9 Toronto Dance Projects Awarded The INCUBATE Grant

March 28, 2011 - Boundary crossing, multi-disciplinary dance projects awarded support for development Toronto Arts Council's INCUBATE program, now in its third year, has awarded grants totalling $75,000 to nine Dance projects being developed by Toronto arts organizations for international festivals and presenters.

Projects chosen for seed funding range from innovative urban dance productions by young artists, to interpretations of award-winning Canadian poetry by our most senior, internationally renowned contemporary dance choreographers.

INCUBATE 2011 is funded through a contribution of $25,000 from the City of Toronto through Toronto Arts Council and $50,000 from Luminato, Toronto's Festival of Arts and Creativity through Toronto Arts Foundation.

“We received many eloquent proposals," said Claire Hopkinson, Executive Director of Toronto Arts Council and Foundation. “Interesting themes, such as migration and identity, are emerging from the dance community. We are pleased that the Incubate program can provide seed funding to support great Toronto artists to pursue such imaginative work.”

“Luminato is committed to the development and creation of new artistic works and is proud to partner with the Toronto Arts Council in support of this important program,” said Janice Price, CEO, Luminato. Chris Lorway, Artistic Director, Luminato added: “We are extremely impressed with the quality and diversity of the project proposals and look forward to seeing these projects come to life.”

Laurence Lemieux, co-artistic director and co-founder of Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie and a member of this year’s INCUBATE jury, commented “The proposals were fascinating, and I was further impressed with the level of articulation in the proposals. They gave me great confidence in the artists.” Another jury member, Lata Pada, a dancer and choreographer of classical and contemporary Bharatanatyam dance added “I was really excited about the interdisciplinary nature of applications.”

INCUBATE is a juried program, designed to provide seed money to facilitate the early planning stages of project proposals being developed for presentation to international festivals and presenters. Positioned to play a pivotal role for Toronto arts organizations, INCUBATE is often the first major investment for artistic work which later comes to fruition with great national and international impact. The maximum grant available is 85% of eligible expenses up to $10,000. This year's program was dance projects. In 2009 the focus was on music, and in 2010 theatre. The program will continue to target different artistic disciplines in future years.

INCUBATE Funded Projects 2011


Awarded $9,000 to document the creation of a new work for six dancers from May 30 to December 16, 2011 to make a promotional package that will be sent to national and international presenters. The work, choreographed by Heidi Strauss, is based in part on interviews with anthropologist Zoe Wool about the process of enculturation and the identity of the individual within a group.

Fujiwara Dance Inventions

Awarded $10,000 to create and document a new work for international touring. Choreographed by Denise Fujiwara, the work is based on the award-winning poetry collection Eunoia by Christian Bok. Fujiwara will meet with presenters in Vancouver (PuSH Festival), Scotland (Edinburgh Festival) and Germany to sell the work. It will be premiered at the High Performance Rodeo in Calgary in January 2012.


Awarded $7,500 to create a new work for touring. Klorofyl is an urban dance work choreographed by collective members Ofilio Portillo and Apolonia Velasquez, under the mentorship of Heidi Strauss. A workshop will take place from February 21 to April 20, 2011; excerpts of the work-in-progress will be presented at the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival in June 2011.

hum dansoundart not just a dance company

Awarded $7,300 to create a new work for international touring, from September to October 2011. Inspired by the work of American painter Phillip Guston and British playwright Sarah Kane’s play Cleansed, the work is choreographed by Susanna Hood. Workshops will be videotaped to create a work-in-progress package for potential presenters.

ipsita Nova Dance Projects

Awarded $9,000 to create a new work for international touring, from March 28 to April 15, 2011. The Palace of Illusionsis a theatrical re-imagining of the Mahabarat from the point of view of a female character, choreographed by Nova Battacharya with text by playwright Sharada Eswar.

Nightwood Theatre

Awarded $7,500 to create a promotional video of The Usher Project for international presenters in May 2011. This multi-disciplinary, site-specific work fuses theatre, dance, music and video in an exploration of the Gothic aesthetic and its relation to feminism. A deaf performer is part of the ensemble, and all performers will perform in American Sign Language, which is also the basis for the choreography. The production will be presented in Sweden at the Women Playwrights International Conference in August 2012.

pounds per square inch performance

Awarded $7,200 to create a new multi-disciplinary work by Gerald Trentham for touring to the US. Apology investigates “the falling body, the falling nation from triumph, the shame of both the oppressed and the oppressor”. Collaborators on the project include cisual artist Kaersten Colvin-Woodruff and choreographer Denise Fujiwara as outside eyes. Work will take place from April to October 2011.

Red Sky Performance

Awarded $10,000 to create and document a new work for international touring in collaboration with the New Zealand dance company Black Grace. The Migration Project explores the relationships between the First Peoples of Canada, New Zealand Maori and Indigenous Samoan peoples, and the catalysts for and impact of migration. The work takes place from May 30, 2011 to July 18, 2011 and includes developmental stages in New Zealand and Toronto. Documentation is intended not only to promote the work but to increase appreciate for Indigenous cultures worldwide.

Volcano Non-Profit Productions Inc

Awarded $7,500 to create a new work for international touring. Until We Say Yes is a multidisciplinary dance-theatre project examining love and migration, choreographed by artistic associate Kate Alton. Meetings with potential presenters and partners are scheduled throughout 2011 and a workshop will take place November 4-18, 2011.

Incubate Jury

Franco Boni is the Artistic Director of The Theatre Centre in Toronto, where he has programmed performance-based interdisciplinary works from across Canada. With Jennifer Tarver, he established the Centre’s Residency Program to further support the development of new works. Boni also served as Festival Director of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s Rhubarb Festival for three years and Artistic Producer of the SummerWorks Theatre Festival for five years. He is the inaugural recipient of the Ken McDougall award for emerging directors; in 2007 he was awarded the Rita Davies Cultural Leadership Award, recognizing his leadership in the development of arts and culture in Toronto.

Laurence Lemieux is co-artistic director and co-founder of Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie. While dancing for some of the dance world’s most prominent choreographers, such as Bill Coleman, William Douglas, Margie Gillis, Christopher House, James Kudelka, Benoît Lachambre, Tere O’Connor, and Jean-Pierre Perreault, Lemieux has continued to pursue her career as a choreographer and artistic director, producing over twenty-five works. Her work Varenka Varenka! has been presented in Canada and Russia; Arc, created with the Scottish visual arts collective Icehouse, was performed at the Tramway during Glasgow Mayfest.

Chris Lorway is the Artistic Director of Luminato, Toronto’s Festival of Arts + Creativity. He was previously a Senior Consultant at AEA Consulting in New York, where he worked on strategic initiatives with Carnegie Hall, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Edinburgh Festivals, San Francisco Opera, and Jacob’s Pillow. He also worked on many large-scale development projects including the West Kowloon Cultural District in Hong Kong, redeveloping the World Trade Center site in New York, and “Bring New Orleans Back,” a city-led commission that examined how culture could be used as a catalyst to rebuild a major American city.

Lata Pada is a practitioner in classical and contemporary Bharatanatyam, trained under India’s eminent gurus Kalaimamani Kalyanasundaram and Padmabhushan Kalanidhi Narayanan. As artistic director and principal choreographer of SAMPRADAYA Dance Creations, she brings a contemporary worldview to her creations, and her multi-disciplinary collaborations with leading artists and designers of India and Canada have resulted in dance works recognized for their innovation and excellence. Her works have toured India, England and the United States, as well as Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Cuba, and Columbia. Through her company, she established DanceIntense, an international choreographic residency now in its third year, with international teachers and participants, in partnership with SAMPAD, a South Asian multi-arts agency in the U.K.

For more information contact Dance Officer Soraya Peerbaye at 416-392-6802 ext 221 or soraya@torontoartscouncil.org.