York Dance Ensemble

About the YDE

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About the York Dance Ensemble

The York Dance Ensemble (YDE) is the resident company of the Department of Dance.  Since 1988, the YDE has been providing upper level dancers, choreographers, musicians and production crew with pre-professional experience creating, producing, performing, and touring in a company setting.  Students experience a range of performance venues, from galleries, schools and other alternative sites to fully produced shows in the McLean Performance Studio and the Sandra Faire Ivan Fecan Theatre at York University.

Since its establishment, the YDE has commissioned dozens of new works by leading Canadian and international artists; has restaged classic works celebrating both Canadian and international dance heritage; has toured schools throughout Ontario, New Brunswick as well as Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal; and has launched the careers of scores of outstanding young Canadian dance artists.

History of the York Dance Ensemble

In the Ensemble’s debut season, founding artistic director Donna Krasnow staged José Limón’s classic work A Choreographic Offering. Other historical program highlights have been the Company’s premiere of Anna Blewchamp’s reconstruction of Canadian dance pioneer Gweneth Lloyd’s 1942 ballet The Wise Virgins; a production of The Shakers by American master choreographer Doris Humphrey, restaged by Mary Jane Warner and Barbara Hausler; and the renowned Montréal dance artist Françoise Sullivan’s restaging of her 1948 duet Dualité.

Complementing the Ensemble’s commitment to the preservation of modern dance heritage is its ongoing focus on the development and presentation of new work. In recent years, the Ensemble has premiered pieces by Carol Anderson, Julia Aplin, Susan Cash, Denise Duric and Bill Coleman, Matjash Mrozewski, Andrea Nann, Yvonne Ng, Harold Rheaume, Holly Small, Stephanie Thompson, and Luc Tremblay, to name just a few.

Many leading Canadian choreographers have also created exciting new works with the inspiring young dancers of the YDE.  Among them:

  • AMPD Department of Dance faculty members Carol Anderson, Anna Blewchamp, Karen Bowes-Sewell, Darcey Callison, Susan Cash, Donna Krasnow, and Holly Small.
  • Québec choreographers, including Daniel Bélanger, Harold Rhaume, Jean-Louis Morin, and Luc Tremblay.
  • Toronto choreographers, including Patricia Beatty, Peter Chin, Bill Coleman, Philip Drube, Robert Glumbek, Randy Glynn, Danny Grossman, Maxine Heppner, Terrill Maguire, Michael Sean Marye, Matjash Mrozewski, Andrea Nann, and Yvonne Ng.

The Ensemble has also worked with notable international artists such as Dalcroze Eurhythmics specialists Karin Greenhead (UK) and Gregory Ristow (US),  and American choreographers Daniel Lewis, Phyllis Lamhut, Richard Haisma, Dana Reitz and Peter London.

Artistic Directors of the Ensemble

Donna Krasnow (1988-1990, 1996-1997, 2002-2003)
Anna Blewchamp (1993-1994)
Darcey Callison (1994-1995)
Luc Tremblay (1997 – 1999)
Sara Porter (2000 – 2001)
Susan Cash (2003 – 2011)
Holly Small (1990-1993, 1999-2000,  2001-2002, 2011-2015)
Susan Lee (2016-2017)

2016-2017 Season

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York Dance Ensemble: SPACE/TIME/LINE

Feb 15, 2015 to Feb 17, 2017 | 7:30 PM

The York Dance Ensemble, the lively young repertory company of York University’s Department of Dance, presents its annual showcase concert under the artistic direction of Professor Susan Lee.

On the program:

Kappa Malong Malong, a sparkling dance choreographed by Corazon Inigo.  A traditional dance of the Maranao, the people of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte in the Southern Philippines, Kappa Malong Malong is a stunning demonstration of the different ways of wearing the tubular cloth called the malong.

Ode to Isadora is a luscious work for 19 dancers inspired by the artistry and philosophy of dance pioneer and icon Isadora Duncan choreographed by Ashley Burton.

b12, choreographed by Rose Hajas, b12 is a darker work that explores the dissolution of self.

The Maze is a contemporary dance project that serves as a vehicle to explore empowerment. A true marriage between music and dance, the piece creates an experience of constantly intertwining relationships for the audience. Choreography by: Kiera Shaw

Allegro Mysterioso choreographed by Professor Emerita, Carol Anderson, explores the human character as it sheds preconceptions of self-image and impossible romantic ideals, while breaking the taboo of the silent dancer.

Avium Redux choreographed by Professor Susan Lee,is a meditation on bird flight and behaviour as metaphor for human interaction. Just as a flock of birds effortlessly swirls in effortless, ever-changing patterns, so humans are guided by group and the individual choices.

Admission: $18 | $12 (advance purchase until Sunday, Feb. 12)

Box Office
: 416.736.5888 | ampd.yorku.ca/boxoffice

Location: Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan Theatre

2015-2016 Season

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York Dance Ensemble: “Beginnings & Endings”

Feb 11, 2015 to Feb 13, 2015

The York Dance Ensemble, the lively young repertory company of York University’s Department of Dance, presents its annual showcase concert under the artistic direction of Professor Holly Small.

On the program:

Counterpoint cloud/project, a sparkling dance choreographed by Professor Carol Anderson, set to Steve Reich’s music for eleven electric guitars, that fills the stage with vibrant, ever-shifting swirls of movement that gather, build and float apart like clouds on a breezy summer day

Saman, a lively, celebratory, traditional dance-music work from Indonesia, staged by guest artist Shabrina Mardevi

The Tipping Point, a full-blooded, highly kinetic piece featuring intricate partnering and ensemble dancing, choreographed by alumna Tracey Norman to an original score by music student Gregory Reid

Flesh and a Broken Whisper, a tour de force solo dance charting the classic hero’s journey, created by alumnus John Ottman, set to music by Erik Geddis, and performed on alternate nights by alumna Justine Comfort and YDE member Laura Armstrong.

Twist of Fate, created by Holly Small with contributions from rehearsal assistants and YDE dancers, is a collaboration with York music Professor Casey Sokol. The piece is performed to Covering Oli –“Duets”for solo piano, a suite Sokol composed in response to the musical creativity of the late Canadian violinist/composer Oliver Schroer. Theatre Professor Ian Garrett created the lighting design for the production.

Admission: $18 | $12 advance purchase before Feb. 8

Box Office
: 416.736.5888

Location: Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan Theatre

2013-2014 Season

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Precious Metals

March 20, 21, 2014 | 7:30pm
March 22, 2014 | 2:00pm

The Department of Dance presents an evening of world premieres by Toronto’s Julia Sasso, Marie France Forcier, Holly Small and Montreal’s Tentacle Tribe.

Holly Small is the Artistic Director. William Mackwood is the Director of Design

Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan Theatre
Accolade East Building
York University | 4700 Keele Street

$20 | $15 Alumni | $12 students/seniors/CADA
Box Office 416.736.5888

Special Ensemble Performances:

Rite Redux

York Dance Ensemble at the AGO

7pm Wednesday February 19, 2014
2pm Sunday February 23, 2014
Walker Court, Art Gallery of Ontario
Included with admission

Presented in association with the exhibition The Great Upheaval: Masterpieces from the Guggenheim Collection 1910-1918, the York Dance Ensemble mounts a reprisal of sections from their 2013 25th anniversary production Rite Redux. For more information please click here.

2012-2013 Season

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In 2012-13 the York Dance Ensemble celebrated its 25th anniversary.  Activities to commemorate this milestone included a much anticipated reunion of Ensemble alumni from the past quarter century, and the creation of Rite Redux, a new presentation of Le Sacre du printemps  (The Rite of Spring), co-produced by the Departments of Dance and Music, and partnered alongside a special topic conference at York U entitled Sacre Celebration: Revisiting, Reflecting, Revisioning presented by the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design with the Society of Dance History Scholars.

Marking the 100th anniversary of the premiere of the original composed by Igor Stravinsky and choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky, our new version was co-choreographed by faculty members Carol Anderson, Susan Cash, Darcey Callison and Holly Small in a feat of collaboration never before attempted by the Department of Dance in collaboration with faculty from the York University  Department of Music. Former YDE members were invited to “come home” and celebrate with us at the Sandra Faire Ivan Fecan Theatre.

2011-2012 Season

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The York Dance Ensemble’s 2011-12 Season began with a guest appearance by renowned Korean dance artist Mi Young Kim performing a traditional shaman dance for her 60th Anniversary Celebration at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. As our season progressed, YDE participated in the mounting of two MFA Dance candidate productions: Turbulence: a dance about the economy by Shannon Roberts and Miss(ing) Julie by Nancy Greyeyes.

The season saw us welcome four music majors to the Ensemble, which allowed us to delve deeply into interdisciplinary collaboration.  Early in the New Year, we premiered our ongoing structured improvisation, Suddenly Everyone…  at the Eleanor Winters Gallery, Winters College.  The next incarnation of this evolving collaboration was presented in February in the MFA Dance production Temenos, with the final version premiering in March for the YDE’s showcase Tangled Dances, in the Sandra Faire Ivan Fecan Theatre.

With a long tradition of producing works by our most talented undergraduate choreographers, this year the YDE was proud to feature BFA/BEd candidate Anne Goad’s work It’s Just What You Do, both in its original duet form and as a sextet developed especially for our showcase production Tangled Dances.  We were also thrilled to include a performance by Dance PhD candidate Shae Zukiwsky, who created and performed in an elegant new work for the full company entitled Resistance—also a component of Zukiwsky’s doctoral research.

In addition to performances presented at York University, the YDE also performed for audiences in Sudbury, Guelph, and downtown Toronto.

Our five-day tour to Sudbury saw the YDE join forces with the earthdancers company for a series of nine sold-out performances to benefit several worthy environmental causes.   The company was received with tremendous enthusiasm.

Since the 2008 inauguration of the MFA program in Choreography & Dance Dramaturgy, the YDE has endeavoured to provide research opportunities for MFA Dance students.  In so doing, in 2011/12 the YDE embarked on a two-week intensive creation period with six First Year MFA students all exploring the theme of dreams, which culminated in the premiere of six new works presented in Guelph at Temple Studios and in Toronto at the Heliconian Hall.

Make a Booking

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In addition to its performance work within York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design the York Dance Ensemble maintains an active touring program, offering workshops, masterclasses, lecture-demonstrations and performances in schools and community centres. Programs are customized to accommodate the particular interests and requirements of the host organization.

Technical Requirements

For masterclasses and workshops:

  • Level wood or Marley or Rosco dance floor
  • Piano
  • Easy access to change room

For performances:

  • Performance space 36’ wide x 26’ deep
  • Level wood or Marley or Rosco dance floor
  • CD sound system
  • Easy access to change room
  • Basic lighting plot if possible

A minimum 2 hour set-up and 45 min. strike time are required for all performances.

For more information about the YDE’s community outreach programs and booking enquiries, contact yde@yorku.ca.