👣 Dancer Spotlight: Leigh Schanfein!

Leigh Schanfein is a freelance dancer, choreographer, and teacher as well as an independent researcher in the fields of kinesiology and biomechanics, based in NYC. She has trained and performed across the USA and abroad in ballet, modern, and contemporary dance, performing with companies such as City Ballet of San Diego, Indelible Dance, Emotions Physical Theatre, and the Park Avenue Armory, and has guested with various schools, New American Youth Ballet, Lafayette Ballet, and CONNectic Dance. She has performed in commercial productions including on stage with comedian Hannibal Buress, during Fashion Week NYC for designers such as Malan Breton, and for brands such as Xerox, Oreo, Suave, and Estee Lauder. She teaches regularly with NYC Community Ballet, has subbed at the major NYC open dance studios, is a guest instructor for various schools and summer programs, and has choreographed for both students and professionals.

Leigh received her M.S. degree in kinesiology with a specialization in biomechanics from Purdue University, and her B.S. degree in animal physiology and neuroscience with a minor in dance from the University of California San Diego. As a graduate student, she received multiple awards for her research with dancers including two awards through the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science, and worked for five years as the research associate at Harkness Center for Dance Injuries. She is adjunct professor of biomechanics in the department of dance at Barnard College, Columbia University, and is a contributing journalist for Dance Informa.


👣 Dancer Spotlight: Jamie Martino!

Jaime Martino is a lifelong dancer who believes that the best art happens when we interrogate the world around us. Jaime’s choreography focuses on revisiting the competitive dance environment she grew up in and re-examining it through the lens of queerness, making new dances from a basis of feminist queer theory, and in making space for other queer female dancers to create work. She loves dancing more than anything in the world and does it as much as possible.

Jaime will be performing her solo piece, “Engendered” at the 3rd Annual Lights Dance Festival on June 1st at St George-the-Martyr Church!



👣 Dancer Spotlight: Anaya Bobst!

Originally from Sweden, Anaya Bobst is a dancer, choreographer and arts administrator. She currently works for Canada’s National Ballet School, presents her own works and teaches dance. Anaya brings a diverse and holistic set of experiences to the dance field as she has collaborated with other artists and worked for festivals, educational organizations and companies in Canada, the United States, Switzerland and Sweden. She has performed in works by DanceTheYard, Martha Graham, David Norsworthy, Douglas Bentz and Matt Pardo, has presented her own works in the United States and Sweden and was a recipient of a choreographic residency at ccap/C.off in Sweden. Anaya is a member of the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists and pursued a B.F.A in Dance and a minor in Entrepreneurship from Point Park University, USA.

Come watch Ananya’s performance, “Sonnet 82” live at the 3rd Annual Lights Dance Festival!



👣 Dancer Spotlight: Sofí Gudiño

Sofí Gudiño is a queer Mexican-Canadian dancer and founder of Inamorata Dance Collective. Raised in flamenco and established in contemporary dance, Sofí’s work is marked by emotional intensity and choreographic risk. Premieres include Nuit Blanche, Pride, New Blue Dance Festival, and with their award nominated piece, Picaza, in Toronto Fringe. Sofí is currently in residence at Dancemakers.
Socials: @sofidances @ inamoratadance


👣 Dancer Spotlight: Alena Loboda!

Alena Loboda is a dancer, choreographer, and poet. She was born in Moscow, Russia, but her family immigrated to Winnipeg, Canada when she was just under four years old. A few years later, they moved to Toronto and it was in this city that Alena eventually found herself enchanted with classical ballet when the art form challenged her to explore the beauty in every emotion, both positive and negative. This lead to her experimentation with choreography as well as a furthering of her education in the Vaganova method, which took her to Perm’, Russia; Kiev, Ukraine; and Boston, USA.
Alena went on to dance for Columbia Classical Ballet, (Columbia, South Carolina) and Coastal City Ballet (Vancouver, BC). She currently freelances with a variety of dance groups and companies in Toronto including KulKat Entertainment Inc. and Little Pear Garden Dance Company as well as beginning to produce her own shows.
Alena is working towards a specialist degree in Arts Management at the University of Toronto, while continuing to write and create works in dance, poetry, and a combination of both.

Alena will be performing “Wanderer” as part of the 3rd Annual Lights Dance Festival this year!


👣 Dancer Spotlight: Yi Yuan!

Yi Yuan began her professional dance training in middle school in Beijing, China, where she studied Chinese classical and folk dance proficiently. In order to seek higher education, she relocated to Toronto and began studying contemporary ballet and modern dance in her dance repertoire. Currently, she is a first-year graduate student in Dance at York University. She has abundant performance experience and is an official company dancer and Assistant Production Coordinator at Little Pear Garden Dance Company. She is also an experienced and passionate dance instructor in studio settings, and she loves to share her passion of dance by engaging her students with organized lessons and varieties of dance styles.

You can watch Yi Yuan’s performance, “Memories In The Rain” at the 3rd Annual Lights Dance Festival!