News (page 3 of 14)

In Response To The Province of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Government Renewal Initiative

3 February 2016

Premier Ball and Minister Bennett,

Thank you for your efforts to engage the population of Newfoundland and Labrador in the government’s fiscal planning. In response to that effort, I recommend that the government consider reinvesting in the cultural industries.

Like many industries in the province, cultural work in Newfoundland and Labrador is suffering. An industry that relies heavily on public investment in order to generate substantial direct and indirect returns, arts companies have, over the past decade, been forced to cut programming, reduce staff hours, and put off major actions that would stabilize and grow the industry.

DanceNL represents the dancers throughout the province, whether they practice dance as a profession or as a recreational activity. From traditional Newfoundland set dances and step dancing, to hip hop and contemporary ballet, the reality is that both professional and recreational dancers need public investment, and the public needs dancers. Dancing is an alternative form of physical activity, a form of expression and a path to strong communities and better mental health.

Culture, as a broader industry, is the hallmark of Newfoundland and Labrador. Beautiful television ads celebrate it. Visitors revel in it. New residents are attracted by it. Culture is – and reflects – our identity as a province, an identity based in our rich history, our pride of place, and our hopes for the future. It brings in skilled workers. It brings in tourism. It is a positive step towards a healthy, diverse, resilient economy, and one that can be made with confidence.

Given that case studies have shown that each dollar invested in the cultural sector has the potential to generate more than ten dollars in direct, indirect and induced returns¹, now is the time to renew a commitment made in The Blueprint for Development and Investment in Culture in 2006. Now is the time to invest in the industries that make Newfoundland and Labrador the target destination for Canadian and international tourists. Now is the time to invest in the workers who bring beauty, entertainment, and culture to the residents of this spectacular province.

In good faith,

Sharon King-Campbell

Executive Director, DanceNL





Regarding the recently announced St. John’s municipal budget

December 22, 2015

To the members of City Council,

I, like so many of my peers, write today to voice concerns over the halving of the City of St. John’s’ Arts Jury budget and the simultaneous rise in commercial property taxes.

DanceNL received a 3-year grant in 2014. It represents just under 9% of our annual budget and has made an enormous difference to our young organization’s operations. Since we received this investment, we have hired a year-round part-time staff member, which has had an enormous impact in our ability to deliver services to our members throughout the summer. Our goal to hire a full-time permanent staff member still remains unfulfilled, however, and the probability of losing funding from the City in 2017 makes it harder to make that leap. It is, of course, no less necessary to the growth of the organization. It is merely less possible.

DanceNL represents the dance sector of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the vast majority of our members reside in St. John’s. Many of them will suffer from these proposed cuts. I would like to introduce you, therefore, to the St. John’s dance community:

Dancers are Educators

Many dancers have been training from a very young age, and often learn to teach dance in their teens. These individuals can go on to be lifelong educators. Dance teachers instill in their students confidence, discipline, and strength that are carried forward by young dancers throughout their lives.

Dancers are Small Business Owners

Most City dance schools are small, owner-operated private businesses. Some dancers also operate fitness studios within the City. They employ young people as well as experienced instructors and administrators. These businesses will suffer directly from the rise in business taxes in the upcoming budget. The educators who work for these businesses will likewise feel the effects of this rise.

Dancers are Society-Builders

St. John’s has a rich variety of social dance clubs. These groups meet regularly, in borrowed or rented spaces, to learn, to dance, and to socialize. These clubs are often a first social network to new St. John’s residents. They enrich the lives of longstanding residents. They encourage social and physical wellness in the city’s population. All they need are opportunities to grow.

Dancers are Social Workers

You may recall a council meeting last April where Mayor O’Keefe danced with a young woman who was about to launch a new social outreach project. That young woman was Chelsey Hicks, and her project was Dance Thru It, “an outreach program that aims to help the community express, release and work through whatever life is throwing at them.” When Dance Thru It officially launched in September, Chelsey was so overwhelmed by requests from the community that she had to go into intensive program development to deal as efficiently as possible with the demand. Starting in January, her program will operate at 2 city community centres, and she hopes that she will be able to expand to more centres where the program is most needed.

Dancers are Storytellers

Despite a dearth of infrastructure to support professional dancers in both the City and the Province, determined dancers like Sarah Joy Stoker, Louise Moyes, Calla Lachance and Andrea Tucker continue to work to tell their stories and the stories of this place through dance. Storytelling is vital to culture: it gives the audience a sense of itself and a sense of its community. It creates an environment of life-long learning.

Dancers are a Point of Pride for the City

As one could glean from one glance at the throngs of people who filed into the St. John’s Arts & Culture Centre this weekend to see Kittiwake Dance Theatre’s The Nutcracker, residents of this City are proud of their dancers. They come to the show annually, they bring their children, and they go home feeling good about the fact that the St. John’s dance community can produce of production of that calibre.

Dancers are Proud of this City

Neighbourhood Dance Works’ annual Festival of New Dance attracts dancers from across Canada and around the world. These dancers arrive in St. John’s for a few days in October and are struck by the place. They are inspired by the vibrant culture. They long for opportunities to return. Similarly, Karen Kaeja, the first Dancer in Residence at Memorial University, speaks eloquently and passionately about her time in St. John’s and encourages others to visit. The dance community here takes pride in the place where they live and work, and loves the chance to show visitors around, to talk up their favourite restaurants and shops, and to encourage visitors to come back again. They act as ambassadors for this city.

The budget passed last Monday threatens these dancers and their roles in the community.

It will force small businesses to charge patrons more, to pay employees less, or to close outright, which will discourage students from taking dance classes.

It will inhibit the growth of professional and social dance groups.

It will decrease residential access to wellness and recreation activities.

It will inhibit the delivery of social dance programming.

It will discourage professional dancers from working and living in this city, where already there is so little infrastructure to keep them here.

It will result in less dance work to tell the stories we need as a culture.

It will result in less dance work make citizens proud.

And it will make dancers less proud of their City.

That being the case, I urge you to reconsider these ill-advised cuts, and to reinvest in the arts as the economic driver and social necessity that they are.


Sharon King-Campbell

Executive Director



*if you would like to voice concerns about the municipal budget, email the council at

*there is an ongoing petition to council to raise the investment in arts to $4 per capita. There are copies at Fred’s Records, Rocket Bakery, Escape Quest, and the LSPU Hall available to be signed.


Memorial University, in partnership with Creative Gros Morne, and DanceNL, invites applications for a Dance Residency of six weeks during the Fall (Sept.-Dec.) 2016 Semester, subject to funding approval. The Dancer-in-Residence is open to dance scholars and emerging and established dancers in any genre whose creative work demonstrates a high level of artistic achievement.
This residency has two major components: first, to allow the artist time and resources to work on a central project which expands their practice or scholarly activity; and second, to foster public engagement between Memorial University, the dance community of the province, and the wider public. The Dancer-in- Residence will be expected to interact with these communities in ways applicable to their expertise and the needs of the relevant community: for example, through workshops, performances, consultations, and/or presentations.
This unique residency takes place in three diverse locations: the St. John’s campus of Memorial University, the Grenfell Campus of Memorial (located on the west coast of Newfoundland, in Corner Brook), and in Gros Morne National Park. Each location offers different opportunities to engage with academics, scientists, dancers, musicians, history, and the natural world.
Memorial University of Newfoundland is one of Canada’s most distinguished post-secondary institutions. As the only university in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Memorial University plays an integral role in the educational, business and cultural life of the province, and is committed to excellence in teaching, research and public engagement.
At the St. John’s campus, the Dancer-in-Residence is expected to work with students in a number of academic units and to incubate their own creative work or scholarly project.
At the Grenfell Campus, the primary focus is the artist’s core project- this can be through development, research, and/or rehearsal. The Dancer-in-Residence is also expected to engage with students at the Division of Fine Arts through class leadership, workshops, or in other ways appropriate to the artist’s practice.
The Gros Morne National Park portion of the residency will provide the candidate with time for private scholarship and creation within the park. Gros Morne National Park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. It offers unique geological significance amid an area of outstanding natural beauty. This portion of the residency will be coordinated with Creative Gros Morne to complement the overall project goals of the candidate.
Co-ordinated through Dance NL, at each location The Dancer-in- Residence is expected to engage with the dance community in locally appropriate ways: such as, conducting DanceNL workshop(s), networking with local artists, public performance(s) and/or lecture(s).
We seek a highly motivated, innovative dancer or dance scholar with an artistic or scholarly vision that can be shared and explored both within and outside the academic community. Dancers/scholars wishing to be considered for the residency are asked to provide the following, no later than January 8, 2016:
1.) a letter of application which includes a.) a statement of how the residence will contribute to the artistic/scholarly development of your own work and b.) a brief description of the core project(s), its goal(s) and how it relates to the three locations noted above (max. 750 words)
2.) a current CV (max. 3 pages)
3.) (Optional) support material in the form of photos (in jpg format, no more than 10), video of past work (no more than 8 minutes), and/or full reviews of recent work (no more than 4).
The residency provides a stipend (approx. $1650/week), an allowance for travel to, from, and within Newfoundland (max. $2500), accommodation in each location, and the possibility of allowance for other residency costs, such as studio rental, videography, photography, materials, etc.
Questions and applications should be sent only via email, and be addressed to:

NL Moves in St. John’s on Friday, November 20th: Contact Improv With Ryan Davis

DanceNL presents workshop in Contact Improvisation with Ryan Davis

When: 7-9pm, Friday, November 20th, 2015

Where: DanceSpace, St. John’s Arts & Culture Centre

Admission: $10 ($5 for DanceNL members & students of St. John’s Actors’ Studio)

DanceNL is proud to present an NL Moves workshop: Contact Improv with Ryan Davis.

Contact Improvisation is a dance form in which points of physical contact provide the starting point for movement improvisation and exploration. If you could do Aikido, surf, wrestle and dance at the same time, you would have an idea of what Contact Improvisation feels like.


This introductory workshop will explore the skills of balance, counterbalance, sharing weight, rolling, falling, lifting, and moment-to-moment reponsiveness to our dance partners and the ground. Participants experience moving in and out of physical contact while rolling, spiraling, springing, and falling. Dancers are asked to wear loose, comfortable clothing without zippers or other hard pieces. Long-sleeved shirts are preferred. Please refrain from wearing scents.


Ryan Davis has been studying Contact Improv for the past 3 years. In 2012 he spent 4 months at Leviathan Studio on Lasqueti Island, BC, doing intensive Contact Improv training.


NL Moves is a workshop series by DanceNL designed to expose the general public to many different dance genres while promoting wellness and physical activity. NL Moves workshops are led by DanceNL members and highlight some of the amazing work and skills of the dancers and movers of the province.

DanceNL is Newfoundland and Labrador’s sectoral dance association. Incorporated in 2010, DanceNL works to forge connections between dance professionals and enthusiasts across Newfoundland and Labrador, generating programs and initiatives and promoting and gaining recognition for the province’s rich, varied and vibrant dance scene.


For more information, or to register, please contact:

Corie Harnett

Administrative Assistant, DanceNL



For immediate release:

DanceNL presents workshop in Swing with Lindy Hop on the Rock

When: 4-6pm, Sunday, November 8th, 2015

Where: Community Cultural House, Milton-George’s Brook

Admission: $10 ($5 for DanceNL members)

DanceNL is proud to partner with New Curtain Theatre Company to present an NL Moves workshop: Introduction to Swing with instructors from Lindy Hop on the Rock.

This introductory swing workshop covers the fundamentals of partner connection for swing dancing, bounce, and the basic 6-count rock-step (the essential ingredients for East Coast Swing). No partner or dance experience required. Participants will switch partners constantly throughout the lesson. Participants are asked to wear comfortable clothes, keeping in mind that they may wind up quite warm! The best shoes for swing are flat and smooth-soled.


Lindy Hop on the Rock began in 2012 as the Memorial University of Newfoundland Swing Club. The club grew as students caught the Lindy bug and began instructing as well. LHotR is a volunteer-based, co-operative club. All proceeds from classes go towards social dancing events, club promotion, and bringing highly experienced teachers in for weekend workshops. LHotR has been seen at MUN LBGT’s Queer Prom, Roller Derby, Relay for Life, and MUN Iranians new year celebration. They’re also known to “Lindy bomb” music shows and dance bars — swing dancing regardless of the type of music!


NL Moves is a workshop series by DanceNL designed to expose the general public to many different dance genres while promoting wellness and physical activity. NL Moves workshops are led by DanceNL members and highlight some of the amazing work and skills of the dancers and movers of the province.

DanceNL is Newfoundland and Labrador’s sectoral dance association. Incorporated in 2010, DanceNL works to forge connections between dance professionals and enthusiasts across Newfoundland and Labrador, generating programs and initiatives and promoting and gaining recognition for the province’s rich, varied and vibrant dance scene.


For more information, or to register, please contact:

Corie Harnett

Administrative Assistant, DanceNL


DanceNL’s 5th Birthday Party: Sunday, October 4th, 2015

Come out to the Cox & Palmer Second Space at the LSPU Hall on Sunday, October 4th, 2015 and help us celebrate five awesome years of DanceNL!

6pm: Join us for refreshments

7pm: Demystifying Modern Dance with Amy Bowring

8pm: Dancing Documents with Colleen Quigley

Please linger for cake and a dance party afterwards!

Admission is free!

(Donations always welcome)

Check out the Facebook event page for all the details!


Municipal Dance Off – vote here!

Check out the dance videos, or vote here!

Polls close April 28th at 11:59pm NDT