Portal Dance’s The Chrysalis Project.
Dancer: Kelly Steadman, Photographer: Dean Palmer


Portal Dance, a contemporary dance company created in 2011, is comprised of professional dance artists from the greater Guelph area who bring a rich variety of experiences and integrity to the company. Portal Dance is interested in cultivating and stimulating community and collective expression through shared artistic experiences. Portal Dance’s work is invested in communication, collaboration and research into our journey as individuals in this time and place but as well as how we operate as a collective. Portal Dance is passionate about the development and enhancement of the arts scene in the Guelph area and nurturing both its artists as well as its community.

Upcoming: Portal Dance‘s new work, The Returned  will be presented at the Open Ears’ Festival, June 1, 2023. https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=open+ears+festival&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

Portal Dance creations:

The Returned (2020-2022)

The Returned is a contemporary dance work that seeks to understand the time and place in which we currently live, as well as the time that came before. Portal Dance dancers uncover these “fossil memories” by exploring shades of memory, forms of recovery, cellular history, individual body maps and what haunts us as humans. The Returned is curious about the cyclical nature of time and how what we see & know to be true in this moment is perhaps merely a frame within a revolving timeline that weaves but ultimately circles synthesizing us to returning atoms, molecules of memories……

Stellar, ‘locally-sourced’ dance artists Drew Berry, Haley Dimeck, Julia Garlisi, Ben Harvey, Megan Robinson and Kelly Steadman provide this abstract work with a depth of sensuous understanding, unveiling the timeless heart of humanity. This cast is joined by guests from the Guelph Youth Dance Company as well as Guelph community dancers. Flanked by outstanding supporting artists: composers Jeff Bird & Ben Grossman, filmmakers Dawn Matheson & Jenn Norton and costume designer Dakota Burpee, The Returned is a piece about where we are as a collective species, where we might have been and where we could be going. It is about fiercely looking life in the eye while connecting to the footsteps of those that existed before.

Photos by Drew Berry & Lynn Broughton


Broken new dance work

Broken (2017)

Portal Dance’s latest creation, Broken investigates ideas around destruction, mass waste and how we break, adapt, and survive while surrounded by broken atmospheres, hearts, forms – like a mine field that later grows flowers. Broken is an intimate, raw, multimedia dance work featuring dance greats Katie Ewald, Kate Hilliard, Robert Kingsbury, Lynette Segal, Kelly Steadman and Julia Garlisi, and Guelph music royalty Nathan Lawr (brain child of the Minotaurs), as well as Ed Video program director, Scott McGovern.

Broken was premiered in Guelph this fall to a sold out audience & then travelled to Alton, Ontario to perform.  Broken just finished being presented as part of the Open Ears Festival in Kitchener/Waterloo May 31, 2018.


The Chrysalis Project (2008 & 2017)


The Chrysalis Project is inspired by the evolution of the butterfly, the aging of humans & the decay of our planet and how all three systems are connected and affected by the other. The CP is fascinated by the beauty & wonderment of this metamorphosis and the cyclical patterns revealed. The CP is made up of a cast of four professional Portal dancers and 41 stellar Guelph Youth Dance Company dancers.

See video excerpts of the production here.

See a 5-minute documentary here.


This Side of Light (2011)

This Side of Light is an intimate, physically charged dance work inspired by the role light plays in our lives. Created specifically for Goldie Mill in 2011, This Side of Light chooses to chase after the light and edge away from the pathways of darkness.

this side of light production

This Side of Light

The Hands of Beautiful Swimmers (1999 & 2015)

The Hands of the Beautiful Swimmers (premiered in 1999 and remounted in 2015) involves three diverse performers in collaboration with extraordinary poet, Steven Heighton. The timeless text and provocative dance suggests a loss but also perhaps a sharp and poignant moment in time. This ghostly dance is inspired by the notion of power and found in the act of surrendering through memory, love, decay and renewal.