Rooted in where we're from

Growing to where we want to go


About us

branch is a contemporary dance intensive for pre-professional, emerging and professional dancers, choreographers and teachers in Northern Ontario. The intensive aims to provide training and an alternative learning experience for dance students from the age of 15 up to the teachers and choreographers who lead the dance community in Sudbury.  branch explores dance through a range of classes, workshops, and creative processes. The week provides rigorous training that maintains the high standards of physicality and creativity that have been cultivated in Northern Ontario, while presenting a faculty of teachers who lead classes and push our concept of what contemporary dance is today.


branch, the name of Sudbury's Summer Dance Intensive, is based on the image of a tree. Much like the roots of a tree, the dance community in Sudbury is aware and proud of its heritage. Northern Ontario dancers are connected to the people, geography and way of life in the North that contributes to who they are. This summer intensive aims to be one of the many branches that reach into the Canadian and International dance community. Through creating opportunities and sharing knowledge that has been learned from elsewhere in the world, branch brings home a program designed to meet the needs and interests of the Sudbury Dance Community.  

who we are

branch is a co-production between Mikaela Demers, the Sudbury School of Dance and Denise Vitali.



Mikaela Demers

Mikaela Demers was born in Elliot Lake and spent her childhood first in Copper Cliff, and then on Manitoulin Island. Upon graduating from high school, she studied dance in Sudbury at Sudbury Secondary School, Sudbury School of Dance, Dance Evolution, Diane Boulais Studio de Danse, Arts North and with earthdancers. The time spent in Sudbury drastically changed her perspective and desire to pursue dance as a career. Demers moved to Toronto to complete a BFA in dance and currently works and lives in the city. In spite of being based in Toronto, Demers has a constant desire to remain an active member of the dance community in Northern Ontario 

For me, what I learned and the support I felt from the dance community in Sudbury is the reason I have been able to continue a life enveloped with dance. I would like to continue to learn from and in Sudbury, and find ways to give back when I can.

Denise Vitali

Denise Vitali began her training with Sudbury School of Ballet and completed her dance education with Tina Pel at the Arts Guild Dance Studio in Sudbury, graduating from the three year apprenticeship program for professionals. She furthered her studies in dance with courses in Halifax, Toronto and Copenhagen. Denise has been teaching in Sudbury for 33 years, opening her own studio in 1984. She performed liturgical dance as part of a Huntington University lecture series and went on to perform and choreograph liturgical dance for many churches in the Sudbury area. Since 1984, Denise has choreographed numerous musical theatre productions for Theatre Cambrian, including Hair, West Side Story and My Fair Lady. In 2005 Denise received Northern Life's Community Builder's Award for the Arts. Denise holds an Advanced Teacher's Certificate from The Society of Russian Ballet and is currently an executive member and examiner for The Society. Denise is currently teaching at Thorneloe University in the theatre program. She is also the artistic director of earthdancers  and she continues to perform - most recently with Adelheid, elleQ Dance Factory and YES Theatre.

A special thanks goes out to the follow artists and individuals who helped with the organization and overall success of branch:

Denise Vitali

Heidi Strauss

Lauren Foy

Rohan Likhite

Debb Trahan-Pero