Regional Networks

Dance Ontario continues to expand its regional networks with generous funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Sudbury, Windsor and Algoma/Sault Ste. Marie have joined London (LDN), Halton (HDN) and Dufferin (DDN).
The Association acts as a catalyst for collaborators drawn from local arts councils, public school boards, dance studios, and local professional artists who will promote and encourage increased sustainable dance activities.
Enriching people’s lives through arts, culture and heritage, this initiative will build access to arts-based learning opportunities and compelling artistic, cultural and heritage experiences, and will impact on the lives of 11,000 people in the communities served.
Dance Ontario recognizes and thanks the Ontario Trillium Foundation for its commitment to increasing access to dance across the province.
A leading grantmaking foundation in Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation strengthens the capacity of the voluntary sector through investments in community-based initiatives. An agency of the Government of Ontario, OTF builds healthy and vibrant communities.  For more information on the Foundation, please visit the website at:

Regional networks activities were a result of outcomes from Dance Ontario's Connecting The Dots Conference which was an exceptionally inspiring and motivating three days! Delegates identified nine priority areas over three sub-sectors (Education/Artists & Venues/Studios) and then broke down needs across the regions. Locations for support  were London/Orangeville & Barrie/Orillia with the possible inclusion of an exchange project; Sudbury/North Bay; and Halton, Milton, Burlington, Hamilton. These communities are developing partnerships across the sub-sectors and bringing enhanced or new activities to broader markets within their regions.

The conference was shaped by staff and board over a period of 18 months and funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation. Our sincere thanks go to all who attended for their honesty and passion,as well as those who performed from young dancers to professional companies who thrilled us with their artistry.
Download the report here.


On July 27 & 28, 2018, Dance Ontario held the first all networks meeting in Windsor to coincide with the presentation of Riverfront InterArts' ParkDances site-specific dance festival, sponsored by Dance Ontario.

Originally brought to the Board by Catherine Carpenko, the establishment of networks across Ontario is true to its intent inasmuch as sustainable dance activity must be grassroots initiated. Dance networks in Halton, Dufferin, London,Sudbury, Windsor and St.Ste.Marie /Algoma have been funded with a generous multi-year grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation and we have been inspired by the extraordinary diversity of network members'  activities and their consistency.  Each hub has drawn together dance departments from public schools, studios, professional dance artists and community groups celebrating many forms of dance.  Activities range from annual dance festivals, to professional development for dancers, workshops, classes and swing dance clubs.

The July meeting encouraged all to share their experiences, pool ideas and discuss possible exchanges.With original and current Regional Coordinators, Peter Kelly and Grace Smith, and Program Director Amy Hampton, representatives Kate Lowe, Alan Faigal and Margie Sims (Halton), Catherine Carpenko & Michelle Johnson (Dufferin), Mary Jo Mullins, John Salalila & Taisa Petruk (Windsor), Elizabeth Varty & Alissa Cassidy (London) discussed their challenges and successes.  Emma Duncan (Sudbury) who had recently brought Alvin Collantes' gaga workshops to her region as well as seen presentation of the week-long intensive, branches2018 (both supported by Dance Ontario), was unable to attend. Breakout sessions included Money Matters & Administration (Rosslyn Jacob Edwards), Producing and building professional community (Natasha Powell), and Engagement/Outreach - attendance and social media (Peter Kelly).

Top Left - Grace Smith, Amy Hampton, Natasha Powell, Peter Kelly
Bottom Left - Margie Sims, Catherine Carpenko, Alan Faigal, Kate Lowe


Dufferin Dance Network (DDN) Catherine Carpenko (Coordinator)

June 2018 Update: Co-presented with Grand Spirits Distillery, the DDN will be hosting Friday night social dance nights - no experience required! The evenings will begin with a warm up intro class (PWYC) and the dance begins at 8pm. The first dance will be held on June 22. Check out the Dufferin Dance Network Facebook page for more information.

2017 Update: The DDN has established a very active Facebook page offering current events ithroughout the region. A local studio offers space to its members for a variety of classes including those for autistic children.  The region continues to offer the popular Ecstatic Dance monthly workshops.

Halton DanceNetwork (HDN) Kate Lowe and Alan Faisal (Coordinators).

June 2018 Update: The HDN continues to hold regular steering committee meetings, with updates from KooGle Theatre Company, Form Contemporary Dance Theatre and the coordinators of the HDN. Heather Lewis from Burlington Dance Company has been commissioned to be the choreographer for heartBEATZ 2018. Another collective under the HDN, Travellin' Collective, is moving forward with their second season and is planning to add another piece to their repertoire.

Feb 2018 Update: Since December, the HDN has had their logo designed, have increased their Facebook presence, and are moving forward with heartBEATZ 2018. heartBEATZ is one of the performance groups of the HDN that for the past three years has been commissioning a local choreographer to create an original dance piece to be performed at Culture Days. The network has now met with and made a tentative agreement with a potential choreographer

2017 Update: The network continued to work in the community and building their relationship with three dance studios. They have also established a relationship with an HDSB elementary school in Burlington with hopes to expand into Oakville and Milton Schools.  In celebration of International Dance Day they will be part of the Fluorescence  Festival that provides a full day of workshops in various styles as well as a collaborative dance presentation to approx. 250 students in the HDSB.

London (LDN) Bizz Varty (Coordinator)

June 2018 Update: In the past few months, the LDN has had a successful Community Spring Showcase and has created mentorship opportunities for emerging artists with Sharon Moore. Check out the London Dance Festival website for more information. The network will be presenting A Class Act, a series of pre-recorded House dance training series featuring Gadfly in the London area later this summer, generously supported by the Ontario Arts Council.

Feb 2018 Update: The LDN is moving forward with their Spring Showcase application process. They are also in the preliminary planning stages with community partners to increase more year-round work for dancers in London.

2017 Update: After its Spring Showcase last month, the London Dance Festival is offering spring choreography dance intensives led by Sharon Moore.  The showcase featured 15 unique companies located in the London area.
Message from Bizz Varty: "The London dance community came out in great force to support us and enjoyed an astounding night of performances. We are so grateful to all the artists and volunteers who made the event unforgettable.  At festival headquarters we are working hard to bring you some exciting things in the next few months. In April we are offering a four day adult choreography intensive with Sharon Moore, plus an opportunity for youth to work with Sharon as well. The summer festival is fast approaching you can find application forms on our website and links on our Facebook page. We are also thrilled to begin announcing some of the incredible artists that will be performing in the summer festival from June 30 to July 2.

"Please stay tuned for more exciting updates and come out and join the fun!"

Windsor & Chatham (WDN) Mary Ann Mullins & John Salalila (Coordinators)

June 2018 Update: Taisa Petruk has passed the coordinator torch to Mary Ann Mullins & John Salalila. The latter has created once a month dance sessions that are open to the public and range from swing to cha cha. On June 18- August 13, the network will be hosting A Class Act, our online house dance workshops by Gadfly, created with the support of the Ontario Arts Council. Taisa Petruk's Parkdances preparations are well underway! Stay tuned for the announcement regarding the chosen performers. Check out the Windsor Dance Network Facebook page for more information.

Feb 2018 Update: The WDN is excited to announce its participation in the creation of ParkDances: a festival of dance. This is the first dance festival in the Windsor-Essex region presenting local dancers and troupes as well as Tentacle Tribe and HNM Dance Company. In March 2018, the network will host an archiving workshop for the greater Windsor-Essex arts community that will be facilitated by Amy Bowring, director of Collections and Research at Dance Collection Danse in Toronto.

2017 Update: The newly formed network continues to meet  regularly and recently participated in the Ontario Secondary School Dance Festival (OSSDF). Network Coordinator Peter Kelly participated and will serve on the steering committee for 2018. This is the second of three years for the event to be held in Windsor.

Algoma/Sault Ste Marie (ASSM) Pending

2017 Update: The ASSMDN is looking to incorporate in order to bring on board local studios and to look at developing a possible scholarship fund for young dancers.

Sudbury (SDN) Emma Duncan (Coordinator)

June 2018 Update: The SDN has recently facilitated a workshop led by Lene Leneya. Early in the summer the network will be getting together to learn choreography by Natalie Smith who will then send it off to the Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch website. Dance Ontario will sponsor the performances at the end of the branch2018 session in July 2018 as well as a gaga workshop led by Alvin Collantes.

Feb 2018 Update: Since December, the SDN has been taking steps to expand. Regional Coordinator Emma Duncan attended a meeting with the Branch Summer Dance Intensive, representing the SDN, to discuss ideas on how to increase dance enthusiasm in Sudbury. At the end of January, the network held a succesful live-stream event to watch Dance Ontario's Dance Weekend. 

2017 Update: Lauren Foy our Coordinator for the Sudbury Dance Network has stepped down after a busy year in that dance hub. Taking over from her will be Emma Duncan who will continue Lauren's networking activities. Currently, she is scheduling inital meetings.