July marks a time of new beginnings for two prominent Canadian dance groups, with Ballet Kelowna and the Canadian Society for Dance Studies (CSDS) each announcing changes in directorship.
With the retirement of Ballet Kelowna’s current artistic director David LaHay, the company announced on July 2 that award-winning choreographer and former ballet dancer Simone Orlando would take over as both artistic director and CEO, starting Sept. 1. Orlando, who danced professionally with the National Ballet of Canada, Desrosiers Dance Theatre and Ballet British Columbia, has also choreographed several pieces for Ballet Kelowna, Ballet BC and Toronto Dance Theatre, among others. Orlando recently graduated from the British Columbia Institute of Technology’s business management program with distinction, providing her with the skills needed to lead Ballet Kelowna into their twelfth season.
The Canadian Society for Dance Studies/La société canadienne d’études en danse also announced on July 2 that member Samantha Mehra would take over current director Kate Cornell’s position, after Cornell’s move to executive director at the Canadian Dance Assembly. Mehra is a dance artist, writer, businesswoman and scholar, currently pursuing a PhD in Dance History and Heritage at York University. The announcement was made during the opening remarks of CSDS’s “Embodied Artful Practices” conference taking place in Vancouver. Mehra’s position will begin this fall.