Joanne Cuffe

I have been facilitating dance since 2003 and am thrilled to offer a variety of dance programs. Currently I lead dance programs with 18 communities; I bike to approximately 10 different locations each week.

I love creating spaces for people to move, connect, and see where shared creativity leads us.

I enjoy creating movement programs for people who might not feel included in typical dance settings. I am passionate about accessibility and inclusivity; I aim to nurture supportive spaces that are welcoming of people of all abilities, backgrounds, gender identities, sexualities, and levels of experience. Participants at my sessions range from adults, to kindergarten students, to people in their 90s, to young adults.

Summary

I have trained in numerous forms of dance, including contemporary modern, improvisation and social dance. I have a master’s of education and have been immersed in facilitating groups for 18 years. Photo: Joanne's face and neck, smiling, in front of tall rocks.I am deeply grateful to be living and working as a visitor in Lkwungen and WSÁNEĆ Homelands.

I love how dance improvisation can provide:

-an embodied way to feel fully alive,
-a source of dignity and nourishment,
-endless possibilities for how to move and interact, and
-a way to connect with ourselves, each other and the world without needing to talk.

Background in dance

I have been studying dance for 25 years. I have studied dance improvisation with 30+ teachers, including Margie GillisDanielle Agami,  Robert Halley, Crystal Pite, DanceAbility International/ Alito AlessiJung-Ah Chung, Helen Walkley, and Constance Cooke. My classes are influenced by what I have learned from a variety of teachers, forms and grounding practices; please see the acknowledging influences page for more names and styles.

I have trained in contemporary modern at the Victoria School of Contemporary Dance, Raino Dance, and through a variety of master classes. I’m a professional member of the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists/ West Chapter and the Canadian Dance Assembly, and I love doing place-based (site-specific) performance.

Background in facilitation

Since I was 13 years old, I have been co-facilitating collectives and community groups. Whether it be groups around dance, learning, creative arts, support, or community concerns, I love the creative momentum of people working together. I am grateful for all of the amazing people I have learned from over the years, who have influenced how I facilitate dance.

I have a diploma in intercultural education, and my graduate degree is in community leadership and adult education from the University of Victoria. I focused on arts-based, transformative, lifelong learning. For my final project, I used mixed media art to process the ways I am implicated in ongoing settler-colonialism through multiple generations of my family, which immigrated from Ireland, Scotland and England.

I worked at community education and social justice organizations for a decade, sitting at desks all day. I feel grateful and honoured to now earn my income through facilitating dance with local communities.

Transformative dance

Since I was 11 years old, dancing and expressive arts (poetry, song, collage, art) have been a main-stay for me for transforming how I am feeling. Improvising movement continues to be one of the most important ways that I have for responding to experiences such as stress, joy, depression, inspiration, overwhelm, love, horror, gratitude, shame, anger, freedom. I believe that embodied movement provides a powerful way, over time, to transform and heal experiences of violence, dehumanization and trauma.

I appreciate how easily dance can connect people and communities, and help to shift dynamics and conflict.

I love how dance can reinvigorate how we each want to be with the world and the time that we live in.

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