Focus on Dance Research: Guest Speakers

Martin Bélanger
Martin Bélanger has been active on the professional art scene since 1992. His approach is characterized by a broadened practice. As a performer, actor, collaborator, counselor, and choreographer, he takes part in projects that range from experimental theater to contemporary dance, including the interdisciplinary, He completed a bachelor degree at Université du Québec à Montréal in 1997. His work has been presented throughout Canada as well as in New York City, Berlin, Geneva, Bergen (Norway), Helsinki, France and Japan. Parallel to his own creations, he collaborated with Jacob Wren, Benoît Lachambre, Carole Nadeau, kondition pluriel, Line Nault, Isabelle Schad, Michael Toppings, Epsilon Lab et Oli Sorenson. A lot of these engagements led to national and international touring. In 2004, he founded his company Productions Laps. He has been commissioned by several institutions such as Montréal Danse, LADMMI l’école de danse contemporaine, the School of Dance of Ottawa, Dancemakers, and by several independent artists such as Peter Trosztmer, Sarah Williams and Ève Garnier. He directed creative workshops with Le Groupe dance Lab, Studio 303 and at La B.A.R.N.(10 Gates Dancing, Tedd Robinson). He has been a program officer for the Canada Council for the Arts from 2013 to 2016.

Seika Boye
Dr. Seika Boye (BFA/MA York 1999/2006, PhD University of Toronto 2016) is a dance scholar, artist and writer. She is a Lecturer at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and Director of the Institute for Dance Studies at the University of the Toronto. As a performer Seika appeared with Ballet Creole (1997), Judith Marcuse Projects (2001), Electric Company Theatre (2000, 2001), and various independent artists across Canada. She has shown her own choreographic work in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal and was named on the Montreal Mirror’s Top Ten Choreographers list in 2003. Seika’s recent projects include co-curating the gathering Configurations in Motion: Performance Curation for Communities of Colour (Concordia, 2017 with Thomas F. DeFrantz (Duke); dramaturgy/historical consultant for artist Deanna Bowen’s The Long Doorway (Mercer Union, 2017); and movement dramaturgy for Djanet Sears’ A Black Girl in Search of God (Centaur Theatre/National Arts Centre, 2015). Her current scholarship explores blackness and dancing in Canada in early-mid 20th century and utilizes dance-focused research to confront historical omissions of Canada’s Black population. Seika is also an advocate for dance and dance studies within Canadian Universities. Her publications include writing for The Dance Current, Dance Collection Danse Magazine,, The Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Performance Matters and forthcoming for Intersections: Canadian Journal of Music. Seika was a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellow. She has appeared as a guest panelist at the Art Gallery of Ontario and with the feminist working group EMILIA-AMALIA. Seika lives and works in Toronto with her husband and two sons.

Guy Cools
Dr. Guy Cools is a dance dramaturge. Recent positions include Associate Professor for Dance Studies at the research institute Arts in Society of the Fontys School of Fine and Performing Arts in Tilburg, and Guest Professor at Ghent University, where he finished a practice-based PhD on the relationship between dance and writing. He has worked as a dance critic, artistic programmer, and policymaker for dance in Flanders. He now dedicates himself to production dramaturgy, contributing to work by choreographers all over Europe and Canada such as: Koen Augustijnen (BE), Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (BE), Danièle Desnoyers (CA), Lia Haraki (CY), Christopher House (CA), Akram Khan (UK), Arno Schuitemaker (NL), and Stephanie Thiersch (DE). He regularly lectures and publishes, and has developed a series of workshops that aim to support artists and choreographers in their creative process. His most recent publications include The Ethics of Art: ecological turns in the performing arts, co-edited with Pascal Gielen (Valiz, 2014); Body:Language (Sadler’s Wells, 2012), a series of published, live interviews with major contemporary artists which Cools curated from 2008 till 2013 and In-between Dance Cultures: on the migratory artistic identity of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Akram Khan (Valiz, 2015). With the Canadian choreographer, Lin Snelling, he developed an improvised performance practice ‘Rewriting Distance’ (see also: that focuses on the integration of movement, voice, and writing.

Jane Gabriels
Jane Gabriels is an inter-disciplinary artist, writer, and curator/producer. Since 1999, she has worked at the South Bronx-based, non-profit arts organization Pepatián, helping provide significant support to many dance artists of color and/or Bronx-based artists, and in 2006 became Director ( To make a further contribution, she wrote about the boroughs’ artistic and cultural legacies and completed a Ph.D. in Humanities, Interdisciplinary Studies at Concordia University. On January 8, 2018 she will produce the Bronx Artists Now: Showcase & Conversation annual event. In Montréal, she initiated a successful international gathering via a cross-border collaboration between Duke University, Concordia University (including the University of Toronto) and DHC-Arts at Musée des Beaux Arts (June 2017). To champion the creativity of Montréal and her artistic practice, she brings together eclectic groupings of artists to cafe spaces as part of the “aLIVE performance series.”

Diego Gil
Diego Gil is a choreographer, performer and philosopher, currently a PhD candidate at the Interdisciplinary Humanities program of Concordia University. His current research focuses on the exploration of sense perception inseparably from non-sensuous perception (a Whiteheadean concept that gives account of the anticipating concerns of perception beyond the actual body senses and beyond metric time) and on the development of a dramaturgy of affective signs (a concept developed through Deleuze, Guattari and Massumi theories on the signs of the events of change).

d. Sabela grimes
d. Sabela grimes, a 2014 United States Artists Rockefeller Fellow, is a trans-media storyteller, sonic ARKivist, movement composer who cultivates the physical/meta-physical efficacies of Afribiquitous life practices. His dance theater projects consider invisibilized histories and grapple with constructed notions of masculinity and manhood. Previously, grimes co-authored and performed in Rennie Harris Puremovement’s award-winning Rome & Jewels. Since working with RHPM, Sabela has conceived, written, scored, choreographed and presented several dance theater works, Philly XP, World War WhatEver, and 40 Acres & A Microchip: Salvation or Servitude from his EXPERIMENT EARTH sound-movement triptych, and BULLETPROOF DELI an evening length solo work. His current creative project ELECTROGYNOUS articulates that Black gender qualities are infinite, multi-dimensional and distinct manifestations of wombniversal consciousness.

Known for using sampling as an essential sound-making method Sabela’s “soundprints” as he calls them, encompass field recordings from a variety of context (including the rehearsal process), recording commonplace objects, traditional instruments and media sound bites extracted from online media sources to activate the custom of “versioning” found in Black music traditions, playfully explore unusual ways to use technologies to create sound-shapes in an effort to stretch beyond his own notions of the form and function of modern sound design. Sabela has functioned as composer/sound designer for CONTRA-TIEMPO’s, Agua Furiosa, David Rousseve/REALITY’s, Stardust, Wideman/Davis Dance, Ruptured Silence, Meena Murugesan’s, We Used to See This and Karuppu and composer/live sound artist for Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project’s, Beautiful Struggle.

Currently on faculty at USC’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, Sabela continues to cultivate, Funkamental MediKinetics, a movement system he created that focuses on the methodical dance training and community building elements evident in Black vernacular and Street dance forms. Sabela loves pancakes, speculative fiction and meditative walks on the beach.

Hanako Hoshimi-Caines
Hanako Hoshimi-Caines is a choreographer and dancer based in Montreal. She is committed to figuring out how being an artist is to be an activist and this means a promise to engage critically with blind spots and fears in order to see, feel and love better. And what she means by love is not romance but an ambiguous kind of knowledge that is necessarily embodied, transformative and involves time and intimacy with things. Her solo and collaborative works have been shown at Tangente, Studio 303, OFFTA, the 3rd floor residency at the Usine C, POP Montreal, Suoni per il popolo as well as MDT, Riksteatern (Stockholm), Kampnagel (Hamburg), Kunstfestival BEGEHUNGEN No. 9 (Chemnitz) and DNK (Sofia, Bulgaria). Hanako has performed for/collaborated with Stephen Thompson and Andrew Tay, Maria Kefirova, Katie Ward, La 2eme Porte à gauche, Jacob Wren, Adam Kinner, Frédérick Gravel, Tanya Lukin-Linklater, José Navas, Hélène Balckburn, Emmanuel Jouthe, Jane Mappin, Deborah Dunn, Louise-Michel Jackson and with the Cullberg Ballet (Stockholm) with Benoît Lachambre, Deborah Hay, William Forsythe (Human Writes), Tilman O’Donnell, Alexander Ekman and Jefta Van Dinther. She has initiated discussion-reading groups (Saloons), directed a music video and worked with the elderly for a special dance video project. Currently, Hanako is pursuing a degree in feelosophy at Concordia University in concurrence with her dance practice. Next, she will be collaborating with Zoe Poluch on Human radio (co-production with MDT, Stockholm), the continuation of Radio 43, a local, site-generated work realized by Zoe in a 9 story apartment building in Stockholm.

Alexandra Spicey Landé
Choreographer and artistic director, Alexandra aka “Spicey” is interested in urban dances. The Unkut Productions appeared in 2005; this individual company brings together all the artistic activities that Alexandra performs. The first fruit of this production is the Bust A Move event which is in its 6th edition. At the moment, Spicey presents “Retrospek,” a new dance production that attempts to take street dance inside a theater dance hall. She is also a choreographer for the Bob Sinclar video “Rock this Party” and for the RAW group, winners of the 2006 Hip Hop National Dance Championships (2nd place in 2007). A hip-hop dance teacher for 10 years now, she teaches for renowned schools in and around Montreal. She has a major influence on the street dance scene in Montreal and is recognized as a specialist in her field. Choreographer, producer, educator, performer and entrepreneur, she is motivated by her desire to “make Montreal a hub of the evolution of urban dances in North America”.

Evadne Kelly
Evadne Kelly is an artist-scholar with a PhD in Dance Studies from York University. She has presented and published on topics relevant to the fields of anthropology and dance studies with a focus on the political and social dimensions of trans-locally performed dance traditions. Publications of her research can be found in Pacific Arts Journal, The Dance Current, Performance Matters, and Fiji Times. Dr. Kelly was an invited participant of the 2015 Mellon funded Dance Studies summer seminar at Northwestern University, where she developed her book manuscript, Dancing Spirit, Love, and War: Expressing the Trans-Local Realities of Contemporary Fiji, currently under contract with University of Wisconsin Press. Research for her book received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council doctoral award and builds on her 20 years of professional experience as a company member, teacher, and rehearsal director for celebrated choreographer, David Earle. In 2016, Dr. Kelly co-organized The Other “D”: locating ‘D’ance in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies in Canada, at University of Toronto. In 2017, she co-convened the World Dance Alliance Global Summit at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, which critically engaged the social, political, and therapeutic aspects of community-engaged dance. She is currently under contract with the Canadian Museum of History researching popular dances of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.

Dana Michel
Dana Michel is a choreographer and performer based in Montréal. Before obtaining a BFA in Contemporary Dance at Concordia University in her late twenties, she was a marketing executive, competitive runner and football player. She is a 2011 danceWEB scholar (Vienna, Austria) and is currently an artist-in-residence at DanceMakers (Toronto, Canada) and at Usine C (Montreal, Canada). An amalgam of choreography, intuitive improvisation and performance art, her artistic practice is rooted in exploring identity as disordered multiplicity. She works 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 her and her witnesses.
Yellow Towel, was featured on the “Top Five” and the “Top Ten” 2013 dance moments in the Voir newspaper (Montreal) and Dance Current Magazine (Canada) respectively. In 2014, she was awarded the newly created Impulstanz Award (Vienna) in recognition for outstanding artistic accomplishments and was highlighted amongst notable female choreographers of the year by the New York Times. The year concluded with Yellow Towel appearing on the Time Out New York magazine “Top Ten Performances” list.
Her new solo Mercurial George was premiered at Festival TransAmériques in June 2016 and is now on tour. In October 2016, within the framework of the WITCH dance project of Sophiensaele, Berlin, supported by Tanz Fonds (Germany), she was commissioned to create a new short work and performed a 20-minute solo entitled Palna Easy Francis. In April 2017, Michel was invited to perform in Nico Vascellari’s Scholomance installation in Bologna, Italy. The he same year, Dana Michel was awarded the Silver Lion for Innovation in Dance by the Venice Biennale (Italy).

Katya Montaignac
Trained at the dance department of the Université de Paris 8, Katya Montaignac is a dramaturge and dance researcher. She participates as a dancer and creator in many “Objets Dansants Non identifiés” in Paris and Montreal, as well as artistic director on many choreographic projects of the 2eme Porte à Gauche. She is a Doctor of Études et pratiques des arts from UQAM and takes care of choreographers’ ills by working as a dramaturge. Katya is a lecturer in the UQAM dance department and organizes roundtables and the Trib’impro event with the Tribune 840 committee. She also collaborates on the JEU magazine and was the dance curator for the offta for 7 years. She is the author of a book about Joséphine Baker and co-author of Danse-Cité : Traces contemporaines.

VK Preston
VK Preston is an Assistant Professor of Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. A member of the executive at U of T’s new Institute for Dance Studies, VK teaches dramaturgy, history, and performance studies—and she is currently working on her first book. Her research interests include dance and praxes of belief, labor, gender, and performance studies. She holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University’s doctoral program in the Department of Theater and Performance studies, and she is the recipient of an early career fellowship from the Australian Research Council’s History of Emotions project for her work on witchcraft and archives. Her work appears in Imagined Theatres: Writing for a Theoretical Stage, Performance Research, TDR / The Drama Review, Canadian Theatre Review, and Theatre Journal.

Carlos Rivera
Carlos Rivera Carlos Rivera is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, rehearsal director and actor originally from México. He is from Mixteco Indigenous descent. Currently, he is an Artistic Associate with Red Sky Performance where he has opportunity to perform and choreograph many of the company’s productions, include: Caribou Song, Dancing Americas, Raven Stole the Sun, Shimmer, Tono, Migration, InSIGnia, The
Great Mountain, and more recently Mistatim, plays the main character. With Red
Sky, Carlos toured to China, Mongolia, Australia, USA, México, New Zealand,
Iceland, Switzerland and across Canada. He also toured to Sudamerica and Mexico with his own dance project Yumare Arte Escenico before he moved to Canada.
He attended the Indigenous Dance Program at The Banff Centre severals times as a dancer, teacher, and as a choreographer. His dance work “I’m Not The Indian You
Have in Mind” was presented as part of the NextSteps Dance series at Harbourfront Centre. He has collaborated with companies across Canada The Chimera Project, Article 11, MT Space Theatre, Raven Spirit Dance, The Vancouver Opera, Ondinnok, amounts others.
Carlos is proud to say that he is enrolled at the National Theatre School in the Artist in Residency Program where he is refining his artistic practice as an actor and director.

Lin Snelling
Lin Snelling has toured the world extensively as performer with Carbone 14 (1989-2001). As choreographer, performer and teacher, she continues to investigate, perform and teach improvisation, both as a tool for creating choreographic material and a way to keep performances alive and present – which has cultivated an exploration into bodywork in relation to dance and the spoken, sung and written word. She creates works, and collaborates with choreographers and directors, throughout Canada and Europe; most recently in Ireland, London UK, Berlin, Cyprus, Athens, Vienna, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal with Rewriting Distance; a collaboration with the dance dramaturge Guy Cools. ( Lin is presently teaching dance, improvisation and experiential anatomy to actors in the Drama Faculty at the University of Alberta, living in Edmonton and Montreal and deciphering dialogues between these two cities and artistic communities. Her recent dance collaborations are Duplex with Gerry Morita and Loop Thing with musician composer Michael Reinhart and Performing Book with Shelagh Keeley. She works often with Montreal choreographer Tedi Tafel and was part of Life World and Calendar and Everyday.

Silvy Panet-Raymond
Interdisciplinary artist Silvy Panet-Raymond trained initially in dance with Elizabeth Langley and then with a number of renowned dance and performance artists in North America, the UK and Europe such as Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, Trisha Brown, Steve Paxton and Lisa Nelson, Liz Lecompte and the Wooster Group, Richard Alston, Richard Pochinko, David Zambrano and Joan Skinner. In London, UK, she launched the Dance performance series at Battersea Arts Centre, co-founded the collective Dancework and performed in a number of projects, including with composer Michael Nyman and visual artist Bruce McLean. She joined the Rosemary Butcher Dance Company in residence at Riverside Studios that also hosted innovative works from around the world.
Settling in Montreal in 1980, she co-founded Tangente, danse actuelle, Montréal’s first resource centre and producer for new, experimental dance. In the years that followed, she created a number of solo and collaborative works with visual artists and musicians (such as Eva Brandl, Denis Farley, Alain Thibault and Michel Lemieux) that toured across Canada and abroad. Supported by arts funding, she carried out research projects in Mexico, Myanmar (Burma) and other South-Asian countries. At some point in her career, she veered away from the studio to develop with the artist Domingo Cisneros cross-disciplinary projects in the Zone of Silence in northern Mexico and the boreal forests in Quebec. She has written for a number of dance and arts publications including interviews with John Cage and Merce Cunningham for Performance Magazine, Artscribe, Parachute, Danse Canada Dance, Les Herbes Rouges, Revue Jeu, to name a few. She obtained a certificate in ‘expression dramatique’ and an M.Ed at Université de Montréal, under the direction of Gisèle Barret, a visionary pedagogue. Silvy Panet-Raymond looks towards the future and continues to develop new ways of engaging with and questioning modes of transmission and how humans make work together.

MJ Thompson
MJ Thompson (Ph.D., Performance Studies, New York University) is a writer and teacher working on dance, performance, and visual art. She is Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies and Practices, at Concordia University in Montreal. Her dissertation, “Impure Movement: Mundane Body Techniques in 20th Century American Choreography,” (NYU 2009) was recipient of the Cynthia Jean Cohen Bull Memorial Award for Academic Excellence. She was a Lillian S. Robinson Fellow at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute in Montreal in 2010. Her articles have appeared in Ballettanz, Border Crossings, The Brooklyn Rail, Canadian Art, Dance Current, Dance Ink, Dance Magazine, The Drama Review, Women and Performance, Theatre Journal, and elsewhere.

Angélique Willkie
A multidisciplinary artist, Angélique Willkie began her dance training after completing a Master’s degree in Economics at McGill University. A graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, she subsequently pursued a career in Europe where, over 25 years, she performed with dance companies and independent projects throughout Europe, most notably Alain Platel/Les Ballets C. de la B., Jan Lauwers/Needcompany, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Helena Waldmann and as a singer with the Belgian world-music group Zap Mama, bands Arno, dEUS, 7Dub, DAAU, Ez3kiel, and Zita Swoon Group, with jazz vocalist David Linx and contemporary composers Walter Hus, Kaat De Windt and Fabrizio Cassol. Performer, singer, dramaturge and pedagogue, Angélique has been among the more sought-after contemporary technique teachers on the European professional circuit, teaching companies, schools and festivals including ImpulsTanz (Vienna), Henny Jurriens Stichting (Amsterdam), SEAD (Salzburg), Wim Vandekeybus/Ultima Vez (Brussels), Circuit-Est centre chorégraphique (Montreal) among others. She spent 8 years at École Supérieure des Arts du Cirque (ESAC) in Brussels as a teacher and dramaturgical advisor to the students as well as Pedagogical Coordinator of the school under Gérard Fasoli, current director of the Centre national des arts du cirque (CNAC) in France. Actively involved in Montreal’s professional community as teacher, creator and dramaturge, her current research interests have three main axes: the dramaturgy of the performer; approaches to interdisciplinary artistic creation (i.e. that sits “between” disciplinary boundaries); and European circus aesthetics and dramaturgy.