Dance Ontario Awards

Vivine Scarlett: Recipient of the Dance Ontario Lifetime Achievement Award

Vivine Scarlett, recipient of the Dance Ontario Lifetime Achievement Award on January 22, 2017 @ the Fleck Dance Theatre [image by John Lauener].
Nominated by Kate Cornell of the Canadian Dance Assembly and Kevin Ormsby, Artistic Director of KasheDance, Vivine Scarlett has been active in the dance community for over 34 years and is the founder and curator of dance Immersion.
Says Kevin Ormsby  "She is an unsung leader deserving of recognition. It was in 1994 that I first fell under the spell of her charismatic and nurturing demeanor; this is now an innate part of my artistic being.  As a Toronto Arts Council Cultural Leaders Fellow, and the Victor Martyn Lynch Staunton Award recipient (2014) at the Canada Council for the Arts, I owe these as well as the development and visibility of KasheDance to the hard, focused and directed guidance of Vivine Scarlett. I can confidently say, I am not the only one. The International Blacks in Dance Conference (IABD) (previously held ONLY in the USA), now considers Toronto a second hosting city because of Ms. Scarlett. Who else could have had an International commission previously unperformed by any other company other than the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica? The piece Pocomania brought together dancers of diverse backgrounds and companies from Toronto to learn but also perform together at the 2012 conference; an unforgettable moment in Canadian dance history, spearheaded by this unsung leader.
                   The only Ontario presenter of Dance rooted in the African Diasporic Aesthetics, dance Immersion grounds and solidifies the profile of many diverse emerging, mid-career, established artists and companies through its networking, professional development, showcasing and presentation opportunities. One cannot underscore the workshops held in the dance community led by some of the world's most noted instructors in diverse Dance practice from the African Diaspora. Rewinding time to Vivine’s days as a member of Usafari Drum and Dance Ensemble, in the late 1980s, one can understand that she has nurtured, grown, supported and produced the next “Critical Organic Catalysts” of Canada’s artistic future. Compassionate, gracious and humble, Vivine Scarlett is truly deserving of the Dance Ontario Lifetime Achievement Award for her distinct contribution to dance in Canada and her role in building a more pluralist and open dance community."

                  “Ms. Scarlett’s passion has manifested many experiences that have served Canadian artists of African descent with opportunities that have laid a foundation for continued growth and representation”  said Kate Cornell.


  • Charlotte Holmes
  • Grant Strate
  • Lawrence & Miriam Adams
  • Brian Robinson
  • Trish Beatty
  • David Earle
  • Peter Randazzo
  • Lois Smith
  • Herbert Whittaker
  • Janet Baldwin
  • Boris Volkoff
  • Nesta Williams Toumine
  • Judy Jarvis
  • Joysanne Sidimus
  • Dr. R.N. Laidlaw
  • Rina Singha
  • Peter Boneham (1992)
  • Gladys Forrester (1993)
  • Vera Davis (1993)
  • Carol Anderson (1994)
  • Rose Hill (1997)
  • Danny Grossman (1998)
  • Patricia Miner (2004)
  • Mimi Beck (2007)
  • Roelof Peter (Ron) Snippe (2010)
  • Nadia Potts Gomez (2013)
  • Vivine Scarlett (2016)

Currently Lifetime Achievement Award recipients receive $1,000 and an original bronze sculpture, Winged Torso, cast in bronze.  Created by Patricia Moody, it is one of a limited edition and is embued with a sense of motion and grace, ideally honouring its recipients. Patricia Moody was born in Staffordshire, England and trained at the Burslem School of Art.  She has been a member of the Group of Sculptors Nine and has produced a series of etchings at the Open Studio.  She is known in Canada and the U.K. and has been commissioned to produce bronze portraits.  Her works have been exhibited in Toronto at the Mantra Gallery.

Jacque Foesier Youth Dance Award

Call for Nominations                                                                                                    

This annual award seeks to recognize exceptional young dancers ages 19 & under who are not only pursuing excellence in their craft but go above and beyond making a difference in the lives of others and/or contributing to the dance community.
Dance Ontario knows that there are many young dancers across Ontario doing great things and is currently soliciting nominations.

The recipient of the Dance Ontario Youth Award and their achievements are celebrated at an award ceremony that takes place during DanceWeekend each January. A cash award of $300 is also included.
Please see a brief summary of criteria below, together with a nomination form.


Dance Ontario seeks to recognize a young talented dancer who goes beyond their training to make a difference, effect change, develop, promote, inspire, educate, connect and contribute.
The Award is named after Jacque Foesier, long-time Dance Ontario Board member and dedicated dance teacher who made significant contributions to the dance community in the province.

Nominee must have:

  • demonstrated a passion, dedication and commitment in the pursuit of excellence in dance;
  • a proven track record of successful competitions and/or performances and be a strong dancer in their genre(s)
  • demonstrated a contribution to the dance community as a teacher/assistant, volunteer, organizer or advocate

Nominators must submit:

  • A completed nomination form
  • A letter of recommendation if nominator is not a studio/company director, teacher, or choreographer
  • A performance video, either a DVD or links to YouTube or Vimeo - public or unlisted (which are private) links can be submitted online via e-mail


We look forward to receiving your nominations!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Claire Whitaker : recipient of this year's Jacque Foesier Youth Dance Award.

"Since coming into the Professional Training Program of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Claire Whitaker has excelled and shone. Her teachers have given her high praise in their regular evaluations, for her artistry, her commitment, and her positive and enthusiastic attitude. She has been a class representative, a member of the Student Council, and Co-Producer of the School’s 2017 student-run Coffee House production.  She works well under pressure and has strong leadership skills. Claire is personable, engaging, and has exceptional organizational abilities.

Before coming to the School of TDT, Claire studied at Unionville High School, winning a dance scholarship, and at K&K Dance Dreamz, where she was a teacher’s assistant, and participated in numerous competitions including Bedazzled.  In addition to her school activities, Claire volunteers for charitable organizations such as Leucan, an organization supporting children with cancer and their families, and she recently offered her talents to the dance community volunteering for the Asian Community Games, Toronto Dance Theatre’s Tour de Danse, and Fall for Dance North.

Patricia Fraser (Artistic Director)
Susan Macpherson (Artistic Associate)
The School of Toronto Dance Theatre

PAST RECIPIENTS: Makeda Benitez, Isabella Rapino, Madison Gray, Tess Vosper





Dance Ontario also offers awards in the following categories:

The Dance Innovation Award in recognition of a special or forward-thinking initiative undertaken by an individual.
2010 Recipient: Eroca Nicols
2013 Recipient: Apolonia Velasquez and Ofilio Portillo

The Community Service Award (occasional) to recognize an individual's support for the dance community.
Past recipients John Newton, Ted Fox, Alan Page, Patrick Kutney, Omer Yukseker
2017 recipients are Colin Anthony (posthumously) and Kenny Pearl