Riley Sims - Artistic Director and Choreographer (Toronto)
A graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Program in Contemporary Dance and the Wexford School for the Arts Musical Theatre program, Sims has danced in works by: Tedd Robinson, Mélanie Demers, Frédérik Gravel, Ann Liv Young, Kettly Noël, Noam Gagnon, Michael Trent, and Allison Cummings. From 2012 - 2014, Sims spent three seasons as a company member of Ottawa Dance Directive (‘ODD’) under Artistic Director Yvonne Coutts.
Sims is the Artistic Director of Social Growl Dance, established in 2012. The company has presented Contemporary Dance creations at festivals and venues including; the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, the SummerWorks Performance Festival, Dance Matters, Gallery 1313 and The Alumnae Theatre. Social Growl Dance has received creation residencies at Studio 142 in Germany, with Centre Q in Quebec and lemonTree Creations in Toronto. Sims has also created commissioned works for Quebec’s Collectif Dans Ta Face and Winnipeg’s Nova Dance Collective. In 2016, Social Growl Dance was the recipient of the Dance Matters commission and residency co-production. This produced Drunk On Fiction (2017), the company’s second full-length creation. Social Growl is currently in creation for Sims’ newest creation Amorous Playlist premiering in Toronto March 27th - 30th, 2019.
Currently Sims' is working as a dancer with Quebec choreographer Mélanie Demers (Mayday Danse) and Ottawa's Tedd Robinson (10 Gates Dancing Inc.). in 2018 Sims toured with Mayday Danse to Italy, Brazil, and the USA performing in Animal Triste, and Dance Mutante. In 2019, Riley will tour with Mayday to West Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.
Sims was recently the recipient of the Dance Ontario Creative Partnerships Commission (2018) .
Jean-Benoit Labrecque - Dancer and Collaborator (Montreal)
Jean-Benoit Labrecque - Graduate of l'École de danse contemporaine de Montreal ( EDCMTL ), Quebec, Canada. His interest in the unique culture of urban dance brings him by the side of Angelo Ameur, founder of the hip-hop community in Montreal. Authenticity and instincts are qualities that have emerged from the mingling of these two worlds and have nourrished his artistic research as a performer. His experiences with choreographers such as José Navas, Tedd Robinson, Estelle Clareton, Jacques Poulin-Denis and Sasha Kleinplatz have revived his interest to work in the performing arts. Jean-Benoit is Currently working for Forêt Noire, one of the most innovative and active waacking duo in canada and also presenting a piece in the programming of Tangente, Danse buissonnière 2015-2016.
Tedd Robinson - Mentor (Toronto)
Born in Ottawa, Canada, Robinson graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University, and studied at The School of The Toronto Dance Theatre and with eminent British visual theatre artist Lindsay Kemp. Robinson first rose to prominence as Artistic Director of Contemporary Dancers in Winnipeg, Canada (1984-1990), where he created highly theatrical ensemble works. Having returned to Ottawa in 1990 to pursue a solo career, he is now firmly established as a choreographer, educator and solo artist whose critically acclaimed, award-winning and utterly unique works have won him a multitude of commissions and an international schedule of touring and teaching. Rokudo: six destinies in three steps received the 1998 Chalmers National Dance Award. His works have involved collaborations Margie Gillis (2003-04 and 2012) and Louise Lecavalier (2003-06), Ame Henderson (2011-2013) and Charles Quevillon (2010-2013). In 2005 until 2012, Tedd Robinson took up residence in the Pontiac, Québec where he created new work and presented dance and music in his barn (La B.A.R.N.) at Lac Leslie during the summers. He now co-directs Centre Q: a centre for questioning, near Quyon Quebec in the National Capital Region. Robinson is Artistic Director of 10 Gates Dancing Inc. His work is influenced by his six years of study as a monk in the Hakukaze soto zen monastery, Ottawa. Tedd Robinson is a founding member of Projet bk and a National Arts Centre Associate Dance Artist.
Ana Groppler - Dancer and Collaborator (Toronto)
Ana Claudette Groppler was born in Toronto. She discovered her love of dance at Rosedale Heights School of the Arts, and pursued her training further, graduating from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre in 2011. Groppler has worked with numerous artists including Kaeja d’Dance, Social Growl Dance, Signal Theatre, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, The Go To Company, Toronto Heritage Dance, Kemi Contemporary Dance Projects, Nancy Latoszewski, and Fiona Griffiths. Groppler has performed her own work in shows with Dance Matters, Nextfest, and the Parahumans. She toured across Mexico with Kaeja d’Dance in 2016, traveled to Berlin with Social Growl Dance in June 2018 and is currently working with Lara Kramer Danse in a 3 year residency at Dancemakers.
Kay Kenney - Dancer and Collaborator (Kingston, ON)
Originally from Kingston, Kay Kenney is a graduate of the The School of Dance’s Professional Contemporary Dance Program. At The School, she worked with such choreographers as: Brian Webb, Susie Burpee, Louise Bédard, Martin Bélanger, Heidi Strauss and Sasha Ivanochko.
Professionally Kay has performed work for Caroline Barrière, Cathy Kyle-Fenton, Sylvie Desrosiers/Dorsale Danse, Melanie Dermers/Mayday Danse, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Jocelyn Todd/Lawless Dance Co and has worked in collaboration with Andrea Nann/Dreamwalker Dance Co (2014-2015). She has been a company member of Ottawa Dance Directive for the past five seasons, collaborating with artists such as Chick Snipper, Andrew Turner, Mélanie Dermers, Harold Rhéaume, Jesse Stewart and artistic director Yvonne Coutts.
Caitlin Woelfle O'Brien - Composer (Toronto)
Blunt Chunks is the Toronto-based, solo music project of Caitlin Woelfle-O’Brien, formed in 2011 after studying Contemporary Dance at Concordia University in Montreal. Combining pop sensibility, soulful singing, minimal instrumentals, ambient tones and vocal layering, her songs have been described as: music to keep close to your heart, hypnotic, honest, vulnerable, swirling around you like a settling mist. Blunt Chunks has performed in Toronto and surrounding cities countless times, supporting acts like Lido Pimienta, Nick Hakim, Charlotte Day Wilson, Ivy Mairi, Jaunt and Julianna Barwick. Over the years, Blunt Chunks has participated largely in DIY shows, mix-tapes, collaborations and singing backup for other bands. Her fluidity and willingness to jump at the chance to perform has built her a solid reputation of professionalism.
Blunt Chunks self-released a collection of mostly at-home recordings, entitled & Lean 2 U(2015), which garnered modest success, and in 2017, CBC & George Stroumboulopoulos invited her to perform on his Strombo Show. Last year, Caitlin was featured as a vocalist on Toronto indie pop band Jaunt’s critically acclaimed EP, Cue, released April 2018. Currently, Blunt Chunks is writing and recording new songs, this time working with talented producers and musicians. A full-length album is on the horizon.
Hannah Schallert - General Manager (Toronto)
Hannah was introduced to creating and performing contemporary dance as a company member with Young Movement Incorporated- Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement’s resident company- where she worked with well-known and emerging choreographers, performing on established stages such as the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, as well as more unconventional settings for Nuit Blanche and International Dance Day. In the past, Hannah has had the pleasure of dancing in work by Julia Aplin, Meagan O’Shea, Anandam Dancetheatre, and Candice Irwin, amongst others. She has worked since 2015 with Social Growl Dance as a manager and administrator, and recently presented a short dance film at New Blue Festival of Emerging Dance. Hannah’s interests within dance extend from creation and performance to teaching, administration, and writing. All of this has influenced her to pursue a BFA in Dance from York University, where she is in her third year.