Dovercourt House, a dedicated dance hub for over twenty years, is Toronto’s latest Covid-19 cultural casualty. With the revenue stability provided from several resident dance companies and the hard work of the property manager Andy Haslett, the three story high building evolved since 2001 into a thriving dance centre enjoyed by both professional and community dancers who have depended on its warm atmosphere and hard-to-find properly sprung floors.
Dovercourt House has been closed for most of the past year due to Covid and the former leaseholder secured assistance through the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance, a program in which the landlord agreed to accept reduced rent. The landlord has recently secured a new leaseholder who does not plan to continue the building’s current usage.
The news comes after another studio, Dancemakers, announced in November 2020 that it will close its studio doors in July 2021. The closing of Dovercourt House and Dancemakers spaces represents a combined loss of five studios from the City’s cultural infrastructure.
The news came as a shock to the three resident companies ( CORPUS , princess productions , and Kaeja d’Dance ) who have been paying their rent on time for over two decades, benefiting both the landlord and the performing arts community. In the early 2000’s the three companies secured a number of Ontario Trillium Foundation grants to make long-lasting renovations to the studios.
“We have poured energy, care and love into this wonderful building. These studios have allowed us and other members of the dance community, to build relevant and successful local and touring works, while deepening our art forms. Losing the Dovercourt House is an absolute major blow, not just for the three companies that have made it their permanent home, but to the arts community at large. ” David Danzon, Artistic Director, CORPUS
The landlord was looking to receive higher rent (of $18,000/month) for the building and found a new leaseholder. The resident companies and the new leaseholder are in discussion to smooth the transition period.
“The Dovercourt House was a creative home that provided stability for the inspirations of the resident companies. For two decades the crossover of professional practices and activity in the building facilitated a sense of belonging and consistency. Affordable, large, open reliable space in the city is a scarcity. Dance companies are being chased out. Having to move out of the Dovercourt House is tragic and the Toronto performing arts community will indeed feel a huge loss.” Karen Kaeja, Co-Artistic Director, Kaeja d’Dance
Tens of thousands of Torontonians will no longer be able to enjoy Swing, Latin and Urban dance or yoga, capoeira and expressive arts therapy on evenings and weekends at Dovercourt House. Below is a list of some of the highly regarded and artistically talented performance companies, events, dances and dance schools that have lost their space. Let’s hope that somehow they will find a way to continue despite this devastating loss.
- Kaeja d’Dance (Dance Performance Company),
- princess productions (Dance Performance Company),
- Corpus (Dance Performance Company),
- Swing Toronto (Saturday Night Swing! Dance & Classes, Workshops),
- GoDanz (Salsa and Kizomba Dances, Classes and Workshops),
- Paradiso Tango (Argentine Tango Dances and Classes),
- Toronto Tango Club (Argentine Tango Dances and Classes),
- Toronto Dance Fridays (Salsa and Bachata Dances and Classes),
- Bachata Me (Bachata Dances and Classes),
- Bachata Cielo (Bachata Dance Classes and Events),
- Milonga Maleva (Argentine Tango Dances and Classes),
- Bachata Rosa (Bachata Dances and Classes),
- Midday Fix (Salsa and Bachata Dances),
- The Move Collective (Expressive Dance Event),
- TO West Coast (West Coast Swing Classes and Dances),
- Araguacu Latin Dance Company (Latin Dance School),
- iFreeStyle (Latin Dance School),
- Sugar Hoops (Hoop Dancing Classes and Jams),
- Sunday Contact Jam (Contact Improvisation Classes and Jams),
- Tout En Connexion (Modern Bachata Dance School),
- Baila Toronto (Brazilian Dance Classes and Events),
- Sat Dharam Kaur (Yoga Teacher Training),
- Young Yoga Masters (Children’s Yoga Workshops).
Do you miss Dovercourt House? Add your comments below!