By Megan Bocchinfuso –
Citadel+Compagnie is both a dance company and theatre in Regent Park at 304 Parliament Street. Registrations opened on October 14 for their free Citadel Dance Program.
Originally founded in Montreal in 2000, founders Artistic Director Laurence Lemieux and former co-founder Bill Coleman moved the company to Toronto in 2007. Lemieux was a former member of the Toronto Dance Theatre on Winchester Street in Cabbagetown and was wanting to relocate back to the city. Lemieux and Coleman purchased the Citadel building and transformed it into a dance studio, opening the studio to the public in 2012.
“From being simply a dance company, we became a place for the dance community to be and to perform,” Lemieux said.
The Citadel Dance Program is for youth ages 4-12 every Saturday. Classes are free, aside from an annual $25 registration fee. Their classes involve creative dance, tap, ballet and a form of Indian classical dance called Bharatanatyam. The program is designed for children to gain confidence, exercise and have a sense of self. Other benefits include motor skills, group work, screen-free time and musical knowledge.
“I think it can boost their self-esteem, because it is a pride to be able to achieve certain things in such a caring, helpful environment,” Lemieux said.
The environment of a dance studio, Lemieux said, offers many different aspects of the art industry for children to learn at a young age. They are exposed to the accessibility of different roles aside from dancing in a studio including lighting, costume design, administration, and composing.
“Even if they don’t become dancers, it’s the idea of being part of an industry that is really vibrant,” Lemieux said.
Citadel+Compagnie have 68 performances every year, all with a back story and an inspiration. Some of their upcoming shows include the Citadel Dance Mix from November 22-25, Larry’s Christmas Cabaret on December 9, Bear from January 17-20, and Between Me and You from February 14-17. All of their tickets are within the $20 range and can be found online at citadelcie.com.