Commissions & Creative Partnerships




The Dance Ontario Commissioning Committee (Lola Ryan, Jennifer Watkins, Yasmina Ramzy) is delighted to announce that Rodney Diverlus and Matthew Cuff have been selected as this year's Commissions|Creative Partnerships. The artists will present the world premieres of the new works at DanceWeekend'21 running at Harbourfront Centre in January 2021.

Rodney Diverlus will create a work that celebrates and uplifts the resiliency of our global and local communities in times of crisis while straddling the boundaries of jazz, contemporary, Afro-Diasporic, dance forms and physical theatre.

Matthew Cuff's Chromatic brings together five diverse individuals of different gender, race, and sexuality who have all been inspired by the Vogue Ballroom scene to make history and bring Vogue to the DanceWeekend stage.

We look forward to sharing these exciting new works with you!

Rodney Diverlus by Maxim Kopanygin Matthew Cuff by David Choi



Rodney Diverlus (He/Him) is a Haitian-Canadian performance maker who samples from the realms of contemporary and jazz movement, physical theatre, puppetry and Afrikanic sensibilities. He uses the body and voice as sites to host movement, text, rhythm, and protest that weaves in ancestral, diasporic, and queer narratives of life and freedom. Described by the Dance Current as a “fresh voice on stage”, his works have been presented at the SummerWorks Performance Festival (burn, burned, 2019), Art Gallery of Ontario (in your eyes, the sparkle of gunpowder, 2017), Tableau d’Hôte Theatre (Blackout, 2019), Irie Music Festival (good afternoon,2019), Dance Immersion's Footsteps Across Canada Showcase (two to see, four to reason, 2016), and Annual Alberta Dance Festival (not now, maybe later?, 2015). He’s the recipient of the 2019 Canadian Stage Award for Direction and a Montreal English Theatre Award for Choreography Nominee.

Rodney has performed in dance, theatre, and opera, including four seasons with Decidedly Jazz Danceworks. He has interpreted works of Peter Hinton/Denise Clarke (Canadian Opera Company), Darryl Hoskins (Dietrich Group), Noemi Lafrance (The Bentway), Kevin Ormsby (Kashe Dance), Mumbi Tindyebwa, (IFT Theatre), Karen & Allen Kaeja (Kaeja d’Dance), Eddie Elliott (Red Sky Performance), Wind in Leaves Collective, Hannah Kiel, Michèle Moss, Christopher Walker, Tara Friedenberg, and Linnea Swan. He recently joined 2020 Stratford Festival Acting Company.

In his work lies an obsession with Black queer moving bodies interacting with anomalous, often public performance spaces; be they bunker, phone screen, gallery, container, or the streets. Rodney moonlights as an artivist and community advocate. He is a co-founder and lead organizer of Black Lives Matter –Toronto and has co-curated a series of large-scale public installations that blur the lines of protest and performance, most notably Dundas Square Die-in (2015), BLMTOtentcity (2016), #BlackPride (2016), #BlackPride Redux (2017), Won’t Back Down (2017), Defund Mural (2020). 

Matthew Cuff is a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre. With over 6 years of Ballet Contemporary, and Hip Hop Dance training, Matthew has performed in numerous events. He has also worked with established choreographers including Christopher House (TDT), Sean Cheesman (SYTYCDC), and Luther Brown (SYTYCDC). With his versatility and passion for dance and choreography, Matthew strives to strengthen the community of dance in Toronto.


To date, choreographers commissioned through the Creative Partnerships Program include Nenagh Leigh, Meagan O'Shea, Terrill Maguire, Lucy Rupert, Vivine Scarlett,Jenn Goodwin, Sasha Ivanochko, Marlee Cargill, Malgorzata Nowacka, Nova Bhattacharya & Louis Laberge-Côté,Sashar Zarif & Holly Small, William Yong, Lacey Smith, Amy Hampton & Keiko Ninomiya, Jessica Westermann, Lucy Rupert & Barbara Pallamino, Pamela Rasbach, Robert Stephen, Amy Hampton & Keiko Ninomiya, Apolonia Velasquez & Ofilio Portillo, Benjamin Landsberg, Jasmyn Fyffe, Keiko Kitano, Malgorzata Nowacka with James Croker & Jack Langenhuizen, Natasha Powell, Courtnae Bowman, Hanna Kiel, Louis Laberge Cote, Jacob Niedszwiecki, Alyssa Martin, Ryan Lee, Shameka Blake, Riley Sims, Makeda Benitez and Decades Collective, Tracey Norman and Maddie Hanson.


Dance Ontario's Creative Partnership Program provides $2,000 in production/creation support plus $2,000 performance fee to each of two choreographers for NEW work to be premiered at DanceWeekend each January. Choreographers whose membership is current at the time of submission are eligible to apply. All forms of dance will be considered and two works each approximately 15 minutes in length will be selected. Deadline: May 15 each year

The Association's Selection Committee looks for applications that :
- demonstrate excellence and professional integrity;
- bridge diverse forms and/or disciplines;
- take creative risks;
- connect with and are relevant to a broad-based audience;
- enhance the artist's repertoire.

Info  416 204 1083 or 416 973 4000