Skip to content but no website

How governments allocate and manage arts projects is a mysterious science.

pouquoi je danse
splash image for pourquoi je danse – see video at bottom of post

This week the Ontario Arts Council announced a program to connect dance companies with dance presenters.

For some reason there are only nine theatres included:

  • Burlington Performing Arts Centre (Burlington)
  • Capitol Centre (North Bay)
  • Centre for the Arts – Brock University (St. Catharines)
  • Flato Markham Theatre (Markham)
  • The Grand Theatre (Kingston)
  • Living Arts Centre (Mississauga)
  • Oakville Centre for the Performing Arts (Oakville)
  • The Registry Theatre (Kitchener)
  • River Run Centre (Guelph)

Why just these nine? Where are the other theatres who get money from the Ontario Arts Council or Canada Council? Why can they not be mandated to participate? Have they been excluded as they are not good enough:? Should not a program like this be inclusive?

Remember the goal is to unite dance companies with theatres.

Amateurs are warned off:

We cannot accommodate information posted by amateur or recreational groups.

The only problem is who will decide what is amateur or recreational and what is professional. I’ve been to some professional performances (full time dance artists) which are so awful and risible there are no words for them. I’ve been to some amateur performances (people whose income is not dependent on dance) who have moved my soul.

In music, neither Lana del Rey nor Carly Simon could get gigs for years before they hit it big.

During that time, I worked as an overweight secretary in the offices of a production company. I pretended to type and take shorthand while extending my luncheon breaks to drown my sense of failure in more and more puff pastry and puddings.

What’s worse is that all this information is not offered to the world but locked behind closed doors.

What kind of portal does not allow the world to see what is there? Dance is not MI6 or CSIS or even the Ministry of Defence.

But go to and there is nothing for the public to see.

Hopeless. With friends like this, dance needs no enemies.

On the other hand, the video about what dance means to people, amateur and professional (I’d say about 80% of the people in this video are non-professionals in the sense of making the majority of their income from dance related activities) is pretty awesome.


  1. First off, thanks for your feedback. We are very pleased to learn that you enjoyed the Why I Dance … Pourquoi je danse …video, and wanted to take this chance to clarify some information about the Ontario Dances program and the Ontario Dances Artists Portal.

    The Ontario Dances program supports multidisciplinary arts presenters outside the Toronto region, and is application-based like other Ontario Arts Council programs: Dance presenters submit an application, and are assessed by an advisory panel that makes funding recommendations. Because the program has a limited grant budget, we are unable to support more arts presenters. But the good news is that the current group of presenters supported through the Ontario Dances program has relationships with many other presenters in Ontario and Canada; which means that, through them, the work of Ontario dance artists can reach even more audiences.

    The Ontario Dances Artists Portal was created as an easy way for professional dance artists and dance companies to pitch ideas and share their projects directly with Ontario Dances presenters. Our goal is to get more artists to connect with these presenters. Some of the information on the portal is private which is why it is not publicly available. And the reason why the work of amateur dance artists cannot be added to the portal is because Ontario Arts Council programs only support professional artists and companies. (see our definition here link to ).

    We hope this answers some of your questions. Please feel free to talk to us if you have concerns.

    To learn more about Ontario Arts Council dance programs, or the Ontario Dances Artists Portal, email Myles Warren – mwarren @ and for general information about our grant programs, contact Janice Lambrakos at jlambrakos @ Thank you

  2. Hi D. Nostrome,

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing the OAC perspective.

    I still cannot agree that there should be no website and no information there.

    If some of the information is private, then omit that from a public part (i.e. age, private telephone, rates). This program is tax payer money to promote dance. If you are going to spend the public’s money – and I’m delighted to see some of it going to dance – then promote our Ontario dance artists and don’t hide them behind a private website.

    I have trouble believing that dance artists who take the time to enter all the information into this portal want it to be private. I have trouble believing that a public web portal would cost any more than the internal portal.

    I would like to hope OAC will make some improvements to the Ontario Dances program, including sharing it with the public who support it.

  3. Thanks for your suggestions. Here is a little more information about the various elements to this program. The Ontario Dances Artists Portal is a communications vehicle between professional dance artists and performing arts presenters supported through the Ontario Dances program. The proposals submitted by dance artists through the Ontario Dances portal contain private information that is not ours to share. While the submission process for our grant programs is confidential, the results are made public. We are transparent about who receives taxpayer support through our granting programs. In this case, the grants awarded to the presenters are listed in the OAC’s annual report. However, the dance artists engaged by the presenters are not listed in the report, unless the dance artist has also been awarded a touring grant through a separate program. The presenters’ websites, brochures and other means used to promote their performing arts series identify those dance artists supported through the Ontario Dances program. All OAC programs are reviewed after they have been in place a few years to ensure they are meeting program objectives. When it’s time to review the Ontario Dances program, we will have the chance to see whether the portal is the best place to promote dance activities to the public. Thanks again.

  4. There is no portal. It’s a private site with a very restricted membership. If you want to promote Ontario Dance and Ontario Dance Companies, do it publicly please.

    I remain astonished that OAC has decided to fund a closed doors program instead of a public facing portal and information source. The underused resources here would bring me to tears if I were an Ontario dance artist.

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