NAC Dance launches Visiting Dance Artist program that gives voice to Canadian choreographic talents

NAC Dance is proud to be launching a new project in support of Canadian dance artists, the Visiting Dance Artist program, a joint initiative of the Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) and the National Arts Centre (NAC). The Visiting Dance Artist program aims to support the development of new choreographic voices in Canada. Over the next few years, NAC Dance will invite each season one or two choreographers to fully experience the NAC and Ottawa while they research and create their next works.

The first artist to benefit from this unique immersive experience is choreographer and performer Dana Michel. Ottawa-born and Montreal-based, Dana Michel started working in contemporary dance upon graduating from the Concordia University dance program in 2005. Her artistic practice is an amalgam of choreography, intuitive improvisation and performance art, and is rooted in exploring the multiplicity of identity. She has collaborated with a number of established artists, and has been widely praised for her powerful and evocative work.

“I was born and raised in Ottawa and so this building has been an ever-present monument in my life. I discovered contemporary dance at the NAC, totally haphazardly. The NAC led me to contemporary dance! And now, 20 years of unexpected twists later, I am honoured to re-enter this institution with a very similar curiosity and desire for uncovering things I simultaneously know nothing about and are perhaps bubbling in my subconscious...”

As part of this program, Dana will be spending a considerable period of time at the NAC to engage in various activities, including researching, seeing performances, meeting visiting artists, and having access to the many professionals within the building.

As one of the largest, and the only multi-disciplinary, bilingual performing arts centre in North America, the NAC has distinct opportunities to offer that are of particular interest to a number of Canadian dance artists. Cathy Levy, Executive Producer of NAC Dance is very proud to open the NAC doors to its first visiting artist, as an extension of the NAC Associate Dance Artists program. “Dana will work closely with us to design a program that is specific to her artistic interests and intentions. We are thrilled to be part of Dana’s artistic journey and to contribute to her professional development.”    

These residencies will be offered to a range of choreographers who can directly benefit from these opportunities at the NAC. During each period, the artists may also spend time with other disciplines including English Theatre, Théâtre français, Music, Indigenous Theatre, NAC Presents, Production, other presenting festivals and administrative colleagues within the NAC. 

Furthermore, the artists will be given exclusive access to spaces inside the NAC, and offered valuable time for research, exploration and introspection. The participants can delve into a wide range of projects they do not always have the time or the means to undertake in their busy schedules. Through their time spent here at the NAC, they will also gain the necessary tools to expand their arts management skills and bring their artistic careers to new heights.


Dana Michel (b. Ottawa, Canada) is a choreographer and live artist based in Montreal.

In 2005, she graduated from the BFA program in Contemporary Dance at Concordia University in her late twenties. Prior to this, she was a marketing executive, competitive runner and football player. She is a 2011 danceWEB scholar (Vienna, Austria) and is currently an artist-in-residence at Usine C (Montreal, Canada) and a Visiting Dance Artist at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. In June 2017, Dana Michel was awarded the Silver Lion for Innovation in Dance by the Venice Biennale (Italy). Also in 2017, she joined Par B.L.eux, a company founded and directed by Benoît Lachambre as an associate artist.

Her first extended-length solo performance piece, Yellow Towel, was featured on the “Top Five” and the “Top Ten” 2013 dance moments in the Voir newspaper (Montreal) and Dance Current Magazine (Canada) respectively. In 2014, she was awarded the newly created ImPulstanz Award (Vienna) in recognition for outstanding artistic accomplishments and was highlighted amongst notable female choreographers of the year by the New York Times. That same year concluded with Yellow Towel appearing on the Time Out New York Magazine “Top Ten Performances” list. Her most recent and critically acclaimed solo, Mercurial George, was premiered at Festival TransAmériques (Montreal) in June 2016. Both pieces are currently on tour.


The CCA-NAC Visiting Dance Artist program supports the creative development and advancement of selected Canadian choreographers by providing immersive, individually tailored residency experiences. The program offers professional guidance and gives valuable learning opportunities to emerging dance artists who create works in a variety of genres and forms. Throughout their stay, the visiting artists will build meaningful connections and have access to rich sources of inspiration to guide them in their artistic practices and creation.

The program enables artists to take part in various activities including attending an array of performances, engaging in conversations with other visiting artists to share knowledge and expertise, and meeting with professionals from different departments within the National Arts Centre. 

The goal of the Visiting Dance Artist program is to advance Canadian artistic practices by encouraging artists to investigate creative processes and take risks that lead to the development of unique works destined to connect with the public.


The Canada Council for the Arts (CCA) is Canada’s national public arts funder. The CCA champions and invests in artistic excellence so that Canadians may enjoy and participate in a rich cultural life. In 2016-17 we allocated 196.8 million dollars towards artistic creation and innovation through grants, prizes and payments. The CCA also conducts research, convenes activities and works with partners to advance the sector and helps embed the arts more deeply in communities across the country. The CCA is responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future for Canadians. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts.


Year after year, NAC Dance brings “A world of dance to Ottawa.” With artists from across the globe practising a broad range of dance styles and expressions, there’s no better place to appreciate this beautiful art form than at the NAC. Since the 2000-2001 season, NAC Dance has co-produced almost 80 works with dance companies from across the world, helping to bring their talent to national and international attention. Cathy Levy, Executive Producer since 2000, is proud to provide a home for this country’s most creative artists and to present an adventurous, international and national program featuring a broad spectrum of choreographers.