Shawn Newman

Academic Specialty: Performance, Critical Race and Gender Studies, Film

Biography: Described as “[one] of Toronto’s finest dancers” (Paula Citron, Toronto Life), Shawn has worked in both commercial and artistic ventures as a performer, choreographer, producer, actor, and director. He has danced for some of Canada’s foremost contemporary choreographers including Sasha Ivanochko, Heidi Strauss, and Matjash Mrozewski among many others. Some of Shawn’s own choreographic works include Three Shades of Mood for idDANSE, FEVER for 3M Dances, and Through My Eyes, which premiered in Shanghai, China.

Currently, he is completing his PhD in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University where his dissertation, “Unsettling Hegemonic Whiteness in Concert Dance: Praxis-based approaches in Concert Dance,” examines racial hierarchies in Canada’s arts and culture sector and their attendant nationalist multicultural paradigms. Additionally, other research and teaching interests include dis/ability in performance, popular culture, and jazz cultures in and through black, Indigenous, and trans studies. He has written for The Dance Current and has worked independently as an academic copy editor for various monographs and on special issues of the York-based journal, PUBLIC. His newest research will appear in an upcoming special issue of Theatre Research in Canada/Recherches théâtrales au Canada on Race and Performance in the US-Canada Borderlands. His article, “Racializing Spectatorship: Shifting Contexts, Fixed Perspectives,” examines the ways in which black queer masculinities have the capacity to unravel “Canadian values” of tolerance, acceptance, and diversity through analyzing spectatorship in both concert dance and activist contexts. Shawn teaches in the Department of Gender Studies and the Department of Film and Media at Queen’s and also in the Department of Dance at York University.

Suzanne Liska

Suzanne Liska is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and researcher specializing in dance improvisation and somatics since 1998. Suzanne has originated in roles for choreographers Rebecca Bryant, Maxine Heppner, Pam Johnson, Karen Kaeja, Susan Lee, Kathleen Rea and Takako Segawa. Suzanne has choreographed and performed works presented by DanceWorks CoWorks, Dusk Dances, Dance Matters, DARK, and Harbourfront Centre. As a company dancer for Kathleen Rea’s REAson d’etre Dance Productions, Suzanne danced in the three times Dora Award nominated “Long Live”. Upcoming projects include co-creations with celebrated dance artists Susan Lee and Takako Segawa, JJ Lee (visual artist), and Sabrina Budiman (videographer).

Receiving Bachelor Degrees in Arts and in Education, Suzanne has been a teacher since 2001. She teaches professional dancers, actors, community dancers, and high school and elementary school students. Her main classes include Conditioning, Somatics (Alexander Technique), Solo, Contact, and Ensemble Improvisation/Composition and advanced partnering. Suzanne has taught workshop intensives for Collective Gulp in Ottawa, CCDC in Calgary, CINN in Tokyo, and Leviathan studio in BC and for Ryerson University, George Brown and Humber College in Toronto. She has been a faculty teacher at the Randolph Academy for Performing Arts College program and a course director in York University’s Dance department.

Funded by a SSHRC award, she received her MFA in Choreography at York University. Investigating Contact Improvisation and the Alexander Technique within the choreographic process, she conducted her research in Tokyo and Toronto.

Areas of Research and Academic Specialty: Contemporary/Modern Dance, Somatics

Personal Website

Nikolaos Markakis

Nikolaos Markakis

Nikolaos Markakis was first introduced to dance at the Cretan Association of Toronto Knossos, where he studied Cretan Folkloric dance. He was introduced to western styles of dance in high school and followed his passion of movement to York University where he completed his BFA in 2013. Post his undergraduate degree, he has performed and choreographed with Half Second Echo and performed for; Susie Burpee, Valerie Calam, Marie-Josee Chartier, Alison Daley, David Earle, Hanna Keil, Shannon Litzenberger, Tracey Norman and Peter Randazzo. Nikolaos recently completed his MFA at York University where he researched the possibility of hybrid choreography between Cretan Folkloric and Contemporary dance practices. His main objective is to use his two embodied dance recourses in his creative practice to allow an organic approach, and a cultivating environment for his two worlds of dance to live in his choreography. Recently Nikolaos has been appointed to the Board of Directors of CADA-ON.

Mary Jane Warner

Mary Jane Warner

Mary Jane Warner has extensive teaching experience at all levels, from elementary to graduate school. She was the founder of the historical dance group Entrée Dance, which performed Renaissance and Baroque dance in schools and other community settings in the American Midwest, and directed the dance program at Kirkland College in Clinton, New York for six years before returning to Canada in 1980.

At York University, she has taught courses in dance history, notation, repertory, movement analysis, ballet and dance education. She has served as Chair of the Dance Department, director of the Graduate Program in Dance and associate dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts. Her expertise in dance pedagogy brought her onto the development team for the Province of Ontario high school dance curriculum.

Dr. Warner is a Fellow of the International Council of Kinetography Laban and a certified notation teacher and author of Laban Notation Scores: An International Bibliography, Volumes I – IV. She has provided certified checking for notation scores including works by Anna Sokolow and Leonide Massine, and has reconstructed works by Doris Humphrey and Marion Scott. She was the primary organizer and administrator of the Laban/Bartenieff Institute for Movement Studies Program at York University.

An authority on Canadian dance, Professor Warner published the bookToronto Dance Teachers: 1825-1925 as well as numerous articles on dance in Toronto. With colleague Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt, she developed a CD titled Shadow on the Prairie an interactive multimedia dance history tutorial that was released on the York Fine Arts recording label in 1997 – the first dance history CD-ROM ever published. Working in collaboration with York dance professor Selma Odom, she completed Canadian Dance: Visions and Stories, an anthology of Canadian dance published by Dance Collection Danse. She recently completed a SSHRC grant documenting the work of several senior choreographers. She was instrumental in the establishment of Toronto Heritage Dance, an ensemble with a mandate to raise awareness of our modern dance tradition through performance, educational and preservation activities. She has received funding through the Ministry of Health Promotion to place students in community centres to teach dance to older adults as part of the Healthy Communities Fund.

Areas of Research and Academic Specialty: Dance history, notation, repertory, movement analysis, ballet technique, dance education

Selma Odom

Selma Odom

Selma Odom is a dance historian and writer. Recruited to York University in 1972, she was founding director of the MA and PhD programs in dance and dance studies, the first offered in a Canadian university. She was awarded the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ Teaching Award in 1998 in recognition of her contributions to the advancement of academic excellence and the quality of graduate teaching at York University. As Professor Emerita and Senior Scholar, she continues to teach graduate seminars and serves as Adjunct Associate of the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies of the University of Toronto.

Dr. Odom’s research focuses on dance, music, education and gender. With a background in English literature and theatre history, she has published many articles and reviews since the 1960s in books, academic journals, reference works, magazines and newspapers. She frequently presents in international symposia and conferences, and is invited to lecture in universities and schools in Europe and the United States. She has done extensive work for scholarly and professional organizations, curated exhibitions and film festivals, advised publishers such as Oxford University Press and consulted for various cultural agencies. She is a Member of the Board of Directors of Dance Collection Danse, Canada’s national dance archives and publisher dedicated to the preservation and dissemination of Canadian theatrical dance history.

Dr. Odom co-edited Canadian Dance: Visions and Stories, an anthology of thirty-five essays on Canadian dance and dance artists published by Dance Collection Danse in 2004. She is currently writing a book based on her long-term research on practice, identity and oral transmission in Dalcroze Eurhythmics.

Areas of Research and Academic Specialty: Dance History; Dance Writing

Karen Bowes-Sewell

Karen Bowes Sewell

Karen Bowes-Sewell is a Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner and member of the Feldenkrais Guild of North America. She is a senior scholar in Dance at York University where she taught ballet, conditioning for dancers, and somatic education for many years as an associate professor. Karen was a principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada and brings her rich experience as a performer, teacher and researcher to her therapeutic movement practice. She established Feldenkrais Movement for All in 2005, working extensively with Pivot Sport Medicine & Orthopaedics, the Artist Health Centre Foundation, and the Feldenkrais Centre in Toronto. Karen has a private practice in the Grand Bend area of southwestern Ontario where she focuses on integrative movement health to address issues of chronic pain and neurological dysfunction, and to refine performance skills for athletes and artists.

Areas of Academic Specialty: Ballet, conditioning for dance, and somatic education.

Jennifer Bolt

Jennifer Bolt

Jennifer Bolt is a dance artist, researcher, and writer working in the areas of performing arts student transition, feminism and critical pedagogy, dance psychology and dancer’s health and well-being. She has trained extensively in ballet, modern and contemporary dance across Canada, United States, England and France. She holds, with academic distinction, a Joint Honours Bachelor of Applied Health Science Degree from the University of Waterloo and Canada’s National Ballet School’s Teacher Training Program with two Associate teaching certifications from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (AISTD).  From York University she received a Master’s in Dance on perfectionism and PhD in Education on performing arts student transition.

Over the course of her doctoral studies at York University, she won three Ontario Graduate Student Scholarships, the Provost Scholarship and one of four University Wide Research Leave Awards to complete her Canada-wide collective case study on Fine Arts dance majors’ transition from high school to university.  She has presented the results of this research at various conferences including CORPS de Ballet International Conference in Paris, France in 2013 and the inaugural 2016 Leap Transition Conference for dancers and athletes in Toronto.

Based on the results her doctoral research, she evolved an educational model for student retention called PRIMEDTM. Interest from the academic, performing arts, and veteran community, resulted in Dr. Bolt founding PRIMEDTM for Life Educational Consulting—a ground breaking educational consulting business that offers post secondary institutions customized student-centered retention plans to support student transition, health and well-being.  Through this business venture she is currently working with Randolph College for the Performing Arts, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, York University’s AMPD Deans office and Department of Dance, and the Ontario Council of Drama and Dance Educators on several different initiatives based on her educational model.

A faculty member of York University’s Department of Dance since 2001, Dr. Bolt’s has been nominated for two University Wide teaching awards.  Her teaching repertoire includes all levels of contemporary ballet technique, as well as various modern and ballet studio courses for non-majors.  She has course directed both large and small lectures in dance history, dance experience and dance pedagogy. Since 2013 she has taught within the Faculty of Education working with teacher candidates in the consecutive and concurrent Education Program and guest lectured on diverse topics for the MA and Ph.D. programmes in Dance and Education. Dr. Bolt is the former co-director of the Teaching Assistant Program at York University’s Teaching Commons. In her role as an educational developer, she was instrumental in researching, designing and launching Teaching Assistant workshops and resources for the International Teaching Assistant.

Noted in the Toronto dance community for her passionate and detailed teaching style, demand for Jennifer’s teaching expertise has granted her work with Canada’s National Ballet School, the National Ballet of Canada, George Brown College/Ballet Jörgen, Randolph College for the Performing Arts and private dance studios throughout the GTA. As a performer, her powerful stage presence, clean technique and tireless work ethic have afforded opportunities to work with many award-winning ballet and contemporary choreographers including Sashar Zarif and Lucy Rupert. In 2008, she made her choreographic debut with a work entitled Without a Word commissioned by the York University Dance Ensemble.

Evadne Kelly

Evadne Kelly

Evadne Kelly is a dance artist and scholar with a PhD in Dance Studies from York University, an MA in Anthropology from McMaster University, and an Hon. BA in Women Studies, Equity Studies, and Anthropology from University of Toronto. She has presented and published on topics relevant to the fields of anthropology and dance studies with a focus on the political and social dimensions of trans-locally performed dance traditions. Publications of her research can be found in Pacific Arts Journal, The Dance Current, Performance Matters, and Fiji Times. Dr. Kelly was an invited participant of the 2015 Mellon funded Dance Studies summer seminar at Northwestern University, where she developed her book manuscript, Dancing Spirit, Love, and War: Expressing the Trans-Local Realities of Contemporary Fiji, currently under contract with University of Wisconsin Press. Research for her book received support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council doctoral award and builds on her 20 years of professional experience as a company member, teacher, and rehearsal director for celebrated choreographer, David Earle.

Dr. Kelly continues to work in (and advocate for) diverse areas of dance research. In 2016, she co-organized The Other “D”: locating ‘D’ance in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies in Canada, at University of Toronto. In 2017, she co-convened the World Dance Alliance Global Summit at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland, which critically engaged the social, political, and therapeutic aspects of community-engaged dance. Most recently, Dr. Kelly was under contract with the Canadian Museum of History, researching and writing about popular dances of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s.