Roshanak is an Iranian-born Canadian interdisciplinary artist, producer, and Dora nominated choreographer and performer with a career that spans over 20 years. She is also the founding Artistic Director of Jaberi Dance Theatre–a Toronto-based company that creates contemporary and interdisciplinary political art. Described as “a force to reckon with,” she has presented her work in Canada, US and Europe, performed in numerous dance works, and created/co-created over 30 works in dance, visual arts, film and music. She is the recipient of the ISPA-International Society of Performing Arts Global Fellowship (2020, 2021) and the Chalmers Arts Fellowship (2019), and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with honours from York University. Roshanak has been a guest speaker and lecturer, and her work has been referenced in adult education courses and in critical pedagogy at the University of Toronto.
Karen Kaeja (she/her) is a Tkaronto born Ashkenazi. An award-winning choreographer and performer for stage and film, project instigator and mentor, she is “the mastermind behind Porch View Dances” Toronto Star. Karen invents large scale performance platforms and is passionate about collaborative relationships between dancers and everyday people. Her life research is based on touch, arriving in her works and Pil Hansen’s publications. Co-Artistic Director of Kaeja d’Dance with Allen Kaeja she is in The Canadian Who’s Who, with awards including Dance Ontario Lifetime Achievement Award, CDA “I Love Dance” Community Award, and Paul D. Fleck Fellowship. She was a finalist for the Toronto Arts Foundation Celebration of Cultural Life Award, TAF Muriel Sherrin Award, NOW’s Best Local Choreographer and twice for NOW’s Best Dance Company, TD Arts Diversity Award and 7 Dora Mavor Moore nominations with one win. Commissioned and presented by individuals and performance series around the world, she continues to collaborate with and dance for many of Canada’s brilliant choreographers. www.kaeja.org
Soheil is an award-winning director, writer, dramaturg and teacher, whose professional theatre career spans thirty years and two continents. In his native Iran, Soheil completed studies in Theatre Performance at the University of Tehran. Arriving in Canada with his family in 1984, Soheil completed a second Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies at York University and then went on to establish Modern Times Stage Company, one of the most innovating theatre companies in Canada. Soheil’s own work at Modern Times has been recognized with six Dora Mavor Moore Awards and a number of international prizes and master class requests. In 2007 and 2010 he was short-listed for the Siminovitch Prize in Theatre. In 2013, Soheil was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his contribution as a theatre artist to Canadian society. In 2015, he was named as the best director at the Toronto Theatre Critics awards.
Arun has worked extensively in the performing arts. He trained at York University earning a Specialized Honours B.F.A. Dance collaborators have included Robert Desrosiers, Peter Chin, Danny Grossman, COBA, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Tiger Princess Dance Projects, The National Ballet School & ProArteDanza. He has been the resident designer for Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre since 2002. Theatre credits include The Stratford Festival, Factory Theatre, The Canadian Stage Co., The Globe Theatre, The World Stage Theatre Festival, fu-GEN, Cahoots Theatre Projects, k’Now Theatre & Buddies In Bad Times Theatre. His career has garnered him 8 Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations for Outstanding Lighting Design in both the theatre and dance categories. Arun has had the privilege of teaching lighting design at York University, Ryerson University, the University of Waterloo and mentorship at The National Theatre School. Productions have taken him to Ukraine, Malaysia, Singapore, India, China and across North America.
Jérôme Delapierre is a visual artist and interaction designer working in Montreal. He studied Computation Arts and Interaction design at Concordia University as well as Contemporary Arts and new media at IMUS University in France. Currently, he is the artistic director of Anartistic, and freelance visual designer and researcher at Topological Media Lab. He has collaborated with different artists, researchers and company like Cirque du soleil, Coeur de pirate, Dj Champion, Alex nevsky, Isabelle Van Grimde, Pk langshaw, Sha Xin Wei, Michael Montanaro, Roger Sinha, Philippe Ducros, Jean Derome, Ballet ouest… and his work has been presented at festivals and events in various countries. His research is based on the relationship between human and technology and non linear interactivity, focusing on the experiences of urban social behavior. He is interested in new ways to create visual sets and environments by exploring eclectic projection techniques. Jérôme’s work encompasses: creative direction, visual design, responsive video, interactive installations, performances and scenography.
Thomas Ryder Payne is a composer and sound designer for theatre, dance and film. Selected past work includes designs for Stratford, Shaw, Mirvish, Soulpepper, Canadian Stage, Tarragon, Factory, TPM, YPT, Crow’s, Modern Times, Aluna, BIBT, Nightwood, TDT, NAC, Theatre Calgary, GCTC, RMTC, and many others. Thomas has received 2 Dora awards and 19 nominations.
Work includes creative collaborations with Desrosiers Dance Theatre, The Danny Grossman Dance Company, Native Earth Performing Arts, Debajehmujig Theatre, Crow’s Theatre, Kemi Contemporary Dance Projects, Fujiwara Dance Inventions, Alberta Ballet, Theatre Smith-Gilmour, Theatre Direct, Kaeja d’Dance, Sore for Punching You, Toronto Dance Theatre, Julia Sasso Dances, Dreamwalker Dance, and BoucharDanse.
Tara is a professional Stage Manager who enjoys working on dance, theatre, musicals, and everything in between. She has had the pleasure of working with such companies as Fujiwara Dance Inventions, ProArteDanza, Luminato, Dance Matters, and Toronto Dance Theatre. Favourite credits include: inTO focus (dance: made in canada/fait au canada), Heirloom (Fall For Dance North), Beats + Intentions (Expect Theatre), Brain Storm (Lucid Ludic Productions), Here Are The Fragments (On ECT Collective/The Theatre Centre), WinterSong (Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre), Moving Parts (Fujiwara Dance Inventions), No Woman’s Land (Jaberi Dance Theatre), Older & Reckless (Moonhorse Dance Theatre), Million Dollar Quartet (The LOT), Now You See Her (Quote Unquote Collective), UNBXBL II (Gadfly Dance), Le Grand Continental (Luminato), Cabaret (The LOT), 16 Shades of Red (inDANCE), Moving Parts (Fujiwara Dance Inventions), The Seat Next To The King (Minmar Gaslight), Rebel Yell (Dance Matters), Diversion & Fearful Symmetries (ProArteDanza), NOISY (Toronto Dance Theatre).
Denise Solleza (they/them) is a Filipinx-Canadian dance artist based in Toronto. They are a graduate of York University where they completed their Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Denise has worked with Valerie Calam, Julia Aplin, Project Humanity, Anandam Dancetheatre, Hanna Kiel, Bo Lam, Lauren Runions/IO Movement, and Tracey Norman. In 2019, they were nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance (ensemble) for Jaberi Dance Theatre’s No Woman’s Land. Denise is also co-founder and co-artistic director of contemporary dance collective, Half Second Echo (HSE). They have choreographed and performed several works with HSE including Toronto Fringe Festival, Hamilton Fringe Festival, New Blue Festival, Montreal Fringe Festival, and the Body Brake series produced by Anandam Dancetheatre and Theatre Passe Muraille. Most recently, Denise has been exploring the intersection of dance and video. Their first dance film, READY-TO-ASSEMBLE, premiered in Vancouver as an official selection at the Festival Of Recorded Movement in September 2020.
Irma Villafuerte is a dance artist and educator based in Tkaronto from Nahuat Territory Kuskatan, post-colonial El Salvador. She serves as an educator at Randolph College for the Performing Arts, Casa Maiz’ Semillas Latinas and Prologue for the performing arts. She’s been part of festivals across the Americas, such as Night Shift 2020 Presented by the Citadel & Compaigne, Fall for Dance North’s Open Studio, The Rhubarb Festival, DanceWeekend Ontario, Aluna Theatre’s Panamerican Routes Festival, Panamania’15, 12th Bienal de la Habana, Vanguardia Dance Projects, International Dance Meeting in Guantanamo, CounterPulse Performing Diaspora in San Francisco. Performing works by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Jaberi Dance Theatre, Kaeja d’Dance, Victoria Mata, Aria Evans, Alejandro Ronceria, and Arsenio Andrade, to name a few.. She is currently a residency artist at Aluna Theatre incubating her choreographic development. She’s choreographed for Trey Anthony’s How Black Mothers Say I love You and recently is developing her solo “nudoDESnudo”. Her passion for social justice is the driving force for creation in Irma’s choreographic and performance work.
Victoria Mata Venezuelan-Canadian settler in T’Koronto. Poly-lingual choreographer, dance artist and activist with a background in expressive arts therapy. Mata’s career was first sculpted by pedagogic, self-directed training, which proceeded with training under internationally renowned choreographers. Mata’s sensibility to inclusion and border stories is due to her eclectic upbringing in three continents before the age of fifteen. Intersectional, multi-framed community-arts and the abolishment of violence against women are some of Mata’s passion. She has intricately weaved these themes in her MFA in Contemporary Choreography and is the foundation for some of her recognitions such as being a recipient of the Metcalf Foundation, a finalist of the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award and 7 Dora nominations. Mata deeply believes in the arts as a core and tangible mode of sustaining and transforming the paradigms of oppressive tropes to populate a sphere of discourse, play, exploration and possibility.
Nickeshia Garrick is a settler on the stolen land of Tkaronto and has performed on this land for over 25 years. She is unapologetically a Black, Queer Artist, who believes in the healing power of breath through raw emotion and movement. She holds her BFA in Dance from Simon Fraser University (Vancouver) and is currently working on the second iteration of her solo exploration, ‘To My Past, Present, and Future…’ This continued exploration of what it is to be Black, Queer, Broken, and Spiritual will be adapted to and captured on film.
Ahmed Moneka arrived in Toronto from Baghdad five years ago and has since collaborated with many artistic institutions including the Canadian Opera Company, Tarragon Theatre, Aga Khan Museum, Tafelmusik, Driftwood Theatre Group, Toronto Jazz Festival, Koerner Hall, Modern Times Stage, Jaberi Dance Theatre, Toronto Laboratory Theatre, Theatre Centre, and TRIA Theatre. He is one of the founders of the band Moskitto Bar and is the creator and leader of Moneka Arabic Jazz – a 2019 Stingray Rising Stars Winner at the Toronto Jazz Festival. In Baghdad, Ahmed studied theatre at the Institute of Fine Art and then at the prestigious Academy of Fine Art. During his formative years, he also learned Afro-Sufi singing and drumming in the tradition of his family, who came to Iraq from Kenya in the 8th century. He was the first Black Iraqi to host a television program, the youngest member of the Iraqi National Theatre, and he played Romeo in Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad at the Royal Shakespeare Company in England. Other performances with The Forum Theatre, Iraqi Theatre Company, Street Art Company, and Baghdad Theatre Company took him to Morocco, Jordan, Egypt, and many other festivals. Ahmed starred in the film The Society which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and resulted in his exile from Iraq because of its subject matter of homosexuality.
Drew Berry is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary performance artist and teacher. Her mediums include dance, theatre, photography, videography, and classical piano. As a performer Drew has worked with Rock Bottom Movement (awarded two Dora Mavor Moore awards for Outstanding Production and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble), Jaberi Dance Theatre (Dora nominated for Outstanding Production and Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble), Portal Dance, Emma Kerson, Nico Contreras, Irma Villafuerte, Kate Hilliard, Alias Dance Project, and Kaeja d’Dance. Drew was an artist in residence for the 2020/21 season at Guelph dance where she created a short film Portraiture, which premiered at the 2021 Guelph Dance Festival and shown at Hillside Homeside and Dance Made in Canada. Drew is on faculty at Centennial College teaching Ballet and Choreography. A graduate from Quinte Ballet School of Canada’s post-graduate program, Drew holds her BFA (Honours) from the Performance Dance program at X University.