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By Jessica Ford

Arts & Life Editor

Five Ryerson dance alumni are taking their careers under their own feet by creating a dance collective and releasing an innovative new show called “side [a]ffects.”

Graduates Shannon Litzenberger and Tal Aronson found that there weren’t many jobs for new dancers when they graduated in 2001 and started the Integrated Dance Artists Collective (IDAC) in 2001. “We were looking for a way to facilitate our professional development,” artistic director Litzenberger said. “We just decided to go about creating a mechanism to do that on our own without having to rely on the few opportunities that existed in the field.” Other Ryerson dance graduates Lauren Cook, Elizabeth Kmiec and Andrea Spaziani have since joined the collective.

The women were able to make connections during their years at Ryerson that have benefited them throughout their professional careers. “It’s mostly the experience of working with more established choreographers and also starting to build networks as a student that then begin to be more useful as you carry on in your career.”

Litzenberger advises current dance students to take the time they have in school to figure out what they want to do when they graduate. “Attend opening night so you can stay afterwards for the reception to meet the choreographers and become familiar with the work that is out there,” she said.

Choreographer David Earle was a guest in Litzenberger and Aronson’s modern dance class in their graduating year, which led to him choreographing one of the four works in “side [a]ffects.”

The show, which ran from Sept.12 to 16 at the Winchester Street Theatre, was a collection of three new dance works and one newly remounted piece. “I think that the diversity in the program is what’s interesting. It’s a mixed repertoire so each of the pieces has a different style by a different creator,” Litzenberger said.

If you missed the show, this may not be the last time these pieces are performed together. Litzenberger said,

“There’s always the potential for the work to be performed later on in another context, like in other festivals or in other events.”

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