DANCE LIVES HERE
Fall for Dance North and The Dance Current magazine have partnered to create this guide to dance - to help you discover festivals and presenters in Toronto and across Ontario that regularly present live dance performance.
Scroll down and learn more about the dance activities these organizations offer throughout the year. Once you've found dance near you, visit thedancecurrent.com for searchable listings and details... choose your date, location, dance style or favourite artist and plan your next dance night out!
The DANCE LIVES HERE guide aims to be as comprehensive as possible. If you know of a dedicated dance presenter or dance festival in Toronto or elsewhere in Ontario that is not represented below -or- if any of these listings require editing, please send information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your collaboration.
Seasonal Dance Series
Citadel + Compangie creates, produces and presents varied works on a local, national and international scale. Bright Nights – CLC’s performing arts series is curated to resonate with the intimacy of The Citadel, the series features distinctive artists whose refined creations light up the nights in Regent Park.
Founded in 1987, from the merger of two smaller companies, Canadian Stage is Canada's centre for innovation in performance; sharing new, vibrant art forms from Canada and around the world. The company presents multidisciplinary work in three major venues in Toronto: the Bluma Appel Theatre, the Berkeley Street Theatre and the High Park Amphitheatre.
Since 2006 the coexisDance duet series has featured some of this city’s most dynamic and innovative dance improvisers, along with the Association of Improvising Musicians Toronto. CoexisDance is a monthly duet series that encourages dancers and musicians of all genres to collaborate together.
CONTEMPORANEITY seeks expanded visions of the contemporary for dance in Toronto. Reimagining values of beauty, virtuosity, innovation, tradition, ritual, and meaning through diverse experimentation and divergent aesthetics.
Flowchart began as a studio series in 2014 and has grown into a robust recurring series, now housed at Dancemakers. Flowchart is a series of multidisciplinary performance presenting short works by artists engaging with the choreographic from the perspective of multiple fields; work which pays attention to organizing movement in space and having it be affected by/also itself affect time. By contextualizing non-dance works within and alongside the choreographic, an engagement with these ideas becomes newly visible.
They encourages artists to approach their process in a way that is new to them, and offers a platform for experimentation.
Hub14 is downtown Toronto’s 100 per cent self-sustaining, artist-run art and performance incubator. Hub14’s focus engages dance, theatre, multimedia and interdisciplinary work through the lens of independent contemporary performance, studio research and artist residencies.
Founded in 1983, Native Earth Performing Arts is dedicated to developing, producing and presenting professional artistic expressions of the indigenous experience in Canada. Through stage productions (theatre, dance and multidisciplinary art), new script development, apprenticeships and internships, Native Earth seeks to fulfill a community of artistic visions.
Dance Immersion is a not-for-profit organization that produces, promotes and supports dancers and dances of the African Diaspora. The organization was founded in 1994 by Vivine Scarlett and was established to address the need for additional presentation, skill development and networking opportunities for dance artists of African descent.
Dancemakers is a Canadian dance centre offering long-term fully resourced residencies for choreographers from Canada and abroad. Alongside the main programming of Dancemakers resident artists, the centre offers general resources to the dance community such as training, subsidized studio and theatre rental and other residency and performance sharing programs.
Dance Matters Dance Productions produces four programs: the Presentation Series, the Post-Performance Discussion, Production Education Workshops and Commission and Residency Program. Through these programs, Dance Matters provides the Toronto dance community with a fully produced and administrated performance platform; educates and informs the artists and audience about dance and its many forms, disciplines and artistic viewpoints through moderated discussion sessions; educates artists on how to better prepare themselves for future show productions and related activities; helps artists with their individual success and enables the success of the community.
DanceWorks curates and presents diverse contemporary dance programs created by Canadian and international dance artists that attract, challenge and entertain audiences in the Greater Toronto Area. The DanceWorks Mainstage and Co Works series highlight the work of local and touring artists who are at the vanguard of contemporary dance.
You are invited to Discover Dance, a free, all-ages, lunch hour series, where you will be introduced to some of Toronto’s incredible dance artists. Hosted by the award-winning choreographer Nova Bhattacharya, Discover Dance is an hour packed with dance and conversation. You will have the opportunity to see dance and share your thoughts; to hear stories and ask questions; and to discover how dance forms from near and far are being woven in Toronto’s cultural scene.
Older & Reckless describes itself as “an intimate performance series featuring work from older artists who continue to grow more reckless as time goes by.” Conceived and curated by Claudia Moore, Older & Reckless provides an opportunity for seasoned dance artists to perform short works and a chance for the audience to see some of Canada’s most celebrated choreographers. The series also includes Old & Young and Reckless Together, pairing senior and emerging or mid-career artists.
Presented by Kaeja d’Dance, Porch View Dances is an artistic and community initiative that shares the stories of everyday families’ lives through dance on the porches of their own homes. Professional choreographers team with families in Toronto’s Seaton Village to create dance works that animate the neighbourhood.
Harbourfront Centre presents Torque, an international contemporary dance series, which explores the broad scope of contemporary dance by some of the most exciting choreographers in the world today. Each of these striking pieces push the boundaries of movement, broadening our understanding of dance as a way to communicate ideas and emotion.
The Toronto Dance Community Love-In is home to the silent love revolution that is taking place in Canadian dancemaking. The Love-In is committed to fostering progressive initiatives and projects that support the growth and expansion of contemporary dance practice in Toronto. Initiatives include contemporary, experimental training for professional artists provided by a local, national and international faculty; community development; the summer intensive Summer LoveIn and the associated presentation series, ps: we are all here.
Since 1986, World Stage has evolved into one of Canada’s most provocative season-length international contemporary performance series. Every year, Harbourfront Centre brings innovative and groundbreaking performance leaders from both the international and local arts communities to World Stage. Committed to bold curation and audience accessibility, World Stage programming continues to foster opportunities for cultural development and the artistic exchange of ideas.
Dusk Dances is an outdoor dance festival that brings high quality contemporary and traditional dance to public parks. As dusk descends, a theatrical host leads the audience - which invariably includes children, dog walkers and local residents - to eclectic dance pieces that unfold in different areas of the park. Choreographers from various backgrounds are invited to perform a ten-minute piece inspired by the park’s natural environment. Audiences are invited on a pay-what-you-can basis to an innovative site-specific festival, which is not only an artistic event but a social and cultural one as well.
CanAsian Dance presents and cultivates exceptional dance inspired by Asian ideas and expressions. Led by Artistic Director Denise Fujiwara, CanAsian has earned critical acclaim for its world-class programming.
The Contact Dance International Film Festival celebrates films featuring momentum-based dance and/or partnering techniques. It is a biennial event led by Artistic Director Kathleen Rea under REAson d’etre dance productions and includes contact improvisation workshops and jams.
An annual festival in Toronto dedicated to the exploration of contemporary circus arts from multidisciplinary perspectives.
Dance: made in canada/fait au canada (d:mic/fac) is a biennial summer festival of contemporary dance. d:mic/fac presents both new and existing works by established and emerging choreographers working in Canada. Since its inception in 2001, d:mic/fac Festival has presented a cross-section of contemporary Canadian dance makers.
Taking place at Harbourfront Centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre, Dance Ontario’s Dance Weekend features an incredible lineup of dance artists over three days.
Dusk Dances is an outdoor dance festival that brings high quality contemporary and traditional dance to public parks. As dusk descends, a theatrical host leads the audience to eclectic dance pieces that unfold in different areas of a park. Dusk Dances is an artistic, social and cultural event all at once.
Manifesto Festival of Community and Culture features an innovative program of events across the city, culminating in a massive free outdoor concert at Yonge-Dundas Square in the heart of downtown Toronto. The festival brings together hundreds of artists and performers with thousands of attendees to unite, energize, support and celebrate Toronto’s vibrant and diverse music and arts community, including an explosive event celebrating the best in bboying/bgirling and the full spectrum of street dance art forms.
For two weeks, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, a professional Canadian theatre company dedicated to the development and presentation of queer theatre, is transformed into a hotbed of experimentation, with artists exploring new possibilities in theatre, dance, music and performance art. Established in 1979, the Rhubarb Festival is Canada’s longest-running festival of new performance.
The Salsa on St. Clair street festival is an annual, free celebration of Latin culture that transforms a stretch of St. Clair Avenue West (from Winona Dr. to Christie St.) into a large salsa party featuring live music, dance lessons, Latin food and family fun.
The SooRyu Festival showcases traditional, modern and contemporary creations of all dance forms. The festival aims to create a harmonious community in which artists from different countries and in different stages of their careers might mingle and collaborate. Genres presented include traditional African, Japanese, butoh, Chinese, Mexican, aboriginal, Korean, contemporary, modern ballet, classical Indian and more.
SummerWorks is an annual curated performance festival of theatre, dance, music and live art. The Festival is widely recognized as one of the most vital platforms for launching new Canadian work – locally, nationally, and internationally.
Founded in 1989, the annual Toronto Fringe Festival is part of a worldwide network of indie theatre festivals that include visual art, buskers, site-specific performances and more. Celebrating under-represented voices and those on the margins of the performing arts world, the Fringe features over 150 shows in over thirty venues across Toronto.
The Toronto International Tap Festival bridges generations, perspectives, and cultural backgrounds, while committing to present full length works to elevate the local scene alongside international leaders.
The Toronto Tango Festival is a four-day celebration of Argentine tango, with practicas, milongas, performances, workshops for all levels and more.
New Blue Emerging Dance is an organization that aims to help catalyze the careers of emerging dance artists within the dance community. Their mission is to help dance artists build and maintain multigenerational relationships with other artists, arts businesses and organizations while also providing a platform for artists to share their ideas, engage communities and push creative boundaries.
Nuit Blanche Toronto is a free, annual, city-wide celebration of contemporary art, produced by the City of Toronto in collaboration with Toronto’s arts community. For one sleepless night, from sunset to sunrise, the familiar is discarded and Toronto is transformed into an artistic playground for a series of exhilarating contemporary art experiences in unexpected public spaces. Since 2006, this award-winning event has featured nearly 1,300 art installations by approximately 4,600 artists.
La crème de la crème in urban dance unite to bring you the freshest, rawest and most refined dance battles and dance theatre shows in Canada. Curated and powered by the award winning company Gadfly.
Hosted by University of Toronto at Hart House Theatre, this university dance festival was created in 1995 as an avenue to provide dance groups on campus the opportunity to perform on stage for an audience. The festival includes, but is not limited to, jazz, ballet, ballroom, modern, contact improvisation, hip hop, musical theatre, Irish, Latin and Egyptian belly dancing.
UNITY Charity is a Toronto-based organization that teaches youth positive expression through beatboxing, breakdancing, spoken word, poetry and graffiti. The UNITY festival runs over four days and celebrates hip hop in its diversity.
Established in 1987 the annual Weesageechak Begins to Dance festival presents new works and works in development by indigenous performing artists. Over two weeks in November, Weesageechak brings together emerging, mid-career and established artists to develop and showcase contemporary indigenous theatre, dance and interdisciplinary creations for stage.
The Burlington Performing Arts Centre programming is packed full of celebrated Canadian icons, inspiring family entertainment, enchanting holiday favourites, and exceptionally talented performers. The centre is proud to be able to contribute to Burlington’s growing reputation as a vibrant and thriving city, by bringing the best in performing arts to the stage and engaging the community with meaningful arts experiences.
Guelph Dance, established in 1998, aims to engage and enthrall. The annual festival strives to be a nationally recognized leader in contemporary dance by offering a platform for professional, new-generation and youth dance artists to share their visions, push creative boundaries and engage community audiences.
One of the main cultural venues in the Greater Kingston region, the City of Kingston’s Grand Theatre serves as the prime performing arts venue for hundreds of professional and amateur performances annually including ballet, modern dance, theatre, variety, musicals, comedy and more.
Dance at The Registry Theatre features Ontario-based dance artists who excel at engaging with the community through public outreach initiatives such as workshops, master classes and talkback sessions.
FLUX London Dance Festival presents local and national artists in an annual dance festival showcasing diverse perspectives within contemporary dance. The festival endeavours to increase awareness and understanding of dance in London through performances, workshops and community events while developing the infrastructure and leadership to sustain a vibrant local dance community throughout the year.
The Milton Centre for the Arts offers performing, visual, media and literary arts experiences for all ages in its state-of-the-art facility. The Centre presents dance films as well as live performance.
Living Arts Centre
Established in 1997, The Living Arts Centre is a not-for-profit, charitable organization that operates the premiere arts and culture facility located in the heart of Mississauga, Canada’s sixth largest city. Dedicated to being a place for global engagement in the arts, the centre houses a stunning landmark atrium and three presentation ready theatres. With a mission to promote Arts for Life, the centre plays host to hundreds of performing arts, educational, community, and corporate events and activities each year. The Living Arts Centre is a dynamic and accessible gathering place for creativity that welcomes more than 400,000 discerning and culturally diverse visitors annually.
Presenting over 200 shows a year, the Capitol Centre is housed in an 1929 theatre in the heart of downtown North Bay. It continues to provide North Bay and surrounding communities with quality arts and entertainment.
The Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts is a cultural venue that presents over forty performances a year, providing patrons with the opportunity to see world-class concerts, international artists, award-winning Canadian musicians, dance, live theatre and more in the heart of downtown Oakville.
Canada Dance Festival 2016 will set the nation’s capital alight with challenging new ideas showcased through powerful movement and beautiful movers – all telling uniquely Canadian stories through dance.
Presenting ballet, contemporary and bold new movement ideas is all part of the National Arts Centre season, as is co-producing, which invests in the creation and development of new Canadian and international works. Since 2000, NAC Dance has co-produced more than fifty new works, while acting as co-production partner of the Canada Dance Festival.
Ottawa Dance Directive (ODD) is a professional contemporary dance centre located at Arts Court in downtown Ottawa. ODD houses innovative dance programming including resident Compagnie ODD and Series Dance 10, as well as training and resource sharing.
Public Energy is an animator of contemporary dance, theatre, performance, and interdisciplinary work. They are dedicated to supporting the creation, touring, and presentation of innovative contemporary performing arts, and to developing audiences that are knowledgeable and passionate. As a presenter, Public Energy programs both well-known artists and new artists; develops audiences through a variety of activities; participates in national initiatives that move dance forward; commissions and co-commissions new work from significant artists and commits to their presentation; serves as a venue and touring destination for artists; and supports new work and new directions for artists through residencies, and financial and administrative support.
Opened last year in downtown St. Catharines, FirstOntario Performing Arts Centre is a new state-of-the-art multi-venue presenting music, theatre, comedy, children’s entertainment and dance in over seventy-five performances throughout the year.
Over the course of eleven days, more than 100 performances and events featuring theatre, dance, music, poetry and visual art take place in this annual event in Stratford and Perth County, with audience favourites, new works and compelling works-in-progress housed in a wide range of venues.
Photo Credits: Top down, left to right:
Soweto Skeleton Movers. Photo by Bruce Zinger. | Throwdown Collective. Photo by SVPhotography.