Member of the month: June 2015
Arts Administrator specializing in dance and CADA-ON Associate Member
How I ended up being an arts administrator: I originally trained to be a professional contemporary dancer, but I developed chronic illnesses, which meant that a performing career was not in the works for me.
Around that time, I was fortunate enough to be offered work in administration at Pia Bouman School for Ballet Creative Movement, where I worked for ten years. It was there I discovered my passion for arts admin. I’ve also completed a BA in dance at York University with a focus on dance history and writing, provided services for some dance collectives and independent dancers, and co-founded Merge ‘zine with Kate Stashko and Niomi Cherney.
Currently, I am the administrative manager at Propel Dance Centre, a children’s dance program, and I am about to graduate from MacEwan University’s Arts and Cultural Management program.
My interests lie in facilitating the general public’s engagement with dance, providing positive arts experiences for young people, and striving for dance artists to have the best possible conditions surrounding their work.
Where are you from?
I’m from Toronto. When I was very small I travelled all over Europe and North America on tour with my parents, who are baroque musicians. Dancing turned out to be my way of playing music! I have also lived for short stints in London, Ontario and St. Catharines.
You're currently involved with helping CADA-ON with a renewal of the Professional Standards for Dance. Can you give us a glimpse into the process and research you're currently involved in?
I’m thrilled to be part of this research process with CADA-ON. When I joined the organization in April, the Board was looking for ways to expand the inclusivity of the Professional Standards for Dance, so that it might encompass more than contemporary dance forms. They also wanted to make connections with other arts service organizations, so I have been conducting interviews with associations and groups in Eastern Canada and the US.
I have developed a community-wide survey and will be co-faciliating focus groups this month to explore these areas. It has been extremely interesting work and I hope that the research we gather will make an impact on the working lives of dance artists.
What CADA-ON services do you use most often?
I felt it was important to join CADA-ON as an associate member because, as an administrator, I want to strive towards the best practices that they recommend for any dance organization or artist I might work for. When creating contracts on behalf of dancers I always refer to the PSD and fee standards first.
Also, as someone who has high healthcare costs, knowing that I can have access to the Canadian Dance Assembly’s National Health Insurance Program with my CADA-ON membership is very reassuring. The VIA Rail discount is nice too!
What have you seen lately that you loved?
Alexei Ratmansky’s Romeo and Juliet is almost too much for me to take in because it is so good. I also loved watching Jon Drop Reid’s video of his piece Brand New Old School for Dusk Dances, which I came across lately. And I haven’t seen this yet but I it looks interesting . . .
Connect with Larissa!
Larissa is currently working with CADA-ON on our research for Version 4 of the Professional Standards of Dance. Click here to read about her work, and to participate in the survey!