Staff Directory

Kate Cornell

Executive Director

Kate Cornell is an arts advocate, and writer based in Toronto. Kate advocates nationally on behalf of the arts sector as the Co-Chair of the Canadian Arts Coalition/la Coalition canadienne des arts. As English-language spokesperson for the Coalition, she has been interviewed by the 
Globe and Mail, Canadian Press, and CBC’s The National. With a PhD in Communication and Culture, her graduate research focused on Canadian cultural policies for dance at the federal level. Her research has been published extensively in anthologies, journals, magazines, and online. Kate has worked in arts management for two decades at a range of organizations including: the Canada Dance Festival, Toronto Dance Theatre, the CanAsian International Dance Festival, the National Ballet of Canada, the Canadian Society for Dance Studies/La société canadienne d’études en danse, and most recently as the Canadian Dance Assembly’s Executive Director. Over the years, Kate has taught at several university performing arts and education programs; she now acts as a mentor in arts management internship programs. Kate sits on Advocacy Committees at the municipal and provincial levels; notably, she is a founding member of the Mass Culture/ Mobilisation Culturelle research lab initiative. Kate Cornell is the proud recipient of the John Hobday Award in Arts Management (2016) from the Canada Council for the Arts. 

Aviva Fleising

General Manager

Simultaneously pursuing her love of dance and Arts Management, Aviva is the General Manager with the Canadian Dance Assembly and an independent artist. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Contemporary Dance from the University of Calgary and a Certificate in Arts & Cultural Management from Grant MacEwan College in Edmonton. An avid traveler, Aviva has trained and performed in Cuba, Italy and throughout North America. Aviva began choreographing in 2004 with a full-length interdisciplinary show for the Montreal Fringe Festival, and since then has created for festivals in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. In 2012 she formed her own company Tziporah Productions to carry out her independent projects. Aviva is a member of the Drum and Dance group IjoVudu Dance.

Oriana Pagnotta
Membership Manager 

Oriana Pagnotta is a dance artist now making Toronto her home. Formerly based in Calgary, she choreographs, performs, rehearsal directs, and produces. Oriana is a Lover/Co-Artistic Director with the Toronto Dance Community Love-In, and was Artistic Director for Dance Montage, Dance Curator for Ignite! Festival, and Artistic Associate with both W&M Dance Projects and Momo Movement. She holds a B.A. with Distinction in Dance from the University of Calgary, an Arts Management certificate from the Haskayne School of Business/Rozsa Foundation, and completed a Metcalf Foundation arts management program with Peggy Baker Dance Projects. Oriana is a certified DanceAbility International teacher with a passion for somatic practice and collective social change.

Lesley Bramhill

Advocacy Strategist (based in Montreal, QC)

Lesley Bramhill is a dancer and arts manager currently living in Montréal Québec. Continually moving between dance and theatre, Lesley has worked with organizations such as the National Ballet of Canada, Toronto Dance Theatre, Crow's Theatre, and the Canadian Alliance of Dance Artists (Ontario Chapter). She is a graduate of the Arts Management program at the University of Toronto Scarborough, and is currently the General Manager of Playwrights' Workshop Montréal. Lesley has a fervent interest in arts policy and advocacy. She is a volunteer with the Canadian Arts Coalition, and played a key role in the recent #ArtsVote and #ArtsDay campaigns. In 2016, Lesley was quoted in The Dance Current on the status of the independent dance artist in Canada. Connect with Lesley.

Ashley Bomberry
Indigenous Advisor 

Ashley Bomberry is Mohawk from the Six Nations of the Grand River territory. She is a writer, producer, director and actor for film and theatre. Her short documentary film, Hoop Dance, premiered at the Female Eye Film Festival and she continues to write and create projects within an Indigenous storytelling framework. Ashley recently co-produced The Hunt, a short VR film, written and directed by Danis Goulet, included in the 2167 installation at TIFF Bell Lightbox Theatre. It features a predominantly Haudenosaunee cast and the film is predominantly in the Mohawk language and shot on Indigenous territory in Tkaron:to and on Six Nations. As a producer and curator for multicultural and diverse showcases, Ashley creates discussion and aims to build bridges between marginalized and non-marginalized groups with her work. Ashley focuses on her Indigenous roots and endeavors to impart strength, hope, and healing in Indigenous communities around the world.

Michele Decottignies
Equity Advisor  

Michele Decottignies has 30 years’ experience teaching evidence-based, anti-oppressive practice to agents of change in the arts sector and beyond. She's spent the last 15 years exclusively prioritizing equity & diversity in the arts through her own company, Stage Left Productions – a conduit of artistic innovation and cultural freedom for diverse artists and national arts equity support organization. Through Stage Left's globally-esteemed Theatre of the Oppressed practice, Michele has successfully facilitated over 300 arts equity workshops, across Canada, as well as in the USA and Australia.

Michele's current arts equity work includes attending to the continued evolution of The Deaf, Disability & Mad Arts Alliance of Canada (DDMAAC) and facilitating the services offered by The Calgary Collective for Equity & Diversity in the Arts (CCEDA). Some of her recent arts equity consulting includes supporting the development of PACT's national arts equity program, All In; introducing and Orchestras Canada's members to a Canadian-specific Arts Equity Framework; and providing Theatre of the Oppressed capacity mentorship to Indigenous artists and community members engaged in Dr. Lynden (Lindsay) Crowshoe's many Indigenous Health initiatives.

Dr. Seika Boye
Equity Advisor  

Dr. Seika Boye is a scholar, writer, educator and artist whose practices revolve around dance and movement. She is a Lecturer in the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, Director of the Institute for Dance Studies, and Adjunct Curator at The Art Museum, University of Toronto. Seika also works as an advocate and consultant for dance across the arts sector.

From 1995-2010 Seika performed and presented her choreography across Canada. More recently she has worked as a movement dramaturg/artistic advisor with artists/collectives including Djanet Sears, Deanna Bowen, Syreeta Hector and Mix Mix Dance Collective and adelhied dance projects' re:research intensive. Invested in movement histories and the archive, Seika curated the archival exhibition It’s About Time: Dancing Black in Canada 1900-1970. From August 2018 - February 2019 she was Artist-in-Residence at the Art Gallery of Ontario where she created This Living Dancer, a self-archiving and archival simulation installation project.

Seika’s writing has appeared in numerous scholarly journals and performing arts magazines including Canadian Theatre Review, alt:theatre, Dance Chronicle and Dance Collection Danse Magazine. Seika lives and works in Toronto with her husband and their two sons.
(Photographer Credit: Craig Boyko)

Support Staff and Volunteers  

Dance Umbrella of Ontario
Juliana Feng - Marketing and communications coordinator
Ademir Iglesias - Bookkeeper

Sophia Papandreou - Administrative Volunteer

Canadian Dance Assembly
55 Mill Street, Suite 312
Case Goods Building #74
Toronto, ON M5A 3C4
Tel: 1.416.515.8444
Fax: 1.416.515.9444