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.

Holly Small

Holly Small

Holly Small is an award-winning dance artist and educator with a longstanding passion for interdisciplinary collaboration. Many of her works combine dance, live music, video and interactive new media. Her choreography, described as “a flawless integration of music and dance” (Globe & Mail, Toronto), has been presented throughout Canada, the US, UK, Europe and Asia.

Radiant, her critically acclaimed collaboration with Toronto composer/media artist John Oswald and Quebec designer Emile Morin received four Dora Award nominations for outstanding choreography, music, performance and production. Other collaborations include In the Letters of My Name, with Azerbaijani performer Sashar Zarif, which won the 2006 Paula Citron Award; Night Vision: Nyx and Draw a Bicycle, two interactive dance and video works with Don Sinclair; Vermillion Arc, a work for gamelan-playing dancers that she choreographed and composed with Nur Intan Murtadza; and 1 of 12 Solos commissioned by the Toronto Dance Theatre.

Professor Small’s monumental collaborative work, Souls, a full-length piece for 46 performers ranging in age from 10 to 71, co-produced with the Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre, was named “one of the year’s 10 best” dance productions of 2001 by both The Globe and Mail and NOW Magazine. Also on the “year’s 10 best” lists was the equally ambitious cadaver exquis / exquisite corpse, co-created with composer John Oswald and 22 renowned Canadian and international choreographers including Margie Gillis, Bill T. Jones and James Kudelka.

Small’s work has been featured in a wide variety of settings including the Canada Dance Festival in Ottawa, Dance Theatre Workshop in New York, the Newfoundland Sound Symposium, the Angelica Music Festival in Bologna, Italy, Vancouver’s Women in View festival, the Winnipeg New Music Festival, and dance:made in canada, DanceWorks Mainstage Series, Nuit Blanche,  to name just a few Toronto venues.  She continues to perform as a dancer and sometimes as an actor, vocalist and musician.  She appeared in the one-woman play cette petite chose with Quebec City’s Recto-Verso theatre company and has been a guest artist with REAson d’etre Dance, da Collision Dance, Kaeja d’Dance and Toronto Dance Theatre, among others.

Professor Small has taught dance across Canada, throughout China, in Los Angeles and England.  A member of the faculty in York University’s Department of Dance for 24 years, she is a core faculty member for the MFA program in Choreography and Dance Dramaturgy, teaches a wide range of subjects in the BFA program.  She has frequently directed and choreographed for the York Dance Ensemble and has toured with them to Vancouver, Montreal and throughout Ontario and New Brunswick. She has received many honours for her work, including the UCLA Woman of the Year Award, a Millennium Award, a Chalmers Award, the Paula Citron Award and numerous grants from arts councils and foundations.  Publications include chapters in This Passion (edited by Carol Anderson) and Canadian Dance Visions and Stories (edited by Selma Odom & Mary Jane Warner) as well as articles for the Dance Umbrella of Ontario’s website, Local Heroes.

Barbara Sellers-Young

Barbara Sellers-Young

Barbara Sellers-Young is a Senior Scholar and Professor Emerita in the Dance Department of York University. She was Dean of the School of Arts, Media, Performance and Design (2008-2013) and Professor in the Department of Dance at York University (2008-2016). She previously taught in the Department of Theatre and Dance at UC/Davis (1990-2008) where she also served as the interim executive director of the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts (2005/06). She has also taught at universities in England, China, and Australia. Her research projects on the intersections of performance, body and globalization have taken place in Sudan, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Nepal, China, England, and Australia.

Her articles can be found in The Journal of Popular Culture, Theatre Topics, Asian Theatre Journal, Dance Research Journal and elsewhere. She is the author of three single authored books: Teaching Personality with Gracefulness, Breathing, Movement, Exploration, and Belly Dance Pilgrimage and Identity as well as the jointly authored book with Robert Barton Movement OnStage and Off.  Edited volumes include: Oxford Handbook of Dance and Ethnicity and Belly Dance and Orientalism, Transnationalism and Harem Fantasy with Anthony Shay; Embodied Consciousness: Performing Technologies and Narrative in Performance with Jade Rosina McCutcheon; Belly Dance Around the World: New Communities, Performance and Identity with Caitlin McDonald; and, Spiritual Her Stories with Amanda Williamson.

Professor Sellers-Young’s research has been supported by fellowships from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council (Canada), American Council of Learned Societies (United States) and the Centre for Cultural Research into Risk, (Charles Sturt University, Australia), as well as numerous grants, including a Davis Humanities Fellowship and a Pacific Rim Planning Grant. She served for two years as convener of the International Federation of Theatre Research Working Group: Theory and Practice of Performing and from 2008 to 2010 was president of the Congress on Research in Dance.  She is the recipient of the 2008 Alumni Award from the School of Music and Dance at the University of Oregon and the 2011 Dixie Durr Award for Outstanding Service to Dance Research from the Congress on Research in Dance. She was the 2018 editor—in-residence for the Dance Chronicle and is a member of the advisory council for the School of Music and Dance at the University of Oregon.

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Areas of Research and Teaching Specialty: Performance Studies

Mary-Elizabeth Manley

Professor Manley has been a faculty member in York’s Department of Dance since 1974. She has taught a broad range of courses including studio courses in modern technique, improvisation and composition and lecture courses in pedagogy, education, dance science and community arts practice. She teaches at both the undergraduate and graduate level and frequently supervises directed reading courses, major research projects and theses for graduate students.

Professor Manley’s research specialization and publications are in the areas of creative and modern dance pedagogy; dance education in early to middle childhood; choreography and performance for and by young people; and community arts practice. Her publication credits include articles in the Congress on Research in Dance (CORD); ChoreographyChildhood in Canada: Cultural Images and Contemporary Issues; Conference Proceedings of the Society for Canadian Dance Studies, and in the Proceedings of the Dance and the Child International (daCi) Conferences. She edited the dance chapters of The Arts as Meaning Makers, and authored the biography Roots and Wings: Virginia Tanner’s Dance Life and Legacy. Her latest academic project, daCi’s First 30 Years: Rich Returns, an anthology comprising papers from daCi conference proceedings from 1978 to 2009, will be published in July 2012 at the 10th triennial daCi conference in Taipei, Taiwan.

Strongly committed to arts education and community arts practice, Professor Manley developed and directed Artstart, a fine arts program for children and teens, from 1986 to 1996. She recently redesigned the program to meet the needs of the community bordering York University. Now known as ARTStarts Afterschool, the program brings together teacher candidates and artists from the community who organize and lead after-school classes in dance, theatre, visual arts and music in many of the local schools.

As a mentor to the Roots Research and Creation Collective (RRCC), a group of Aboriginal choreographers and young dancers, Professor Manley has shared the work of the RRCC internationally at several World Dance Alliance conferences and at the Dance and the Child International Conference held in Jamaica in 2009. In collaboration with the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, she currently co-directs Dancing the Rights of the First Nations Child: Our Dreams Matter Too, a project designed to implement an arts residency with artist-educators in six Aboriginal communities in Canada.

Professor Manley also maintains professional connections in Vancouver and internationally, serving as president of the board of Judith Garay’s company, Dancers Dancing, and as a member-at-large on the board of Dance and the Child International.

Areas of Research and Academic Specialty: Dance Education, Creative and Modern Dance Pedagogy, Children’s Dance, Community Arts Practice for Social Change

Donna Krasnow

Donna Krasnow

Modern Dance and Dance Sciences, Composition and Choreography, Repertory.

Donna Krasnow has a distinguished background as a choreographer, performer, researcher and teacher. She founded Dance Source, a professional training school in San Francisco, and was artistic director for its resident company Mobius.

In addition to performing as a guest artist with such companies as Footloose, Northern Lights and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane, she performed with the Daniel Lewis Repertory Dance Company in New York and assisted with the staging of José Limón’s classic works There Is A Time and A Choreographic Offering. She has taught at many universities and professional studios internationally, including the Limón Institute in New York, Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre in Toronto, Arts Umbrella in Vancouver, California State University Northridge, and Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, Australia.

Professor Krasnow’s scholarly research focuses on dance science, particularly injury prevention, motor learning and motor control, conditioning for dancers and psychological aspects of injury. Her articles have been published in The Journal of Dance Medicine & Science; Impulse: the International Journal of Dance Science, Medicine, and Education; Medical Problems of Performing Artists; Bulletin of Osaka University of Health and Sport Sciences; Médecine des Arts; and Dance Research Journal.

Donna is the creator of C-I Training™, a conditioning with imagery system for dancers. She has written a book called Conditioning with Imagery for Dancers, and produced a DVD series of the work. She also offers workshops for teachers on a variety of topics, and offers teacher certification courses in C-I Training. She is also a level one GYROTONIC® trainer.

At York University, Professor Krasnow taught courses in modern dance, composition and choreography, repertory, conditioning for dancers, kinesiology, prevention and care of dance injuries, and motor learning issue in dance. In 1988 she founded the York Dance Ensemble, the Dance Department’s pre-professional repertory touring company.

Anna Blewchamp

Professor Blewchamp has worked extensively as a choreographer, performer and teacher in Canada, England and the United States. She has choreographed for Dancemakers, the Danny Grossman Company, Contemporary Dancers Winnipeg, Toronto Dance Theatre, Ottawa Dance Theatre, Ann Ditchburn Dances, Concert Dance Company (Boston), and Junction Dance Theatre (UK). She has also presented works with Danceworks, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Fifteen Dance Lab, Pavlychenko Studio, A SPACE and Premiere Dance Theatre in Toronto. She is the recipient of numerous choreographic awards from the Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council. Other honours include a Judy Jarvis Dance Foundation Award and a Chalmers Award for Choreography.

Anna Blewchamp has lectured extensively on the work of Royal Winnipeg Ballet co-founder Gweneth Lloyd. In 1992 she completed a major reconstruction of The Wise Virgins, a ballet choreographed in 1942 which had been lost for nearly forty years. This project in dance reconstruction led to further enquiry into embodied memory, and to her current research interest in cultural memory. Her specializations include creative process, dance ethnology, dance analysis, dance reconstruction, and urban dance practices.

Areas of Research and Teaching: Modern Technique, Choreography, Dance History, Analysis, Repertory, Reconstruction and Dance Ethnology

Carol Anderson

Carol Anderson

One of the first graduates of York University’s dance program, Carol Anderson has pursued a diverse career as a dancer, choreographer, teacher, artistic director, consultant and writer. She started her performing career with pioneer Judy Jarvis’ dance theatre company. In 1974 she became a founding member of Toronto’s Dancemakers, culminating fifteen years with the company as artistic director from 1985-1988. Anderson’s choreography for the concert stage, theatre and television has been supported by awards and critical acclaim, and has been performed across Canada, in the U.S., Britain, France and China. Since 1988, she has often worked with Canadian Children’s Dance Theatre as a teacher and choreographer, and has contributed ten works to the company’s repertory.

A dance scholar with a lively interest in dance writing, since 1988 Professor Anderson has frequently worked with dedicated dance archives and publisher Dance Collection Danse. She is the author of numerous articles on Canadian dance and dancers, since 1997 has written thirty-seven editions of “Carol’s Dance Notes,” and has authored, co-authored and edited twelve books.

Anderson is currently on the board of Claudia Moore’s MOonhORsE Dance Theatre, and of the Hnatyshyn Foundation; she was a member of the Laidlaw Foundation’s Performing Arts Committee from 1998 to 2006. She is a member of the Society for Canadian Dance Studies, a member of the Toronto Heritage Dance collective, and the CDA. She has worked as a consultant to many cultural agencies, often with a focus in the area of youth and dance. She teachers both studio and theory courses at York University, and continues to perform selectively.

Areas of Research and Academic Speciality: Modern/Contemporary Dance, Choreography, Dance Writing

Image: Carol Anderson in her work Windhover (1982).



Select Publications: Print and Web

Choreographic Dialogues

Selected Carol’s Dance Notes

Enter, Dancing

Anderson, Carol. Lola Dance: Lola MacLaughlin A Life in Dance (2010).

Anderson, Carol. Unfold: A Portrait of Peggy Baker (2008).

Anderson, Carol and Katharine Mallinson. a cultural history, Lunch with Lady Eaton: Inside the Dining Rooms of a Nation (2004).

Reflections in a Dancing Eye: Investigating the Artist’s Role in Canadian Society. Eds. Carol Anderson and Joysanne Sidimus (2004).

Anderson, Carol. Chasing the Tale of Contemporary Dance Parts I and II. Dance Collection Danse Press/Presses (1999/2002).

Anderson, Carol and J. Gordon Shillingford. Rachel Browne: Dancing Toward the Light (1999).

Anderson, Carol. This Passion: for the love of Dance. Dance Collection Danse Press/Presses (1998).

Anderson, Carol. Judy Jarvis Dance Artist: A Portrait (1983).


April 2011 Dance Historian of the Month