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Brandy Leary

Artistic Director, Choreographer, Performer 

 

Brandy creates contemporary performances through the body: active as a dancer, choreographer, aerialist, writer, arts advocate, community cultivator, space maker, Artistic Director, educator and curator. Her performance works have been produced and performed in Canada, Europe, India, South Africa and the USA in theatres, urban environments, festivals, museums, art galleries and isolated landscapes.

 

She has lived between Canada and India for the past 17 years training, collaborating and creating (both explicitly and implicitly) in the traditional Indian performing languages of Seraikella and Mayurbhanj Chhau (dance), Kalarippayattu (martial art) and Rope Mallakhamb (aerial rope). In Canada she works with western approaches to aerial rope, the bridge discipline of Axis Syllabus, post contemporary dance/circus practices and psychic/shamanistic explorations to create performances.

 

Her 2014 work Cascade, a large scale durational aerial choreography, was cited by Kathleen Smith of NOW Magazine as one of the top 5 performances of the year, expressing  the work’s effect on her as " I was spellbound and becalmed by this 12-hour immersive meditation featuring stately aerial rope work, stunning projections and atmospheric music”. Other pieces have been pronounced as “soulful and sensuous (New York Times), “hilarious” (Money on Theatre) and described as creating “a hallucinatory, dreamlike state” (Fran Schechter NOW). Much of her choreographic work is based in ritual and participatory structures operating both within, but most often outside, of Eurocentric frameworks. 

 

She founded Anandam Dancetheatre as an umbrella structure for her performance projects (www.anandam.ca) and is its Artistic Director. She is a founder and Co-Director of Collective Space (an alternative performance and rehearsal venue in Toronto’s west end), Founder and Co-Artistic Director of CCAFT (Contemporary Circus Arts Festival of Toronto), developer of Anandam’s Audience In Residence Program and curator/co-producer of the Body Brake dance series at Theatre Passe Muraille. She is a driving force in the evolution of contemporary circus practice in Toronto as a choreographer, performer, curator and festival director working from values of experimentation, discourse development, curiosity and collaboration.

 

Brandy is a triple Shastri Indo Canadian Fellow, a Chalmers Professional Development Awardee, a visiting artist for the Shiv Nadar University  MFA Program (India), a Toronto Arts Council Cultural Leadership Fellow for 2016,  has been twice shortlisted for the KM Hunter Award in Dance 2009 and 2011 was  a 2013 Multi-Disciplinary Dance Artist Nominee for the Soulpepper Dance Awards and is a Toronto Arts Council Cultural Leadership Fellow for 2016.   She has had her work supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, Hal Jackman Foundation, CreatiVenture Collective, Bata Shoe Museum, Summerworks, Rhubarb Festival, Fringe NYC, City Leaks Urban Arts (Cologne), Infecting the City Public Arts Festival (Cape Town) , Theatre Passe Muraille , Dance Made In/Fait au Canada Festival, CCAFT, Darpana Academy (India) , Circus NOW, Metcalf Foundation, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Foundation, Toronto Arts Council, Blackwood Gallery, AGO and Nuit Blanche.