The Creative Challenge inspires the next generation of dance artists to create works, collaborate with other creative individuals, and present these works in non-traditional settings. It encourages students to ask: where and how can dance live outside of the theatre? The intent is to explore ways to make ballet more accessible and meaningful in the community.

2015 Creative Challenge Performances

The 2015 Creative Challenge brings movement and dance to Toronto museums. Blending traditional art forms in a vibrant and meaningful way, artists are asked to reflect on and creatively use museum spaces to tell a story. Partnering venues include the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Gardiner Museum, and the Royal Ontario Museum.


Choreographed by William Tessier-Legault

This piece collects and explores the barriers people build around themselves as a form of emotional protection. Barriers is intended to have a grand presence with an impactful message. Whether they’re initiated by stereotypes, judgments, or one’s innocence to a certain topic, barriers slow us down and enclose us as single beings, and especially as communities.

William’s performance will be accompanied by a live violinist, Amanda Penner

Gardiner Museum
June 19th 8:00pm
Special ticketed event

. Begin

Choreographed by Philippe Jacques

. Begin explores a commonality in mythologies and religions worldwide. Man, in many cultures such as the Ancient Greeks and Egyptians, is believed to have been shaped from clay. The commonality of these beliefs links civilizations over astounding distances and time periods. . Begin will portray this narrative through neo-classical and contemporary movement, taking inspiration from the common details of the creation myths of the world. . Begin will be danced outdoors, set within a beautifully balanced urban and natural space, while integrating the Gardiner Museum entrance into the movement and story.

Philippe Jacques’ work will be presented by students from the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School.

Gardiner Museum
June 16th 6:00pm
June 19th 7:00pm
Performance will take place at the entrance to the Gardiner Museum


Choreographed by Matthew Quigley

Happening depicts the exploration of and digestion of information in a museum space. Happening is divided into four sections and utilizes projections to set the tones for each. Part 1 sees an individual wandering through the space, waiting for life to bring them places; in Part 2 the world reveals itself with images of plants and animals, and strong build-up of energy; Part 3 explores an underlying calm amongst strong pulses using projection and music; and Part 4 demonstrates a transformation from classical dance to modern techno-infused movement, reflecting the transformation of traditional museums to open, interpretive public spaces. A new world is built based on experiences.

Matthew is collaborating with Lalaine Ulit-Destajo, fourth year Digital Media student in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design at York University.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
June 13th 11:30am & 1pm
Performance is included with price of admission

Love at first sight

Choreographed by Gabriel Buell

Inspired by a piece of music and the Gardiner Ceramic Museum’s collection of porcelain commedia dell’arte figures, Love at first sight portrays two people who fall in love following a chance encounter. This theme will be developed through a duet for the commedia characters of Harlequin and Columbine. It will be performed in the lobby of the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art.

Gabriel is collaborating with Erica-Maria Causi, a third year Theatre student in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design at York University.

Gardiner Museum
June 16th 6:30pm
Performance is included with price of admission

Speak Easily

Choreographed by John Canfield

Speak Easily explores the relationship between audience and artist, and performance art as a vehicle for communication. Art is subjective. The personal interpretation of one’s sensory reaction to music, visual art or performance, is exactly what the artist is looking for. The intention of Speak Easily is in the eye of the beholder.

Speak Easily will be performed in the AGO’s Walker Court. While this symbolizes an opposing shift from dance as art performed in a traditional theatre to a non-traditional space, it also intersects with the presentation of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work at the Gallery.

John is collaborating Chelsea Haraburda, a third year Theatre and Production Design student in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design at York University.

Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)
April 29th 7:00pm
Free admission after 6pm
May 2nd 2:00pm
Performance is included with price of admission

Sleep Cycles

Choreographed by Hannah Galway

Sleep Cycles explores the complex and often conflicting human relationship with sleep; whether we are fighting it, waking up from it, or are intensely afraid of it. Sleep Cycles portrays the emotions aroused by sleep in various contexts – exploring the effects on both our conscious and subconscious.

Performed as 3 pieces, Part 1 hints at exhaustion and the battle to stay awake; Part 2 is a raw portrayal of waking up beside the person you love for the first time; and Part 3 interprets the feelings one might have when experiencing a nightmare.

Hannah is collaborating with two students; Kelly Anderson, a fifth year Theatre student and Kevin Feliciano, a third year Theatre Production student, both in the School of the Arts, Media, Performance & Design at York University.

Royal Ontario Museum (ROM)
June 13th 11:30am & 1pm
Performance is included with price of admission