MEET OUR STAFF
Calla Lachance (she/her) - Artistic Director
I am the Artistic Director of Neighbourhood Dance Works; Newfoundland and Labrador’s premier presenter of dance. As a curator, arts advocate, artist and educator I bring a deep interest and curiosity of dance to my role and use my energy to question, consider and guide how we rise up and collectively fulfil the mission of this awesome organization.
I stumbled upon NDW 15 years ago, when NDW was already a rock-solid fixture in the regional and national cultural landscape. I was and continue to be grateful to a fiercely devoted hub of artistic leaders whose resilience and steadiness feed me and this organization in countless ways. Over time, I have witnessed the immediate impact our remote, yet thriving dance community, has on Canada’s dance scene. I marvel at how dance, in all its forms, knits itself across the country, to tell the national story. I know there are pieces of the story missing, they must and will be revealed - as a dance presenter, we play a role making this happen. This work is extremely exciting, satisfying and necessary!
My vision is to continually examine how dance programming is realized in this province and how those actions can reverberate to extend the life and impact of an artist’s work, here and elsewhere. I love to think strategically and build collaborative partnerships and programs that bring about meaningful opportunities for artists and audiences. Whether through the Annual Festival of New Dance, seasonal mainstage presentations, artistic exchanges, dance touring, research, training, or discourse, I am motivated to cultivate a responsive environment where artistic programming is seeded, nurtured and realized.
As a young dancer I was enthralled when dancing with bagpipes and I loved the swish of a kilt. Later, I threw myself into mosh pits at punk rock concerts and thrashed around; I gravitated to the chaos of those spaces. Later yet, I trained in dance at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, York University, Studio 303, and numerous independent programs across the country and parts of the USA. I have an undergraduate degree and Master Degree in dance studies. I also have a certificate from George Brown College as an Intervenor for Persons who are Deaf-Blind, this led me to pursue work in the disability field for 10+ years. Some of my most meaningful experiences as a dancer have been performing, in situ, in unexpected places, with unexpected collaborators - in a tree planting camp in the Porcupine Mountains of Saskatchewan, by a river in Northern Ontario, in the forest of Plainfield, Massachusetts - alone in a tree, in Jeddore, NS. I love the immediacy, intimate, powerful, weighted, and surprising qualities of ALL bodies dancing.
Candice Pike (she/her) - Artistic Associate
Candice Pike is a dance artist, educator, and administrator based in Corner Brook, NL. She uses a gentle approach to create, interpret, and share dance through both a somatic and intellectual lens. With an eclectic background of movement, artistic, and administrative experience she continues to consider ways of developing dance practices in rural areas. One recent project is a full-length dance work, Ruralesque, that sits at the intersection of contemporary dance, queer burlesque, and traditional Newfoundland culture. Candice also practices 'community networking choreography' by designing and facilitating a number of arts engagement and mentorship programs.
Candice has an MA degree in Dance from York University, is an ISMETA Registered Somatic Dance Educator, and has a post-secondary certificate in dance education. As an arts educator, she is committed to empowering people to understand their own incredible potential for movement and creativity. She has facilitated classes and workshops using her unique approach to movement, improvisation, and creativity education for private studios and community organizations and has also developed and taught integrated arts curricula in public schools and post-secondary institutions.
Candice volunteers with a number of different Canadian arts and dance organizations and works as a consultant for not-for-profit organizations.
Behak Rueentan (she/her) - General Manager
Rodrigo Iniguez (he/him) - Communications Manager
Rodrigo Iniguez is a videographer and editor based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Originally from Mexico, Rodrigo has proudly called Newfoundland home since 2014, where he began to do camera work for an array of local productions, from commercial work, to scripted projects and documentaries.
Rodrigo is passionate about figuring out the best way to tell a given story, developing the visual language and structure that will bring unheard voices to the forefront and allow for their message to be heard across different communities.
In 2021, Rodrigo joined the team at Neighbourhood Dance Works, looking to assist NDW in its efforts to support and grow our arts community and beyond.
Behak is an arts administrator, baker, and fibre artist. Her first involvement with NDW was making “festival pies” for Festival of New Dance starting in 2016. She has worked with different artistic and cultural nonprofits including Iranian Women’s Organization of Ontario, St. John’s International Film Festival, and Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland.
Behak enjoys running around screaming behind the scenes to make sure spreadsheets, schedules and invoices are all in order, so that NDW can keep fostering beautiful, provocative, and weird dance in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Nora de Mariaffi (she/her) - Communications Coordinator
Nora de Mariaffi is a visual artist who works mostly in collage and digital art. She holds a degree in Community Arts Education and Psychology from Concordia University, where she also worked as Events Coordinator for Concordia’s Arts Education Journal and as Gallery Coordinator for the Hive Cafe. Most recently, de Mariaffi worked as Communications Coordinator for PLEO and as Marketing Coordinator for Lawnya Vawnya. De Mariaffi was born in Ontario, studied in Quebec, and has now returned to the province she calls home, Newfoundland and Labrador.
Laura-Beth Power (she/her) - Outreach Coordinator
Laura-Beth (LB) is a lover of all things dance and movement. Although she is most known in the community as a yoga and meditation teacher she has made made consistent contributions to Neighbourhood Dance Works over many years. Dating back to to 2005 when she first became a volunteer to now, filling the role of outreach coordinator, board member and lead zombie in the annual zombie gram’s fundraiser, her love for the organization continuously grows. She looks forward to what is to come!
Robyn Breen (she/her) - Festival Coordinator
Robyn Breen is a dance artist, movement educator and arts producer. She was born and raised in St. John’s, NL, and spent a dozen years living and working in Toronto, Ontario. Robyn has been involved with Neighbourhood Dance Works for many years. First as an intern to the festival director for the Festival of New Dance in both 2011 and 2012, later as an artist in the NL Dance Project from 2017-2019, and more recently in supportive roles for various projects such as the Fire Kedgy’s Howl in 2020. Robyn was a co-artistic director (aka LOVER) with the Toronto Dance Community Love-In from 2014-2021.
Her work with the Love-In connected her to a range of fascinating artists all over the globe that she hopes to someday introduce to the Newfoundland and Labrador dance communities.
Since her time as a student in the York University BFA (Honours) Dance program (grad. 2010), she has been forming collectives and producing dance. First, through NewFoundDance, Robyn produced mainstage performances in both St. John's, NL and Toronto, ON between 2008 and 2012. She later created The Movement Market, a party style performance series set in a Toronto movement studio. As an artist, her choreographic work has been presented at SummerWorks Performance Festival in Toronto, TO Love-In’s PS: We Are All Here 2017, and the Festival of New Dance in St. John’s.
Josh Murphy (he/him/they/them) - Event Coordinator
Josh Murphy is a dance artist, educator and burlesque performer based in St. John’s, NL. Murphy trained at York University earning his BFA in 2017. Recent credits include national and international tours with BoylesqueTO, participation in the NL Dance Project with Neighbourhood Dance Works and Christopher House, and a solo work “Who Knit Ya” in collaboration with Candice Pike.
In 2018 he received the Roberta Thomas Legacy Award wherein he researched the intersections of contemporary dance and burlesque/cabaret style performance. Murphy is currently researching “Ruralesque” with Candice Pike and Hilary Knee, discovering where rural Newfoundland aesthetics meet contemporary dance and burlesque.
As a Queer Dance Artist, Murphy is excited to bring his lived and proffesional experience to help support Neighbourhood Danceworks in their work and growth.