On September 30, 2015, Series 8:08 ceased its activities after twenty-two years of operation. According to an announcement on the Series 8:08 website, the decision follows Artistic Director Yvonne Ng’s resignation and a subsequent “discussion about 8:08’s place and future in the Toronto arts community.”
Sarah Chase, Michael Du Maresq and Michelle Silagy founded Series 8:08 in 1993 with a mandate to provide safe spaces for choreography and training. Their programming included choreographic performance workshops, alternative training workshops and a curated season finale. Renowned dance artists including Louise Lecavalier, Margie Gillis, Crystal Pite, Mélanie Demers and Paul-André Fortier were among many others who facilitated workshops for dance professionals throughout the years. Artists such as Susanna Hood, Karen Kaeja, Benjamin Kamino, Sylvie Bouchard and Claudia Moore explored choreographic ideas at 8:08. On the Series 8:08 blog, many artists cite the experience as a crucial step in their processes. Bouchard choreographed The Musical Man for Series 8:08 in the early years of the organization and said of the experience: “It was an experiment that led to other things, the beginning of dipping my toes in choreography.”
Details of the organization’s discontinuation remain vague; however, the reality is that the dance community is an ever-changing ecosystem. “8:08 was unique,” says Ng. “It was a simple, trusted structure that allowed for complex artistic dialogue and learning.” When asked, Ng had many thoughts on how Series 8:08 will be missed. “Perhaps it’s a question to ask the community,” she observed.