Citadel+Compagnie dance class open for Regent Park youth

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