branch is a co-production between Mikaela Demers, the Sudbury School of Dance and Denise Vitali.
I was born in Elliot Lake and spent my childhood first in Copper Cliff, and then on Manitoulin Island. Upon graduating from high school, I 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 my perspective and desire to pursue dance as a career. I moved to Toronto to complete a BFA in dance and I still live there. Regardless of being based in Toronto, I have a constant desire to remain an active member of the dance community in Sudbury. 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 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.