
  • Monik Vincent, Chorègraphe, QC
  • Miriam Adams, Dance Collection Danse, ON
  • Michael de Coninck-Smith, Canadian Children's Dance Theatre, ON
  • Nathalie Fave, Canadian Dance Assembly / Assemblée canadienne de la danse, ON
  • Denise Fujiwara, Fujiwara Dance Inventions, ON
  • Judy Harquail, Ontario Presenting Network, ON
  • Christine Moynihan, Dance Umbrella of Ontario, ON
  • Garry Neil, Dancer Transition Resource Centre (DTRC), ON
  • Lata Pada, Sampradaya Dance Creations, ON
  • Gerard Roxburgh, National Ballet, ON
  • Renata Soutter, Propeller Dance, ON
  • Michael Trent, Dancemakers, ON
  • Barbara Nepinak, Summer Bear Dance Troupe, MB
  • Clarence Nepinak, Summer Bear Dance Troupe, MB
  • Danielle Sturk, productions dieselle productions, MB
  • Carol Greyeyes, Writer, actor, dancer, choreographer, teacher, SK
  • Nicole Mion, Springboard Performance, AB
  • Harry Paterson, Alberta Ballet, AB
  • Barbara Clausen, Dance House, BC
  • Karen Jamieson, Karen Jamieson Dance, BC
  • Lee Su-Feh, Battery Opera, BC
  • Judith Marcuse, International Centre of Art for Social Change; Judith Marcuse Projects, BC
  • Kaija Pepper, Simon Fraser University, BC
  • Joyce Rosario, New Works , BC
  • Alvin Tolentino, Co.ERASGA, BC
  • Mirna Zagar, The Dance Centre, BC
  • Darha Phillpot, Crazy Legs Contemporary Dance, NWT
  • Michele Emslie, Yukon Arts Centre, YT