Dusk Dances 2017 Artists


Core members


Zhenya Cerneacov

Core Member


Zhenya Cerneacov was born in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova. In 2006 Zhenya moved to Canada where he quickly became an active member of the contemporary dance scene broadening his horizons to include works in Contemporary, Bharatanatyam, Modern, Aboriginal Dance, Contemporary Ballet and Argentine Tango performing with companies including Danny Grossman Dance Company, Coleman&Lemieux Compagnie, Corpus Dance Projects, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Menaka Thakkar Dance Company, Chimera Project, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Kaeja d’Dance and many more.

Zhenya is co-founder and co-choreographer for the “Throwdown Collective” with which he co-created three critically acclaimed commissions for Dusk Dances, and a stage piece presented at “dance: made in canada 2015” which won the Audience Choice Award and subsequently the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Original Choreography and 3 other nominations. In 2011 Zhenya co-founded “The School of Cadence Ballet” with partner Courtnae Bowman with whom he shares artistic direction.

For the past 10 years Zhenya has been a member of the core ensemble of Dusk Dances.




Molly Johnson

Core Member


Born and raised on Cape Breton Island, Molly Johnson creates body-based performance projects and texts that investigate connection through the universal and familiar on themes of how to be. An emerging creator, she has had residencies at Toronto Dance Theatre and Schillerpromenade 37 (Berlin) and presented work at hub14 (Toronto) and Kinetic Studio (Halifax). A Dora Award-winning dance artist, Molly has interpreted the work of such brilliant women as Nova Bhattacharya, Susie Burpee, Tina Fushell, Sharon Moore, Sabina Perry,Julia Sasso, and Heidi Strauss.

She has performed with Dusk Dances for a decade and is an ongoing collaborator with Forcier Stage Works. Based in Toronto, Molly also dances for Montréal’s Le Carré des Lombes, performing the work of Danièle Desnoyers nationally and abroad. A 2013 Finalist for the Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award, Molly travels by herself often and is a freelance writer in the space between.




Kathleen Legassick

Core Member


Kathleen Legassick is an independent dance artist, choreographer, and performer based out of Toronto, Ontario. She was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario where she trained for 15 years at the Canadian School of Dance. Kathleen holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Ryerson University’s Performance Dance Program.

She has worked with esteemed companies including;  ProArteDanza, Chartier Danse, Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, ACE Dance Theatre, Impromptu Movements and Toronto School of Circus Arts.  She has collaborated with many established choreographers including Louis Laberge-Côté, Bill Coleman, Marie-Josée Chartier, David Earle, Roberto Campanella, Robert Glumbek, Ryan Lee, Hanna Kiel, Colin Connor, Jesse Robb, Bonnie Kim, Mauro Astolfi and Jeff Dimitriou. Kathleen is thrilled to be involved with the 2017 Dusk Dances Festival as well as joining the company of BoucharDanse.




Meredith Thompson

Core Member


Meredith Thompson is a Toronto-based independent dance artist, originally from Huntsville, ON.  A dancer with the Danny Grossman Dance Company for several years, she has also worked with Dancetheatre David Earle on many occasions, as well as a variety of other choreographers and companies including Trish Beatty, Sylvie Bouchard/BoucharDanse, Michael Caldwell, Mairéad Filgate, Tina Fushell, Barbara Lindenberg, Yvonne Ng/Princess Productions, Santee Smith/Kaha:wi Dance Theatre and Lydia Wagerer, among others.

A core member of Dusk Dances, Meredith has been performing and touring with this popular outdoor dance festival, yearly, since 2007. Co-choreographic projects with fellow dancers Kate Franklin and Mairéad Filgate (respectively) have been presented as part of a number of festivals and events across Canada. Meredith also enjoys teaching and rehearsal directing and has worked extensively as a teaching artist with the Toronto District School Board, and is happy to be the Director of the Young Apprentice Program at Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre. Meredith is a graduate of York University’s Department of Fine Arts and Faculty of Education.



Brendan Wyatt

Core Member


Brendan Wyatt is an independent dance artist with over twenty years of experience in classical and contemporary dance. Since 2005 Wyatt has been one of the Canada’s most sought after professional dancers, collaborating and performing in over 50 works.

Wyatt trained professionally at Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet and The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. In 1997 he co-created and instructed an interactive dance program for the postural and spatial awareness of visually challenged students with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Victoria BC.

Wyatt has interpreted works for a multitude of companies and choreographers across the country, creating and performing in dances by Andrea Nann, Heidi Strauss, DA Hoskins, Robert Glumbek, Sharon Moore, Sasha Ivanochko and Susie Burpee for Winnpeg’s Contemporary Dancers, Kevin O’Day, Emily Molnar, Matjash Mzorwecki, Shaun Hounsel and Roberto Campanella for ProArte Danaza, Yvonne Ng, William Yong, The Chimera Project, Sylvie Bouchard for Dusk Dances, Marie Forcier, Karen Jamieson and Trish Beatty.







Sylvie Bouchard (BoucharDanse)



Sylvie Bouchard is originally from Montréal and began her training there before moving to Toronto in 1983, to study at the School of The Toronto Dance Theatre. She subsequently joined Toronto Dance Theatre in 1985 and performed nationally and internationally with them for five years. Bouchard has also performed with Kaeja d’Dance, Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers and Dancemakers and continues to work for many independent choreographers including Susie Burpee, Roger Sinha, Denise Fujiwara, Marie-Josée Chartier and Sashar Zarif. She was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore award for best performance for her solo Cassiopeia, which premiered at the DuMaurier Theatre in 1999.

In 1997, Bouchard formed the company CORPUS with artistic partner David Danzon. Until 2008, she co-created and performed in eight works through CORPUS, touring nationally internationally in theatres and outdoor venues. She also co-choreographed and starred in the popular children’s TV Series Four-Square on Treehouse TV. In 1993, Bouchard created Dusk Dances, a festival presenting dance in public parks. Dusk Dances grew under the artistic direction of Bouchard and Danzon and through CORPUS, until Bouchard became sole festival director in 2008.

As a performer and choreographer, Bouchard created La vie for dancer Mairéad Filgate which premiered at dance: made in Canada/fait au Canada in 2011; presented and performed Histoire d’amour (choreographed by Julia Aplin, Susie Burpee, Louis-Marin Charest, Denise Fujiwara and Sylvie Bouchard with Louis Laberge-Côté) as part of DanceWorks series in Toronto, in 2012; created L’envol and Petits rêves  for the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, presented at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre, in Toronto, in 2012, 2013 and 2015; choreographed and performed in L’Implorante, created in collaboration with le Théâtre la Tangente, and presented in Toronto in 2012, and in Ottawa in 2013; and created L’éternel voyage, presented at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre, as part of Next Steps, alongside L’Implorante. As a performer, Sylvie Bouchard was recently seen as part of the cast of EUNOIA (choreographed by Denise Fujiwara) part of World Stage series at the Harbroufront Centre Theatre, in Toronto (2014), and on a Canadian tour (2016); she performed in femme assise, a solo work created by Marie-Josée Chartier in 1990, in Older & Reckless in 2013; and was part of the cast of Art of Peace, a multi-disciplinary performance created by Gerry Trentham and presented at Fort York, in Toronto, in 2016.

More information: www.bouchardanse.com




Rhodnie DÉsir



This Montreal artist articulates her craft through languages specifically created for each of her works that results as a dynamic contemporary illustration derived from the traditions of Haiti, Central and West Africa.

She successfully draws a connection between individual memories of the present and the collective memory of the past. Her flagship work BOW’T, drawing interest both locally and abroad (Burkina Faso, Brazil, Martinique, Haiti), adds to the seven works of her repertoire and to her international collaborations. In 2016, Rhodnie launched the BOW’T TRAIL, an international choreographic project and documentary, which led her to take part of the Francophone Cultural Programing of the Olympic Games of Rio de Janeiro (2016).

Through her socially engaged and politically refined works, she will soon give birth to two new pieces: Dusk society, (2017) and MWON’D (2018). Charismatic speaker and business woman (founder of the cultural mediation consulting cie: DÊZAM), she have been invited to many universities and by the UNESCO.







Dana Gingras is a dance artist whose 20 years of work have established her as a game-changing choreographer and performer. In 1993, Dana co-founded the Holy Body tattoo with Noam Gagnon. The company won numerous awards and honours for its stage and film work, such as our brief eternity (Dora Mavor Moore award for Best Ensemble Performance) and Circa (Rio Tinto Alcan Performing arts award). Dana has collaborated with such artists as writer William Gibson, director William Morrison, musicians The Tiger Lillies and The Tindersticks, animators James Paterson and Amit Pitaru, designer Steven R. Gilmore, and most recently Arcade Fire. Dana is an associate Dance artist of Canada’s National Arts Centre.




Julie Pilon

Choreographer (Local piece in Repentigny)


Choreographer, teacher and activity leader, Julie Pilon offers every year dance workshops or performances at special events such as the International Dance Day, the Dance Week of Joliette and Culture Days. After having performed for ten years in Montréal, she arrived to the Lanaudière region intending to leave a mark on its cultural life. She first created the dance company Danse Sans Frontières in Joliette, then started Danse Clandestine. This contemporary dance touring company gives her the possibility to explore creation with a dozen of passionate dancers.

With her company Empreinte Vague, she presented several pieces on the Lanaudière territory, such as a flashmob for 150 people in the downtown of Joliette, and La danse s’endimanche in squares in front of churches, that was nomitated in 2016 for the CALQ’s “Work of the Year in Region” award. Energetic artist with plenty of creative projects, she is particularly interested in cultural mediation and developing the arts in the region.




Ofilio Sinbadinho (Gadfly)



Ofilio Sinbadinho is the Artistic Director of the award-winning dance company Gadfly, and founder of TUDS Festival of Urban Dance Culture. He is a three-time KM Hunter award finalist, and received Innovation awards from Manifesto and Dance Ontario, as well as the Dance Award from Soulpepper.\

His various works were commissioned by: Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, National Ballet School of Canada, Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, Ryerson University, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, MoonHorse, School of Toronto Dance Theatre. He also performed for Ariana Grande, Kiesza, Feist, Nelly Furtado and took part in movies such as Camp Rock II, Turn The Beat Around, You Got Served, Resident Evil Retribution. His work Klorofyl received three Dora Award nominations. Sinbadinho also works as an artistic consultant and is a volunteer Board Member for several dance organizations.

Overall, he describes himself as an urban dance activist trying to establish it as a legitimate art form & cross-cultural movement. He creates to move people to move up.





To The Pointe Dance Project

Choreographers (Local piece in Hamilton)


Originally created by Alyssa Nedich, To The Pointe Dance Project is a Hamilton based Dance Collective. Working to promote dance within the community, To The Pointe Dance Project strives to work with dancers with connections to the Hamilton and surrounding Arts Community.

What started out as a small workshop based collective has grown into a successful and accessible performing company, producing two full length premiere works at the last two Hamilton Fringe FrostBite Festivals. To The Pointe Dance Project’s work has been described as a “lyrical feast for the eyes that melts one’s soul”.




MÉlissandre Tremblay-Bourassa

Choreographer (Local piece in Repentigny)


With a degree from the Le Jeune Ballet du Québec, Mélissandre Tremblay-Bourassa has been a professional performer and choreographer since 2003. As a specialist of the Québec gigue, she is part of ZAIA cast (Cirque du Soleil) in Macau, China (about 1,000 performances). She also danced for La Bottine Souriante, Les Sortilèges, Sans Temps Danse, Isabelle Boulanger and Ballet Ouest. Mélissandre is inspired by gigue, ballet and contemporary dance to create her choreographies. She created and performed in pieces for Juste Pour Rire festival, the Orientalys festival, Les Sortilèges, La Grande Rencontre and the contemporary gigue Biennale.

Since 2011, she has been performing within Les Bordéliques dans et musique, an interdisciplinary duet that she co-founded with Gabriel Girouard. The duet presents pieces in a theatre and often clown style. Les Bordéliques were presented at the Place des Arts and won the Young Audience award in 2013 as well as the “Coup de Coeur” award in 2016 at the Desjardins Culture Awards; they also won the Excelsiors Award in 2015 in the “Culture” category. In 2016, they received the CALQ’s “Work of the Year” Award in the region of Lanaudière for the show Blind Date. Mélissandre now wishes to develop her practise as an independent choreographer. Les châteaux de sable (working title) will be her first full-length work within this new choreographic cycle .




Sashar Zarif



Internationally renowned Sashar Zarif is a multi-disciplinary performing artist, educator and researcher. His contemporary practice is steeped in the artistry and history of traditional and ritualistic performing arts including Sufi-Shamanic practices of the Middle East and Central Asia. He has formulated a dance medium, Mugham, by integrating the story telling, music and dance traditions of these areas. Moving Memories, his special pedagogy and creative approach to the development and practice of dance, is based on human experience and memory. During the last two decades and across 32 countries, Zarif has worked to promote cultural dialogue through intensive filed work, residences and performances. He is a research associate at York Centre for Asian Studies and is on the executive board of Dance Ontario.

His numerous awards and fellowships includes the Ontario Arts Council Chalmers Fellowship,Uzbekistan’s National Choreographic Institute’s Master of Dance, and Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.








Sebastian Hirtenstein



Originally from Aurora, Ontario, Sebastian “Bash” Hirtenstein discovered dance at twelve years old, therefore discovering himself. His versatility, fearlessness and captivating personality in performance has allowed him to work with a wide spectrum of choreographers & companies such as Puja Amin, Addy Chan, Michael Caldwell, Emilio Collalilo, DLM Entertainment, Scott Fordham, Lenny de la Pena, Rodney Diverlus, The Dietrich Group, Gadfly, Denone Isaacs, Hollywood Jade, Jennifer Thiessen, Hit & Run Dance, POV Dance Project, Irvin Washington, and at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre with Nova Bhattacharya, Marc Boivin, Susie Burpee, Peter Chin, Jennifer Dallas, Robert Desrosiers, Danny Grossman, Christopher House, Allen Kaeja, Louis Laberge-Côté, Sharon Moore, Julia Sasso, and Darryl Tracy.

He has toured throughout Canada with the sensational Bollywood company Sanskriti Arts, with Creativiva’s family musicals “Pinocchio” and “Aladdin” in Qatar and Dubai, and has shared the stage with Jason Derulo, Ariana Grande, Kiesza, Mia Martina, and Lady Pista.










Founded by artistic director Sylvie Bouchard in 2009, BoucharDanse is a company that combines the poetry of contemporary dance and the narrative element of theatre, together in one stroke. Trained in contemporary dance and with a strong background in character-driven work, Bouchard creates projects that speak passionately and poetically by layering stories and evocative imagery.

BoucharDanse serves as an umbrella for the artistic director’s creative endeavors and commitment to innovative dance presentations. The company aims to increase audiences for dance and be in close contact with them. Its repertoire includes pieces for both indoor and outdoor venues.

BoucharDanse presents works that are created and co-created by Bouchard and also commissions an array of talented Canadian choreographers to create new works for the company. Works co-created during her years at CORPUS are available to presenters through BoucharDanse. The company is dedicated to projects and collaborations that bring together Francophone and Anglophone artists.





Company 605



Led by artistic co-directors Lisa Gelley and Josh Martin, Company 605 is dedicated to producing new dance work through a shared creative process. As part of a generation of creators inspired by the merging of urban and contemporary forms, 605 places emphasis on movement innovation and physically demanding works, valuing collaboration as an essential tool for new directions in dance.

605 remains an ongoing exchange between separate people, bodies and ideas, celebrating the tension created through their attempt to co-exist. Each project explores new paths and creative methods to build powerful and engaging performances, juxtaposing raw with precision, and highlighting effort, risk and interconnection. Through constant collaboration with all involved artists and performers, Company 605 continues to push into new territory and awaken a fresh and ever-evolving aesthetic, together building a highly athletic art form derived from the human experience.








Recipients of the Dance Ontario Innovation Award, the Manifesto Innovation & Originality Award, and the Soul Pepper Dance Award, they are the founders and directors of Urban Contemporary theatre dance company GADFLY. Their work includes Dora Mavor Moore Award winning ‘Klorofyl'. They have been commissioned to create work for Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, Claudia Moore, Ryerson Theatre School, The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and more. Gadfly has been presented in Festivals such as Luminato, Nuit Blanche, Festival DansEncore, Ontario Dance Weekend, and Manifesto. Apolonia and Ofilio are also the founders of yearly events such as TUDS Festival of Urban Dance Culture.

Notorious for their versatility, they have acquired a considerable amount of experience in the television, entertainment and theatre dance industries. They have worked for artists such as: Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, Kiesza, Nelly Furtado, Feist, Cascada, Down With Webster, and Serena Ryder. Movie credits include Turn The Beat Around, Camp Rock II, You Got Served II/Beat The World, and Resident Evil Retribution. They can be seen in commercials for So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Dove, Nike, Bell, Staples, Virgin Mobile and have performed or choreographed for Ted Talks, Mugler, Nike, Bench clothing, Canada Goose, and GM Canada.






La Otra Orilla (The Other Shore)



Works by acclaimed La Otra Orilla are recognizable for their unique and radical approach to flamenco, reflecting an absolutely trans-disciplinary vision. Based on the collaboration between dancer and choreographer Myriam Allard and singer-director Hedi Graja, this company embodies and celebrates the timeless and universal appeal of flamenco.

The artistic directors rely on their in-depth knowledge of the nuances and modes of this art to suggest a hybrid language that is modern and poetic, creating strong productions that are firmly rooted in the present.





Hosts, Workshop instructors and Bands



Susie Burpee

Host at Withrow Park


Susie Burpee creates ‘fully human characters, struggling for connection’ (The Toronto Star).  She choreographs for contemporary dance and theatre, and her work has received Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Outstanding Choreography and Performance.  Susie was a former company dancer for Dancemakers and Le Groupe Dance Lab, and she is a past recipient of the K.M. Hunter Artist Award for Dance. Her work examines the intersection of creator and performer, and the collision of chance and craft.

This is How We Love is one of these delightful collisions - the element of chance refreshes the piece every performance.  Susie is particularly interested in creating characters for the stage, and she has studied Character and Bouffon with Adam Lazarus and Philippe Gaulier.  She is a member of the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists, and a board member of the Toronto Dance Community Love-In.

Originally from Manitoba, Susie lives with her husband and two daughters in east end Toronto. susieburpee.com




Nina Gilmour

Touring host


Nina Gilmour has most recently been working with Theatre Smith-Gilmour on an adaptation of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables. She has also collaborated with Theatre Smith-Gilmour on As I Lay Dying, which played on the main stage at the National Arts Centre and toured across Canada in the new year. Her co-creation, Death Married my Daughter, has been touring since 2013, including the Toronto and Hamilton Fringe Festivals, the Toronto Theatre Centre and the new Brock University Performing Arts Centre. In the fall she played the lead in Valerie Buhagiar’s upcoming feature It’s Hard To Be Human.  She has been nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best Ensemble in As I Lay Dying and The Tale of a T-Shirt.

Nina’s background in physical theatre and improvisation stems from her training in Theatre Performance at Humber College and French master clown Philippe Gaulier in Paris.




Marla Meenakshi Joy (Downward Dog Yoga Centre)

YogaDance Instructor at Withrow Park


Co-owner, and Co-director of Downward Dog Yoga Centre, Toronto, she first traveled to India in 1988 to study Meditation and the Yoga Philosophy, and has been practicing and teaching for over 25 years, after studying and performing as both an actor and a modern dancer for 10 years. She has been teaching in teacher training programs in Canada and Internationally since 1999, covering the range of Philosophy and Sanskrit, Ashtanga /Vinyasa yoga, and Restorative Yoga. In 2000, she created her own form of Yogadance as began blending her love of yoga postures into creative and transformative dance flows. She also leads kirtan with her band SWAHA and has produced 5 Cd’s. Marla brings her love of yoga philosophy, creative vinyasa sequencing and a sense of fun to her classes.


Yogadance, with Marla Meenakshi Joy, is a class designed to give freedom of expression; synergizing yoga asanas, free dance, trance dance with soothing sounds and funky primal world beat rhythms. This class allows us to transcend the traditional boundaries of yoga incorporating flowing movements to take the body, mind and spirit to a life-changing experience as we step out of old energetic patterns and open and create new ones! .







Opening Band at Withrow Park


Meenakshi and Ron Reid (with special guests Chris Gartner on bass and Kevan McKenzie on percussion). SWAHA performs original compositions of chanting music that is both inspired and uplifting. An ever enticing blend of ethereal Sanskrit vocals soaring over rich earthy rhythms. International yoga teachers, musicians for yoga class, kirtan wallahs, and recording artists with 5 CD’s to date, Swaha brings a heart-beat to the sacred Bhakti path.







Lighting designers



Jareth Li

Lighting designer


Jareth is a lighting designer based in Toronto, and happy to be back for another season pretty much in his back yard with Dusk Dances. Recent lighting designs include: The Trial of Judith K (Thought For Food Productions); Casimir and Caroline (The Howland Company); Dusk Dances 2015; Mourning Dove (Sudbury Theatre Centre); Dangerous Liaisons (Red One Collective); The Widow (SummerWorks); 48 Hour Dance (Fresh Collective);The Harrowing (Clock Tower); Disco Pigs (A Lasting Dose Productions).

He has also spent six seasons as an assistant lighting designer at the Stratford Festival, and five seasons at the Canadian Opera Company. Select credits include Shakespeare In Love; Oedipus Rex; Tommy; Othello; The Little Years (Stratford). La Boheme; Tristan und Isolde; L’amour de Loin (Canadian Opera Company). Jareth has also had the opportunity to tour across North America with companies such as Menaka Thakkar Dance and Just For Laughs. Jareth is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada.





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