NAC Dance


The National Arts Centre and the Canada Dance Festival enjoy a collaborative partnership that stretches back to 1987 when the festival’s first edition took place at the NAC.  At that time, the CDF was managed by different associations, but soon formed its own not-for-profit society and entered into a formal co-production relationship with the NAC that still exists today.  The biennial festival launched in 1988, and the artistic and financial partnership was thus established between the NAC and CDF.  Mark Hammond was the Festival’s first Producer in 1987 and 1988, with Cathy Levy as Associate Producer.  In 1990, Cathy became Producer, and continued working closely with then NAC Dance Producer Jack Udashkin to bring together the latest creations of hundreds of Canadian choreographers at the festival every two years.  Off year events began in the mid-90s and initially provided a platform to showcase the work of local artists and community groups, some of whom have gone on to professional careers.  Brian Webb took the helm of the CDF in 2000 when Cathy was appointed Dance Producer of the NAC, and the partnership has continued to develop since that time.  It now includes the biennial Festival as well as, since 2007, standalone thematic events in the off-year developed by Brian in collaboration with the national community. With the appointment in 2012 of Jeanne Holmes as the festival’s new Artistic Producer, the NAC and the CDF look forward to many more editions of fruitful collaboration.

The NAC is home to the CDF, and NAC Dance has always worked very closely with CDF’s artistic team to help support choreographers and realize their projects.  The CDF’s strong national identity is a wonderful counterpoint to the national reach and international program of NAC Dance, and Ottawa and Canadian audiences have a plethora of dance offered up as a result.  While the CDF performances take place at a number of venues in Ottawa, the NAC is their flagship location; its halls and spaces become the hub of activity during the 10-day event.  As hundreds of artists converge on the capital for each edition of the festival, the national dance community has the rare opportunity to meet and mingle with colleagues from across the country, to see each other’s work, and to immerse itself in discussions, workshops, and issue-based meetings that inevitably contribute to the overall growth and health of the milieu.   The works of innumerable dance artists have been commissioned, co-produced and presented during the almost 25 years of the CDF as a result of this illustrious and fruitful partnership with the National Arts Centre.  The NAC continues to be proud of its co-production relationship with the Canada Dance Festival and the contribution it makes to the flourishing state of dance in our country.

Through the years we’ve been very fortunate to have the support of many different organizations.  But none have been as influential as NAC Dance.  Without them as a long-time supporter and co-producer of the Canada Dance Festival, we would not have been able to showcase the artistry of so many Canadian dancers so successfully over the years.


Year after year NAC Dance brings “A world of dance to Ottawa”.  With artists from across the globe practicing such a broad range of dance styles and expressions, there’s no better place to appreciate this beautiful art form than at the NAC.

Visit the NAC website for full program information on our incredible 2015-2016 season.