Don’t Forget the Money! Working with Dancers in Contemporary Art Spaces

Fabien Maltais-Bayda

9 page report

Working with Concepts
March 4, 2017

This report was produced on the occasion of Don't Forget the Money!, a half-day forum organized by the Blackwood Gallery to facilitate conversations around the presentation of dance, choreography, and live performance in various contemporary art contexts.

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Don't Forget the Money! was a half-day forum organized by the Blackwood Gallery to facilitate conversations around the presentation of dance, choreography, and live performance in various contemporary art contexts. The gallery invited artists, curators, dancers, choreographers, and activists to each make short presentations that addressed challenges inherent to interdisciplinary projects, including compensation, resources, funding, advocacy, and structural and systemic inequity. Respondents offered comments on possible models of engagement that might be usefully deployed in various contexts. The round table conversation that followed addressed many of the questions framed at the outset: What is the role of an art gallery in supporting the work of artists and dancers? What are the challenges specific to the presentation of dance or choreography within a contemporary art environment? And how can we ensure, across disciplines, that all artists are equitably compensated?

Writer Fabien Maltais-Bayda was commissioned by the Blackwood Gallery to produce a report that captured some of the concepts and organizing strategies put forward by the group.

The presenters were Michael Caldwell, Emelie Chhangur, Francesco Gagliardi, kumari giles, Jenn Goodwin, sandra Henderson, Johanna Householder, Brandy Leary, Jessica Patricia Kichoncho Karuhanga, Bee Pallomina, Kim Simon, Bojana Stancic, and Bojana Videkanic.

The respondents were Karl Beveridge, Greig de Peuter, Catalina Fellay-Dunbar, Molly Johnson, and Sally Lee.


Working with Concepts is a series of professional development workshops and events that position concepts as useful tools for fostering advocacy, dialogue, and resource-sharing across disciplines and sectors. Organized and hosted by the Blackwood Gallery, each iteration is accompanied by an essay that reports on the key terms, ideas, and strategies—in short, the concepts—that come to the fore through presentations and discussions.

Don’t Forget the Money! Working with Dancers in Contemporary Art Spaces was held on March 4, 2017 and was the first event in this series.



Karl Beveridge is an artist working in Toronto, in collaboration with Carole Condé. Condé + Beveridge have collaborated with various trade unions and community organizations in the production of their staged photographic work over the past 30 years. Their work has been exhibited across Canada and internationally in both the trade union movement and art galleries and museums. They are active in several labour arts initiatives including the Mayworks Festival in Toronto and the Workers Arts and Heritage Centre in Hamilton, Ontario.

Michael Caldwell is a Dora-nominated, Toronto-based choreographer/performer/curator/producer/arts advocate. An "intense dynamo on stage" (Scene4) with "exceptional interpretive skill" (Globe & Mail), Caldwell has originated roles for many of Canada's esteemed dance creators/companies, and has performed across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. Caldwell is quickly garnering critical acclaim for his 'daring and powerful' (Bateman Reviews) choreography. With a bachelor’s degree in film/art history from Syracuse University, Caldwell is the artistic producer for Fall for Dance North Festival, and sits on the artistic advisory committee at Dancemakers.

Emelie Chhangur is a Toronto-based artist, curator, and writer known for her process-based, participatory curatorial practice and long-term collaborative projects performatively staged in/outside the gallery context. As a director at Art Gallery of York University, Chhangur questions the nature and social function of the contemporary art gallery through a form of embedded criticality that she calls "in-reach."

Greig de Peuter collaborates on Cultural Workers Organize, an international research project exploring collective responses to precarity in the cultural and creative industries. He is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. He is a co-founder of Letters & Handshakes.

Catalina Fellay-Dunbar is a Toronto-based dance professional and academic focused on Flamenco and Classical Spanish dance. She holds a BFA and MA in dance (York University), MA in Drama (University of Toronto) and Certification in Movement Analysis (Laban Institute for Movement Studies). Currently she serves as co-chair of the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists - Ontario Chapter.

Francesco Gagliardi is a performance artist, writer, and occasional filmmaker based in Toronto. Programs of his work have been presented internationally in venues including Pieter (Los Angeles); Issue Project Room and The Stone (NYC); FADO, Images Festival, The Harbourfront Centre, and 7a*11d Performance Art Festival (Toronto), and Fondazione Mudima (Milano).

kumari giles is a multi-disciplinary artist, movement storyteller, curator, and producer. They are committed to carving space in performance to showcase the brilliance of people who are not typically valued in the performing arts including queer, gender non conforming, trans, disabled, Deaf and people of colour. They are part of Unapologetic Burlesque, ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company and have been in numerous theatre and multidisciplinary shows as an independent performer, producer, and curator.

Jenn Goodwin is a second year student in the MVS/Curatorial Studies program at U of T. Her dance work and short films have been shown across Canada and internationally. Goodwin worked for a decade with Toronto’s Nuit Blanche and has curated performance and exhibitions for Summerworks Festival (2016), The Drake Hotel, and Harbourfront Centre.

sandra Henderson is a practitioner with a focus on production, touring and management for performance. Recent collaborations include work with Luminato Festival, Toronto Fringe Festival and performance artist Jess Dobkin. sandra is an Associate Artist with Public Recordings, an organization that tests hypotheses about group work through performance, education, publishing and other collective gestures.

Johanna Householder works through performance, dance, video, and intermedia art. Her interest in how ideas move through bodies has led her largely collaborative practice. She has recently performed in Mexico, Singapore, Java, and Calgary and reset her 1978 solo for Toronto Dance Theatre and the AGO. She is a founder of the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art which held its 11th biennial in October, and is a Professor at OCAD University.

Born and raised on Cape Breton Island, Molly Johnson creates body-based performance projects and texts that investigate connection through the universal and familiar on themes of how to be. A Dora Award-winning dance artist, emerging creator, freelance writer, and advocate for human decency, Johnson works between Toronto and Montreal.

Jessica Patricia Kichoncho Karuhanga is an artist based in Toronto. She has presented her work at Trinity Square Video, Art Gallery of Ontario, and Goldsmiths. She has lectured for The Power Plant and the Royal Ontario Museum as well as Tisch School of the Arts at NYU’s Black Portraitures Series. She holds degrees from Western University and University of Victoria.

Brandy Leary creates contemporary performances through the body and has lived between Canada and India for the past 17 years. She is the founder and leader of Anandam Dancetheatre, the founder and co-director of Collective Space, and the Contemporary Circus Arts Festival of Toronto. 

Sally Lee is the Executive Director of CARFAC (Canadian Artists’ Representation/Le Front des artistes canadiens) Ontario. She has held management and leadership positions at a broad range of not-for-profit organizations and artist-run centres. She currently sits on the Advocacy Committee of the Toronto Arts Council, the Board of Wavelength Music, and the Advisory Board of Reel Asian.

Fabien Maltais-Bayda holds an MA in performance studies from the University of Toronto. He has worked with contemporary dance presenter Tangente, and the International Community of Performing Arts Curators. Fabien writes for publications including Canadian Art, The Dance Current, esse, and Momus, and is a 2016-17 Writer-in-Residence at Dancemakers.

Bee Pallomina is dance artist, performer, collaborator and creator, currently making and performing in work for stage, installation, and film/video. She has worked with many independent choreographers, and several dance companies including Dancemakers and Public Recordings. Bee and has performed in theatres, galleries, and site-specific contexts across Canada and in Europe.

Kim Simon is the curator at Gallery TPW in Toronto. Simon’s curatorial work is grounded by an interest in the relationship between ethics and aesthetic experience across disciplines, thinking about the conditions of spectatorship, and experimenting with pedagogy as a form of creative practice. 

Bojana Stancic is an artist, performance designer, and cultural programmer living and working in Toronto.  She is a graduate of University of Toronto's Theatre and Semiotics programs and has an exhibition history working with numerous theatrical and gallery venues in the city.  Inspired by transformative use of materials and space, she likes to envision her work as participating in a conversation between performative sculpture and site-specific installation. She is currently Coordinator of Cross-Disciplinary Programming at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Bojana Videkanic is a performance artist and an art historian/curator born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, ex-Yugoslavia. Her performance art practice mines personal experiences of displacement, movement, and identity as these intersect with political, social, and cultural precarity. Videkanic is an Assistant Professor in Fine Arts at the University of Waterloo, and a board member of the 7a*11d International Performance Art Festival Toronto.


Writer: Fabien Maltais-Bayda

Publication Design: Matthew Hoffman


The Blackwood Gallery gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the University of Toronto Mississauga.

The Blackwood Gallery’s 2016–2017 exhibition and program season is sponsored by the University of Toronto Affinity Partners Manulife, MBNA and TD Insurance.


Related Projects

Don't Forget the Money!
Working with Dancers in Contemporary Art Spaces
March 4, 2017