Institute for Dance Studies Members

Seika Boye, Director 

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Seika Boye is a scholar, writer, educator and artist whose practices revolve around dance and movement. She is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, University of the Toronto and works as a dramaturg and consultant in the performing arts with artists including Natasha Powell, Mix Mix Dance Collective and Syreeta Hector. Seika curated the archival exhibition  It’s About Time: Dancing Black in Canada 1900-1970  (2018) and co-curated  Into the Light: Eugenics and Education in Southern Ontario  (2019). She was an Artist-in-Residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario (2018), Toronto District School Board's African Heritage Educators’ Network Arts Honoree (2019) and a 2020 recipient of the Lieutenant Governor’s Heritage Trust Award (co-curator,  Into the Light). Seika is currently the Reckless Generosity Dramaturg for the Theatre Centre (2020-2022). 

Research Statement: 

My current research continues to focus on dance within Canada’s Black population through public exhibitions and my role as Co-Investigator on Gatherings: Archival and Oral Histories of Performance in Canada (SSHRC Partnership Development Grant); the role of dance beyond performance in academia; movement dramaturgy for BIPOC artists; embodied pedagogies in practical and lecture settings; dance, movement, archives and exhibitions.  

Current Projects: 

Elif Işıközlü, IDS Research Assistant/Administrative Co-ordinator

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Elif Işıközlü directs theatre and film. Her short dance film series  4 ETUDES in the Key of Uncertainty  merges camera, choreography, and occasionally Bach (Festival International du Film sur l'Art Montreal, Dance on Camera New York, CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival, Etude II Nominee: Golden Sheaf Best Experimental Short). She is a member of the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab New York, alumni of the Canadian Stage RBC Emerging Artist Director Development Residency Program, Canada Council and Ontario Arts Council grant recipient and co-founder of Directors Lab North, Toronto.  Elif is a PhD student at the CDTPS. 

Research Statement 

Elif investigates the manifestation of creativity at the crux of anatomy and performance, with movement and dance as primary research modes of engagement.   

Anna Paliy, IDS Research Assistant/Social Media Co-ordinator 

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Anna Paliy is a doctoral candidate in the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at University of Toronto, with a BA and MA in Comparative Literature. Her SSHRC-funded dissertation analyses artistic receptions of ballet at the start of the twentieth century, exploring how the sensory language of dance is historically represented by women in drawing, painting, and sculpture. She is a research assistant and social media coordinator at the Institute for Dance Studies, as well as a 2019 alumna of the Emerging Arts Critics Programme organized by the National Ballet of Canada, Canadian Opera Company, and Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Her essays have been published in the journals  Kino  (University of Western Ontario),  Semicolon  (University of Western Ontario), and  Transverse  (University of Toronto), while her music and dance reviews appear in  The Dance Current  and  The WholeNote  magazines. Formerly a provincially competitive rhythmic gymnast in Kiev/Ukraine, Lyon/France, and Ontario, Anna now enjoys practicing circus acrobatics and painting in her spare time. 

Research Statement 

Anna’s research uses archival evidence of English and French audience history to examine how the visual legacies of traveling Slavic ballet performers were documented by women between the years 1910-1930, emphasizing the sensory impact of costume on the cultural popularization of concert dance in Paris and London. By interpreting the large but often overlooked corpus of sketches, illustrations, caricatures, paintings, and sculptures which female artists such as Laura Knight, Valentine Gross, Una Vincenzo, Vera Willoughby, and Eileen Mayo created as a result of their live theatrical viewing experiences of ballet, Anna introduces a new access point into the ways theatrical dance has been productive in transferring cultural meaning across societies through spectatorship. 

Robert Motum 

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Robert Motum is a playwright, director, and artist-researcher. With a background in site-specific performance, Robert has staged work on an active city bus, in a castle, over Snapchat, in a dorm room, in a gallery,  in a vacant Target store, and occasionally even in a theatre space.  He is the playwright of A Community Target (Outside the March), a documentary play which examines the collapse of American retailer, Target, in Canada. In 2017, he was an invited member of the Stratford Festival Playwrights’ retreat. He holds an MA in  Practising Performance from Aberystwyth University (Wales), a BA in  Honours Drama from the University of Waterloo and is a current PhD student in the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. His practice-based dissertation, Scripted Borders: Locating a Dramaturgy in the Performance of Micronationhood, examines micronations (self-declared nation-states) as performances of nationhood, governance, and borders. 

Research Statement 

Can you dance every dance you’ve ever danced? This is the impossible task that Manchester-based theatre company, Quarantine, invites its audience to tackle through their durational performance, Wallflower. My role in the project’s early creation culminated in a short performance, through which I attempted to recapture the embodied knowledge of playing the violin. Having not touched a violin in fifteen years, it was a task that battled gaps in physical memory, but also offered surprising insights into what my muscles still ‘knew’. As an artist-researcher invested in practice-based research, I am interested in locating where such embodied knowledges live and how embodied practices might be recovered and disseminated as research.  

Tanya Berg 

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Tanya holds a PhD in Dance Studies from York University and is a graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School Teacher Training Program. She currently teaches ballet in the Dance Department at York University and she has been a Sessional Lecturer and instructor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, at the University of Toronto, since 2003. Tanya is thrilled to be collaborating on Pivot Dancer, which is an online dance education platform. Tanya has  presented her academic research at international conferences organized by renowned associations including the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science, Dance Studies Association, National Dance Education Organization, Healthy Dancer Canada, World Dance Alliance and CORPS de Ballet International. Tanya has contributed to academic journals including Research in Dance Education and Journal of Dance Education, as well as the anthology Ethical Dilemmas in Dance Education: Case Studies on Humanizing Dance Pedagogy. 

Research Statement 

Tanya’s dance education research highlights student-teacher communication focusing on issues central to healthy and productive teaching practices that fostering student well-being. Her publications analyse topics such as consent in physical interaction and increased student autonomy through integration of somatic practices. Recently her research highlights technological mediation producing surveillance of dancers and teachers, as well as the effects of social media use on dancers. Technological mediation in dance will continue as online dancer identities are maintained during COVID-19 and will likely continue to exist and evolve post-pandemic. 

Miguel (Miggy) Esteban 

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Jose Miguel (Miggy) Esteban is a Filipino-Canadian contemporary dance/movement artist and educator based in Toronto. Through his performance art group, Impetus Movement Project, he unpacks his intentions behind movement to (re)imagine, (re)create, and (re)encounter dance. His work has  been featured at various Toronto events including Your Dance Fest, The Space Toronto’s art parties, RAW: natural born artists, the Fringe Club, New Blue  Festival of  Emerging Dance,  Fever After Dark, productions by DARK Dance Company and Army of Sass, and various self-produced showings.  As an educator, Miggy advocates for the importance of the arts to engage students in learning through critical and creative play.  He is committed to using the arts to provide students with a space to explore their stories in relation to questions of social justice. He has supported dance education within the Toronto District School Board as an artist mentor for tdsbCREATES, and works to rethink diversity and inclusion within educational spaces through curriculum consultation and the development of workshops for teachers. 

Research Statement 

Miggy is a PhD student in the Department of Social Justice Education at OISE/UT.  His research engages with dance studies to rethink the relations between disability studies and educational praxis. His work considers the obvious and not so obvious ways that we are introduced to certain expectations of dance and ability through choreographies of normalcy within educational spaces. By centring the perspectives of disabled dance/movement artists and practitioners, he questions how our performances of ability gesture to our interpretations of disability. His work explores the potential for disability perspectives to reveal new ways of encountering pedagogies of dance. 

Maria Meindl 

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Bio and Research Statement 

Maria Meindl is a writer, Feldenkrais practitioner, and organizer of literary events. A PhD Candidate at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto, she is doing her doctoral research on the Berlin-based movement teacher Elsa Gindler (1885-1961). All Maria's work, be it fiction, memoir or historical research is about stories about stories. She is exploring not just Gindler's work but the way it is remembered and passed down.   

Selma Landen Odom 

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Selma Landen Odom was founding director of the York University MA and PhD programs in dance and dance studies, the first offered in Canada. She has published extensively, contributed to conferences and organizations, curated exhibitions and produced videos. Her choreography for Gluck's Orpheus and Eurydice based on the 1913 staging by Adolphe Appia and Émile Jaques-Dalcroze at Hellerau, Germany, was presented in collaboration with Richard Beacham and Karin Greenhead at Warwick University in 1991. She co-edited the anthology Canadian Dance: Visions and Stories (2004) and co-authored Practical Idealists: Founders of the London School of Dalcroze Eurhythmics (2013). Her continuing research focuses on sources, practices and influences of the Dalcroze method of interactive music and movement education.   

Research Statement 

Since the pandemic arrived in March 2020, I’ve been immersed in the migration of “live” teaching, rehearsal and performance to online platforms, as both grateful participant and observer. Never before have I experienced six months of study with so many different movement teachers, nor have I seen so much live-streamed or video-recorded performance. I’m also following the development of a new community, the Virtual Dalcroze Meet-up, an independent international forum to share best practices in online teaching spaces. I look forward to more response to creative work in this new reality. 

Sarah Gutsche-Miller 

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Sarah Gutsche-Miller is Assistant Professor of Musicology at the University of Toronto, where she is also Affiliate Professor at the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies and a member of the Institute for Dance Studies and Centre for the Study of Nineteenth-Century Music.  Her first book,  Parisian Music-Hall Ballet, 1871-1913  (University of Rochester Press, 2015), brought to light a forgotten ballet culture and challenged the myth that the Ballets Russes were responsible for a ballet revival in early twentieth-century Paris.  Her research on ballet has also been published  in several edited collections and journals in dance studies and musicology. 

Research Statement 

Sarah’s research focuses on ballet in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with a particular interest in redressing the many myths and omissions that persist in current historical narratives. Sarah is currently working on two projects funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. The first explores a remarkable but long forgotten choreographic repertoire created by women choreographers between 1878 and 1933 for Paris’s national Opéra-Comique. The second looks at a popular form of ballet which, like music-hall ballet, has been written out of canonic ballet history  but was central to  dance culture in nineteenth-century Paris: the  ballets staged in extravaganzas produced by the leading popular “boulevard” theatres of fin-de-siècle Paris. 

Xing Fan 

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Xing Fan is associate professor of Asian theatre and performance studies at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto.   Xing is a dancer with training and stage experience in the dance and performance cultures including gudianwu (Chinese classical dance),  jingju (Beijing opera), kunqu (Kun opera),  Nihon buyō (Japanese dance), Balinese dance, and the Gamelan ensemble.   She is a winner of Hawai‘i State Theatre Council’s Po‘okela Award for Best Leading Female Role for her performance of Omitsu in Nozaki Village (an English-language kabuki production) in 2004.  As an educator, Xing commits herself to introduce to students the Asian concept of “total theatre,” a practice through which performers tell stories and portray characters by means of a combination of performance techniques, to which dance is an integral part.   

Research Statement 

It has been Xing’s long-term academic effort to explore the theoretical, practical, and aesthetic intersection of dance studies, theatre studies, and performance studies.   Her first book, Staging Revolution: Artistry and Aesthetics in Model Beijing Opera during the Cultural Revolution (Hong Kong University Press, 2018) examines ten Beijing opera productions designated as models for literature and art during the Cultural Revolution (1966–1976), a decade of turmoil in the People’s Republic of China.   This book is a refutation of the deep-rooted notion that artworks overtly in service of politics are by definition devoid of artistic merits.   It provides a much-needed analysis of the decisions made in the real, practical context of bringing dramatic characters to life on stage, examining how major artistic elements interacted with each other in defining and communicating era-specific aesthetics.   Xing’s peer-reviewed articles and translations appear in  Asian Theatre Journal, Performance Matters, Critical Stages/Scènes Critiques, and Renditions; her essays and chapters also appear in the books  Women in Asian Performance: Aesthetics and Politics,  Routledge Handbook of Asian Theatre,  New Modern Chinese Women and Gender Politics, and  A Dictionary of Critical and Cultural Theory.   Xing served as a vice president of the Association for Asian Performance during 2014–2016 and 2016–2018.  She is an area editor (China) for Asian Theatre Journal and an editorial board member for Theatre, Dance and Performance Training