Kate Alton

Kate Alton, dancer, choreographer, artistic director (born at Montréal, 25 Dec 1968). Kate Alton's intensive training began at age 9, when she moved to Toronto to attend the NATIONAL BALLET SCHOOL OF CANADA. After completing 4 years there, she moved to Ottawa to study at the School of Dance, before enrolling at the ROYAL WINNIPEG BALLET school in 1983. There she studied under former Merce Cunningham dancer Sandra Neels, who influenced in Alton a passion for contemporary dance. This passion led Alton back to Toronto, where she entered the School of Toronto Dance Theatre.

While there, TORONTO DANCE THEATRE (TDT) co-founder Patricia BEATTY created a solo for her, Gaia (1988), which Alton subsequently performed in Canada and abroad. Following this notable experience, Alton joined TDT. As a company member, she performed in the works of TDT's three co-founders: Beatty, Peter RANDAZZO, and David EARLE, and in creations by Christopher HOUSE and James KUDELKA. Most notably, she appeared in Earle's Sacra Conversazione (1984) and Kudelka's 15 Heterosexual Duets (1991), both of which received critical acclaim.

While with TDT, Kate Alton was among several dancers who worked with American choreographer Doug Varone for The Planets (1994), a film by RHOMBUS MEDIA that featured choreography by several choreographers, including Varone and Lar Lubovitch. Varone's movement style inspired Alton to follow him to his company's residency at the Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, Maine, where she honed her performance and choreographic skills by taking technique and repertory classes.

A year later, Alton left TDT to pursue her own choreographic and performance voices, choreographing several works, including Beau Soir (1996), Tartan Briefs (1997) and Toward/Opposite/Against (1998). She appeared in Laurence Lemieux's Nuit de la St. Jean (1997), earning a DORA AWARD nomination.

In 1998, in collaboration with dancer-choreographer Louise BÉDARD, Kate Alton staged the first production of her commissioning company Overall Dance, titled Necessary Risks. Overall Dance, which brought together local, national and international artists (including Sarah Chase, Peggy BAKER, Peter Chin, and Doug Varone), later adopted a new name when Alton revitalized the company: Crooked Figure Dances. In 2006, the company presented Despair...and other conundrums, its first show, with choreography by Alton and Allison Rees-Cummings. In 2007, Alton collaborated with theatre director Ross Manson to create The Four Horsemen Project, a multi-disciplinary piece exploring the work of the Canadian poetry collective of the same name. Kate Alton's work reflects her company's mandate of collaborating with a wide range of artists to create edgy interdisciplinary works relevant to contemporary social themes.

Kate Alton won the K.M. Hunter Award (2004) for dance, and has also received a HAROLD AWARD. She has diverse teaching credits that include the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Dublin's Association of Professional Dance Artists (Ireland), and the Toronto-based Great Moving Dancers/Good Morning Dance.