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Our Mission
Guelph Dance—formerly the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival—aims to engage and enthral. We strive to be a nationally-recognized leader in contemporary dance by offering a platform for professional, new-generation, and youth dance artists to share their vision, push creative boundaries, and engage community audiences.

Our Mandate
Guelph Dance creates opportunities for artists to push the boundaries of contemporary dance while engaging audiences and broadening their cultural experiences.

We strive to foster an appreciation for dance in youth by presenting workshops directly in public schools and by giving local youth exposure to professional dance artists.

  • To ensure financial accessibility, we provide affordable ticket pricing to performances and a variety of free events for people of all ages.
  • To strengthen community relations, we partner with other local festivals and continually seek opportunity for co-productions.
  • To broaden cultural accessibility, we are developing programs for at-risk groups who are financially, socially or physically undeserved.
  • We thoughtfully curate our programming to ensure high quality, innovative and culturally diverse works that represent the eclectic blend of dance being produced in Canada.

Our Pillars
GD remains committed to showcasing the very best in Canadian contemporary dance, while emphasizing opportunities for people of all ages and stages of development to experience dance in ways that extend beyond being audience members. Over the next four years, both our artistic and community engagement programming will be informed by these four pillars:

  • To increase community engagement in contemporary dance. We wish to provide opportunities where everyone can dance, engage in the creative process and be exposed to high quality artists in the dance field. We are interested in bringing community members and dance artists together in collaborations that enable all parties to build stronger relationships around dance.
  • To increase support for local professional dancers by providing space to create and explore regularly throughout the year and to provide opportunities for networking and collaboration through both shared space and online networking and story sharing. Over the next four years we will invest funds to strengthen our Local Initiatives which include Artistic Residencies and the Breaking Ground Mentorship Program. In addition, we will commit to present the work of local artists at the annual Guelph Dance Festival.
  • To work with communities in isolation so that they can share, tell stories, engage in the creative process, feel validated and heard. This includes many aspects of what we are currently working on including: 1) supporting our local dancers who are working outside of a metropolitan area and often feel isolated and alone 2) choosing artists from across Canada who are not already on the touring circuit and who can really benefit from the exposure and support 3) bringing together community members and dance artists in collaborative projects. 4) continuing to provide relevant and responsive community engagement activities year-around.
  • To increase exposure to innovative artists and increase collaboration amongst youth artists.

Established in 1998, Guelph Dance was founded by Co-Artistic Directors Catrina von Radecki and Janet Johnson. With the firm belief that dance artists should be able to live and work outside major metropolitan areas, the two began to teach, choreograph, and perform in the City of Guelph. Today, we offer many different dance events and programs including the annual Guelph Dance Festival, March Break and Summer Arts Explosion Camps, Workshops in Schools and Local Initiaives.

Our People