Core Artist Group
theatre artist / dancer
Neil Cadger is a theatre artist who teaches at UBC Okanagan, in the Department of Creative Studies. He graduated from l’ecole Lecoq in Paris in 1984, and worked as a creator/performer in Europe and North America for 20 years. He continues to create, perform and teach, with recent explorations into the world of virtual toy theatre. He founded the Living Things International Arts Festival in 2017.
Media and Sound Artist
Aleksandra Dulic (Associate Professor, Department of Creative Studies, UBCO) is an artist-scholar with expertise in interactive art, climate change communication, and media for social change. She is the Director of the Centre for Culture and Technology (CCT) and leads an interdisciplinary research team that engages multiple forms of art, media and information technologies as vehicles for the expression of community, culture, and identity.
Dulic’s research is centered on the creation of interactive systems and experiences that bring local, cultural and communal resources to the forefront. One thread of this work involves the development of learning context and experiences using game play as a device for sustainability awareness grounded in local ecology. Another thread is the research in interactive installation with multi-channel audio-visual displays that enable the creation of complex community images. These threads of research intersect in the idea of interactive art as a place for community reflection. Dulic has managed a number of interdisciplinary research projects and secured Canadian federal and provincial funding for these projects. She has created a number of large-scale dynamic environments and multimedia projects as well as published insights that arise from these research-creation projects.
Media and Sound Artist
Miles Thorogood (Assistant Professor, Department of Creative Studies, UBCO) is an artist/engineer at the University of British Columbia with research centered around the practice and theory in media arts for developing interactive experiences. Miles' work seeks to identify formal models of creativity as it is by investigating aspects of human perception and design process in order to encode creative structures for computer assisted technologies in art making environments.
His work has been featured as interactive museum exhibits, installations, and performances. The interactive installation and performance works frame the research in creative practice that brings meaningful contexts of experience and environment to the foreground using algorithmic processes combining art making, audio and visual media, databases, artificial intelligence, and physical and network computing.
artist / musician / sound artist
Andrew Stauffer (Kelowna, BC) is a percussionist and sound artist from Texas whose work explores community, the translation of ideas between artistic disciplines, and the sonic possibilities of sundry objects. He is a member of Vision Lab Collective, an interdisciplinary experimental arts and research collective based at Harvard University with global collaborators. He holds an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, where his research focused on the intersection between music and spirituality.
Artist / dancer
Lin Snelling’s performance, writing and teaching is based in the qualities improvisation can offer as it applies to dance, theatre, visual art and somatic practice. She toured the world extensively as a performer with Carbone 14, continues to create dances, and has worked with many improvisation ensembles.
As a Full Professor at the University of Alberta she is presently teaching dance, experiential anatomy and composition and is Coordinator of the MFA in Theatre Practice program.
'Rewriting Distance', her on-going research collaboration with Belgian dance dramaturg Guy Cools has been performed in 7 countries and 14 different cities and was presented in August 2019 as a collaboration with Mile Zero Dance.
Most recently Lin danced in 'far off & personal', video and music by Michael Reinhart and commissioned by New Music Edmonton.
Cinematographer / photographer / editor / visual effects artist
Ronan’s first film as cinematographer and editor was 2011’s Gods of Youth, which he produced with Kate Twa for Mutant Films. Since then, he has shot a number of short films and 2 additional feature-length films, including Zombie Punch and The Orchard. His work has screened at more than 20 international film festivals, including the Montreal World Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, Las Vegas International Film Festival, Cayman Islands Film Festival, and the Manhattan Film Festival. He has contributed visual effects to films that have been broadcast across Canada and the United States, and showcased through platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu.
As a commercial and entertainment lawyer, Ronan practices with the Vancouver law firm, Bell Alliance, where he plays an active role supporting the local film industry through provision of legal services. He also is a founding director of Mutant Films and a director of the not-for-profit organizations Railtown Theatre & Film Society and Tempest Theatre & Film Society.
Yukichi Hattori started dancing in Tokyo, Japan.
At the age of 13, he moved to Hamburg, Germany to attend the Hamburg ballet school. He
joined the Hamburg ballet in 1999, where he was praised as the "audience's favourite dancer".
He was promoted to soloist in 2004. He then moved to the Alberta Ballet in 2006, where he
danced until 2016. He not only danced throughout his career, he choreographs all over the
world as well.
He now opened H/W school of Ballet here in Calgary along with his partners, Galien Johnston Hattori and Tara Williamson to raise dancers and performing arts supporters.
dancer / coreographer
Ralph Escamillan is a Canadian born, Queer, Filipino/a/x diasporic creator based in Vancouver, BC. The work he creates questions his fascination with identity, traditions, clothing and the influence of pop culture in a globalizing society.
Escamillan's experience in a multitude of rooms as a dancer, choreographer and community leader - has lent him the opportunity to see the discrepancy of privilege in society, and hope to shift this narrative through his work. Escamillan believes the body is powerful and important in communicating these ideas, and we should support the body's autonomy/agency, political values, and ancestral legacy.
His goals now are to create more spaces to foster artists like himself, to speak about stories that can connect to people like himself, so that he is not speaking by himself anymore. For a full biography please visit his website.
Born in India, brought up in Ottawa, Deepti is an accomplished and dedicated exponent
of the elegant Kathak dance from north India. As artistic director of Arzoo Dance
Theatre she is creating new which is work at the cutting edge of contemporary South
Asian dance and she loves to collaborate with musicians, designers, and new media
artists. A relentless experimentalist with a variety of theatrical interests, she has won a
Dora award for costume design.
She has also worked extensively in Indian theatre as an actor, dramaturge and script writer. Deepti holds an MA in Dance from York University, Toronto and is a noted scholar, educator and choreographer both in Canada and in India.
Minggao Zhang is from Singapore. He received his formal professional dance training in Chinese classical dance, Tai Ji and Chinese folk dance from Shanghai Dance School in 1992. He continues to pursue his profession in dance as a career with Shanghai Orient Youth Dance Company upon graduated in 1998. In 2003, Minggao took up Diploma in dance from Lasalle College of The Arts in Singapore. Upon completion in 2006, he moves on to pursue his Degree and received his Bachelor of Arts (Honors) majoring in Contemporary Dance in 2008.
Minggao has gained his commendable experiences in dance over these years, working with eminent dance artists and choreographers, such as: Graeme Murphy (artistic director of Sydney Dance Company), Willy Tsao (artistic director of City Contemporary Dance Company), Maxine Heppner (Canada), Ming-Lung Young (main dancer in Trisha Brown Dance Company). Albert Tiong (Cloud Gate Dance Theatre, Tai Wan), Lin Snelling (Canada). Minggao was also appointed as guest lecturer and choreographer at the Central Academy of Drama Beijing, Beijing Film Academy and Nan Yang Academy of Fine Arts Singapore.
Currently he is pursuing his Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Practice, under the supervision of Professor Lin Snelling.
Naishi Wang | 王乃石
Born in Changchun, China, Naishi Wang | 王乃石 since age 11 years old, he began
with Chinese Classical dances, Chinese folk dances and Ballet trainings at Jilin
College of Art. In 2004, he moved to Canada and joined Toronto Dance Theatre,
where he was active as a full time company member for nine years.
Since 2015, the award-winning performer has been inspired to work as an independent choreographer. Wang shares in the belief that performing arts create imaginary perspectives that expand what dance can be in the 21st century.
dancer / actor / choreographer
Gianna is a professional dancer, actor, creator and emerging choreographer from the prairies who has had the great joy of performing across Canada for the past 10 years. This year has revealed a liminal space for artists like Gianna, and although she danced in Catalyst Theatre’s Grand Act of Theatre Until the Next Breath presented by the National Arts Center English Theatre, the biography of her last 9 months should read “when she’s not performing, Gianna is a burgeoning pastaia and has dedicated this hiatus from live performing to studying pasta tradition and the art of small sculpture making for the joy of eating.”
Writer / Director
Kate Twa is a writer, director of film and theatre and an instructor. She is Artistic Director of Tempest Theatre and Film Society and Co-Founder of Mutant Films both based in Penticton, BC.
Mat Simpson graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting in
2013. Since then he has been working as a professional photographer in Edmonton
documenting theatre, weddings and events. He’s also had the pleasure of photographing in
various locations around the world including Vancouver, Peru, Hawaii and Belize. You can view
a sampling of his work at his website.
As Co-Founding Artistic Director of COBA, Collective of Black Artists, choreographer and artist educator. Charmaine Headley is a champion of Africanist dance. 2020 has brought varying experiences and, more so than ever, a need to create, for some, unimagined ways of being. The Collective Body project offered a welcome newness in a precarious time.
Charmaine has been generously sponsored for this project by Claude Desmarais.
Kate Stashko is a dance artist currently based in amiskwaciy-wâskahikan / Edmonton who
works both independently and with Good Women Dance Collective. She has performed
throughout Canada, including collaborations with musicians, poets and spoken word artists, and
(in non-pandemic times), loves travelling to train around the world.
Kate teaches dance and Pilates, and is completing a degree in Psychology and Political Science at Athabasca University. She is an avid cyclist, climate activist, gardener and coffee drinker.
Kurt Werner is a professional dancer and an emerging choreographer who has performed in multiple productions with Ballet Kelowna and Kelowna Actors Studio as well being the founder of the Evolve Arts Collective.
One of his biggest passions is living and working through the creation process of a new project and collaborating with other artists; especially when there is a multidisciplinary approach for the content.
In his spare time, he can be found teaching dance and yoga here in Kelowna, BC.
Kurt has been generously sponsored for this project by Susanne Zimmerman.
As a transdisciplinary artist I use dance, image and sound to revitalize our relationship with the body in social, poetic and physical/biological realms. My work is about creating Pockets: «Pockets of Resistance».
The planet values lie in its diversity. I aim to resist conformity, mass production and mass consumption by celebrating the existing variety in the landscape and those of our bodies. Resistance is an Art. Resistance is a Dance.
En tant qu'artiste transdiscipliniare, j’utilise la danse, le travail de l’image, le son, comme des médiums au service d’un propos qui trouve son origine dans le corps social / poétique / biologique.
Mon travail se construit en dessinant des poches : Des poches de résistance.
La richesse de cette terre est contenue dans sa diversité. Si résister à la conformité, à la production de masse, à la consommation de masse commençait par une célébration à la diversité produite et contenue dans nos Corps et nos Paysages : Intérieurs / Géographiques / Imaginaires.
Résister est un Art. Résister est une Danse.
Learie Mc Nicolls
The work of Mr Mc Nicolls includes Movement/Spoken Word/Music and Sound Scape design. Highly physical and emotionally demanding he speaks from his soul. Complex and multilayered he demands of his artists no less than he demands of himself, perhaps more. To stretch their psychic muscles. He considers himself a Movement Analyst. Where words fail Movement and Gestures begin. Where dance falters, poetry has full swing. On the aging of the dancer’s body he says…from infant to ancient. He currently lives in Hamilton and has an awesome son Maxx.
Dancer / Educator / Choreographer
Manuel started his professional career as a dancer/tumbler for Norwegian Cruise Lines. Wanting to broaden his dance repertoire, Manuel moved to Vancouver where he found his way into the Source Dance Company and Modus Operandi where he refined his skills and found a passion for contemporary dance. His unique style of movement earned him a place with respected dance companies and artists including Company 605, Marta Marta Productions, the response, Shay Kuebler, Kinesis Dance Somatheatro and Ballet Kelowna. Some of his commercial credits include the TV show Kyle XY, Motion capture for CGI and the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. He has had the privilege of performing throughout North America and Europe and is the co-founder and artistic director of the Kelowna based contemporary dance education program “The Body Project”.
Dancer / Educator / Choreographer / Nutritionist
Melissa began her post-secondary dance education with York University in Toronto, and continued her education with Modus Operandi in Vancouver. While living in Vancouver she performed in various dance and art festivals as well as for the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Wanting to expand her knowledge about the body, Melissa obtained her diploma in holistic nutrition.
Melissa has worked as a dance educator for over a decade and is recognized as an important role model for young women. She is committed to educating dancers on how to respect themselves and align their entire being in total health and love, supporting dancers through their creative process and life journey. Her newest venture is a holistic dance education program she has co-created with her husband called “The Body Project” which educates dancers how to care for their whole body, mind and spirit, creating space for them to explore their artistry, open their hearts and enhance their inner light.
Melissa has been generously sponsored for this project by Susanne Zimmerman.
Yaw Amoako Baayim is a graduate student at the University of Alberta studying MA in Drama with research focus on Men and Masculinity. Yaw’s ultimate goal is to climb higher the academic ladder, inspire others, and work with the UN to help solve the SDGs with the use of performance.
Yaw has been generously sponsored for this project by Claude Desmarais.
Vanessa Goodman respectfully acknowledges that she lives, works and creates on the ancestral and unceded territories of the Coast Salish peoples including the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations. She holds a BFA from Simon Fraser University and is the artistic director of Action at a Distance Dance Society. Vanessa is attracted to art that has a weight and meaning beyond the purely aesthetic and uses her choreography as an opportunity to explore the human condition.
Dancer / Curator / Artistic Director
Claudia Moore, performer, curator and artistic director of MOonhORsE Dance Theatre, has been a force on the Canadian dance scene since the late 70’s. In 2000, Moore founded Older & Reckless, a performance series renowned for its celebration of mature dance artists. One of Canada’s most revered contemporary dancers, Claudia continues to pursue her passion as an interpreter in commissioned works by acclaimed creators.
Barry Bilinsky is a professional theatre creator of Metis, Cree and Ukrainian heritage.
Based in Alberta, he has worked as a director, curator, performing artist, stage
manager, and technical/production manager across Canada with projects centred
primarily around the proliferation of Indigenous arts, artists, and collaborations. He has
studied Drama and English at the University of Alberta, attaining a Bachelor of Arts
degree in 2012. Barry is an Artistic Associate with Dreamspeakers Indigenous Film
Festival and Akpik theatre, as well as having been involved in many capacities with:
Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts; The Making Treaty 7 Cultural Society; Iiniistsi Treaty
Arts Society (REDx Talks); Fool Spectrum Theatre; among others. Barry is committed to
developing honest, respectful, and purposefully compassion creations that challenge
the overarching cultural assumptions we often face in the performing arts community.
Barry Bilinksy has been generously sponsored for this project by Claude Desmarais.
BELINDA MCGUIRE is an American-Canadian dancer, choreographer, and Artistic Director of Belinda McGuire Dance Projects, which supports the research, development, production, and presentation of international and collaborative multidisciplinary dance performance as a means to stimulate the conscientious capacity of wide-ranging publics through exposure to creative experimentation and artistic excellence. A graduate of The Juilliard School, Belinda has also performed as a member of Limón Dance Company, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, among others, and has taught and choreographed for Harvard, Juilliard, The Limón Institute, Marymount Manhattan College, and Canada’s National Ballet School, among others.
Denise Clarke is the associate artist at One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre in Calgary. She moves and writes and plays around in the theatre world. She is delighted to have watched weird closeups of her hair and her arms in order to join this party.
Denise Kenney has worked as a performer, creator, and director in devised performance and has written, directed and produced narrative and documentary film and television. She is an Associate Professor and Head of Creative Studies at the University of British Columbia- Okanagan and her work excavates, challenges and embraces complications around the concept of "home” and belonging. She recently began collaborating with Kate and Ronan at Tempest Theatre (Penticton) with whom she made the videos for The Collective Body.
An interdisciplinary artist based in Quebec, Laurence Petitpas explores the world of marionettes as a precious area of convergence between embodied, dramaturgical and sonic languages. Through the images she creates, Laurence interrogates our individual and collective relationship with the world; from the exceptional to the quotidian, from the intimate to the universal, she is inspired by the natural world and its circulating, vital energies. She also loves playing the accordion in the street or for seniors, and creating objects with children.
Artiste interdisciplinaire basée à Québec, Laurence Petitpas trouve dans la marionnette un précieux lieu de convergence entre les langages plastiques, scéniques et sonores avec lesquels elle aime jongler. À travers les images qu'elle crée, elle interroge notre rapport au monde, de l'individuel au collectif, de l'exceptionnel au quotidien, de l'intime à l'universel, s'inspirant de la nature et des relations vitales qui en découlent. Et pour l'essentiel, elle aime aussi jouer de l'accordéon chez les aînés ou dans la rue, et faire du bricolage avec les enfants.
musician / composer / artist
Named a “one-woman dynamo” by The Boston Globe and Boston’s Best 2018 "Creative Catalyst" by The Improper Bostonian, Maria Finkelmeier is a percussionist, composer, public artist, educator, and arts entrepreneur. Maria has created large-scale multimedia events in public spaces from Cincinnati to Northern Sweden, with several locations in Boston, including Fenway Park, Charlestown Navy Yard, Edison Power Plant, and Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum. She is the founder of MF Dynamics, and Associate Professor at Berklee College of Music. Find out more at
Ben Grossman is a busy musician: improviser, studio musician, composer, noisemaker, audio artist and curator. He toils in several fields, having worked on many recordings, soundtracks for film and television, sound design for theatre, installations, work designed for radio transmission, and live performances spanning early medieval music to experimental electronica.
Ben Grossman est un musicien très actif: improvisateur, musicien de studio, compositeur, bruiteur, artiste d'audio et conservateur. Il a travaillé dans plusieurs domaines, ayant travaillé sur de nombreux enregistrements, bandes sonores pour le cinéma et la télévision, la conception sonore pour le théâtre, les installations sonores, les oeuvres conçu pour la transmission radiophonique, et spectacles de musique allant du début du Moyen Âge à la musique électronique expérimentale.
Nicholas Denton Protsack
Musician / composer
Nicholas Denton Protsack is an composer and concert cellist, originally from Kelowna, British Columbia.
Nicholas’ creative works often explore connections between music and the natural world, with recent
examples including the landscape-inspired Vision of a Flaxen Sea (2019) for symphony orchestra, which was
the recipient of the 2019 James Highsmith Award. Nicholas is currently undertaking a PhD in music at the
Victoria University of Wellington, studying with composer Michael Norris, and he recently completed a
master’s degree in both composition and cello at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music—where he studied
under David Garner (composition), Jean-Michel Fonteneau (cello), and Jennifer Culp (cello).
Torontonian by birth and Montrealer by choice, David Ryshpan has made his mark over the past fifteen years as a pianist, keyboardist, composer and DJ. He has travelled the world touring with Haitian rapper Vox Sambou and samba-rock legend Jorge Ben Jor, as well as appearing on saxophonist Joel Miller's Juno-nominated album Unstoppable. In addition to leading the Brazilian instrumental group Trio Bruxo and the song cycle Alicuanta, David is an in-demand sideman in the jazz, Latin, Brazilian and hip-hop communities.
Dr. Kathryn Ladano has established herself as one of Canada’s foremost bass clarinetists. As a specialist of contemporary music and free improvisation, Ladano is a dynamic soloist and in-demand collaborator. She is currently the Artistic Director of NUMUS concerts, the Director of ICE (Improvisation Concerts Ensemble) and instructor of improvisation at Wilfrid Laurier University. Kathryn has released two solo albums, “Open” (2010) and “Masked” (2019).
musician / theatre performer / dancer / writer
I think the best way for anyone to talk about who they are is to say, “I am.”
I know that may sound a bit pretentious and inaccessible... but with so many roles, how to find the through thread?
I am a musician, a theatre performer, a dancer, a writer, a visual storyteller, a teacher and a forever student. To find out more about my work you can visit me here:
Thanks to Connor Snell.
Musician / composer / artist
Michael Reinhart, a graduate of The Ontario College of Art in1976, & Art's Sake Inc in 1979, has a wide & varied experience in the worlds of both visual art & music. Since 1982, he has collaborated extensively with various musicians, dancers, poets, choreographers & directors, notably long-time collaborator Lin Snelling, in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton & New York, primarily as a composer, but also as stage & lighting designer, videographer & photographer.
Since 1999, he has released five albums both as an instrumentalist & singer-songwriter, among which are 'Woman As Landscape' (instrumental soundtrack for dance); 'Quaraaluktuq' (collaboration with nine Inuit singers); 'Cyprus Songs' (improvised instrumental guitar recorded live in Cyprus); as well as 'lost&found' & 'eCHO' (original song collections). He has composed several original music scores for contemporary dance, performance, theatre & film, notably 'Before Tomorrow' 2008, winner of 'Best First Feature Film' at TIFF.
He continues to create drawings, watercolours & photographs as a regular practice when not composing instrumental guitar works. Michael has lived in Montréal for 30 years, as well as in Edmonton since 2008.
Trevor Salloum is well known internationally as a music educator and performer who specializes in Jazz, Middle Eastern and Afro-Cuban drumming. He has taught drumming at universities, colleges and schools for over 30 years. He studied music at Notre Dame University, Banff School of Fine Arts and is a graduate of York University.
He is a best-selling author with international publisher Mel Bay Publications Inc. and has produced numerous books, CDs, DVDs and videos on drumming. Salloum is an endorser of Latin Percussion and Regal Tip Drum Sticks.
Darren Williams is a British Columbia based saxophonist and bassoonist who pushes the limits
of improvisation and extended instrumental technique into regions that are lyrical, terrifying,
uncanny, and “more fun than spiked punch live” (Georgia Straight). Called “a raw, vocal
explorer,” (Stuart Broomer, Musicworks, Downbeat), Darren has toured across Canada and has
performed and recorded with many renowned musicians including Juno winning guitarist
Gordon Grdina (Vancouver), Eugene Chadbourne (USA), Chris Corsano (NYC), Mats
Gustafsson (Sweden), and Han Bennink (Netherlands).
He is involved in numerous ensembles and projects, notably co-leading and composing for the free jazz quintet Robots On Fire which performed at the Vancouver International Jazz Festival. Williams has also released a critically acclaimed album of his own solo compositions for tenor saxophone entitled Reed, which intersects composition, improvisation, and physical endurance using an array of extended instrumental techniques. Darren holds a BFA in music performance from York University and has studied with Casey Sokol, David Mott, George Lewis, and François Houle.
Offering song and poetry that resonate on a deep earthen level, Leila Neverland composes original music out of her home in British Columbia where she homeschools her two kids and forages for wild medicines. Currently, her busy touring season is on hold as she makes room for several upcoming recorded, filmed, and written projects. Check out her recent releases, her videos, and her community activist spirit at her website.
Crossing between Vancouver’s new music, improvised music, and world music scenes, Lan Tung is the artistic director of Orchid Ensemble, Sound of Dragon Society, and Proliferasian. Her works embody the rhythmic intricacy from Indian influence, the sense of breath/space from Chinese tradition, and many years of experience in interpreting contemporary Canadian compositions. Lan has appeared as a soloist with Orchestre Metropolitain (Montreal) and Symphony Nova Scotia, and as a soloist/composer with Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Turning Point Ensemble, Upstream Ensemble (Halifax), Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra (Vancouver & Toronto), Atlas Ensemble (Amsterdam & Helsinki), and Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra (Taipei).
Jérémi Roy is a musician, composer, producer, sound designer and studio engineer based in Montréal, Qc.
As an acoustic & electric bass player he's been touring internationally with several acts in the past 15 years.
Now owner of a recording studio, he's also signed soundtracks for film, dance and theater.
Craig Pedersen is trumpet player, and experimenting musician living in Montréal. He plays in the collaborative duos Sound of the Mountain (with Elizabeth Millar) and Provisional Mailorder (with Anne-F Jacques). He is a member of Ensemble Supermusique and the Ratchet Orchestra. He also occasionally leads the Craig Pedersen Quartet, a band featuring Mark Molnar (Kingdom Shore; Horseman, Pass By), Bennett Bedoukian (Horseman, Pass By) and Thierry Amar (GY!BE).
Ezra Cipes studied music composition at VCC under Joel Kroeker and Peter Hannan. He is a songwriter and producer, and performs at music festivals around North America with The Oot n’ Oots, an all-ages group that also features his daughter and brothers.