Dora nominations 2015!

Congratulations to all the nominees for the 2014/2015 Dora Mavor Moore Awards!

We are proud of to have 7 nominations from our DanceWorks MainStage and CoWorks season including 3 nominations (Best Choreography, Outstanding Ensemble Performance and Outstanding Lighting Design) for adelheid dance’s elsewhere, 2 nominations (Outstanding Solo Male Performance and Outstanding Sound Design) for Damaru Dhamaar (part of Baghree Vaze’s Paratopia), another Outstanding Solo Male Performance nomination for Vincent Mantsoe’s NTU and Outstanding Solo Female Performance for Takako Segawa in Moments in Time (part of Across Ocean’s new dances Old Stories)

elsewhere by Jeremy MimnaghBageshree 2015-15skwatta 2HeppnerSegawa19_2crop

Best Choreography : Heidi Strauss for elsewhere

Outstanding Solo Performance (Male) : Anuj Mishra for Damaru Dhamaar

Outstanding Solo Performance (Male) : Vincent Mantsoe for NTU

Outstanding Solo Performance (Female) : Takako Segawa for Moments in Time (new dances Old Stories)

Outstanding Ensemble Performance : ensemble of elsewhere

Outstanding Sound Design : Vineet Vyas for Damaru Dhamaar

Outstanding Lighting Design : Rebecca Picherack for elsewhere


2014/2015 Mainstage wrap up!

Our 2014/2015 DanceWorks Mainstage season has come to a close

Thank you to all who attended, participated and supported DanceWorks this year!

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“This work is made of, and for all of us.” – John Newton

“The ordinary throws itself together out of forms, flows, powers, pleasures, encounters, distractions, drudgery, denials, practical solutions, shape-shifting forms of violence, daydreams, and opportunities lost or found. Or it falters, fails. But either way we feel its pull.” – Kathleen Stewart

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“Dancing is the best medicine all over the world :)” – Martina Andelová

“Vincent’s charisma is extraordinary! This is a rich, touching evening of transformation.” – John Newton

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Emard BY Jean Baptiste Bucau DANCERS Neil Sochasky, Justin Gionet

“It’s a gorgeous work!” – Tal Aronson

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“Wonderful show! Bravo Forcier/Norman cast & crew!” – Dawne Carleton

“[Scars are All the Rage]’s intense focus, complex simplicity and bravery to stay in the worlds of the uncomfortable and fearful were exciting and challenging to experience.” – Brandy Leary

Bageshree 2015-15

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“Paratopia is an awesome show! I LOVED it!” – Ruchira Sawh

“Today, my students got to experience the rhythmic similarities between kathak (a centuries-old North Indian dance) and hip hop. It’s through connections & collaborations like these that I can imagine a new future in Indian communities that dismantle anti-Blackness.” – Roopa Cheema

Interview with Heidi Strauss about elsewhere


We spoke with Heidi Strauss about her newest piece elsewhere which will have its world premiere at DanceWorks on Sept 25-27 at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre (formerly the Enwave)


What was your impetus to create a show about affect?

I was interested in getting deeper into things I was already exploring in solo work and small groups – intimacy, ways of connecting to take away pretense around performing, to expose oneself to the unknown – in a way, to look at potential, and where you are able to go when you depend on the experiences that have brought you this far. I think “affect” has been at play in most of my work, and maybe now I’m just naming it – beginning to understand what it is. elsewhere, in a metaphorical way, is about many things I believe to be simultaneously important – in the way I think about life, relationships and time, and how I see some of these things as intrinsically connected to the moving body. What are these things? Well, that there is potential in almost everything – even the things that at first seem impossible, or not worthwhile. When I consider the never-to-happen-again moment, which in fact, are almost all moments in our lives, I think of what it is to perform: to understand for brief periods the idea of a ‘heightened now’ but in the most everyday way – a being conscious of all that is happening, knowing so much is also feeding us subconsciously.

“I think “affect” has been at play in most of my work, and maybe now I’m just naming it”

The impetus was never about expounding upon a theory. It was about creating an alternate space where it was possible to expose and reflect on time, on relationships, the place we’re in, what is deeply in us.


How has elsewhere been different (in terms of creative process) compared to other work you’ve made?

It has been the longest creation period, in terms both of the actual duration of time with the creative collaborators, and the amount of time it took to make happen. But I wouldn’t say it has been comparatively different from other works. Each work feels part of a larger cycle of understanding or attunement to what speaks, and how to find it (with myself and other people). It’s all part of a larger cycle of understanding one’s process – I think. Working at the Theatre Centre on a new creation while working on the final stages of elsewhere really allowed me to recognize this more fully.

The premiere of the work at DanceWorks on September 25th is the beginning of a new phase of growth (a new process) for the work. In some ways this is the irony of making performance in a room with a bunch of empty chairs; one day there are people in those chairs, and that makes all the difference.


What were some of the approaches you used in translating/exploring affect theory into dance?

My intent was never to translate affect theory into movement through a methodology or an approach that was prescribed. I don’t believe a sense of affect would be in evidence if I had chosen or had the ability to do this. I worked with different structures to keep opening the door to changes in the room, to reading the space as it really is, to new sensations in the body, thoughts that intertwine with the experience of the physical interaction with other people and space.

“I asked myself to stop looking for answers”

In the very first process we worked with transposition (of movement structures, and memory-based embodiment) but by the time we met again, I recognized this as a superficial entry point – at least for me. So I asked myself to stop looking for answers; the end point is elusive when you are after potential, or when you look for what is concrete in what can only ever be ephemeral. No surprise that aspects of destabilization and control emerged after that in the work.
Without a doubt, the greatest asset to the exploration has been a group of dancers who are sensitized to each other and who each, individually, carry a breadth of experience that enable them a personal way of being in elsewhere.


For more information on DanceWorks and elsewhere visit our website, follow us on Twitter @DanceWorksTO or friend us on Facebook

elsewhere by Heidi Strauss

Toronto artist Heidi Strauss of adelheid dance will open DanceWorks 2014-15 Mainstage Series with the world premiere of elsewhere.

elsewhere is a place where what has happened leave its traces on our bodies, our gestures, the space between us. It is the uncomfortable point where the inevitability of our responses becomes visible; where control, strength and empathy are temporary. elsewhere speaks to resilience in the face of unknowing.

Affect gives you away: the telltale heart; my clammy hands; the note of anger in your voice; the sparkle of glee in their eyes. You may protest your innocence, but we both know, don’t we, that who you really are, or what you really are, is going to be found in the pumping of your blood, the quantity and quality of your perspiration, the breathless anticipation in your throat, the way you can’t stop yourself from grinning, the glassy sheen of your eyes. Affect is the cuckoo in the nest; the fifth columnists out to undermine you; your personal polygraph machine.

– Ben Highmore, in “The Affect Theory Reader”, edited by Melissa Gregg and Gregory J. Seigworth.



Harbourfront Centre Theatre
Sept 25, Sept 26 & Sept 27, 8pm
adelheid (Toronto)

Choreographer: Heidi Strauss
Performers: Danielle Baskerville, Miriah Brennan, Luke Garwood, Molly Johnson and Brendan Wyatt

Purchase tickets here