Institute for Dance Studies Members

Seika Boye, Director 

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Bio

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).  

https://www.cdtps.utoronto.ca/people/directories/all-faculty/seika-boye 

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:

https://gatheringspartnership.com/ 
https://harthouse.ca/events/moving-dancing-knowledge 
https://www.macewan.ca/wcm/SchoolsFaculties/FFAC/MitchellArtGallery/ExhibitionsProjects/Current/GALLERY_ITS_ABOUT_TIME 
http://theatrecentre.org/?p=15521 

 

Elif Işıközlü, IDS Research Assistant/Administrative Co-ordinator

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Bio

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. https://elifisikozlu.com 

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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Bio

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. 

 

Tanya Berg 

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Bio

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. 

 

Douglas Eacho

Douglas Eacho

​​​Bio

Douglas Eacho is a performance historian, focusing on the intersection between dance, theatre, and computational media. He is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, at the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto; he also serves as the Assistant Director, Academic of the BMO Lab in Creative Research in the Arts, Performance, Emerging Technologies, and A.I. An article on Rimini Protokoll and statistical reason was published by Theatre Research International; reviews have been published in Theatre JournalTheatre SurveyPerformance Research, and more. He is a graduate of Stanford University’s doctoral program in Theater & Performance Studies.

Research Statement:

Doug’s research aims to bring together the study of experimental digital performance with study of the uses of computers by commercial performance labourers, grounded in attention to political economy. His current book project, tentatively titled Boxes of Glass, traces the history of attempts to automate performance production, a project long held to be paradoxical. Case studies include surrealist experiments in automatism, computer-choreographed dances from the 1960s, and the introduction of digital memory to light and sound control. Throughout, the proletarianization and fetishization of female and Black bodies surface as central to a modern project of eliminating the problems of labour, mediation, and alienation from the stage.

 

Jose Miguel (Miggy) Esteban 

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Bio

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. 

 

Xing Fan 

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Bio

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

 

Sarah Gutsche-Miller 

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Bio

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. 

 

Stephen Johnson

Stephen Johnson

Bio

Stephen Johnson is Professor Emeritus in the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (CDTPS) at the University of Toronto.  His university training was at the University of Guelph (BA), the University of Toronto (MA), and New York University (PhD), where he specialized in the history of  popular performance and dance, and performance studies.  He taught theatre history and performance theory, cinema studies, dramatic literature, and performance studies, as well as acting and directing, for over thirty years at the University of Guelph, McMaster University, the University of Toronto Mississauga, and at the Centre.  He has served in a wide range of administrative and advocacy positions, including the Board of the Society of Dance History Scholars, as Associate Member of the Department of Dance at York University, as Editor of Theatre Research in Canada, and as Director of the Centre and President of the Canadian Association for Theatre Research / Association canadienne de la recherche théâtrale.    

Research Statement

His primary research is in the history of the performance of race, and in performing arts historiography more generally, integrating the range of definitions of performance, including dance.  Publications and online databases all include substantial dance-related performance, including two edited volumes, The Tyranny of Documents: the Performing Arts Historian as Film Noir Detective (TLA, 2011), and Burnt Cork: Origins and Traditions of Blackface Minstrelsy (UMassPress, 2013).  See http://sbjohnson.wordpress.com/ for a full listing of contributions and projects.  He is the Principal Investigator of a SSHRC Partnership Development Grant Project, Gatherings:  Archival and Oral Histories of Performancehttps://gatheringspartnership.com exploring the range of performance study and archival access in the nations of Canada.  He is very pleased to be a part of the Institute, something he has looked forward to for his entire academic career.

 

Janelle Joseph

Janelle Joseph

Bio

Dr. Janelle Joseph is an internationally recognized and award winning Assistant Professor in Critical Studies of Race in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education committed to disseminating knowledge about race and sport using perspectives of Indigeneity, multiculturalism, diaspora studies, critical race theory, and post-colonial studies. She is Founder and Director of the Indigeneity, Diaspora, Equity, and Anti-racism in Sport (IDEAS) Lab and author of the text Sport in the Black Atlantic: Cricket Canada and the Caribbean Diaspora. She is a winner of a Connaught 2020 New Researcher Award and an International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2020 Impact Award.

Research Statement:

Dr. Joseph is currently working on a book project that focuses on learning and leadership in culturally-specific practices of the African diaspora including martial arts and dance in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean. Dr Joseph’s research focuses on Black and Caribbean movements both in terms of transnationality and diaspora as well as anti-racist activism. She uses choreopoetry and dance/performance theatre as investigative tools and to represent qualitative research data.

 

Christine Mazumdar

Christine Mazumdar​​

Bio

Christine Mazumdar is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto, focusing on the athlete as performer through the language of movement in aesthetic sport. A former rhythmic gymnast and currently a nationally certified coach, Christine considers the interrelationship between sport and art through the virtuosic body. Her coaching pedagogy emphasizes consent, agency, and the need to abolish aesthetic sport’s toxic culture of silence. Christine was the recipient of the 2019 Routledge Prize at the Performance Studies international (PSi) conference for her paper “Like Rubber: Hyperflexibility, Contortion, and the ‘Freak-tastic’ Body,” and was longlisted for the 2019 CBC Nonfiction Prize for her essay, “Reindeer at the Colloquium.” A writer, musician, and choreographer, Christine also holds a teaching degree with a specialization in arts education from Queen’s University.

Research Statement

In my doctoral thesis, “The Balancing Act: Negotiating Athleticism and Artistry in Aesthetic Sport,” I provide an in-depth, case-study analysis of rhythmic gymnastics, an aesthetic sport predicated on the interrelationship of technical virtuosity and artistic prowess. Fusing together sport and art, RG borrows techniques from artistic gymnastics, dance, circus, and classical ballet and as such has a complex judging system that divides the evaluative process into “difficulty” and “execution,” which includes “artistic faults.” While performance studies scholars have advocated the consideration of sport as performance, aesthetic sport complicates the way that we categorize and engage these disciplines through its emphasis on the quantification of both the technical (objective) and the artistic (subjective) facets of athletes’ performances in competitive routines. My research frames sporting practices through a feminist performance lens as a means of interrogating their subjective evaluative practices and challenging the attendant gendered gaze of hyperfemininity inscribed in this unique physical culture.

 

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. www.mariameindl.com   

 

Aalaya Milne

Aalaya Milne

Bio

Aalaya Milne starting dancing at the age of four and quickly fell in love with movement and music. She continued to dance and compete until the end of high school where her love of dance inspired her interest in human movement. She completed her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Kinesiology as a graduate student in the Safe Sport Lab at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include gender-based violence in sport, interpersonal violence in sport and dance, racialized experiences of athletes as well as work-integrated learning. She hopes to help support both the athletic community and the dance community create safe learning environments for all.

Research Statement

Dance studios and companies provide a space for dancers to develop their artistic identity, to refine their technique and to create meaningful connections with coaches/instructors and peers, however, these close-knit relationships may also create a context for interpersonal violence to occur. As athletes are continuing to speak about their instances of maltreatment in sport, dancers have limited research specific to their context and experiences. My research is focused on experiences of interpersonal violence in the context of dance with the use of art-based methods for data representation.   

 

Robert Motum 

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Bio

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.  

 

Selma Landen Odom 

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Bio

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. 

 

Kevin Skelton

Kevin Skelton

Bio

Kevin Skelton has a multifaceted career as a performer, director, choreographer, teacher, and scholar. Equally at home on the concert and operatic stage, Kevin specializes in seventeenth-century music, the Bach Evangelist roles, and experimental music theatre. Kevin has performed with some of the world’s finest early music ensembles including Collegium Vocale Gent, L’Arpeggiata, and Concerto Palatino and in numerous theatres and festivals throughout the world including Teatro La Fenice, La Monnaie, Aix-en-Provence, Opéra Royal de Versailles, and the early music festivals in Boston and Utrecht. In recent years Kevin has begun a new initiative exploring the possibilities of integrating the performing arts. His unique facility combining voice and movement has been showcased in productions of the Netherlands Reisopera, Veenfabriek, Zilbersee, Opera Atelier, Sasha Waltz & Guests, the Dutch breakdance company ISH and the Japanese theatre company SPAC.  Kevin has produced numerous videos and live performances under the auspices of his own company ātmā having performed at the Operadagen Rotterdam, Theater aan het Vrijthof in Maastricht, and Festival Les Nuits de Septembre (Festival de Wallonie).

Research Statement

Kevin is currently a PhD candidate researching performing practices applicable to the training, creation, direction, and performing of integrative music theatre with a specific focus on the integration of classical singing and contemporary dance. He is (continually) developing a pedagogy which he calls ‘Integrative Performing Training’. IPT is rooted in a breathing somatic practice which aims to reveal the interdependence of breathing, moving, and voicing. This serves as a foundation for bringing together diverse and disciplinary-specific training approaches in the performing arts. The goal of the pedagogy is for everyone to develop their personal integrative performing practice.