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® 2017-2018

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 ici



October 19, 2018, 12:30-2:00pm


December 14, 2018, 12:30-2:00pm

See a new generation of dance artists being challenged by internationally renowned contemporary dance choreographers including Isabelle Boulanger, Yvonne Coutts, Lana Morton and Harold Rhéaume. Enjoy this dynamic performance by the students of The School of Dance Contemporary Dance Diploma Programme at Arts Court Theatre. Recommended for Intermediate and High School students.

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

Moving Muscles

May 3, 2019, 10:30am and 12:30pm in the Auditorium of the National Gallery of Canada

The School of Dance is pleased to present special student performances of Moving Muscles featuring young dancers from The School of Dance. Join us for a fantastic journey through music and dance! The performance is approximately 60 minutes in length, including a Q & A with Artistic Director Merrilee Hodgins. Recommended for students Kindergarten to Grade 6. <Learn more>

Tickets are $2 per student, teachers and chaperones are free of charge.

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, Merrilee was awarded the prestigious Solo Seal of the Royal Academy of Dance. 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. Merrilee Hodgins is a Director of the Celia Franca Foundation and she regularly collaborates with a wide-range of organizations such as the Ontario Arts Council, the National Arts Centre, the National Gallery of Canada, Carleton University, the Cultural Human Resource Council and the Hnatyshyn Foundation. Miss Hodgins developed The School's suite of inclusive programmes including Shall We Dance? in the hospitals of Eastern Ontario, DragonFly® for learners with Down Syndrome, the Dance of Life Health and Wellness programme and Dancing in the Street which takes place throughout the City of Ottawa each summer. Her recent artistic projects include choreographic commissions from the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, a collaboration with Canadian poet Susan McMaster, and a commission to produce a concert version of Stravinsky's Firebird for the Brott Music Festival in Hamilton, Ontario. In 2013, Miss Hodgins received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her dedicated service to her peers, her community, and to the world of dance.

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. She is director of the division, teaches modern 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 creations 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 work includes à tire d'aile presented at La Nouvelle Scène in the fall of 2002 and co presented by the Canada Dance Festival (CDF) at the National Arts Centre (NAC) in June 2003. More recently she created flots commissioned by the CDF, a quintet that was presented at the CDF of 2005 and 2006 and was presented at the 2005 Dancing on the Edge festival in Vancouver. In 2008 études intuitives was presented at la Nouvelle Scène by Tara Luz Danse. In 2009 épaves and distance were presented in many venues throughout the region. Artistic Director of DORSALE danse, Sylvie Desrosiers produced the performances TOUT danse and fougue presented at La Salle Jean Despréz in Gatineau in 2011 and 2013 respectively. In 2012 she created and produced douce tourmente a full-length work for dancers Marc Boivin and Heidi Strauss that was since presented in Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver. Sylvie Desrosiers is a founding member of Ottawa Dance Directive/ centre de danse contemporaine 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.

Nicola Fridgen

Photo: Gilles Vézina

Nicola Fridgen

A graduate of The School of Dance Contemporary Dance Programme, Nicola currently 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. 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, 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 has created 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 currently works as a dancer for Sylvie Desrosiers and Cathy Kyle Fenton. In June 2016 she performed a solo work in Raw Footage by Cathy Kyle Fenton in the 2016 Ottawa Fringe Festival. Nicola is the Managing Director 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 athlete Kimana Mar (a member of The School’s DragonFly® programme for learners with Down Syndrome) who was awarded 5 gold medals in the Special Olympics World Games in July 2015.

Sarah Hopkin

Photo: TSOD Archives

Sarah Hopkin

Since graduating from Ryerson University's Performance Dance Program, Sarah has performed as an intern with Mocean Dance, and as a Junior Company Member with Toronto Dance Theatre for their 2015/2016 season. She has choreographed and performed in The 2015 Ottawa Chamber Festival and with Mocean Dance in their performance/creation project EMERGE, mentored by Sara Coffin. Sarah also performed in Dance Ontario's Dance Weekend 2015 with Tziporah Productions, and has worked with established choreographers such as Christopher House, Louis Laberge-Côté, Hanna Kiel, Robert Glumbek and Roberto Campanella. She choreographed in numerous collaborative projects with composer Julia Mermelstein, and recently was commissioned by Julia with the generous support of the Toronto Art Council. Sarah has also choreographed for the Atlantic Fringe Festival in 2014, and for the 2015 RayD.ance Gala. She has participated in summer programs with École Supérieure De Ballet Du Québec, The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, ProArtDanza, and Peggy Baker Dance Projects. Most recently she demonstrated for Peggy Baker for her classes at the National Ballet School, and for her Dance Educators' Seminar. Sarah was nominated for a 2016 Dora Award for best ensemble dance performance as a part of Toronto Dance Theatre's cast of Echo. Sarah would like to thank the Nova Scotia Talent Trust for all of their financial support throughout her dance career. It is a wonderful organization that has helped many Nova Scotian artists find their way to success.

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. Most recently, Mary Catherine performed in the 2015, 2016 and 2017 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.