Member of the month

Emma Kerson
Independent Dance Artist

We're honoured to feature Emma Kerson this month, who has been a long time supporter of CADA and GMD!

Q: Where are you from? 

I’m from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Q: What brought you to Toronto?

A: After I finished my Undergrad at Dalhousie University I was set to begin my Masters, knowing I wouldn’t have the time to keep dancing on the side.  I finally started to listen to how I felt and knew that if I didn’t at least audition for a dance program, that I’d always look back at this point in time and regret it.  I moved to Toronto in 2008 to begin studying at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre.

Q: What is it about contemporary dance that continues to inspire your training?

A: Contemporary dance for me is really a limitless investigation into humanity in motion.  I think I’ll always be curious and always searching.

Q: Over the years what stood out about the training at GMD?

A: GMD is a place that brings in very generous teachers with a lot of information and experience to offer, but also the nature of the classes allows individuals a lot of space.  Class for me really has to be tied to or supportive of what I’m working on at the time.  I don’t come to work on my tendus necessarily, I come to explore what interests me and parallels my current projects within a structured framework.  I like to view class as the landmarks or set tasks within a larger improvisation.  Also, Jet Fuel is next door.  That’s a perk.

Q: What has been one of your more memorable experiences at GMD

A: I can’t pinpoint one exact moment (or maybe there are just too many equally noteworthy experiences).  I will say that every so often when I take a step back and observe all of these humans silently yet passionately moving together in space to phenomenal live music, I do get overcome by the surreal nature of what we do and how absolutely lucky we are that it’s part of our lives.

Q: Why did you join CADA-ON?

A: I joined CADA-ON immediately after I graduated in 2011 not yet fully realizing the many benefits it offered.  For me at the time it was about saying yes to the dance community.  Not only did I want to become a part of it, but I also wanted to support it and learn from it.  I quickly discovered the Training Subsidy Program of course, which has been an absolute gift over the years.  Also, as dancers we really need to know our worth, so the Professional Standards for Dance is an essential baseline document I continue to look to from all angles.

Q: Has the training subsidies program benefited you? 

A: I have absolutely benefited from the TSP.

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to young dancers fresh out of school what would it be?

A: I don’t know that I’m one to be giving advice, but I would say that the dance community really is just that: a community.  People are incredible and there is a place for you here.  The city has a beautiful range of classes, workshops, and performances to take in, and because there is no real set career path, at the end of the day you decide where you’re headed as an artist, so be informed and don’t let other people define you.  Bring forth your truest you and enjoy the ride!

Q: What upcoming projects are you working on? 

A: Right now I’m working away on a show, Blue Valentine, that’ll be presented February 15-18 at the Citadel as part of the Bright Nights series.  Andrew Hartley and I formed the collective Common People in 2014, and the show is the culmination of two commissioned duets: Simon Renaud’s l’inanit√© des bibelots / love would only slow me down, and Tedd’s Robinson’s Songs and Tarps.  I’m really excited to finally share this evening with everyone!

Emma Kerson. Photo by Michael Sean Marye

Emma Kerson. Photo by Omer Yukseker. Choreography by Simon Renaud

Get to know other CADA-ON Members:

Jillian PeeverViv Moore | James Kendal

Tracey Norman | Bageshree Vaze

Matthew Romantini | Katherine Duncanson 

Tyler Gledhill Ezra Houser | Daniel Gomez

Tina Fushell

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