Karen Kaeja is an Ashkenazi, Tkaronto born, award-winning choreographer, project instigator, performer, and mentor. The heart of her research, creation, pedagogy, and writing, concentrates on the agency and challenges of touch. She is “the mastermind behind Porch View Dances” (PVD), as quoted by the Toronto Star. She develops platforms for collaborative relationships between dancers and everyday folk. Karen “paints portraits with moving bodies”, as quoted in the Toronto Star, and is in The Canadian Who’s Who and Theatre Dance in Canada encyclopedias. Her awards include TAPA’s 2022 George Luscombe Mentorship Award, Dance Ontario’s Lifetime Achievement, CDA “I Love Dance” Community, and Paul D. Fleck Fellowship for Innovation. A Finalist for the TAF Celebration of Cultural Life Award, TAF Muriel Sherrin Award for International achievement, CDA Innovation Award, twice for NOW’s Best Local Choreographer and Best Dance Company, and NOW top 10 dance artists. Karen has 7 Dora Mavor Moore nominations.
Screened in over 400 festivals worldwide, her films and feature roles have appeared in TV documentaries including Gemini nominated Old Country and Bravo! a freedom documentary series. Other films include XTOD: Moments in Real Time, 20 films for CBC, BRAVO! and Bravo! FACT, and collections at Yad Vashem, Israel, and the NYC Jewish Museum. Mika’s Alley toured South America and American Dance Festival. Her recent digital works include Fallow (NAC #CanadaPerforms), Laneway ARTery Dances (ArtworxTO), Clearing, Uneasy, WOFFF UK tour (‘Best Commended Award’), You Come Calling by songwriter Sue Smith, In Case of Emergency, and Slipping with Roshanak Jaberi premiered at Fall for Dance North (FFDN).
In Stratford Festival’s first movement dramaturg for Wendy and Peter Pan, Karen’s mentorship, dramaturgy, and artistic advisory relationships are a priority. She has been commissioned and presented by performance series around the world including Canada Dance Festival, FFDN, DanceWorks, Toronto Outdoor Art Fair, Judith Thompson’s Rare Theatre, Guelph Dance Festival, Springboard Dance, ODD, DanceWorks, DOTE, VIDF, Arangham Dance (India), EDge Dance Company (UK), Dusk Dances, Guetcha Guaritcha, MOCEAN, BoucharDanse, Ballet Jorgen Canada, Blue Ceiling Dance, and Annika Olund (Sweden). Projects have brought her to residencies and stages in Sweden, Israel, the UK, Portugal, India, Mexico, Venezuela, Spain, USA, Banff Centre (8X), and across Canada. She was the first artist in residence for both MUN/Dance NL and the Guelph Dance Festival. Karen is Co-Artistic Director of Kaeja d’Dance with Allen Kaeja, and the Artistic Director of PVD, featuring ‘Real People Dancing in Real Spaces’. Karen collaborates with many of Canada’s brilliant choreographers. Uniting 8 professional dancers with 30 everyday folk on stage, her upcoming TouchX as part of TORQUE International Contemporary Dance Festival at Harbourfront, aims to reveal the fragile implications of touch when humanity experiences its presence and absence. (www.kaeja.org)