The School of Dance

Merrilee Hodgins A.R.A.D., Artistic Director


Teachers and Principals:
Ask us to do something special just for your school!

Need help delivering the curriculum? We can help.

Contact Alain Pauzé, DOT Programme Manager at: or

DanceONTour® 2019-2020

It's so easy!

We can come to your school and work in one of your large spaces OR you and your students can come to The School of Dance and learn more about the fascinating world of dance!

OR you can come to one of our performances at the Ottawa Dance Directive Black Box Theatre or Artscourt Theatre and add the magic of light and sound.

OR you can ask us to design a programme especially for you! We will design a curriculum component or a workshop of pure whimsy!

The choice is yours.

Creative Dance

Teachers - click here for a printable flyer about the Creative Dance Workshops for Children

Creative Movement

1,2,3, GO!

For JK to Grade 3

Our creative movement workshop is an exploration of body language, space, numbers and themes. Children go on a journey into the mathematical world that underpins movements and the use of space.

60 minutes in length

All workshops are accompanied by a musician and include some lesson time about the musical instruments being played.


Circles, Squares and Triangles

Circles, Squares and Triangles

For Grades 4-6

Circles, Squares and Triangles is an action packed class of creative energy which produces dance steps and shapes. This workshop will also focus on problem solving and dance vocabulary building.

60 minutes in length

All workshops are accompanied by a musician and include some lesson time about the musical instruments being played.

Student Matinees

Preview Presentations 2014-2015

Photo by D. Brian Campbell of 2014 graduates Jessie Lhôte and Alya Graham
in Solos about Loneliness and Chaos by Marie-Julie Asselin.



pdf here

pdf ici



Friday, October 25, 2019, 12:30pm-2:15pm

Imagine creating a solo dance piece on yourself, a challenge our third year students have to accomplish. They will reveal their inspiration and share their path in the ODD BOX at Arts Court. Come and see our dancers shine through amazing movements, with stunning music and clear purpose.

Student performance: $5 per student, chaperones are free.


Friday, December 13, 2019, 12:30pm-2:15pm

See a new generation of dance artists being challenged by internationally renowned contemporary dance choreographers: Anik Bouvrette, Marie-Michelle Darveau, Darryl Tracy and Apolonia Velasquez. Your students have the opportunity to ask questions, participate in a discussion and compare the various dance styles. Enjoy this dynamic performance in Arts Court Theatre.

Student performance: $5 per student, chaperones are free.

Capacity of Theatres


50 people

Arts Court Theatre

95 people

Auditorium of the National Gallery of Canada

399 people.

Add a Workshop


On the same day they are scheduled to attend a Student Performance, your students can enjoy their own dance experience by participating in a morning workshop led by one of our faculty members and with the live accompaniment of one of our amazing dance accompanists. Experience a dance class and learn interesting sequences of movement and choreography. LEARN new skills and be EMPOWERED by ENERGETIC dance...In the LIVELY ATMOSPHERE of THE SCHOOL OF DANCE.

Workshops on Demand/According to Availability

You can also contact us to organize a contemporary dance workshop as stated above at any time during the school year; this can occur at your school or you can come and visit us at The School of Dance. For dance workshop classes we will work with groups of 15-32 students. For workshop pricing, all bookings and further information please contact Alain Pauzé, Programme Manager at: or

Workshop Leaders

Merrilee Hodgins, A.R.A.D. Artistic Director

Photo: TSOD Archives

Merrilee Hodgins A.R.A.D.

Artistic Director

Merrilee Hodgins, the Co-founder and Artistic Director of The School of Dance, studied in Canada, England, Denmark, Germany and the United States. In 1971, she was awarded the prestigious Solo Seal of the Royal Academy of Dancing. In 1973 she became principal dancer with the Alberta Ballet Company, later working in Denmark, Germany and the U.S. as a freelance artist. Miss Hodgins, a recipient of the YM-YWCA’s 1997 Women of Distinction Award, was the 1997 Chair of the City of Ottawa’s Cultural Leadership Committee, was a member of the board of directors for Dance Ontario, and has been awarded Canada Council grants to research and develop projects to introduce children to dance. Recent artistic projects include choreographic commissions from the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, a collaboration with Canadian poet Susan McMaster, a commission to produce a concert version of Stravinsky’s Firebird for the Brott Music Festival in Hamilton, Ontario and a commission to create choreography for Carnival of the Animals for the National Academy Orchestra of Canada.  Merrilee is a Director of the Celia Franca Foundation and she regularly collaborates with a wide-range of organizations such as the Ontario Arts Council, Carleton University, the National Arts Centre, the National Gallery of Canada and the Hnatyshyn Foundation. In 2013, Merrilee was awarded a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of her contributions to arts education in Canada. In 2017, Miss Hodgins was presented with the Senate of Canada Sesquicentennial Medal in recognition of her valuable service to the nation. Miss Hodgins developed The School’s suite of inclusive outreach programmes including: Shall We Dance?, Dance is BEST and Canadian Stories in the hospitals of Eastern Ontario; the Dance of Life Health and Wellness programme; and Dancing in the Street which takes place throughout the City of Ottawa each summer. Miss Hodgins has also trained 9 arts administrative interns, in collaboration with CHRC, many of them working in Ottawa, plus provided arts internships for Potsdam University in New York and Edinburgh University in Glasgow, Scotland.

Sylvie Desrosiers, BAV, Director Contemporary Dance Studies

Photo: TSOD Archives

Sylvie Desrosiers, B.A.V., Certificate in Education, Director Contemporary Dance Studies

It is under Peter Boneham’s direction at Le Groupe Dance Lab that Sylvie Desrosiers trained and started her career as a choreographer and a teacher. She eventually directed Le Groupe’s dance school from 1991 to 1993. In the fall of 1994 she joined The School of Dance to establish The School’s Contemporary Dance Division and College Degree Diploma Programme. She is director of the Programme, teaches modern/ contemporary dance technique, composition, and is a resident choreographer. Ms. Desrosiers has extensive experience in the conception and the delivery of dance classes and workshops in schools and universities and has been a guest choreographer in many performing arts schools. As a choreographer Sylvie Desrosiers has presented her work in many Canadian cities including Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. She has been the recipient of many creation and production grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Ottawa. Her full length works including à tire d'aile (2002), flots (2006, commissioned by the CDF), douce tourmente (2013, a duet for performers Marc Boivin and Heidi Strauss) and more recently Under petals of steel were presented nationally. Her shorter works Épaves (2003), Glace (2008), Distance (2009), volte-face (2011) were presented in many venues throughout the Outaouais region. Artistic Director of DORSALE danse, Sylvie Desrosiers produced the performance TOUT danse and fougue presented at La Salle Jean Despréz in Gatineau in 2011 and 2013 respectively. Sylvie Desrosiers is a founding member of Ottawa Dance Directive/ centre de danse contemporaine (ODD) and is the 2011 award winner of the Prix pour la création artistique du Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec pour la région de l’Outaouais and the 2017 recipient of the Ottawa Arts Council Victor Tolgesy Award.

Nicola Fridgen

Photo: Gilles Vézina

Nicola Fridgen

Assistant to the Artistic Director

A graduate of The School of Dance Contemporary Dance Programme, Nicola resides in Ottawa where she continues training, performing, creating and teaching, and works at The School of Dance as Assistant to the Artistic Director. Since 2008 Nicola has performed works by various Ottawa choreographers, along with dancing in her own creations. She currently works as a dancer for DORSALE danse/Sylvie Desrosiers and Cathy Kyle Fenton. In recent years she had the pleasure of performing in the Dance: Made in Canada Festival in Toronto, at the French Embassy in Ottawa, with the NAC Orchestra, in the 2016 Ottawa Fringe Festival and at the Brott Music Festival in Hamilton. For three summers, Nicola spent her time Dancing in the Street, a community outreach programme of The School of Dance. As a choreographer, Nicola creates works for the students in the Contemporary Dance Programme at The School of Dance and Canterbury High School. She was mentored by Peter Boneham in 2013 to create her first work on professional dancers. Nicola is the Project Leader of Dark Horse Dance Projects, an arts platform designed to create performance opportunities for contemporary dancers and choreographers from the Ottawa region. She coaches Ottawa Special Olympics rhythmic gymnast Kimana Mar, who was awarded 7 gold medals at the 2019 Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi.

Sarah Hopkin

Photo: TSOD Archives

Sarah Hopkin

Sarah Hopkin Sarah Hopkin is a freelance dance artist from Halifax, Nova Scotia. She has performed for the Ottawa Dance Directive (2018 & 2019), Toronto Dance Theatre (2015-2016), Mocean Dance (2015), and in Dance Ontario's Dance Weekend (2015). In 2016, Sarah was nominated for a Dora Award for best ensemble dance performance as a part of Toronto Dance Theatre's cast of Echo. She has worked for Cathy Kyle Fenton for her show 4X4 Dance 2017, and is working for her again on a new creation with the support of the City of Ottawa that will premiere in The Ottawa Dance Directive’s Series Dance 10 in October 2019. Sarah is currently commissioning Peggy Baker to create a duet for herself and Jacqueline Ethier with the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. The duet will premiere in The Ottawa Dance Directive’s Series Dance 10 in April 2021. She has also worked as a demonstrator for Ms Baker at Canada’s National Ballet School in the summers of 2016 and 2017, and teaches contemporary dance in the Professional Ballet Programme at The School of Dance in Ottawa. Sarah has choreographed in a number of collaborative projects with composer Julia Mermelstein and was commissioned by Julia with the support of the Toronto Arts Council in 2016. She has choreographed for the 2015 RayD.ance Gala, the 2014 Atlantic Fringe Festival, and choreographed and performed in Ottawa’s Dark Horse Dance Projects 2017. Sarah choreographed and performed in the 2015 Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival and was involved in their 2017 festival as a part of their community outreach program. In June of 2017 Sarah co-produced her own show titled The Movement Gallery, with the support of the Ottawa Dance Directive. In this show she debuted a new piece, Ignorance is Bliss, and showcased the Julia Mermelstein commission from 2016 and work by other local choreographers. She recently reworked Ignorance is Bliss and presented it in the 2019 Ottawa Fringe Festival.

Mary Catherine Jack

Photo: TSOD Archives

Mary Catherine Jack

After receiving a visual arts degree from the University of Waterloo, Mary Catherine Jack decided to expand her artistic experience through dance. In 2004, she graduated from the Contemporary Dance Programme at The School of Dance. Mary Catherine has performed with Opera Lyra, has been involved in various independent, theatrical projects around Ottawa. She has performed her own work at the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival and produced an intimate dance show featuring her own work as well as that of various Ottawa dancers/choreographers. Mary Catherine teaches dance in schools in Ontario as an independent artist and as a collaborating artist with Learning Through The Art. Mary Catherine has performed in all 5 editions of Ottawa’s Dark Horse Dance Projects and in the 2016 Ottawa Fringe Festival and 4x4 Dance in solo works by Cathy Kyle Fenton.