CONCEPT, CHOREOGRAPHY AND DIRECTION
A choreographer, dancer, producer, director and facilitator, Shannon Litzenberger is known for creating live performance experiences at the intersection of forms. Rooted in dance, Litzenberger’s innovative collaborations come to life in conversation with theatre, literary and visual arts. Her perspective is decidedly feminist, philosophical, socially conscious and emphatically Canadian. Her roots in Canada’s rural prairies inspire recurring themes of connection to land, environment, belonging, identity and place. Her work has been presented across Canada and the US, in collaboration with some of Canada’s leading artists including Marie-Josée Chartier, Lorna Crozier, David Earle, Diego Matamoras, Susie Burpee and Michael Greyeyes. She has been an invited resident artist at Banff Centre, Soulpepper Theatre Company, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto Dance Theatre, and Atlantic Ballet Theatre. Her recent work has been supported by the CreativAction program at the National Ballet of Canada, and by Peggy Baker Dance Projects' space grant program at Canada’s National Ballet School. She was the first ever Arts Innovation Fellow at the Metcalf Foundation. She is the recipient of the Jack McAllister award for accomplishment in dance, the recipient of a 2019 Chalmers Arts Fellowship and a twice-shortlisted finalist for the prestigious KM Hunter award.
OUTSIDE EYE / CREATIVE ADVISOR
Gerry Trentham, is Artistic Director of lbs/sq" performance now in its 23rd year. He has written, choreographed and directed over 40 works for the stage including the Dora nominated Four Mad Humours (2011) with live feed performances between Chicago, Buffalo, Toronto and Montreal, the game changing bi-national co-creation installations Art of Peace: Invitation (2016) and The Apology Project (2017) and Trees (2018). Over three decades he has been internationally acclaimed with rave reviews from NYC to Berlin, L.A., Cannes, Linz and in Toronto has received eight Dora Mavor Moore nominations or awards most recently as a cast and voice director of Denise Fujiwara's hit EUNOIA. With an M.F.A. in Theatre and a Graduate Voice Teaching Diploma from York University, he has taught, choreographed, dialect/ speech coached, directed internationally and mentored/coached many dance and threatre professionals in the creation of new works. He has, over the past 22 years researched performance as core faculty at Canada’s National Voice Intensive.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and educated in Ontario. RESIDENT ARTIST, SOULPEPPER 2017: Animal Farm; Of Human Bondage (Toronto, New York). FOR SOULPEPPER: Blood Wedding (translator, 2016); Fronteras Americanas (2011); The Barber of Seville (dramaturge, 2013); Of Human Bondage (dramaturge, 2014). OTHER THEATRE: Line in the Sand (Factory Theatre); The Art of Building a Bunker (Revolver Fest, Vancouver). OTHER: Soulpepper Academy Head of Playwriting; Curator for Summerworks Festival 2016.
LIGHTING AND SET DESIGN
Ken’s most recent design credits include the set and costumes for The Royale (dir. Guillermo Verdecchia) and set and lighting design for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (dir. Mumbi Tindyebwa) at Soulpepper, set design for Once (dir. Andrew Shaver) at The Segal Centre, the set and lighting design for Phantom of the Opera (dir. Corey Agnew) at Sheridan and The set designer for Angels in America (dir. Kim Collier) at the Arts Club in Vancouver. Ken was also the set and lighting designer for Spoon River as well as Kim’s Convenience and is one of the creators and original performers of Alligator Pie at Soulpepper. Ken is a resident Artist at Soulpepper Theatre Company and is the Board President of the Associated Designer of Canada. Ken Holds an MFA from California Institute for the Arts.
Elysha Poirier is a video artist and animator working in various forms of responsive media. Interwoven with analogue techniques and digital environments, her practice is playfully organic with inquisitive faculties for how our systems mimic, investigate and adopt patterns found in nature, movement and sound. Elysha has produced installations, short films and engaged in live performances locally and abroad. Her approach is deeply collaborative, working with a diversity of artists stemming from experimental music, film, dance and theatre. She's also been researching artist at Topological Media Lab (Concordia University) in Montreal - a trans-disciplinary atelier-laboratory for collaborative research creation. She’s taught workshops on interdisciplinary arts while producing intimate performances that celebrate collaboration, bringing together artists working in audio/visual, dance and cinema. www.elyshapoirier.com
Composer, sound designer, musician and instrument maker John Gzowski worked on over 200 theatre, dance and film productions for which he has done composition, sound design, live foley, live music and as musical director. He has played banjo for opera in Banff, studied Carnatic classical music in India and played oud and guitar in jazz and folk festivals across Canada and Europe. His theatre work has won him 6 Dora’s, from 18 nominations for companies like Stratford, Shaw Festival, Luminato, National Arts Centre, the Mirvishes, MTC, the Arts Club, Canstage, Soulpepper, Dancemakers, Red Sky, Tarragon, Factory Theatre and YPT. Gzowski has played on numerous CD’s, with recent releases with Patricia O'Callghan, Tasa, and Autorickshaw as well as a Juno nomination with Maza Meze. He has run Canada’s first microtonal group, touring Canada playing the works of Harry Partch, composed and performed with several new music groups and worked as co-artistic director of the Music Gallery.
Alexandra Lord trained in the bilingual set and costume design program at The National Theatre School of Canada and was mentored by designer Lorenzo Savoini in the Soulpepper Theatre Company Academy. She most recently designed costumes for the new musical Rose at Soulpepper, music and book by Mike Ross, book by Sarah Wilson and directed by Gregory Prest. Check out other past projects at www.alexandralord.com. Alexandra strives to create from a place that takes into consideration human relationships with ourselves and others within diverse environments. She is particularly drawn to collaborative projects that demand a discourse that transcends difference, engaging in the liminal space of gender, race, and socio-economic definitions. Alexandra is establishing Triga Creative with Shannon Lea Doyle and Michelle Tracey and working collectively to innovate sustainable approaches to design. She has most recently worked with Triga to design costumes for Paradigm Productions’ The Philosopher’s Wife, written by Susanna Fournier and directed by Leora Morris. Follow along @trigacreative.
Syreeta Hector began her career with Toronto Dance Theatre (TDT), and is currently an independent dancer and choreographer. She is proud to be a graduate of The National Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program, and recently achieved her Master of Arts in Dance Studies from York University. As a creator, Syreeta most recently choreographed a musical film series that won the Best Ensemble Award at the Toronto Web Series Festival. Besides being a dancer, she is committed to sharing her dance expertise as an adjunct faculty member at York University.
Louis Laberge-Côté is a Toronto-based dancer, choreographer, teacher, and rehearsal director. An acclaimed performer, he has danced nationally and internationally with over thirty companies and has been a full-time member of Toronto Dance Theatre (1999-2007) and the Kevin O’Day Ballett Nationaltheater Mannheim (2009-2011). He has created over eighty choreographic works, which have been presented and commissioned in Canada and abroad. His work has garnered him a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Choreography, as well as eight other individual and ensemble nominations for Performance or Choreography. He has been nominated for the KM Hunter Award in 2014, 2015, and 2016 and has received several grants from all three levels of government, the Chalmers Foundation, the Metcalf Foundation, the Laidlaw Foundation, and the Dancer Transition Resource Centre. A sought-after pedagogue, he has taught classes and workshops all across Canada and has been recently appointed Assistant Professor of Dance at Ryerson University. He holds an MFA in Creative Practice from the University of Plymouth (UK).
Emily Law is a contemporary dancer, street dancer, and choreographer. She graduated from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and The Etobicoke School of the Arts. She has trained and competed in house dancing and waacking. Emily is a founding member of Mix Mix Dance Collective, the Toronto house dance crew Warehouse Jacks and Parks N’ Wreck. Emily has had the pleasure of working with companies and artists such as: Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, The Dietrich Group, The Chimera Project and Alias Dance Project. Her choreographic work has been showcased on companies and in festivals such as: Toronto Dance Theatre, The Next Stage Theatre Festival, Toronto Fringe Festival, CanAsian Dance Festival, The Reel Asian Film Festival, Guelph Dance & Fall For Dance North. She has been nominated for two Dora Mavor Moore awards, a Gemini, & the 2017 Premier’s award. Also, she recently represented Canada in the hip hip category at Jeux de la Francophone with Mix Mix Dance Collective in Abidjan.
Nikolaos Markakis was first introduced to dance at the Cretan Association of Toronto, where he studied Cretan Folkloric dance. He followed his passion of movement to York University where he completed his BFA in 2013. Post his undergraduate degree, he has performed and choreographed with Half Second Echo and performed for; Susie Burpee, Valerie Calam, Marie-Josee Chartier, Alison Daley, David Earl, Hanna Keil, Shannon Litzenberger, Tracey Norman and Peter Randazzo. Recently Nikolaos completed his MFA at York University where he researched the possibility of hybrid choreography between Cretan Folkloric and Contemporary dance practices. His main objective is to use his two embodied dance recourses in his creative practice to allow an organic approach, and a cultivating environment for his two worlds of dance to live in his choreography. Currently he is the Co-President of CADA-East, contract faculty at York University and Dance Director of the Cretans’ Association of Toronto.
Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Linnea Swan has had a long and colourful career that has seen her call Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto and now Calgary home. For over twenty years she has had the pleasure of working and collaborating with many of Canada’s esteemed dance / theatre companies and artists including Serge Bennethan, Susie Burpee, Corpus, Dancemakers, Lesandra Dodson, and Jordan Tannahill among others. Also a filmmaker, she has created dance films, a dance documentary, two web series, and has been commissioned by numerous choreographers to create both video to accompany live performance as well as promotional videos for productions. Her extensive performance career has been recognized with multiple Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations - receiving the 2013 Dora Award for Outstanding Performance, as well as the K.M. Hunter Artist Award in Dance. Linnea is Associate Artist with Dancers’ Studio West. www.vimeo.com/linneaswan
Originally from Montreal, Kathia Wittenborn is a Toronto based contemporary dance artist, collaborator and movement educator. She is a graduate of Le Conservatoire de Danse de Montréal, Ballet Divertimento, and The School of Toronto Dance Theatre where she was the recipient of the Kathryn Ash Award. Kathia has trained and performed throughout North America and Europe, collaborating with many critically acclaimed artists and companies including Robert Abubo, Amanda Acorn, Susie Burpee, Sylvain Émard, Marie Lambin-Gagnon, Jane Alison McKinney, Kevin A. Ormsby, Alysa Pires Dance Projects, The Go To Company, and Tribal Crackling Wind (Peter Chin). Her work in Chin's Woven received a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance (ensemble). An accomplished teacher, Kathia is certified in Barre, Pilates, and Personal Training. She is a master trainer, instructor and teacher trainer at Barreworks, and has taught for DanceED Movement in Toronto, as well as choreographic workshops in Montreal and Kuujjuaq, Nunavik where she piloted a movement workshop for their annual Aqpic Jam.
A multi-faceted artist, Marie-Josée Chartier moves easily between the worlds of dance, music, opera, and multi-media in her roles as choreographer, performer, director, vocalist, or teacher. Her choreographic works have been presented in festivals in Canada, Europe, and Latin America and have been featured on documentary films and national television. She is the recipient of the 2015 Jacqueline Lemieux Prize and the 2001 K.M. Hunter Artist Award. She has been nominated nine times for Dora Mavor Moore Awards, having won twice, for fifty-one pieces of silver and with the Collective Urge for And By the Way, Miss. Marie-Josée has choreographed and/or directed productions with Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, The Gryphon Trio, Toca Loca, Tapestry Opera, l’Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal, le Théâtre français de Toronto, and others. She is a frequent guest teacher in modern dance, movement for singers, voice exploration and improvisation in Canada and abroad. Through her company Chartier Danse, acclaimed productions include petites danses, Stria, Red Brick celebrating composer Michael J. Baker with Arraymusic, Contes pour enfants pas sages with PPS Danse, Screaming Popes with fabrik Potsdam, and Bas-Reliefs with Danse-Cité. www.chartierdanse.com
Dan Wild has been working professionally for the stage for the past 25 years. His company credits include his 23-year history with the Caravan Stage Company, nine seasons with Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers under the artistic direction of Tom Stroud, and eight seasons with Dancemakers under the artistic director of Serge Bennathan. Now a freelance dance artist, he has worked with some of Canada’s finest creators and performers including Susie Burpee, Marie Josée Chartier, Fides Krucker, Tedd Robinson, Ginette Laurin, Guillaume Bernardi. Claudia Moore, James Kudelka and Susanna Hood. He has been nominated for a Dora award for outstanding performance. His most recent choreographic credits include A SIMPLE STATEMENT FOR THIS MOSAIC, a solo for Marie Josée Chartier, TABLE and SKY two works created for 2013 Nuit Blanche EVERYDAY MARVELS with dance artist Shannon Litzenberger. Dan is also a teacher of contemporary dance and has been facilitating classes and workshops in Movement Expression and Presence in Performance for artists of all disciplines. For the past five years, Dan has also been working in the roles of Artistic Facilitation, Rehearsal Direction and Performance Coaching for Dance Artists.