Guest Teacher: Christopher House

We were delighted to host our dear friend Christopher House in January for a thought-provoking session of choreographic exploration! This visit commenced with a facilitated choreographic lab for all Kittiwake company members, followed by two days in the studio with soloists Hannah, Stephanie, and this year’s RBC Emerging choreographer, Cassidy Boone. The choreographic tools explored during this time will support Cassidy as she develops her new work, “Limerance,” set to premiere in March 2024.

We have been inspired by Christopher House’s career and work for many years, particularly his creativity, technical command, and musicality with pieces such as Rivers, Glass Houses, and House Mix. Originally from St. John’s, Christopher has had a long and acclaimed career as a dance artist, most notably as Artistic Director at Toronto Dance Theatre.

Welcome home, Christopher House! See his full bio below.

Christopher House is a choreographer, performer, director and educator. Born and raised in St. John’s, Newfoundland, he joined Toronto Dance Theatre as a dancer in 1979 and was named Resident Choreographer in 1981. He became the company’s Artistic Director in 1994, a position that he held for twenty-six seasons.

He created more than sixty choreographies for TDT over a period of more than forty years, including a dozen full-length works, and has created choreography for many other organizations and individuals including Portugal’s Ballet Gulbenkian, the National Ballet of Canada, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Cirque du Soleil, Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland and soloists Peggy Baker and Guillaume Côté.

In 2004-5 he directed two collaborations with indie band The Hidden Cameras. His works have been performed in nineteen countries worldwide; in 2018, his retrospective program House Mix was performed in fifteen Canadian cities coast to coast and in Bogotá and Medellin, Colombia. He left his position at TDT in August 2020 in order to focus on his own artistic practice and mentorship.

As a performer, Christopher House has appeared in new works by Sarah Chase, Peter Chin, David Earle, Mark Morris, James Kudelka and Peter Randazzo, among others. With Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in the 1980s, he performed the title role in Fokine’s Petrushka, and danced in Kudelka’s In Paradisum, Nijinska’s Les Noces and in his solo Schubert Dances at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He has recently appeared in Ame Henderson’s RING, with Jordan Tannahill in their duet Marienbad, and in Deborah Hay’s Ten at Tanz im August in Berlin. His most recent solo performance work, New Tricks, premiered at The Citadel in March 2022 and has since been performed in St. John’s, Vancouver, Victoria and Halifax. He is currently working with Dance Collection Danse as the curator of a touring exhibition called Stories of HIV and Dance in Canada.

Christopher House has taught technique and creative practice across Canada and in the USA, UK and The Netherlands. Since 2006, his teaching and directing have been influenced by his work with post-modern icon Deborah Hay; his performance of Hay’s I’ll Crane For You was named as one of the top five dance events of 2015 in the Globe and Mail. In the last several years, he has expanded his practice as mentor and facilitator, working with younger choreographers and leading workshops at the Banff Centre, the University of Calgary, and Studio 303 in Montreal.

At TDT, he developed Creation Residency and Choreographic Research programs, and, in partnership with Ame Henderson, a biennial workshop for the development of choreographers called the Emerging Voices Project. In 2020-21 he designed and led two iterations of Creative Practice for Contemporary Dance online for the Banff Centre and co-led a Disability Informed Dance workshop with Debbie Patterson in Winnipeg.

Christopher House was named an Associate Dance Artist of Canada’s National Arts Centre in 2007, received the Muriel Sherrin Award for International Achievement in Dance in October 2009, was made an honorary doctor of letters by Memorial University in 2010, received the Silver Ticket Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts in 2012 and was cited for Outstanding Achievement in the 2021 York University Alumni Awards. He has been a proud member of the Order of Canada since 2018.