Home Artistic creation A unique dance residency program in Orillia, Opera House

A unique dance residency program in Orillia, Opera House



You can see the live dance performance in Orillia on October 15 outside the Orillia Public Library as part of the Orillia Jazz Festival.

The Orillia Center for Arts + Culture has partnered with Canada’s largest dance festival, Fall For Dance North (FFDN), to host a creative residency for Natasha Powell – artistic director of Holla Jazz (Toronto). Powell is producing a new jazz work, titled Together again, with 11 students from the Ryerson University * dance department at the Creative School.

The work is inspired by choir girls and the lives of women at the beginning of the 20th century. Powell, along with Holla Jazz Company member Tereka Tyler-Davis, will train undergraduate dancers in vernacular jazz while entering an exciting world of creative process at the Gordon Lightfoot Theater at the Orillia Opera House.

Powell notes: “I see jazz as a reflection of cultural memory. It is a way for communities, families and society to interact and share stories, build relationships and celebrate each other.

The opportunity offered dancers a bridge between their pre-vocational training and the professional realm – a gift to students who endured a pandemic during two years of college training.

The Ryerson * program provides the highest level of artistic education to exceptionally talented artists and practitioners who will grow into world-class artists, leaders and citizens of the world.

The students were staying at Lakehead University’s Orillia campus in residence, and the Orillia Center worked with downtown restaurants – Rustica Pizza Vino, Eclectic Cafe, Picnic, Brewery Bay Food Co., and Tre Sorelle – to create a plan. meals for invited students.

“Dancing all together in Orillia, immersed in this jazz process, strengthened my experience and taught me so much about the history and social aspect of this form,” said fourth-year dancer Sierra Kellman-Ashley. Sierra, along with actress Monique Pascall, will also be teaching dance and drama to high school students while visiting our community.

Equally enthusiastic was Vicki St. Denys, director of dance at Ryerson *.

“We are delighted to collaborate with FFDN, Artist-in-Residence Natasha Powell and the Orillia Center for Arts + Culture on this exciting research project,” said St. Denys.

“Jazz dance has been an integral part of our dance program for as long as I can remember, so creating opportunities for students to further delve into the rich history of this extraordinary art form has been a dream come true. look forward to exploring, creating and sharing the spirit of jazz dance, ”added St. Denys.

“The Orillia Center for Arts + Culture is dedicated to promoting residency programs where artists have the support they need to engage in their creative process in deep and meaningful ways,” says Creative Director Kate Hilliard.

“The experience of visiting professionals includes an opportunity to share newly developed work with the Orillia audience. In turn, our community has the chance to participate in performances that might not travel to this region. We are delighted to bring these talented artists to Orillia to create an original piece of vernacular jazz dance and we can’t wait to share their talent with you!

During the residency, Canadian filmmaker Jeremy Mimnagh created a short documentary to capture Powell’s creative process with dance students. With the support of an Ontario Arts Council partnership grant between the Orillia Center and the Orillia Opera, Mimnagh also worked with young opera teams to impart the best camera techniques for live performances.

You can see Powell’s dance performance live in Orillia on October 15, 2021 at 6 p.m. outside in the public library courtyard as part of the Orillia Jazz Festival just before Laila Biali’s opening on the main stage at 7:30 p.m.

If you can’t make it to the movies, watch Jeremy Mimnagh’s documentary film here. Powell’s new performance is also premiering at the FFDN Festival in Toronto in various parks. See details here.

Follow the residency and the project over the next few weeks on Facebook and Instagram:
Facebook: www.facebook.com/orilliacentre
Instagram: @orilliacentre and @ffdnorth
For more information, contact: [email protected]

* The name of the university is currently under review by the Standing Strong Working Group (Mash Koh Wee Kah Pooh Win). We respect the conversations that take place within our community about the name of the university and the history it represents to members of our Indigenous community.




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