Artists: Brandy Leary, Erin Ball, Opal Elchuk, Lina Loaiza Bran, Nikola Steer, and Thomas Vaccaro

Divergent Dances Peterborough is an outdoor aerial performance created by Brandy Leary of Anandam Dancetheatre. It features local dance artists Erin Ball, Opal Elchuk, Nikola Steer, and Thomas Vaccaro in performance on an exterior wall of Peterborough Square. The performances will be prefaced by a series of open rehearsals scheduled throughout the week. Divergent Dances Peterborough explores themes of listening, non-spectacle, and how bodies move in public space.





Artist Biographies


Erin Ball

Erin Ball is a circus artist and coach based in Kingston, Ontario and owner of Kingston Circus Arts.  Erin took a year off in March 2014 due to life-changing events that resulted in the loss of her lower legs.  She has returned to her passion of training, coaching and performing and loves to move and connect with others through movement and play.  In 2017, Erin developed a workshop and manual called Flying Footless, a course for aerial coaches working with amputees and, more recently, hosted the first amputee circus camp at Kingston Circus Arts.  In addition to running LEGacy Circus with Vanessa Furlong, Erin is involved with a creative audio description projects (to make circus more accessible for the blind and partially-sighted community), and she regularly collaborates with artists from across Canada and the US, including Femmes du Feu, Heidi Latsky Dance, Alex Bulmer, Michele Frances (choreography and aerial coaching), and many more. 


Brandy Leary

Brandy Leary is a choreographer, dancer, martial artist, curator and acrobat whose work is concerned with entanglements of bodies, landscapes and histories.  She creates contemporary performances through the body with an artistic practice informed by dance, martial arts, ritual, circus, and theatre.  She is the founder and Artistic Director of Anandam Dancetheatre.



Opal (Jennifer Elchuk)

Opal (Jennifer Elchuktook up aerial circus in 2012.  Prior to this, she completed degrees in Visual Arts and Education and spent 7 years guiding wilderness canoe trips, painting, and practicing Contact Improv dance.  A continuation of her site-specific body of work, The Flying Canoe brings together the spirit of adventure she has found in all of these practices Previous productions include Elements (2016) and Lepidoptery (2015) for Artsweek Peterborough and Creatures of Flight for Erring on the Mount (2014).  Opal is currently an instructor, director, program coordinator, and performer with The Peterborough Academy of Circus Arts.  She also performs aerial and fire dance with the Pyroflys. 


Nikola Steer 

Nikola Steer is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and curator, specializing in creating magical, immersive experiences that transform the ordinary into the exceptional.  She is known internationally for her work in burlesque performing as Coco Framboise. She is currently developing an edgy new multimedia performance art experience called Coco Paradise. When she’s not dancing, writing, taking photos, or programming the Toronto Burlesque Festival, you can often glimpse her around the city at various arts events or singing her head off with Choir! Choir! Choir! 


Thomas Vaccaro

Thomas Vaccaro was born in the United States and moved to Canada after marrying his husband in 2008.  He studied Japanese language at Santa Monica College in Los Angeles, which he never really did anything with beyond watching anime.  He dabbled in comic book writing until he found Circus Arts in 2009 at a local gathering Since then, he has become a champion fire dancer, a graduate from the National Circus School’s Instructor Program, and a full-time coach to many youth in the local area of Peterborough, Ontario.  His primary disciplines are flow arts, aerial silk, and cyr wheel.  During his four year stint as Artistic Director for the Peterborough Academy of Circus Arts, he produced original collaborative works out of Market Hall Performing Arts Centre, including Circus Dreamland, Circus Stellar, and Fanciful Fables and Tall Tales; A series of Silly Circus Stories. 

Patricia Levert-Thorne  

Patricia Levert-Thorne was born and raised in North Bay, Ontario.  She was attending Chippewa Secondary School when she discovered theatre.  She studied technical management, props, painting, lighting, sound, and set and costume design at Humber College, completing the Theatre Technical Program in 1995.  Patricia has worked in Toronto at Hot Docs Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Factory Theatre, Necessary Angel, Soulpepper, Young Peoples Players Theatre, Le Theatre Français de Toronto, and in Niagara-on-the-Lake at The Shaw Festival.  She moved to Peterborough in 2008 with her husband while working at 4th Line Theatre (2006 – 2009).  Currently, she is the head of production as Operations Manager at The Market Hall Performing Arts Centre where she enjoys giving back to the theatre community, facilitating dreams, mentoring, and teaching Theatre Stage Management seminars in her spare time.  She has been a proud Board Member of the Peterborough Academy of Circus Arts since 2015.

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