Stage Door News

Toronto: Dancemakers to close permanently in July 2021

Thursday, November 12, 2020

It is with great regret that Dancemakers’ Board of Directors has made the decision to end the companys artistic and operations activity, effective July 31, 2021.

Board Chair Louis-Michel Taillefer stated, “As with many arts organizations across the country, the global pandemic directly impacted Dancemakers’ capacity to deliver its 2020 artistic programming and its financial revenue sources. Combining these losses with the burden of our ever-increasing studio rental costs, we have regretfully come to the decision to shut our doors at the end of this current fiscal year.”

Dancemakers’ studios are located in one of Artscape’s properties in the Distillery District. The impact of growing occupancy costs has now become unsustainable for the organization: We spent 36% of our 2019-20 operating revenue on occupancy costs, and have seen an annual increase as high as 9% in the last four years.

Added Mr. Taillefer, "As Dancemakers’ studios are a central component of the arts infrastructure for Torontos performing arts community, we are fully aware and disappointed that, by shutting down, this will negatively impact affordable studio rental opportunities for the local dance and arts community. However, we know that Dancemakers’ 46-year legacy will be felt across our hugely resilient national dance community – the dance community will build upon this legacy and thrive well into the future.” 


Recognizing the important role Dancemakers has played in the Canadian dance ecology for 46 years, the Board felt it was crucial to engage an artistic leader who would provide inspiration and direction for its last year. Following a 2-month, in-depth community consultation, dance artist and choreographer Natasha Powell has been appointed as Artistic Producer to lead the company through its final season of Resident Artist and Guest Artist Programming.

Said Natasha Powell, ““I am honoured to be appointed as the Artistic Producer for Dancemakers' final season. We are in a challenging time of many unknowns, and dance organizations and artists are posed with questions about the near and distant future of our work. While Dancemakers and the Centre for Creation will be dearly missed, my hope is that we can take this last season to reflect, honour, and celebrate the legacy with which the company leaves for Canada’s dance community, while uplifting and supporting the current generation of dance artists as we all brave the future of live performance art.”

As the founder of Torontos Holla Jazz, Natasha will bring a wealth of producing experience to Dancemakers as well as deep-rooted connections throughout the community. While guiding the 20-21 Resident Artists’ and connecting with Dancemakers’ Resident Artists, Natasha will also create new Guest Artist residency initiatives, and develop projects that honour Dancemakers’ history.

Dancemakers’ wind down will take place over two stages. The first is the cancellation of the Baker Studio and Office leases, effective December 31, 2020. The second stage is the cancellation of the Theatre Studio lease, effective July 31, 2021. While open, both the Baker and Theatre Studios will house programming and other events; after the office closure, Dancemakers’ staff will work remotely.


Dancemakers makes its home at its Centre for Creation in Torontos Historic Distillery District. The Centre is a robust creative space, housing a multi-year and fully resourced Resident Artist initiative, and a host of other presentations  and workshops. The Centre is a vital and affordable part of Torontos cultural infrastructure, contributing to the space needs of the local arts community – over 4,000 audience members and artists come through it each year. 

Dancemakers’ 2020-21 Season is supported by BMO Financial Group, with core funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council, plus project and program support from RBC Emerging Artists Project and the Ontario Arts Foundation.

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