How fun was that?

by Jini Stolk

I had no idea how joyful the process of dancing with Toronto Dance Theatre would be. We were warmly welcomed, beautifully cared for by everyone in the company, and invited to explore the power of our imaginations – and it quickly became clear that we were going to be truly dancing, learning choreography and even doing some solo turns. What fun.

I’m enormously grateful to everyone who supported me in this wild adventure, and happy that we could play a role in supporting TDT’s creations, productions, and community activities. The company was delighted by the success of this first-time sold out fundraising event, which almost all their board members participated in! And the whole project was ably supported by, a relatively new fundraising platform which seemed to make everything easy: check it out at

This experience led me to think about Arts Action Research’s astute observation that a performing arts organization functions best when everyone in the company, including the board and administration, works in a way that’s consistent with the way things work in the studio.

This is what I saw behind the scenes at Toronto Dance Theatre’s Tour de Danse:

People were willing, even eager, to take a risk on a new and untried event; the effort was guided by Christopher House’s strong central vision which was wide open to discovery, change, and new ideas (like Pulga Muchuchoma’s rousing finale); everything was planned in great detail (the steps, patterns, guest dancers’ partners and more were all carefully worked out in advance); concern for the audience’s experience and enjoyment was paramount; everyone on the team functioned with the greatest possible professionalism, fulfilling their own roles independently and excellently; yet everyone’s efforts were fully focused on the overall goal, in the best spirit of collaboration. There was enormous generosity of spirit, care and caring; resources were supplemented by enthusiastic volunteers – and, needless to say, we opened on schedule and on time, and celebrated with great enthusiasm at the after show party.

A great working model for any arts board or administration – and for many businesses.

Is audience participation a new trend in the dance world? I just got invitations to the

RETRO Dance Party , May 2, 8pm, The Spoke Club. In Support of Everyday Marvels @ Guelph Dance – a dance party and fundraiser with the cast of Shannon Litzenberger’s Everyday Marvels and RBC’s contemporary dance enthusiasts The Mobile Assets, and

And 5, 6, 7, 8…A Musical Theatre Dance Party ,” Tuesday, April 29, 8:30-11:30 p.m. at the Drake Underground, for and by Acting Up Stage Company, Angelwalk Theatre and Theatre 20, teaming up to celebrate Toronto’s musical theatre community.


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