Roshanak is an Iranian-born Canadian choreographer, director and producer with a career that spans over 20 years. She is also a Dora nominated artist and the founding Artistic Director of Jaberi Dance Theatre based in Toronto. Her practice is rooted in the principles of research, collaboration, and intersectionality. As a multi-hyphenate artist, she experiments with a wide range of mediums to express her ideas, working at the interface of performance, politics, people and places. Her ongoing artistic research focuses on refugee and migrant issues; experiences of war and displacement; gender based violence; political prisoners; memory and the relationship between architecture and performance. Described as “a force to reckon with,” she has presented her work in Canada and abroad, 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. (Photo by Kevin Jones)
Karen Kaeja (she/her) is a Tkaronto born Ashkenazi. An award-winning choreographer and performer for stage and film, project instigator and mentor, she “paints portraits with moving bodies” TorStar and is “the mastermind behind Porch View Dances” TorStar. Karen is Co-Artistic Director of Kaeja d’Dance with Allen Kaeja, creating and touring live dance and film internationally. The heart of her research, choreography and critical writing for the past 30 years, concentrates on Touch, agency and body memory, in a continuous state of rebalancing. Established in The Canadian Who’s Who, she has created over 50 works. Karen has received awards including the 2022 George Luscombe Mentorship Award, 2020 Dance Ontario Lifetime Achievement Award, CDA “I Love Dance” Community Award, and Paul D. Fleck Fellowship for Innovation. A finalist for the Toronto Arts Foundation Celebration of Cultural Life Award, the TAF Muriel Sherrin Award for International Achievement, TD Arts Diversity Award, NOW’s Best Local Choreographer and Best Dance Company, she is twice named one of NOW’s top 10 dance artists. A 7-time Dora nominee, her work Crave received 4 Dora’s, winning one. Commissioned and presented by individuals and performance series around the world, she collaborates with and dances for many of Canada’s brilliant choreographers. www.kaeja.org
(photo by Zahra Saleki)
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.
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.
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. (Photo by Kevin Jones)
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 creator based in Tkaronto from Nahuat Territory Kuskatan, post-colonial El Salvador. Irma is a 2021 Toronto Arts Foundation emerging artistic award finalist; She serves as an educator at Toronto Film School, Casa Maiz’ Semillas Latinas and Prologue for the performing arts. She has diverse experience performing in festivals across the Americas, such as Night Shift 2020 Presented by the Citadel & Compagnie, The Rhubarb Festival, DanceWeekend Ontario, Aluna Theatre’s Panamerican RUTAS 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, Alejandro Ronceria, Diana Lopez, and Teatro Línea y Sombra.. She’s choreographed for Trey Anthony’s How Black Mothers Say I love You and most recently is developing her choreographic methodologies through residencies with Aluna Theatre and Kaeja d’Dance. Her passion for social justice and migration narratives is the driving force for creation in Irma’s choreographic and performance work.
Venezuelan-Canadian Dancer, Choreographer and Director 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. As a settler in T’Koronto, Mata’s sensibility to inclusion and border stories are due to her eclectic upbringing across three continents before the age of fifteen. Mata’s contemporary genre/style is rooted in Afro-Indigenous Venezuelan genres, harness/aerial dance and installation dance. She received an MFA in Contemporary Choreography from York University and has been a beneficiary of the Metcalf Foundation as well as a finalist of the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award. Since recently completing her second self-produced, full-length dance/theatre production “Cacao | A Venezuelan Lament,” Mata is working on a number of independent works with Toronto Choreographers Charles Smith, Lucy Lupert, Roshanak Jaberi, Rosina Kazi and Irma Villafuerte. Each of these choreographers committed to working on projects that centre the arts as core and tangible modes of sustaining and transforming paradigms of exclusion.
Nickeshia Garrick is a settler on the stolen land of Tkaronto and has performed on this land for over 25 years. They are unapologetically a Black, Queer Artist, who believes in the healing power of breath through raw emotion and movement. Nickeshia received their dance training at the NYIDE (New York Institution of Dance and Education), National Ballet School of Canada (Tkaronto), Toronto Dance Theatre (Tkaronto), and Simon Fraser University (Vancouver). Nickeshia is a Dora Mavor Moore, winning and multi-nominated artist who holds a BFA in Dance from Simon Fraser University and is a Movement Teacher at the Toronto Film School.
Ahmad Meree is a Syrian Canadian actor, playwright and producer. He is a graduate from the Higher Institute of Theatre Arts in Cairo. Winner of an emerging artist award at Arts Awards Waterloo Region (2019) and the Best Actor Award at the Central Theatre Festival in Syria (2008), he directed Ionesco’s The Lesson in Egypt and won Best Director Award for directing Chekhov’s The Bear at Cairo’s Festival of International
Theatre (2013). Ahmad came to Canada as a refugee in 2016 and currently lives in Toronto, ON. Ahmad has written four plays, I Don’t Know (2021) Suitcase (2019), Adrenaline (2017) which he toured to the Ryga Festival in Summerland, BC, SummerWorks Performance Festival in Toronto and UNO Fest in Victoria, BC. Adrenaline was nominated for Dora outstanding touring production in 2020, and Underground (2014) (Winner of Best Original Script in the University competition). In 2020 Suitcase/Adrenaline were published in book form by Scirocco Drama.
Yui Ugai was born in Hiroshima, Japan. She majored in drama at high school and studied dance and music at Kobe College. Yui obtained a professional ballet RAD training and she was awarded a prize for excellence in dance by Dance Dance Dance Magazine in 2008. Yui holds a BFA and an MFA in Dance from York University. During her study, she has received seven scholarships and awards. She has danced and toured nationally and internationally with Kashe Dance Company, Ballet Creole, Kaeja d’Dance, The Toronto Blue Jays, Limitless Productions, The Parahumans, The Little Pear Gar-den Dance Company, Anima Inc. (Mexico/Peru) and many more. In Japan, she produced the annual dance event, “Dance Kotoen” sponsored by Nishinomiya City in order to support youth dance artists and the community since 2011.
Charissa spent the last couple decades working at the Iconic Queer Canadian Art Organization, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (BIBT) as the Head of Production. Throughout her freelance career she has worked with such companies as Aluna Theatre, Tapestry, Modern Times, New Harlem Productions and Nightwood Theatre. Charissa is also the Artistic Producer and co-founder of FLYING SOLO and the lead designer and fabricator of FLYING SOLO’s cutting edge circus apparatuses.
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: Beats + Intentions (Expect Theatre), Brain Storm (Lucid Ludic Productions), Here Are The Fragments (On ECT Collective/The Theatre Centre), WinterSong (Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre), Motherhood: The Musical (The LOT), 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), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Hart House Theatre), The Seat Next To The King (Minmar Gaslight), Rebel Yell (Dance Matters), Diversion & Fearful Symmetries (ProArteDanza), NOISY (Toronto Dance Theatre).