Colleen Snell Returns to Teach at SunDance 2019


CCDT is thrilled to welcome Colleen Snell back to the SunDance team for 2019, reprising her role as Instructor of Modern Repertoire (Program B) and Improvisation and Composition (Program A). Colleen is a prominent dance educator, choreographer, performer, and dance writer in the GTA, and the co-founder and co-director of multi-disciplinary performance company Frog In Hand which is performing a contemporary dance piece, Heart of Matter, at the Toronto Fringe Festival this year.

Read below to learn about what Colleen has to share about being part of SunDance faculty for another summer.

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CCDT: What is your favourite part about teaching at SunDance? CS: There are so many wonderful parts about being involved with SunDance, but clearly the best part is meeting the dancers. The SunDance participants are an intelligent group of new generation artists who are already so confident and clear with their artistic voices, and it's a pleasure to see these dancers unfold over three weeks. CCDT has uniquely beautiful facilities, tremendous and internationally known faculty, and a unique spirit of exploration. I'm thrilled and delighted to be collaborating with CCDT on SunDance.

CCDT: What do you find different from teaching at SunDance (or a Summer intensive) that is different from the regular dance season? CS: OK, I'm going to tackle this one with bullet points:

  • SunDance accelerates artistic growth. It's an intense three-week process where the dancers truly increase their capacity as both movers and thinkers.

  • SunDance values the creative process alongside technical excellence. This means the program shapes emerging dancers in a truly holistic way - inviting them to own their own creativity and to explore in a way we often cannot during the regular dance season.

  • As faculty I find a lot of joy and self-discovery across these three weeks as well. It's a place where the teachers feel comfortable taking artistic risks and trying new ideas, which makes it an inspiring place for everyone involved!

CCDT: How many years have you been teaching at SunDance? CS: This is my second year teaching at SunDance, although I attended the program when I was in the CCDT Company.

CCDT: Best piece of advice you could give to new summer students? CS: Two things! 1. I encourage the dancers to meet and enjoy the people around them and take these peers seriously. These peers are a wonderful network of support (especially if you are away from home), but they are also a wonderful source of inspiration and knowledge! If you dance at a studio this is a chance to learn new things from people your age who may have different experiences with dance. 2. A rehearsal director once advised me to "find pleasure in rigour," and I this mindset is what helped me make it through intense dance training. This is especially true with summer intensives, as we are often dancing much more per day than we usually do! Also find time to rest and take care of your body! Eat well and try to sleep well over the intensive weeks. You will need it to recharge!

CCDT: Anything else you want to share about SunDance? CS: I would say it is important to remember creative opportunities can come from anywhere if you remain open minded. When I was a student at SunDance I definitely was encouraged to come outside my comfort zone - and it wasn't always easy, but it always expanded me as a person and an artist.

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