Founder & CEO Dancing With Parkinsons
A classically trained dancer, entrepreneur, innovator and charismatic leader, Sarah has been recognized as a force for purposeful and impactful change as the Founder and Executive Director of the registered charity 'Dancing with Parkinson's (DWP).
Sarah studied and performed extensively throughout Canada, Europe and Moscow where she trained at the Bolshoi Ballet School and has performed and choreographed for many theatre, film and television projects over the last 15 years. Her passion for helping others discover their optimal mind-body connection led her to become a certified personal trainer and author, publishing two books on office health and wellness.
She was the on-air resident fitness expert for CBS Early Morning Saturday in New York City and The Steven and Chris Show ( CBC) in Toronto for over 7 years. Her interest in Parkinson's Disease began in the spring of 2007 when her client Andy Barrie ( formerly of CBC Metro Morning ) asked for help managing his physical PD symptoms through exercise. Through her research, She learned about an innovative PD dance class being offered in New York City and was immediately inspired to offer free DWP dance classes in Toronto starting in 2008 and thus Dancing with Parkinson's Canada was born. Sarah is the only Canadian certified in the Dance for PD method and trains over 50 new instructors per year to help increase the accessibility of the program across the country.
In addition to the 15 classes a weekly classes that are offered throughout the GTA, DWP partners with hospitals and universities on research initiatives as well as many artistic collaborations, workshop and performances with professional artists.
DWP brings those living with Parkinson's Disease out of isolation and into an inclusive artistic space where they can experience the transformational cognitive, physical and emotional benefits of moving to music.
Sarah’s passion for helping others connect and express through dance prompted her to launch her most recent initiative, a groundbreaking dance and arts program focused on addressing mental health challenges of First Nations peoples in Pikangikum, a struggling community with the world’s highest suicide rate.
Rachael Gibson started her career in the arts as a ballet dancer and musical theatre artist, performing with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in The Nutcracker, the Banff Festival Ballet, the Canadian Opera Company, and in various productions of Phantom of the Opera, including in Toronto, Canada and Hamburg, Germany. Rachael also taught ballet for several years in Toronto and was a member of the teaching faculty at the Randolph Academy for Performing Arts. After retiring from professional dance, Rachael joined Dancing With Parkinson’s (DWP), first, as an instructor, and later as an executive assistant and lead grant writer. Rachael is delighted to take on the role of project manager in DWP’s latest Intergenerational Dance Project –Bridging Generations through Dance.
In addition to her career in the arts, Rachael works in the field of program evaluation at The Evaluation Centre for Complex Health Interventions (TECCHI). She recently completed a PhD in Political Science at the University of Toronto.
Three-time Dora Mavor Moore Award nominee Anisa Tejpar is originally from Toronto and is a graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School. As a child, she toured with The National Ballet of Canada and danced with Toronto Dance Theatre as an intern.
She has performed works by Matjash Mrozewski, John Neumeier, Ginette Laurin, Mauro Astolfi, Robert Desrosiers, Robert Glumbek, Guillaume Côté, Roberto Campanella, D.A. Hoskins, James Kudelka, Christopher House, and Hanna Kiel, to name a few. She has appeared in films such as Steppin’ Up: Save the Last Dance 2, Moze Mossanen’s From Time to Time, The BravoFACT Swan Song and has appeared as a vampire on Guillermo del Toro’s show The Strain.
Tejpar is also Co-Artistic Director of the dance entertainment firm Hit & Run Dance Productions Inc. (www.hitandrun.ca) for which she has choreographed works for The Rolling Stones, Ferrero Rocher, Telus, Warner Bros., the city of Toronto, Fashion Cares, M.A.C. Cosmetics, CTV, PUMA, Mobilicity, the Toronto International Film Festival, the city of Brampton, Casa Loma, Toronto Botanical Garden, and the Golden Globe-winning feature film Barney’s Version. She is also the pilot choreographer of Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report” and co-choreographer on Ubisoft’s video game “Far Cry: Primal”.
She has also produced iPhone apps for TIFF Bell Lightbox's BOOMBOX event, as well as live art animations for CBC Arts, TIFF, worldwide collections for MAC Cosmetics, and fashion shows for the Lingerie Francaise, Evan Biddell, and wedding line & for love.
Robin Mcphail Dempsey
A former company dancer with Toronto Dance Theatre and a graduate of The CREATE Institute (Centre for Expressive Arts Therapy Education), Robin has been facilitating workshops and classes with numerous organizations and community groups since 2005. Robin has been a teacher with Dancing With Parkinson’s (DWP) since 2012, and served as a Rehearsal Director for DWP’s first Intergenerational Dance Project in 2016/17.
Returning as Rehearsal Director for this exciting collaboration between DWP and CCDT holds special meaning, as she was also a former CCDT company member.
The Toronto-based percussionist and Dora Award-nominated composer is emerging into one of Canada’s finest talents in modern music. His eclectic resume includes performing with Jeremy Dutcher, Taktus, Cirque Du Soleil, Video Games Live, R. Murray Schafer, and Fred Penner.
Greg has quickly developed a reputation as a producer and composer, which has led to commissions by the Human Body Expression, ProArte Danza, Toronto Dance Theatre, Fifth Wind, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, Form CDT, Morris Palter, and Division 85 Films. His music has been described as “sensitive, sophisticated and powerful” which navigates between the worlds of classical and electronic.
Greg has received national acclaim with his debut percussion album Glass Houses for Marimba, which was selected as CBC’s Top 10 Classical Albums of 2015 and nominated for an ECMA for Classical Recording of the Year (2016-2017). His debut instrumental score Chasing the Path was nominated for a Dora Award for Best Outstanding Sound Design/ Composition (2018) and an ECMA nomination for Electronic Recording of the Year (2019).
Recipient of many awards, Greg Harrison was granted the SABIAN/PASIC award, granted to one promising Canadian university percussion student.
Michael Krauss thrives on creative challenge – as a cinematographer, broadcast designer and photographer, he finds inspiration from urban decay to scenic landscapes, from live action to motion graphics and typography. His style is comparable to none – exceeding a client’s expectation and discovering new insight at all turns.
With a degree in graphic design, Michael headed off on his own to Vancouver where he owned and operated a corporate/industrial photography studio. After five years of enjoying much success, Michael returned to his home in Montréal to further his education, and put his design and photographic skills to use in the communications and entertainment industry which lead to the next phase in his journey – a prestigious position as Broadcast Designer, Department Head for CTV News in Toronto.
As most creative beings discover, constant challenge is a necessity. Michael’s talent and respected work ethic propelled him towards various opportunities with cutting edge companies where he landed positions such as, Art Director, Senior Designer, Producer and Creative Consultant.
Michael has been on his own for 12 years now. He combines cinematography, design and photography making for exceptionally creative and provocative work, and resulting in a various Promax awards.
Michael continues to carve the way for new and exciting visual relationships.
Lhara Eben has worked as a producer, field director, writer and host in the television industry for over 10 years. Fresh out of school with a double honours degree in French and English, Lhara started her own entertainment show for cable TV. She was quickly snatched up by YTV as a producer for the popular Dayparts department producing The Zone, Treehouse, and many special events. This experience led to a thriving freelance career working for Corus Ent., CBC, TVO, Much Music, Slice and HBO.
Lhara likes to keep things interesting, so while producing, she also pursued her acting career, which she continues to do today. This enables her to understand the needs of both in front and behind the camera.
Lhara took some time away from producing to have a child and build a business in the fitness industry. She needed to fulfill her competitive “sporty side! From directing a crew in the field to directing sweaty “subjects” in a different kind of field -sounds rather similar doesn’t it? What these different industries share is “people”. And Lhara’s forte has always been listening to people and helping them share their story.
Having come full circle, Lhara is thrilled to return to producing, putting her love of story telling back into “action”.
Youth Coordinator & Rehearsal Assistant
Meredith Thompson is a Toronto-based dance artist, originally from Huntsville, Ontario. A graduate of York University (BFA/BEd), she has performed throughout Canada and beyond with Sylvie Bouchard, Dancetheatre David Earle, the Danny Grossman Dance Company, Yvonne Ng, and Santee Smith, among others. A core artist with Dusk Dances, Meredith has also been performing, touring, and creating for this popular outdoor site-specific dance festival for over a decade.
As a creator, Meredith works both independently and collaboratively, and past projects have been presented at a number of festivals and events across Canada, most recently SummerWorks, Halifax Fringe, and in Inuvik, NWT. Meredith has been profoundly influenced and inspired by her collaborative work with Kate Franklin, creating community-based dance works for large casts of performers of all ages and backgrounds.
Fond of teaching and young people, Meredith has also worked extensively as a teaching artist with the Toronto District School Board, and is the Director of the Young Apprentice Program at Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre.
Youth Coordinator & Rehearsal Assistant
Megan Nadain, originally from North Vancouver, British Columbia, is a Toronto-based dancer, choreographer and dance educator. She is a graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, for which she received scholarships from the School, the Hnatyshyn Foundation and the BC Arts Council. She works as a company member with Dancetheatre David Earle and with them travelled to Dusseldorf, Germany to perform at the tanzmesse dance festival. She has worked independently with Darryl Tracy, inDANCE, Toronto Heritage Dance, Event Horizon Dance and Sylvain Émard.
She teaches at the School of Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, where she also directs the Core Apprentices for the CCDT Company. She also teaches and rehearsal directs at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and teaches in several high schools in Toronto. She has been involved in assisting Coralee McLaren in Moving together: Choreographic mappings of children with diverse dis/abilities and their neurological responses to a dance-play event.