BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Sebastian Hirtenstein, President
Sebastian “Bash” Hirtenstein’s undeniable versatility, unshakeable fearlessness and captivating qualities in performance have allowed him to work with a wide spectrum of choreographers & companies such as BoucharDanse, Addy Chan, Michael Caldwell, Canadian Opera Company, Emilio Collalilo, Lenny de la Pena, Barbara Diabo, Rodney Diverlus, The Dietrich Group, Scott Fordham, Gadfly, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Little Pear Garden Dance Company, Jennifer Nichols, Kevin Ormsby, Red Sky Performance, Jennifer Thiessen, Kylie Thompson, and at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre with Nova Bhattacharya, Marc Boivin, Susie Burpee, Peter Chin, Jennifer Dallas, Robert Desrosiers, Danny Grossman, Christopher House, Allen Kaeja, Louis Laberge-Côté, Sharon Moore, Julia Sasso, and Darryl Tracy. He has performed throughout Canada, the Middle East, and Asia with Creativiva’s Aladdin and Pinocchio (for which he was dance captain) and has shared stages with stars such as Ariana Grande, Jason Derulo, Kiesza, Bebe Rexha, Delaney Jane, Allan Rayman and Polina Grace.
Sebastian Hirtenstein was elected in 2020/21.
Neena Jayarajan, acting Vice-Chair
Neena is a Bharatanatyam dancer who has trained under the tutelage of Guru Dr. Menaka Thakkar for over 28 years. She has been assistant teacher at Nrtyakala for over 15 years, and has served as both the Assistant Artistic Director (AAD), lead dancer and rehearsal director of the Menaka Thakkar Dance Company (MTDC) for over 6 years. In her role Neena assisted in re-choreographing remounts of MTDC productions & new works and toured to various cities across North America and Asia. Neena performed in both classical and contemporary works throughout her years at MTDC, and in addition performed in the Children's programming wing of the company in over 200 schools across Canada.
Through MTDC, Neena studied under renowned teachers in various dance styles including Padma Bushan Kalanidhi Narayan in Abhinaya, CV Chandrashekar in Bharatanatyam and Sujatha Mohaptra in Odissi. She has toured with MTDC’s Odissi production Gita Govinda across North America & India and was presented as an Odissi Soloist in India. She has also worked with various accomplished dancers including William Lau, Danny Grossman, Patrick Parson & Bengt Jorgen. In addition, taken intensives in other art forms including Kalaripayattu, Ballet, Modern dance and Butoh. She has performed in Sylvie Bouchard's piece La gigue en souvenir, Natasha Bakht’s Riaz, and Nova Bhattacharya’s piece Broken Lines, which won the Summerworks 2016 Outstanding Direction Award.
Neena has also completed her MA in dance from York University where her research was a comparative analysis of the training methods used for the Plie in Ballet and Aramandi in Bharatanatyam.
Neena is a 2016 recipient of the Chalmers Arts Fellowship Grant, allowing her to explore 3 projects with Ravi Jain of Why Not theatre, a group choreography with 5 Bharanatyam dancers and a solo work with Nova Bhattacharya.
Neena Jayarajan was elected in 2017/2018 and became acting Vice-Chair in 2021/2022.
Jeanne Lewis, Treasurer
Jeanne was elected in 2021/22.
Rhonda Baker is a Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award winner and Dora Award nominated artist living in Halifax, NS. She has performed for Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, Mocean Dance, Rebecca Lazier, and Gallim Dance since graduating from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre in 2009.Rhonda danced with Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie from 2010-2014; performing in James Kudelka’s Fifteen Heterosexual Duets, and his “See Series” for AllOneWord. In the autumn of 2011 she began working on a contract basis for Mocean Dance, and since that time has worked under the direction of Serge Bennathan, Cory Bowles, Sara Coffin, Emily Gualtieri, Sharon Moore, and Tedd Robinson.
Rhonda is an independent artist who improvises, creates, and performs. She has worked with Chris Aiken, Guy Cools, Angie Hauser, and Lin Snelling. Rhonda’s movement training has extended into The Gaga Movement Language, Countertechnique, and The Axis Syllabus. She is the 2016/2017 recipient of Kinetic Studio’s Explorations program, and with their generous support, will be investing her creative time in a collaborative project that will be danced by Lydia Zimmer.
Rhonda Baker was elected in 2016/2017 and became Treasurer in 2018/2019.
Stephanie Mitro is an established industry professional, choreographer and dance teacher based out of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is devoted to educating and mentoring young artists across Canada and abroad. Her pre-professional training originated in Ontario - focusing on modern, contemporary, ballet and jazz.
Stephanie is a proud graduate of Ryerson University touting a BFA Degree (Theatre Performance Dance), and has also completed her RAD and BATD Highland examinations with impressive notability. Additionally, she is a graduate of the Pre-Professional Program, DECIDEDLY JAZZ DANCEWORKS, and has performed for numerous dance companies on the West and East Coast’s. Stephanie has had the privilege to work with numerous well-known North American choreographers, via both company and commercial dance industry projects.
Stephanie is also the co-founder of the Halifax modern, contemporary, jazz company - VOTIVE DANCE – and her company thrives on performing across Canada in a variety of touring shows and festivals. She has participated in many exploration projects across the country. She has performed in commercial work and numerous original choreographic works, including: Wish, Desire, Vow (Atlantic Fringe Festival); Short Stories (Atlantic Fringe Festival); In Pursuit, East Meets West, Shedding Suffixes, Proven Lands (Nextfest, Atlantic Dance Festival, Soulocentric); Natural Forces, Perspective (Connection Dance Works); and Homeplace (collaboration with Pier 21), to name a few.
As a sought out choreographer, her work has been showcased by a plethora of dance companies, pre-professional/professional performance groups, arts schools and dance festivals. She has also been the recipient of numerous awards for her choreographic and artistic visions.
Stephanie Mitro was elected in 2019/2020.
Suma Nair Growing up in the Middle East, Suma Nair was initiated into the study of the Indian classical dance form of bharatanatyam under the training of Sujatha Suresh. She continues to practice, teach and perform the style.
Suma is the Assistant Artistic Director of Sampradaya Dance Creations. She holds an MFA in Dance Choreography from York University and was awarded the Susan Crocker and John Hunkin Scholarship in Fine Arts for 2014-2015. Her works include Kindred (2016), Transcendence (2016) and a remount of the work “Howzat” for Sampradaya Dance Creations (2017). Suma draws upon her training as an Indian Classical dancer to create the foundation to explore new forms of dance expression that combine Indian Classical and Contemporary styles.
She also holds a Master’s in Business Management and Mass Communications and with her experience in Event Management and Public Relations, Suma Nair blends her existing skill sets with a career in the performing arts.
She has also received training in documentary filmmaking from Algonquin College, Ottawa and was selected as a part of three-member film crew to work with the NGO Save The Children in Haiti, post the earthquake in 2010.
Roberto Soria is from Ottawa, Ontario and found a love for the community of art and dance while attending the Canterbury High School arts program. Once out of high school he moved to Toronto in 2015 to attend the School of Toronto Dance Theatre. While completing his last year of school he was also working with Toronto Dance Theatre as the TD intern. He spent his past summer performing in the OFFTA festival in TOUR created by Alexa Mardon and Erika Mitsuhashi. He is a frequent collaborator with Hanna Kiel and recently performed in her new work Resonance. As well as dancing professionally, he has a passion for going and dancing in the rave scene. He finds the process of moving for an entire night with friends or strangers with no limits or restrictions extremely liberating while also meditative. He is very happy to be in his third season with Toronto Dance Theatre.
Roberto Soria was elected in 2019/2020.
Corynne was elected in 2021/22.
Eleanor van Veen
Elearnor was elected in 2021/22.