Careers in Dance
In Partnership with Movement Market
Friday, May 6th
The Rehearsal Hall (the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning)
Experience the beginning stages of a choreographed work in progress by Kay Kenney, which will premiere at the first Annual Ground UP Dance Festival in July 2022. MM Collective dancers Kay Kenney, Sasha French, and Camille Spencer will perform an excerpt of choreography, followed by a panel discussion reflecting on the evolution of the professional dance community and MM Collectives contribution to the arts scene since it was founded in 2016.
KAY KENNEY JOHNSON
Kay Kenney is a professional contemporary dance artist from Kingston who began her journey in 1994 with the Kingston School of Dance, studying Cecchetti Ballet. After years of training, she decided to pursue dance as a career and attend the Professional Contemporary Dance Programme at The School of Dance in Ottawa. After graduating from the Professional Contemporary Dance Programme, she organized Dancing in the Street, an improv-based series of outdoor performances throughout Ottawa. In the spring of 2013, she was hired as a guest choreographer by the Kingston School of Dance and through a City of Kingston Arts Fund grant to return to her hometown of Kingston to create and perform at The Grand Theatre.
Kay has performed works for Caroline Barrière, Cathy Kyle-Fenton, Sylvie Desrosiers/Dorsale Danse, Jocelyn Todd/Lawless Dance Co and has worked in collaboration with Andrea Nann/Dreamwalker Dance Co (2014-2015), Dark Horse Dance Projects (Ottawa) and MayDay Danse (Montreal). She has been a company dancer of Ottawa Dance Directive since 2013 and with the Social Growl Dance (Toronto) for the past seven years. Kay has also been commissioned to choreograph the students of The School of Dance Professional Contemporary Dance Programme and continues to teach throughout the province.
In 2016, Kay moved back to Kingston permanently and was selected as a Youth Arts Ambassador to create a unique, collaborative dance project for Ontario Culture Days. She is also the only Fletcher Pilates Instructor in the city. Since returning to her hometown, Kay Kenney has collaborated with local festivals, such as The Skeleton Park Arts Festival, The Juvenis Festival, The Kick & Push Festival, AnArch Theatre, The Cellar Door Project, Calliope Collective, and many other independent artists in the city. Most recently Kay was one of the recipients of the 2020 Kingston Mayor’s Arts Award.
Kay is the founder of Movement Market Collective. Recently completing a residency through The Isabel Bader for Performing Arts IMAGINE Project, where she choreographed and performed in a new dance film, “a day not owned here, revered” in collaboration with Cinematographer Josh Lyon and lighting designer Rachel Shaen. Kay has recently been appointed the new Artistic Director for the Kingston School of Dance where she continues to inspire the community through movement and dance.
Dancer / Choreographer / Instructor
I am a Dance Advocate, Choreographer, Teacher, and Performer. I have diverse experiences dancing with and teaching for multiple levels, ages, and in world wide settings. I am originally from Utah, USA where I received my BFA in Dance, and Secondary Education degree. I have a passion for traveling and experiencing the diversity of the contemporary dance world. I have expanded my dance practices within the USA , United Kingdom and Australia.
My training is rooted in Bartenieff Fundamentals, with a strong focus on traditional modern and ballet technique. I have engaged with cutting edge dance artists such as Gary Clarke (UK), Maxine Doyle (UK), Crystal Pite (CA), William Forsythe (GER), and Andrew Morrish (AU). I am most passionate about developing my own choreographic material and have choreographed works within university dance department, professional companies, independent dance collectives, high schools, festivals, and private studios. Screen dance and non conventional site specific works are of interest within my research and choreographic projects. Improvisation as a tool of creation and movement research is an important part of my practice and teaching style.
TEACHING is an important part of my dance practice. I love teaching young children and youth. They are discovering their creative bodies and finding those life long movement connections within themselves, each other, and their world. I love teaching beginners and advanced dancers in intense training as well as educational settings. Within these classes, we can delve into more complex sequences, experiment with wider improvisational and compositionally parameters, both physically and academically. It is a time to use kinaesthetic and somatic language, within a learning environment. My other love for teaching is within the aged community. I am fully trained within the Dance for Parkinson’s teaching model and teach within the community. The positive effects towards physical and mental well-being that these classes can bring are the reasons why we dance in the first place!
Dancer / Choreographer / Visual Artist / Instructor
Sasha French was born and raised in the Florida keys, to a family who left much behind in Cuba, but was rich with musicians and artists. Spending her formative years performing in local and regional theatre programs and studying classical piano laid the groundwork for her diverse creative life. While pursuing a BFA in dance at the University of Florida, she worked in arts in medicine and founded a touring company, Hemisphere DANCE.
After university, French toured with Moving Current Dance Collective, performed with professional theatre companies, worked as faculty at local colleges, and as a guest artist in museums and schools. Continuing to create and perform work, French went to work for the American Dance Festival at Duke University and finally returned to the University of Florida as an Artist-in-Residence. French has spent the last 12 years creating physically demanding work layered with cultural, historical, and personal narratives. Her work has been hailed as “gratifying to watch” and has been showcased in Florida, New York, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Canada.
An international move brought her to Ontario in 2014, where she worked as a teaching artist and in dance therapy for long term care. In 2015, after the birth of her first child, her daily practice shifted. Creating in all the stolen moments of motherhood, furthering her visual art and movement practice alongside caring for an infant, and continuing to fight for space of self.