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Gardiner Museum

Everyday Marvels

Everyday Marvels

Make a donation to ensure that everyone can experience this compelling 12-hour performance piece

Make a donation today and see your favourite poem from The Book of Marvels: A compendium of everyday things come to life in the hands of these marvelous choreographers during Nuit Blanche at the Gardiner Museum.

Rob Abubo

“All doorknobs are twins, joined at the centre by a bolt narrow as a pencil, inflexible, unvertebraed.”

“She adores the dictionary so much she wraps her legs around it.”


Robert Abubo is in his fifth season with Dancemakers and artistic director Michael Trent. Abubo worked with Le Groupe Dance Lab from 1994 to 2006, under artistic director Peter Boneham. As an independent dancer and monitor he has worked with Tedd Robinson, Louise Lecavalier, Sylvain Emard, Lynda Gaudreau, Shannon Cooney, Bill James, Luc Dunberry, Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, Heidi Strauss and Kate Hilliard. Abubo’s own choreographic works have been presented by Kaeja D'dance, the Canada Dance Festival, Tangente and Dancer’s Studio West. Abubo graduated from David Moroni’s class of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School's professional division.


Julia Aplin

“Like your grandmother’s treadle Singer, it needs your feet and the muscles
of your legs to stitch your body to the wind.”

“Meanwhile, the body. The brain forgets it is simply one part. It sits high on its throne and commands.”


As a choreographer, Julia Aplin has worked with companies such as Tiger Princess Dance Productions, Urban Vessel, and Dusk Dances. Julia’s work often crosses the boundaries of genre. Recently she created the “Halo Ballet” choreographed for video game players in cyberspace performed with live music. She directed and choreographed for actors, singers and boxers to create the new opera “Voice Box”. Most recently she danced, sang, designed projections and played accordion in the production of “Heartsong” at the Arden Theatre, Alberta. As an independent artist she has performed at such venues as the Sound Symposium, Ottawa Chamber Music Festival, the AGO and the Young Centre. She has received choreographic commissions from companies as varied as Company Blonde to the Madawaska String Quartet. Her work has been presented across Canada and in Europe.  


Susie Burpee

“While you try to sleep, it squeezes out a loud metallic music.”

“When the astronauts first landed on the moon, they found a chair, legs sunk halfway in grit, no footprints leading toward it or back.”

Susie Burpee creates 'fully human characters, struggling for connection' (William Littler, The Toronto Star).  Based in Toronto, she choreographs for contemporary dance and theatre, and her work has received Dora Mavor Moore Awards for Outstanding Choreography and Performance. She is also a recipient of the K.M. Hunter Artist Award for Dance. Recent credits include the 2012 Dora-nominated Stockholm (Seventh Stage Theatre) and Machina Nuptialis (Corpus) and Someone Else (Crow’s Theatre). Through her twenty-year performance career, she has worked across Canada as a company dancer for Dancemakers, Le Groupe Dance Lab, Ruth Cansfield Dance, and TRIP Dance Company, as well as performing in her own creations. Over the years she has worked closely with Serge Bennathan, Peter Boneham, Lesandra Dodson, Sasha Ivanochko, Claudia Moore, Tedd Robinson, and Dan Wild. Her most recent creation, Road Trip (with long-time colleague Linnea Swan), is a culmination of her diverse training and multi-faceted career experience. Originally from Winnipeg, Susie completed her professional training at the Professional Program of Contemporary Dancers/University of Winnipeg, augmented her studies at the Limon and Cunningham schools in New York, and trained in Character and Bouffon at L'École Phillippe Gaulier (Paris). Susie teaches professional technique classes and workshops, and acts as outside eye for creative process.

Valerie Calam

“Weary of gazing at the sky, it needed something else to look at, something that looked back.”

Darkness, its Origins
“Light removed a bone from its own ribcage so that darkness could appear…”

Valerie Calam is an accomplished dancer and choreographer, having collaborated with some of Canada’s most celebrated companies and artists including Dancetheatre David Earle, the Danny Grossman Dance Company, Toronto Dance Theatre, Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, Darryl Hoskins/The Dietrich Group, Gadfly Dance Company, James Kudelka, Guillaume Coté, and ProArteDanza, among others. Valerie has been presenting choreography in Toronto since 1997 and uses the psudoneym Vice Versa for her work in sound design and dance video. She has created works for Toronto Dance Theatre, Alias Dance Project, Ryerson Dances, The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, as well as many of her own choreographies and independent commissions. Valerie has been nominated for four Dora Mavor Moore Awards including Outstanding New Choreography in 2007 and is the 2011 recipient of the KM Hunter Award for Dance.

Marie-Josée Chartier

The Midnight News
“The second greatest story ever told was told, and you missed it.”

“How much snow and grief have in common: their connection with the seasons, their silence, their slow accumulation.”


A multi-faceted artist, Marie-Josée Chartier moves easily between the worlds of dance, music, opera and multi-media in the roles of choreographer, performer, director, vocalist or teacher. 
Her choreographic works are greatly influenced by contemporary visual art, music and literature in terms of concept, composition and dynamic structure and have been presented in Canada, Europe and Latin America. In 2003, Marie-Josée Chartier founded Chartier Danse in order to support her creative activities. Acclaimed large scale productions came to life such as Red Brick, Contes pour enfants pas sages, Screaming Popes and Bas-Reliefs. Ms. Chartier has received choreographic commissions from solo artists and Canadian dance companies. She is the recipient of the K.M. Hunter Artist Award, nine Dora Mavor Moore Awards nominations winning among others a Dora for fifty-one pieces of silver and two Doras for And by the way Miss and most recently the multi-disciplinary dance artist award from the Young Centre for the performing arts. She choreographs and directs contemporary music, multi-media and opera productions for companies such as Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, Gryphon Trio and L’Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal with ongoing national and international touring. She is increasingly active as artistic advisor, mentor or director for several established and/or upcoming dance artists. She continues to perform on international and national stages; she is also a regular guest teacher in training centres and universities in Canada and Latin America in modern dance, voice exploration and improvisation. 

Peter Chin

“Simplest of mechanisms, yet they contain enough bones to construct the skeleton of a small lizard, with some leftover in the make-a-reptile kit.”

“They come closer that the others to human anatomy, the palm cupped to lift mouthfuls of water from a stream.”


Peter Chin, born in Jamaica of Chinese, African and Irish descent, is the artistic director of the interdisciplinary performing arts company Tribal Crackling Wind in Toronto, where he is based. Chin has done extensive research as an artist into the performing arts of South East Asia, in particular in Indonesia where he lived in the 1990’s as well as more recently in Cambodia. He is a respected and much sought after choreographer/dancer, composer/musician, designer and director. His performance works and dance films have been presented across Canada at major dance and music festivals, as well as in Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, India, Singapore, Holland, the UK, Jamaica, Mexico, Columbia and the United States. Peter Chin is the recipient of numerous awards including multiple Dora Mavor Moore Awards for dance, as well as the Muriel Sherrin Awards for international achievement in dance, a Gemini award for his performance in the film Streetcar, among others.

Shannon Litzenberger

“An alphabet of things begins with apple. It goes all the way back to Eden…”

“It feels neglected. Too often it’s merely a case for carrying dead batteries.”


With roots in rural Saskatchewan, Shannon Litzenberger is a Toronto-based dancer, choreographer, writer, director and arts advocate. She holds a BFA in Dance Performance from Ryerson University and an MA in Dance from York University. Over her decade-long career as a professional artist, Shannon has worked with some of Canada’s leading choreographers including Susie Burpee, David Earle, Michael Greyeyes, DA Hoskins, David Pressault, Heidi Strauss, and Darryl Tracy. As an independent artist and Artistic Director of Shannon Litzenberger Contemporary Dance, she recently premiered her new work HOMEbody – lessons in prairie living… to critical acclaim in Toronto. Other recent credits include The Den – a new duet for JD dance, presented at The Gravity Hour (Toronto Fringe Festival), Signal Theatre’s debut production From Thine Eyes, created by acclaimed director Michael Greyeyes (Harbourfront Centre), dance-theatre satire Project:Protection (Toronto Fringe Festival),  Dead Philosopher’s Limbo – a 12-hour performance installation by Susie Burpee (Nuit Blanche), DA Hoskins’ critically-acclaimed solo work The Left Seed (Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival), and two Northern Ontario tours of the first ever Cree opera, Pimooteewin: The Journey, produced by Soundstreams Canada.  Shannon was the 2012 recipient of the Jack McAllister Award for accomplishment in dance from Ryerson University.

Dan Wild

“The sky is a blouse snatched from the back of a woman.”

“The host is seated at the centre, six disciples on either side.”


Dan Wild is a dance artist who has been working professionally for the past 22 years. Company credits include Winnipeg's Contemporary Dancers ( 1991-2001 )  Dancemakers ( 1999-2007 ). Dan has worked with some of Canada's finest contemporary dance artists.  These include Marie-Josée Chartier, Peter Chin, Susie Burpee, Tedd Robinson, Stephanie Ballard, Susanna Hood, Claudia Moore, Serge Bennathan and James Kudelka.  Dan has received two Dora award nominations for outstanding performance.  He has also worked as director, rehearsal director and outside eye on multiple occasions for Susie Burpee, Nova Bhattacharya, Louis Laberge Cote, Julia Aplin and Sasha Ivanochko. Dan has also choreographed for the Caravan Stage Company, Marie-Josée Chartier, and The Ottawa School of Dance.

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