Q & A with Festival of Dance Director Melanie Mastronardi

One of the main goals that I have as director of FoD is to build a strong sense of community between the dance groups at U of T, because I think the best way to build support for the dance community is to reach out to people who already share the same passion.

Are you a dancer or part of a dance group? Looking for a place to promote your work, perhaps an opportunity to network with other dancers? Submit your dance piece of any genre and style to the U of T Festival of Dance for a chance to shine, to connect, to celebrate the diversity of the University of Toronto’s dance community. They are accepting audition applications for this year’s festival until February 15.

In this Q & A with the festival’s director, Melanie Mastronardi, who is a dancer but also a PhD candidate at University of Toronto’s chemistry department, she shares with us her experience building a strong dance communities and developing new audiences. Read on…

Q & A with Amanda Hancox, Executive Director of Dancer Transition Resource Centre

In today’s world, the vast majority of professional performers are self-employed, working on a contract basis, or self-producing. To succeed in the dance profession, they need to be self-made entrepreneurs with a wide range of skills, including budgeting, marketing, fundraising, grant writing, and business management.

Pursuing any artistic career takes tremendous focus and dedication. We are not only thrilled to start featuring dance as a performing art, but to also, in this Q & A, introduce our readers to Dancer Transition Resource Centre, an organization that provides professional support to dancers in various stages of their career. In this post, executive director Amanda Hancox shares with us the challenges that are unique to dancers, and reiterates the importance of continuing to learn and staying open to new directions and opportunities.

If you are a dancer, you may be interested in their free on the MOVE conference this Friday (Feb. 1, 2013) at the new Daniels Spectrum cultural hub in Regent Park. It is an opportunity for young and emerging dancers to meet professional dancers, network, and get some practical career-related advice as they transition from training into the professional world. Click here to read Amanda’s Q&A!

Q & A with Cellist and Educator Judith Manger

There is an emphasis on natural ability in the arts, and I think access to opportunity is often overlooked. … What fosters a successful musician is much greater and more complex than just natural talent. A young person needs the opportunity to develop his or her talent, focus and dedication, and a support network.

Cellist Judith Manger founded Axis Music, a free music program for children and youth in a Scarborough community, as a way to help promote equal access to music education and opportunities. Read about her thoughts on the importance of such access to the success of future musicians. Read on…

Q & A with Director-Actor Victoria Urquhart

We are emerging artists; we are hungry and excited to learn and grow; and we can satisfy that hunger by using our talents and opening up our learning experiences to benefit others too.

Victoria Urquhart is the founder of Spur-of-the-Moment Shakespeare Collective, and also our 100th follower on Twitter. (Thanks to everyone for their support!) To celebrate this milestone, they are our featured performing artists in a Q & A that underscores the common challenges faced by emerging talents regardless of artistic boundaries. Read on…

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