FEMME FOLKS FEST 2024
March 8th- 8pm
March 9th- 2pm & 8pm
Centre and The Square- Studio Theatre
It Falls With The Rain
Don't miss your chance to witness this imaginative dynamic new contemporary dance work by Tara Butler
Featuring Aya Belsheim, Kate Kamo McHugh, Jianna Neufeld, Viktoria Kamenyiczki and Willem Sadler with music by Edgardo Moreno.
It Falls With The Rain
Aya found a love for dance at age five and started her training with the Alberta Ballet School in Edmonton. She later joined the professional program with intensive focus on ballet, modern, jazz and pointe. She moved to the Edmonton School of Ballet for her graduating year where she danced many leads in their junior performing company. Upon graduating, Aya joined Ballet North and toured Alberta, B.C. and Russia. A year later, Aya moved to Jonquière, Quebec, where she started teaching ballet, pointe, variation and modern at L'École de Danse Le Prisme Culturel. In 1996 she joined Ballet Jörgen Canada in Toronto, where she stayed for the next twelve years, touring all over Canada and the United States. Since retiring from her dance career in 2008, Aya has been teaching mostly ballet and pointe at various studios. With her extensive professional stage experience, Aya excels at getting dancers to find freedom in their movement in order to awaken their inner artistry, while maintaining a strong technical base. In 2022 Aya gently came out of retirement to continue pursuing her love of movement in a project based freelance capacity.
Kate Kamo McHugh is a dance and theatre artist from the Region of Waterloo. She is interested in artistically exploring concepts such as migration, belonging and the intersection of art and care - all themes she feels intimately connected to in her everyday life. Highlights for Kate over the past year include working with Dancemakers and CanAsian Dance, acting in a workshop of Julie Tamiko Manning’s new play Mizushōbai (Tableau D’Hôte Theatre), and dancing with Tara Butler's company Dust and Soul Dance. Currently she is working on her own show 20 Grains of Rice, an exploration of Japanese Canadian identity - cultural loss, retention and creation. Kate holds a BFA from Toronto Metropolitan University in Theatre Performance Dance.
Jianna Neufeld (she/her) is a queer, Tkaronto-based, dance and theatre artist, who was born and raised at Mile Zero of the Alaska Highway. She is a graduate of the Victoria Academy of Ballet (2017), and The School of Toronto Dance Theatre (2020), where she was honoured co-valedictorian and the two-time recipient of the Walker Wood Bursary. She also holds a BFA Hons. in Choreography/Performance from York University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2023. Neufeld is currently working as an independent artist across Turtle Island, having performed for Frog in Hand, Adrian de Leeuw, Caroline Bentley, Dave Wilson, Newton Moraes, The Bentway Conservancy, and Maria Isabel Salgado, among others. In addition to performing, Neufeld is passionate about the outdoors and works as an outdoor educator and wilderness guide for youth in and around the GTA.
Willem Sadler is a street styles and contemporary based artist from Toronto, Ontario. Willem has had the opportunity to perform and show his work internationally, most recently in New York City. Willem defines himself as a versatile dancer/creator and strives to squash the separation of ‘styles’ in hopes to present dance as movement without restrictions. Throughout his career Willem has performed and collaborated with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Mirvish, Dusk Dances, CCDT, Dance Collection Danse, Zata OMM, ProArteDanza and Côté Danse. He has also performed works by Jennifer Archibalt, Guillaume Côté, Colin Connor, William Yong and Robert Lepage. In his commercial dance career he has performed for the Pan American Games, Roots Canada, Shoppers Drug Mart, Artists in Motion Dance Company and has taught at Toronto’s leading studios such as Run The Flex and StudioNorth Toronto. Willem has most notably performed in Côté Danse’s X(Dix)as part of the 20th Fall For Dance Festival at the New York City Center. Willem is grateful to have the opportunity to express freely as an artist and contribute towards enriching the Toronto dance community.
Viktoria began her training at Carousel Dance Centre, finding her love for dance in ballet, jazz and modern classes, performing in year end productions. Continuing her studies in dance, Viktoria attended Eastwood Collegiate Institute for the Integrated Arts Program, performing in countless Eastwood shows including Gala’s, Floor Is Yours’, Senior Dance Show’s, and End Of The World Senior Drama show performances. Through Eastwood, Viktoria achieved the opportunity to perform Swan Lake in the Thorgy & The Thorchestra show. When graduating, she was presented with a Passion For Dance award. Viktoria has performed local participant roles for Canada Ballet Jorgen’s The Nutcracker production in 2019 and 2022 and is the Local Participant Rehearsal Director in Kitchener/Waterloo for the 2023 CBJ Nutcracker at Centre in The Square. Viktoria was introduced to contemporary dance in her last year of high-school, translating her story into emotional pieces of movement. . Viktoria will continue to flourish in her dance career with renowned choreographer Tara Butler, Canada’s Ballet Jorgen, choreographing for Out Of The Box Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, and proceeding to spread the joy found in dance."
A fierce advocate for regional theatre artists, Lisa O’Connell (she/her) is the founding Artistic Director of Pat the Dog Theatre Creation, a catalyst for New Works of Theatre and producer of PlaySmelter Northern New Works Festival (Sudbury) and Femme Folks Fest (Waterloo Region). Artists receiving dramaturgy by O’Connell have received and/or been nominated for the Governor-Generals Award (Drama), RBC Tarragon Playwright Award, the Carol Bolt Award, RBC Directors Award, among others. Work created at PTD has been presented across Canada and the UK. O’Connell is the recipient of numerous awards, most recently an Award of Excellence by the Creative City Network of Canada for her work building creative ecologies. O’Connell divides her time between her artistic homes in Waterloo, ON and Sudbury, ON.
Dance Takes Berlin
Tara began her dance career with The National Ballet of Canada after graduating from the National Ballet School. She then danced for The Alberta Ballet and was a celebrated Principal dancer for Canada's Ballet Jorgen for 16 years. Bengt Jörgen created many lead roles in full length ballets for Tara including Romeo and Juliet, Cinderella, Anastasia, Coppelia, and The Nutcracker. She had the opportunity to guest perform internationally with The Hong Kong Ballet, The Ohio Ballet, Banff Festival Ballet and The Miami Hispanic International Ballet Festival. She has worked with many of Canada's most sought after choreographers including Gioconda Barbuto, Roberto Campanella, Allison Cummings, Robert Desrosiers, Robert Glumbek, Allen Kaeja, Karen Kaeja, Malgorzata Nowacka-May, Crystal Pite, Kathleen Rea, and Wen Wei Wang. Tara was featured in Michael Greyeyes short dance film 'Seven Seconds" and also featured in the award winning dance film 'Old Country' by Allen Kaeja. Since moving to Kitchener and having her second child, Tara has been teaching and coaching young dancers, choreographing, and performing as a freelance artists.
Over the course of the pandemic Tara created and presented a full evening of dance funded by The Region Of Waterloo Arts Fund which featured original work by David Earle, Allen Kaeja, and Nickeshia Garrick. These sold out performances of "Dance Takes Berlin" presented at The Registry Theatre November 5th and 6th 2021 were a huge success. Our second evening of dance "PRECARIOUS" was enthusiastically received by Kitchener audiences once again filling The Registry Theatre and building excitement for professional dance. This performance featured original work by Allison Cummings, Aria Evans, Nickeshia Garrick and Karen Kaeja which was supported by the Canada Council For The Arts, The Ontario Arts Council and The Region Of Waterloo Arts Fund.
In partnership with Pat The Dog Theatre Creation Tara has launched a movement creation series aimed towards developing new ways of creation for all artists as well as demystifying dance and its creative process. Tara is an Associate Artist with Pat The Dog Theatre. She has completed two successful dance residencies with The Registry Theatre in July 2021 funded by Ontario Presents, and July 2022 supported by The Region of Waterloo Arts Fund. Our next project is brewing. Stay tuned for more to come!
Photo by Laura McBride
The mandate of DAS Dance Projects is to create and present professional dance performances for the Waterloo region. Our goal is to present exciting, original, and relevant dance performances as well as build a deeper understanding for the art of dance for our growing community. We are excited to be an integral part of the arts ecology here in Kitchener/ Waterloo.
Nickeshia Garrick is a settler on the stolen land of Tkaronto and has performed on this land for over 25 years. They are unapologetically a Black, Queer Artist, who believes in the healing power of breath through raw emotion and movement. Nickeshia received their dance training at the Carousel Dance Centre (Kitchener), the NYIDE (New York Institution of Dance and Education), the National Ballet School of Canada (Tkaronto), Toronto Dance Theatre (Tkaronto), and Simon Fraser University (Vancouver).
Nickeshia is a Dora Mavor Moore-winning and multi-nominated artist who holds a BFA in Dance from Simon Fraser University. In addition to her performance endeavours, Nickeshia teaches Movement to TV/Film Actors at the Toronto Film School.
Photo by Kevin Jones
Dancers Preston McBain and Tara Butler
Movement Based Creation for Non-Dancers
This is an outreach series to educate and inspire our audiences. No dance experience is necessary. Participants will learn how dance is created and have the opportunity to create their own movement pieces. Our first movement workshop at The Registry Theatre in October 2021 was hugely successful.
NEW WORKSHOP DATE!!!!! JUNE 12th 2023 in Partnership with The REGISTRY Theatre. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to reserve your spot! For non dancers and dancers alike, this is a special opportunity to learn, move, breath, connect and create in a theatre setting.
Pre-Professional Choreographic Workshops
This series is meant to bridge the gap for dance students on the precipice of their professional career. Dancers will have the opportunity to be part of the creative process and work
with choreographers active in the field of dance. 3 day or 1 week session options. Please email email@example.com to book a workshop for your students. Stay tuned for new dates for open workshops 2024
Movement Based Professional Development
This is geared toward artists of any genres who are interested in widening their methods of creation. Through movement, participants will create personal work and develop new
skills to conjure creative flow in their own disciplines. This workshop series is run in partnership with Pat The Dog Theatre Creation. Stay tuned for upcoming 2024 dates.
Das Dance Projects acknowledges that we are located on the Haldimand Tract, land promised to Six Nations, which includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. We are on the traditional territory of the Attawandaron (Neutral Confederacy), Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. We honour this land and the indigenous people who have lived on it and cared for it for thousands of years.
We love our patrons, so feel free to drop us a line.