BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Kylie Thompson, Vice-President
Originally from Barrie, Ontario, Canada, Kylie holds an honours degree in Kinesiology from McMaster University. She has performed in contemporary and commercial works by Hanna Kiel, Gadfly Dance Company, Alias Dance Project, Keren Rosenberg (IL), Mate Meszaros (HU) Marie Lambin, Ljuba Castot (US), Jennifer Mote, Vanessa Li, Rebecca Zizek and more. Her choreography has been presented at the Toronto Fringe, New Blue Festival, The Garage, The Canadian National Exhibition, Fresh Blood, Dance Matters and Toronto Original Choreographer’s Ball. She recently debuted her newest work “33/33” at the Winchester Theatre in Toronto. She is a passionate educator, having shared at over 50 studios and conventions across Canada.
Kylie Thompson was elected in 2017/2018 and was elected Vice-President in 2019/20.
Rhonda Baker, Treasurer
Rhonda Liane Baker is a Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award winner and Dora Award nominated artist living in Halifax, NS. She has performed for Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, Mocean Dance, Rebecca Lazier, and Gallim Dance since graduating from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre in 2009.Rhonda danced with Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie from 2010-2014; performing in James Kudelka’s Fifteen Heterosexual Duets, and his “See Series” for AllOneWord. In the autumn of 2011 she began working on a contract basis for Mocean Dance, and since that time has worked under the direction of Serge Bennathan, Cory Bowles, Sara Coffin, Emily Gualtieri, Sharon Moore, and Tedd Robinson.
Rhonda is an independent artist who improvises, creates, and performs. She has worked with Chris Aiken, Guy Cools, Angie Hauser, and Lin Snelling. Rhonda’s movement training has extended into The Gaga Movement Language, Countertechnique, and The Axis Syllabus. She is the 2016/2017 recipient of Kinetic Studio’s Explorations program, and with their generous support, will be investing her creative time in a collaborative project that will be danced by Lydia Zimmer.
Rhonda Baker was elected in 2016/2017 and became Treasurer in 2018/2019.
Valerie Calam, Secretary
Valerie Calam is a Toronto-based dance artist interested in finding pathways to refresh and support herself. She works with fabric, patterns, crystals, sound, power tools, and the body. Valerie umbrellas much of her work under the name Company Vice Versa (www.companyviceversa.com) and is currently collaborating on a sound score for dance artist Allison Cummings, creating/collaborating with Kate Franklin and Paul Shepherd through the support of Toronto Arts Council, and is currently working on Pilot Episodes and The Co-Conspirators Project at Toronto Dance Theatre (under the Artistic Direction of Andrew Tay). Valerie is the Dance Ontario Regional Representative for her hometown of Sault Ste. Marie. Valerie has had a long and enriching history with Toronto Dance Theatre.
Under the Artistic Direction of Christopher House, she was a full-time company dancer from 1999-2009 and a guest artist from 2015-2019. She has worked with Christopher House, Danny Grossman, Jeanine Durning, Diane Borsato, Tedd Robinson, Bill Coleman, DA Hoskins, James Kudelka, Guillaume Côté, Serge Bennethan, Jenn Goodwin, Amanda Acorn, Ame Henderson, Joanna Kotze, Adam Paolooza, and others.Valerie was awarded a Chalmers Professional Development Project Grant to study Body-Mind Centering® in Montréal. She has been nominated for nine Dora Awards and is the KM Hunter Award winner for Dance. She completed a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Choreography in 2014 from York University where she continued herr esearch of state and imagination-based movement and composition.
Valerie was elected to the board and became Secretary in 2019/20.
Dance artist/author Carol Anderson started her performing career in 1968 with pioneer Judy Jarvis’ first dance/theatre company. After graduation from York University’s Dance Program and studies at the London School of Contemporary Dance, she became a founding member of Toronto’s Dancemakers. She danced, taught, and choreographed with the company from 1974-1988; she was Artistic Director from 1985-88, and Resident Choreographer in 1988-89, fostering commissions of works of choreography and music.
An award-winning choreographer and noted dance teacher, Carol has worked in numerous professional, educational, and community situations across Canada. She was a faculty member in the dance program at York U from 2002-2016, designing and directing courses at the graduate and undergraduate levels in dance history and writing, as well as studio courses – contemporary technique, composition and choreography. She continues to move, make, and write dance. Carol is specially interested in promoting mindful motion for older movers, in 2019-2020 teaching with Moonhorse Dance Theatre’s Engaging Seniors in Dance program.
A prolific dance writer, Carol has chronicled Canadian dance since the late 1980s in biographies, anthologies, notes, magazines, and online resources. Now Professor Emerita of York U’s Department of Dance, Anderson continues to move, choreograph, teach, and write. Her current creative investigations include site-specific dance/spoken word installations in galleries and gardens.
Carol Anderson was elected in 2019/2020.
Sebastian “Bash” Hirtenstein’s undeniable versatility, unshakeable fearlessness and captivating qualities in performance have allowed him to work with a wide spectrum of choreographers & companies such as BoucharDanse, Addy Chan, Michael Caldwell, Canadian Opera Company, Emilio Collalilo, Lenny de la Pena, Barbara Diabo, Rodney Diverlus, The Dietrich Group, Scott Fordham, Gadfly, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Little Pear Garden Dance Company, Jennifer Nichols, Kevin Ormsby, Red Sky Performance, Jennifer Thiessen, Kylie Thompson, and at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre with Nova Bhattacharya, Marc Boivin, Susie Burpee, Peter Chin, Jennifer Dallas, Robert Desrosiers, Danny Grossman, Christopher House, Allen Kaeja, Louis Laberge-Côté, Sharon Moore, Julia Sasso, and Darryl Tracy. He has performed throughout Canada, the Middle East, and Asia with Creativiva’s Aladdin and Pinocchio (for which he was dance captain) and has shared stages with stars such as Ariana Grande, Jason Derulo, Kiesza, Bebe Rexha, Delaney Jane, Allan Rayman and Polina Grace.
Sebastian Hirtenstein was elected in 2020/21.
Neena Jayarajan is a Bharatanatyam dancer who has trained under the tutelage of Guru Dr. Menaka Thakkar for over 28 years. She has been assistant teacher at Nrtyakala for over 15 years, and has served as both the Assistant Artistic Director (AAD), lead dancer and rehearsal director of the Menaka Thakkar Dance Company (MTDC) for over 6 years. In her role Neena assisted in re-choreographing remounts of MTDC productions & new works and toured to various cities across North America and Asia. Neena performed in both classical and contemporary works throughout her years at MTDC, and in addition performed in the Children's programming wing of the company in over 200 schools across Canada.
Through MTDC, Neena studied under renowned teachers in various dance styles including Padma Bushan Kalanidhi Narayan in Abhinaya, CV Chandrashekar in Bharatanatyam and Sujatha Mohaptra in Odissi. She has toured with MTDC’s Odissi production Gita Govinda across North America & India and was presented as an Odissi Soloist in India. She has also worked with various accomplished dancers including William Lau, Danny Grossman, Patrick Parson & Bengt Jorgen. In addition, taken intensives in other art forms including Kalaripayattu, Ballet, Modern dance and Butoh. She has performed in Sylvie Bouchard's piece La gigue en souvenir, Natasha Bakht’s Riaz, and Nova Bhattacharya’s piece Broken Lines, which won the Summerworks 2016 Outstanding Direction Award.
Neena has also completed her MA in dance from York University where her research was a comparative analysis of the training methods used for the Plie in Ballet and Aramandi in Bharatanatyam.
Neena is a 2016 recipient of the Chalmers Arts Fellowship Grant, allowing her to explore 3 projects with Ravi Jain of Why Not theatre, a group choreography with 5 Bharanatyam dancers and a solo work with Nova Bhattacharya.
Neena Jayarajan was elected in 2017/2018.
Stephanie is an established industry professional, choreographer and dance teacher based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is devoted to educating and mentoring young artists across Canada and abroad. Her pre-professional training originated in Ontario - focusing on modern, contemporary, ballet and jazz.
Stephanie is a proud graduate of Ryerson University touting a BFA Degree (Theatre Performance Dance), and has also completed her RAD and BATD Highland examinations with impressive notability. Additionally, she is a graduate of the Pre-Professional Program, DECIDEDLY JAZZ DANCEWORKS, and has performed for numerous dance companies on the West and East Coast’s. Stephanie has had the privilege to work with numerous well-known North American choreographers, via both company and commercial dance industry projects.
Stephanie is also the co-founder of the Halifax modern, contemporary, jazz company - VOTIVE DANCE – and her company thrives on performing across Canada in a variety of touring shows and festivals. She has participated in many exploration projects across the country. She has performed in commercial work and numerous original choreographic works, including: Wish, Desire, Vow (Atlantic Fringe Festival); Short Stories (Atlantic Fringe Festival); In Pursuit, East Meets West, Shedding Suffixes, Proven Lands (Nextfest, Atlantic Dance Festival, Soulocentric); Natural Forces, Perspective (Connection Dance Works); and Homeplace (collaboration with Pier 21), to name a few.
As a sought out choreographer, her work has been showcased by a plethora of dance companies, pre-professional/professional performance groups, arts schools and dance festivals. She has also been the recipient of numerous awards for her choreographic and artistic visions.
Stephanie Mitro was elected in 2019/2020.
Roberto Soria is from Ottawa, Ontario and found a love for the community of art and dance while attending the Canterbury High School arts program. Once out of high school he moved to Toronto in 2015 to attend the School of Toronto Dance Theatre. While completing his last year of school he was also working with Toronto Dance Theatre as the TD intern. He spent his past summer performing in the OFFTA festival in TOUR created by Alexa Mardon and Erika Mitsuhashi. He is a frequent collaborator with Hanna Kiel and recently performed in her new work Resonance. As well as dancing professionally, he has a passion for going and dancing in the rave scene. He finds the process of moving for an entire night with friends or strangers with no limits or restrictions extremely liberating while also meditative. He is very happy to be in his third season with Toronto Dance Theatre.
Roberto Soria was elected in 2019/2020.
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 for; Susie Burpee, Valerie Calam, Marie-Josee Chartier, Alison Daley, David Earle, Hanna Keil, Shannon Litzenberger, Tracey Norman and Peter Randazzo. In 2016 he 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. Currently Nikolaos is a practising artist and educator and works at York University as an Undergraduate Program Assistant in the School of Administrative Studies.Nikolaos Markakis was elected in 2017/2018 and became President in 2019/20.