MENTOR, ARTISTIC ADVISOR, & CHOREOGRAPHER
Constance Cooke is an established Queer Canadian Dance Artist working as a Choreographer for Stage, Dance on Film, and Site-Specific Work; as an Educator of Contemporary Dance and Screendance; as a Mentor and Curator. Her work has attracted and cultivated curious, open, and intelligent audiences for contemporary and experimental work for over 35 years. Cooke’s work has been presented in Canada, North America, and Europe. She has created over 60 professional works and self-produced 10 full-length works. Cooke lives, creates, and works on the unceded Coast Salish Territory of the Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ Nations, in Victoria B.C.
Highlights of the 2022/23 season include premiering Hope a 35-minute work that explores building capacity, awareness, and resilience. The final phase of creation for Hope is supported by a residency with Dance Victoria. This season Cooke will also be teaching and mentoring dance, media and visual artists through her online screendances pods, dance for camera courses and through the Physical Intersections Digital Collaborations Project (Xchanges Gallery & Studios, Media Net/Flux Gallery and Victoria Arts Council) and the Collective Access Screendance Residency with Creative Momentum.
In the Fall Cooke will be an Artist in Residence with The School of Contemporary Dancers Professional Training Program in Winnipeg creating new work. She also works with Victoria Academy of Ballet Professional Training Program where she teaches movement inquiry & awareness, and creative process.
Cooke has been the recipient of numerous awards, scholarships and grants from The Canada Council of the Arts, B.C. Arts Council, The Manitoba Arts Council, The Vancouver Foundation, B.C. Hydro, Dance Victoria, Private Supporters and more.
Filipino-Canadian Christina Medina’s interest encompasses a wide spectrum of activities from contemporary dance, vertical dance to rock climbing. Formerly, Artistic Director of @tendance/ C.Medina (Graz) from 2006 to 2016, Medina is now on faculty at die Musik und Kunst Universität der Stadt Wien - Zeitgenössischer und Klassischer Tanz (MUK). Her engagement with dance encompasses experiences as a performer, pedagogue, choreographer and director.
Originally from Winnipeg, Christina has worked with Dance Collective/Ruth Cansfield, Trip Dance, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers and choreographers including Serge Bennathan, Peter Bingham, Rachel Browne, Rosemary Butcher, Catherine Guerin, Brent Lott, Davida Monk, Roger Sinha, Tom Stroud and Tedd Senmon Robinson. Her choreographic works have been shown in Canada, Europe and Brazil. Christina’s paedagogical experiences includes Masterclasses at The Canada Dance Festival (representing Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers), Trip Dance, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, and the Scottish Dance Theatre. As a guest faculty member of School of Contemporary Dancers Professional Program (affiliated with University of Winnipeg), Christina continues her association as a teacher and choreographer.
Other endeavors included guest teaching at Anton Bruckner Universität Linz, Liz King’s D.ID, University of Calgary Dance Program, Royal Winnipeg Ballet – Professional Division, the Int. Bühnenwerkstatt (Graz), Österreich Tanzt Festival in St. Pölten and Share Festival in Bratislava.
DANCER & COLLABORATOR
Originally from Tehran and based in Vancouver, Arash Khakpour is privileged to be a dance artist who has immigrated to the ancestral and unceded Coast Salish territory.
He has had the privilege of working with EDAM, Wen Wei Dance, Out Innerspace Dance Theatre, Kinesis Dance Somatheatro, Company 605, Emmalena Fredriksson, Vanessa Goodman, Josh Hite and David McIntosh (Battery Opera) among many others.
Arash’s desire is to experience the theatre as a place to interrogate the body and to investigate alternate ways of being, seeing and feeling. He is interested in dance as a language that researches the human condition through historical, social, political and existential interpretations.
Arash is the co-founder of the dance-theatre company The Biting School (alongside his brother Aryo Khakpour) and the founder and co-host of How About A Time Machine, a podcast on the history of Canadian performance. Arash is grateful to be the 2016 recipient of Dance Victoria’s Chrystal Dance Prize.
MUSICIAN & COLLABORATOR
Finley Rose is a musician and performing artist from Vancouver Island, BC. Finley grew up among the arbutus trees, echoing their song. Their music draws on the darkness and light of human experience; a soaring vocal line over a resonant violin phrase, a heartfelt song, spun from the piano. Influenced by genres such as traditional folk, alternative rock and neo-classical music, elements of these styles support the intricate soundscapes they create.
DANCER & COLLABORATOR
Alia Saurini has been a professional dancer, acrobat and aerialist for over a decade. She received her formal training at the School of Contemporary Dancers in Winnipeg and later discovered a passion for trapeze and other circus arts. Her career has taken her from Vancouver to Montreal and down to Las Vegas. She has had the pleasure of working locally with a number of companies including EDAM and Aeriosa. The highlight of her career so far was performing on KA by Cirque du Soleil. Having recently moved back to Victoria, Alia is excited to continue exploring movement and performance and to bring her experience and knowledge back home.