Member Spotlight: 2014

Dance Centre Member Spotlight: 2014

December 2014: Meredith Kalaman

Photographer: Chris Randle

Meredith Kalaman is a local choreographer, dancer, and teacher, fascinated with creating work that investigates and re-imagines the human experience. By exposing the inner-most realities of our personal stories, Meredith aims to connect, inspire and transform the human experience. Pushing beyond what we experience to be possible, leaving viewers with new considerations about the world we live in. Meredith collaborates with Dance/Theater Director, Sophie Yendole and has performed in works by Noam Gagnon, Kate Franklin, Farley Johansson, Julie Lebel and Kirsten Wiren. Company Credits include: Karen Jamieson Dance Company, Dancers Dancing, Judith Marcuse Projects and MovEnt. Meredith is a graduate of the Ballet BC Mentor Program. Her choreography has toured Canada, the US and China. She is devoted to furthering contemporary dance as a vital art form.  Meredith is interested in audience development and creating accessible works that inspire and connect viewers. In January 2015,  Arash Khakpour and Meredith perform Ruminate at the Roundhouse Community Centre as part of New Works: Dance Allsorts. Meredith is also working towards her first full length, Femme Fatales, based on the witch-hunts.

November 2014: MARTA MARTA Productions

Speaking in Ligeti, Photo by Emily Cooper

MARTA MARTA Productions, directed by choreographer Martha Carter, is dedicated to the teaching, creation and dissemination of new works of dance and interdisciplinary projects. Initially starting in Montréal in 1990 as Marta Marta Danse, MMP, relocated to Carter’s hometown of Vancouver in 2004 where the company continues to produce unique productions, as well as hosting classes, workshops and collaborating with organizations across Canada.   MMP is recognized for giving audiences immersive, participatory experiences. Martha's choreography draws on influences from ballet, contemporary and urban dance forms, experimenting with stylistic juxtaposition to find new ways of expressing relevant issues through movement. Significant works include 'Xdance' (2002), 'iDUB: an interactive digital urban ballet' (2004-2006); 'The Spell Remains' (2005),  'ri’zilyent' (2007), TWiSTED and TWiSTED:SOLO (2009-2013). MMP’s most recent creation, SPEAKING IN LIGETI, in collaboration with Vancouver’s Microcosmos String Quartet, will be touring to Live Arts and the Scotia Music Fest in Halifax, Nova Scotia in June 2015. IN 2016, the company is preparing a tour around BC and to the Canada Dance Festival in Ottawa.  

Since 2009, in response to MMP’s production ‘TWiSTED’, MMP initiated a community service called the’Twisted Outreach Project' (TOPS) to provide creative approaches to back care, particularly scoliosis. /

October 2014: Vancouver Tap Dance Society

Photographer: David Cooper

Vancouver Tap Dance Society strives to be a leader in the promotion and preservation of tap dance and is dedicated to developing an awareness of this art form. The Society's mandate includes the Tap Academy (classes on-going), Vancouver International Tap Festival (August 28-30), Tap Co, a youth performance ensemble and an Outreach Program that provides classes to hundreds of children each year. For more information on our events and ongoing classes please visit: or email us at

September 2014: Dario Dinuzzi

Dario Dinuzzi, originally from Italy, is an independent dance artist based in Vancouver, and was recently appointed as Artist in Residence with Ballet BC. He has twelve years of experience working as a professional dancer for contemporary ballet companies, including Aterballetto (Rome), Les Grands Ballets Canadiens (Montreal), and Ballet BC (Vancouver). In 2007, he created his first short piece and has since sought out opportunities to develop his voice as a choreographer. Dario is a ballet teacher and coach, sharing his philosophy that an understanding of how the body and mind complement each other is essential to being a diverse and open dance artist. He has an immense respect for the body, which he values as a gift.  He views the body as a big sponge that is capable to absorb a lot but ultimately will give back everything. Currently, Dario is making the best out of his first year as a freelance dance artist, collaborating with different artists and organizations in Vancouver and internationally. 

August 2014: Lorita Leung Dance Company

Lorita Leung Dance Company/photo CY Yeung
Photo credit:  C.Y. Yeung

The Lorita Leung Dance Company was formed in 1970 by Lorita Leung, and is one of North America’s first and most reputable Chinese dance performing groups.  Acclaimed for its authentic and professional performances, the Company has a wide repertory that includes Chinese Classical, Folk, Minority and Contemporary dance styles.  In 1984, it became the first overseas Chinese dance group to perform in the People’s Republic of China at the invitation of the Chinese Ministry of Culture.  Since then, the Company has toured China three additional times and has performed in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, the United States and across Canada. In recent years, the Company has continued to expand its repertory under the leadership of Artistic Director, Jessica Jone.  The Lorita Leung Dance Company is highly regarded for its work in promoting, preserving and enhancing Chinese dance culture in Canada, and has become a well-known cultural ambassador and artistic leader in the field of Chinese dance.

July 2014: the response.

the response/photo Chris Barton
Photo by Chris Barton

Founded in 2008 by Amber Funk Barton, the response. is a project-based contemporary dance company dedicated to challenging how contemporary dance is made, shown and perceived.  It is a home that allows its founder and artistic director to create new work that balances artistic resonance and physical spectacle.

the response. focuses on the articulation of contemporary technique with the athleticism, dynamics and energy of urban dance and culture.  Inspired by the ability of the human body, its physical potential and its emotional make-up, the company goes beyond the focus of form to create cinematic experiences using the body to create pictures, images and shapes to evoke reaction.  It is a company distinguishable by the vulnerability and sensitivity portrayed in its works. the response. aims to tell stories; it presents ordinary, recognizable characters and emotions in imaginary landscapes. The company desires not only to ignite people’s imaginations but also to induce an emotional connection to what they experience.

This fall Amber will create and premiere a new solo co-produced by the NAC. This performance will be a shared evening featuring Josh Martin’s solo Leftovers and Hero & Heroine, a duet created by Amber and performed with Josh Martin as part of the National Art Centre’s 2014-2015 Season in Ottawa.

June 2014: Lynette Harper

Photo by Laura Scotten

Lynette Harper is a Vancouver Island-based dancer and teacher who explores dynamic relations between North America and the Arab Middle East in her creative and scholarly work. Her recent solo performances emphasize tarab, an Arabic word for an effect of music: a musically-induced state of intense emotion, such as excitement, exaltation, yearning, poignancy, timelessness. 

Tarab in dance has been compared with two facing mirrors: The ecstatic response of the dancer to music and musicians ignites the audience, and their emotive response in turn enhances all the performers’ experience. This summer Lynette will perform improvised tarab pieces in several historical, contemporary and fusion Middle Eastern genres, at festivals and arts centres on the Island. She is currently working with independent dancers based in Victoria and Vancouver, to develop collaborative works that challenge the Orientalisms distorting Western understanding of Arabs and the Middle East.

Lynette references her own experiences as an Arab Canadian in a recent study of Arab women and dance, published in the academic anthology, “Belly dance around the world: New communities, performance and identity”.  Her next conference presentation will be at Vancouver’s Safar Conference for Middle Eastern Dance and Music.  

May 2014: Vision Impure

 Photo by Chris Randle

Employing themes of vision and perception, Vision Impure creates performances that explore the intricacies of human relationships and the dynamic tension that moves us. Vision Impure was founded in 2006 by dance artist Noam Gagnon (co-founder of The Holy Body Tattoo). The company has produced works such as Thank You You’re Not WelcomePaint the Land, and The Vision Impure (winner of The Isadora Award for Excellence in Performance), featuring choreography by Nigel Charnock and Daniel Leveille. Noam is an Associate Dance Artist of the National Arts Centre. He is also Director of Noam Gagnon’s Wellness Center/Beyond Pilates.

Vision Impure will premiere its newest work, DVOTE, at The Cultch on May 27, 2014, before taking it on the road to Ottawa in June for a performance at the Canada Dance Festival.  A co-production with Nova Dance, DVOTE is co-choreographed and performed by Noam Gagnon and Toronto-based Bharatanatyam and contemporary dancer Nova Bhattacharya.

April 2014: Tannis Hugill

Tannis Hugill’s work is based on her deep belief that creativity, healing and the sacred are one intricately woven fabric, illuminating each of us. As a therapist, she offers her training as a Board Certified Dance-movement Therapist, Registered Drama Therapist, Spiritual Director and practitioner of somatic approaches to the treatment of trauma.  She sees clients in Vancouver and at the Chopra Addiction and Wellness Center in Squamish.  As a teacher, she offers workshops in Authentic Movement, Moving Prayer and Ecstatic Body Postures.  As an artist, she offers ritual performances, which bring the sacred into secular theatrical environments.

Since her Dance Lab collaboration with Lee Su-Feh, Moving with Stones,  Tannis has been exploring the relationship of Sacred Dance to Sacred Song. This spring, in addition to teaching Authentic Movement, Tannis looks forward to giving a workshop combining Ecstatic Body Postures with Moving Prayer.  Banyen Books will host a presentation on Ecstatic Body Postures in September.  In October, she and Bettina Rothe will collaborate for the workshop Moving with Spirit.  The West Coast Dance/Movement Professional Training began last July and she will be teaching there late in the fall.(

Link to video

March 2014: Shakti Dance Society

Anusha Fernando is a performer and teacher of Bharata Natyam and the Artistic Director of Vancouver, B.C’s, Shakti Dance Society. Shakti Dance’s mandate is to promote Bharata Natyam through performance and training. The society strives to create accessible and reflective work, believing that the practice of Bharata Natyam is evolving and has contemporary relevance.

Anusha’s creative work has focused on highlighting the depth of Bharata Natyam’s traditional repertoire (solo and duet) as well as its interdisciplinary potential.  Shakti Dance’s most recent productions include two Bharata Natyam duets with Sujit Vaidya, Five Faces and The Meeting Rivers, interdisciplinary works like Gods, Demons and Yogis, which fused north Indian classical music, storytelling and tai chi based movement, and was made into a radio play by CBC, and a number of solo classical recitals, including Krishna PlaysTranscendance, Moods of Love and Intimacy