Commissions & Creative Partnerships



The Dance Ontario Commissioning Committee (Lola Ryan, Jennifer Watkins, Yasmina Ramzy) is happy to announce that Zachary Seto and Patrick Parson have been selected as this year's Commissions|Creative Partnerships. The artists will present the world premieres of the new works at DanceWeekend'22 running at Harbourfront Centre in January 2022.

Zachary Seto, an emerging artist and former recipient of the Jacque Foesier Youth Dance Award, will create a trio that explores the opportunity to take full ownership for what we create in this world and invites us to remember our extraordinary nature. 

Patrick Parson’s new ballet, WAKE, will delve into the attitudes and experiences we have surrounding incarceration, policing, and racialized violence with a Restorative Justice approach.  

We look forward to sharing these exciting new works with you!


Zachary Seto 

Zachary Nolan Seto is a choreographer, dancer & filmmaker from Mississauga, Ontario.  He staged his first choreographic works titled One In My Skin & Re-Birthing Earth on the Young Creators stage in 2019 at the age of 13, and went on to receive the YC Top Choreographer award in 2020 as the youngest ever winner to receive this title at the age of 15. 

Zachary takes a holistic approach to choreography and is passionate about sharing stories that investigate various social and cultural issues and speak to the human spirit. He is currently completing his first commissioned dance on film titled Estrella Emergence for the Mississauga Arts Council. His first feature film, The Artist was featured at the PAMA Voice Art Exhibit in 2020. 

Currently enrolled in the Cawthra Parks Secondary School Regional Arts Program and Repertoire ensemble majoring in Dance, he has performed at events and showcases including Coleen Snell’s Frog in Hand, and traveled to Mexico with the Five Star Dance company to perform at the Barceló Maya Grand Resort.  

A competitive dancer for the last 10 years at Watts School of Dance, he has received numerous overall awards, scholarships and participated in dance intensives such as The Protégé Movement in Toronto. In 2021, he was a part of the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre SunDance, where he was in process and learned repertoire from Marc Boivin, Colin Connor, and Chris Larsen. In 2020, Zachary was awarded the prestigious Jacque Foesier Youth Award by Dance Ontario.  He is thrilled and honoured for the opportunity to share his work as part of Dance Ontario’s Creative Partnership Program.

Patrick Parson

A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Patrick Parson has been a dancer and musician from the age of 10. He continues to draw much of his artistic inspiration from the vibrant multicultural community that makes up the Caribbean.

Patrick spent his early years singing in choirs, composing and singing calypsos, playing with steel orchestras, dancing and drumming with community folk groups, and studying ballet and modern dance at the Caribbean School of Dance and the Dance Academy of Trinidad and Tobago. He was trained in the dance and drumming styles of Guinea and Senegal by Mor Thiam, the Artist Director of Les Ballets Africains, and in Canada graduated from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre.

Patrick’s founding of Ballet Creole in 1990 brought Black Dance to mainstream Canadian stages, establishing the Company as the forerunner of Black Dance in Canada. Patrick is the recipient of the Entrepreneurial Award of Merit from the African Caribbean Chamber of Commerce, and the New Pioneers Award from Skills for Change, for his pioneering work in the world of dance in Canada. He has served as cultural adviser to the Toronto Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Metro Cultural Affairs, Ontario Arts Council, Harbourfront Centre, Laidlaw Foundation, and the Arts Advantage Program at Downsview Secondary School.

Patrick holds a Masters Degree in Dance Ethnology from York University where he has been a course director in the Faculties of Fine Arts and Kinesiology. He regularly conducts workshops and lecture demonstrations for universities and schools in Ontario. Through extensive studies at the Katherine Dunham Institute for Humanities, Patrick has been awarded certification as a teacher of the Dunham Technique, which he teaches in Canada where it is little known and practiced.




The Dance Ontario Commissioning Committee is delighted to announce that Rodney Diverlus and Matthew Cuff have been selected as this year's Commissions|Creative Partnerships. The artists will present the world premieres of the new works at DanceWeekend'21- the virtual edition.

Rodney Diverlus will create a work that celebrates and uplifts the resiliency of our global and local communities in times of crisis while straddling the boundaries of jazz, contemporary, Afro-Diasporic, dance forms and physical theatre.

Matthew Cuff's Chromatic brings together five diverse individuals of different gender, race, and sexuality who have all been inspired by the Vogue Ballroom scene to make history and bring Vogue to the DanceWeekend stage.

We look forward to sharing these exciting new works with you this fall!

Rodney Diverlus by Maxim Kopanygin Matthew Cuff by David Choi


Rodney Diverlus (He/Him) is a Haitian-Canadian performance maker who samples from the realms of contemporary and jazz movement, physical theatre, puppetry and Afrikanic sensibilities. He uses the body and voice as sites to host movement, text, rhythm, and protest that weaves in ancestral, diasporic, and queer narratives of life and freedom. Described by the Dance Current as a “fresh voice on stage”, his works have been presented at the SummerWorks Performance Festival (burn, burned, 2019), Art Gallery of Ontario (in your eyes, the sparkle of gunpowder, 2017), Tableau d’Hôte Theatre (Blackout, 2019), Irie Music Festival (good afternoon,2019), Dance Immersion's Footsteps Across Canada Showcase (two to see, four to reason, 2016), and Annual Alberta Dance Festival (not now, maybe later?, 2015). He’s the recipient of the 2019 Canadian Stage Award for Direction and a Montreal English Theatre Award for Choreography Nominee.

Rodney has performed in dance, theatre, and opera, including four seasons with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. He has interpreted works of Peter Hinton/Denise Clarke (Canadian Opera Company), Darryl Hoskins (Dietrich Group), Noemi Lafrance (The Bentway), Kevin Ormsby (Kashe Dance), Mumbi Tindyebwa, (IFT Theatre), Karen & Allen Kaeja (Kaeja d’Dance), Eddie Elliott (Red Sky Performance), Wind in Leaves Collective, Hannah Kiel, Michèle Moss, Christopher Walker, Tara Friedenberg, and Linnea Swan. He recently joined 2020 Stratford Festival Acting Company.

In his work lies an obsession with Black queer moving bodies interacting with anomalous, often public performance spaces; be they bunker, phone screen, gallery, container, or the streets. Rodney moonlights as an artivist and community advocate. He is a co-founder and lead organizer of Black Lives Matter –Toronto and has co-curated a series of large-scale public installations that blur the lines of protest and performance, most notably Dundas Square Die-in (2015), BLMTOtentcity (2016), #BlackPride (2016), #BlackPride Redux (2017), Won’t Back Down (2017), Defund Mural (2020). 

Matthew Cuff is a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre. With over 6 years of Ballet Contemporary, and Hip Hop Dance training, Matthew has performed in numerous events. He has also worked with established choreographers including Christopher House (TDT), Sean Cheesman (SYTYCDC), and Luther Brown (SYTYCDC). With his versatility and passion for dance and choreography, Matthew strives to strengthen the community of dance in Toronto.



To date, choreographers commissioned through the Creative Partnerships Program include Nenagh Leigh, Meagan O'Shea, Terrill Maguire, Lucy Rupert, Vivine Scarlett,Jenn Goodwin, Sasha Ivanochko, Marlee Cargill, Malgorzata Nowacka, Nova Bhattacharya & Louis Laberge-Côté,Sashar Zarif & Holly Small, William Yong, Lacey Smith, Amy Hampton & Keiko Ninomiya, Jessica Westermann, Lucy Rupert & Barbara Pallamino, Pamela Rasbach, Robert Stephen, Amy Hampton & Keiko Ninomiya, Apolonia Velasquez & Ofilio Portillo, Benjamin Landsberg, Jasmyn Fyffe, Keiko Kitano, Malgorzata Nowacka with James Croker & Jack Langenhuizen, Natasha Powell, Courtnae Bowman, Hanna Kiel, Louis Laberge Cote, Jacob Niedszwiecki, Alyssa Martin, Ryan Lee, Shameka Blake, Riley Sims, Makeda Benitez and Decades Collective, Tracey Norman and Maddie Hanson.


Dance Ontario's Creative Partnership Program provides $2,000 in production/creation support plus $2,000 performance fee to each of two choreographers for NEW work to be premiered at DanceWeekend each January. Choreographers whose membership is current at the time of submission are eligible to apply. All forms of dance will be considered and two works each approximately 15 minutes in length will be selected. Deadline: May 15 each year

The Association's Selection Committee looks for applications that :
- demonstrate excellence and professional integrity;
- bridge diverse forms and/or disciplines;
- take creative risks;
- connect with and are relevant to a broad-based audience;
- enhance the artist's repertoire.

Info  416 204 1083 or 416 973 4000