Kaeja d’Dance is 30! On June 1, 1991, Kaeja became an official registered charity. Although much of our 30th anniversary celebration, including the premieres of Karen and Allen’s new works Touch X and I Am The Child Of… , will have to wait until 2022, we want to share an exciting announcement.
As we head into our 30th season, we are looking to the future. We’re thinking a lot about shared leadership and what that means to a founder-driven company. Our focus is on sustainability and equity for the artists we work with. This feels incredibly important at this juncture in time.
This year, we are celebrating three Featured Artists — long-time Kaeja collaborators who are stepping into new roles this season that are vital to our company and programming. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing their personal projects, practices, and aspirations and how they are currently sharing their vision with Kaeja.
Photo of Michael Caldwell by Lisa Hebert, in rehearsal for a new work by Sacha Steenks at Le Groupe Dance Lab in Ottawa in fall 2008.
Our first Featured Artist is Michael Caldwell. Michael first met Karen and Allen as a student at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and has collaborated with them in many capacities since. Over the past 12 years, he has been a dancer and choreographer on many Kaeja projects including choreographing 6 pieces for Porch View Dances (Two independently and four in collaboration with Louis Laberge-Côté). Michael was the Co-Curator for our annual Wind Down Dances from 2013 - 2019 and brainstorms lots of evolving modalities with us.
As a FEATURED ARTIST with Kaeja:
With over a decade of dialogue, collaboration and respect for each other’s artistry and perspectives, this year we invited Michael to consider being sole “Curator and Production Director” of our upcoming 10th anniversary Porch View Dances. His incredible expertise and insight continues to elevate the vision of PVD and the company. Michael’s rallying up a beautiful spin for PVD10!
Michael also plays an impactful role in two major festivals, as Executive Producer for Fall for Dance North Festival and as Associate Artistic Director at Festival Of Dance Annapolis Royal. He is currently working with musician, composer, and sound designer Robbie Grunwald and 13 performance collaborators, to present 'Two x 30' in ArtworxTO: Toronto's Year of Public Art. ‘Two x 30’ is a large-scale live art/dance project that features thirty (30) duet performances in as many locations, stretching from east to west across the city of Toronto, once-per-day for the entire month of June 2022.
Michael’s choreographic work often sits in site-responsive and community-engaged contexts, while subverting traditional modes of viewing. More recently, he has been examining subtlety and minimalism, with an exploration of what is nanoscopic and miniscule. Playing within cycles of construction and destruction, his work mines what is essential and foundational in movement, object, sound, and light. His work encourages dialogue, as a primer for greater conversations about geopolitical, social, and cultural concern.