About

Canada’s largest and most comprehensive dance program.
Theatre Students

ABOUT

Dance

We prepare dance professionals who are strong, innovative, articulate and thoughtful-who are engaged leaders in diverse communities.

From the beginning, the vision of the York University Dance Department has been to produce graduates who make important contributions to the field in all areas, including performance, choreography, teaching, writing, and research. To advance this mandate, the department has regularly revised and expanded its curriculum since opening its doors in September 1970. In that first-year, under the guidance of the founding Chair, Grant Strate, five faculty members welcomed the inaugural class of 32 majors. Not long after, in 1976, the department achieved another milestone when it launched Canada’s first master’s program in dance.

Theatre Students

Fast forward to today and the department of Dance also has a PhD and an MFA program. The field of Dance has broadened in the past 50 years to include technological advances that have pushed the field to new innovations in education, creation and dissemination. We have refined our curriculum offerings to respond to the current contemporary climate and to offer a spectrum of study options that will serve our students for the future. Our alumni represent the full range of active dance professionals––creative and performing artists, scholars, educators and administrators––who contribute significantly to diverse cultural scenes locally, nationally and internationally.

The faculty members in York’s Department of Dance are committed to student-centered, experiential learning. Our courses are designed with the diversity of our student population in mind, and students’ multiple ways of learning. We put knowledge into action, providing students with studio, lecture, and seminar experiences that will facilitate deep embodied and intellectual learning. Our mission is to inspire, develop and enhance creative and critical thinking.

Our curriculum is focused on preparing students for a range of dance-related professions and the step-by-step building of the transferable skills they will need to succeed. In addition to studio dance technique which we view as the basis of all our undergraduate degrees, we also train our students in critical thinking and writing. Such skills will provide a strong foundation for whatever career graduates may choose. Above all else, we aim to inspire leadership skills in our students, so they go out into the world prepared to be active innovators in the global field of dance.

HIGHLIGHTS

A Brief History

1970
The Dance Department is founded by Grant Strate.
1976
The Department of Dance establishes the first Master’s program in Dance in Canada.
1988
The York Dance Ensemble (YDE) is founded by Donna Krasnow and debuts with a staging of José Limón’s A Choreographic Offering. Current YDE Artistic Director Susan Lee was in this first ensemble.
2005
The Accolade buildings (East and West) are built, greatly expanding the Faculty and creating the facilities in which the Department of Dance now resides.
2015
The Faculty of Fine Arts changes its name to the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design (AMPD).
2016
Theatre at York, the YDE, and the Digital Media Program collaborate to produce a multimedia performance of Aristophes’ The Birds directed by Yvette Nolan.
2016
Dance Student’s Association (DSA) launches Bloom, a showcase of student work.

FACULTY AND STAFF

People of Dance

Contract Faculty

Jessica Runge

Administrative Staff

Flannery Muise

Administrative Staff

Tom Osborne

Syreeta Hector

Contract Faculty

Evadne Kelly

Contract Faculty

Wesley McKenzie

Suzanne Liska

Shawn Newman

Contract Faculty

Nikolaos Markakis

Contract Faculty

Tanya Berg

Contract Faculty

Shawn Boulet

Jennifer Jimenez

Course Director

Susan Lee

Assistant Professor

Freya Björg Olafson

Professor Emeritus

Mary Jane Warner

Professor Emeritus

Selma Odom

Professor Emeritus

Karen Bowes-Sewell

Course Director

Jennifer Bolt

Associate Professor

Modesto Mawulolo Amegago

Associate Professor

Patrick Alcedo

Full-time Musician

Michael W. Leach

Full-time Musician

Erik Geddis

Associate Professor

Susan Cash

Associate Professor

Darcey Callison

Course Director

Keiko Kitano Thomson

Course Director

Julia Sasso

Course Director

Lisa Sandlos

Course Director

John Ottmann

Course Director

Tracey Norman

Course Director

Blake Martin

Course Director

Terril Maguire

Course Director

Helen Jones

Assistant Professor

Catherine Glasser

Assistant Professor

Bridget Cauthery

Professor Emeritus

Claire Wootten

Professor Emeritus

Holly Small

Professor Emerita

Barbara Sellers-Young

Associate Professor

Danielle Robinson

Professor Emeritus

Mary-Elizabeth Manley

Associate Professor

William Mackwood

Professor Emeritus

Donna Krasnow

Associate Professor

Mary Fogarty Woehrel

Professor

Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt

Professor Emerita

Anna Blewchamp

Professor Emeritus

Carol Anderson

DANCE AT YORK STUDENTS

Getting Involved

Dance Students Association

Dance Students Association (DSA): The DSA is a student-run association that encourages and coordinates services and activities to enhance the University experience for students in the Department of Theatre.

Creative Arts Student Association

Creative Arts Student Association: Representing students in all areas of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design, the Creative Arts Student Association (CASA) sponsors events throughout the year, including coffee houses in the Fireside Lounge every Wednesday with free coffee and themed snacks.