ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, ALLISON TOFFAN
Allison Toffan has established herself as a leader in the Canadian tap dance scene by consistently stirring up momentum as a producer, curator, dancer and choreographer. Her professional roots were planted working with the incomparable Paula Skimin, and her mentors include world-renowned tap dance artists Heather Cornell, Brenda Bufalino, and Max Pollak.
Her work has been presented at Fall For Dance North (Union Station Series), Dusk Dances, The Edwards Summer Music Series, Toronto Body Percussion Festival, TD Canada Trust Toronto Jazz Festival, and the Uptown Waterloo Jazz Festival. Other career highlights include: 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies, TapCity (NYC) and Vancouver International Tap Festival with Lisa La Touche, Festival Dance Encore with Tasha Lawson, Montreal Tap Festival’s Rhythm Lives! with Tanya Knights alongside the legendary late Arthur Duncan, and establishing the Toronto Rhythm Initiative [TRI] - a platform Allison created to voice the artistry of Toronto’s tap dancers in collaboration with live music.
Teaching credits include: Artist in Residence - Ottawa Rhythm Initiative, Dance Faculty at Sheridan College, Randolph Academy, Montreal Tap Festival, Vancouver International Tap Festival, BC Performing Arts Festival, Manitoba Dance Festival, Eastern Canadian Tap Conference, Triple Threat, MOVE and The Dance Project conventions, as well as multiple workshops across Canada.
Other notable projects include The Big Band Tap Revue - created with Toronto Jazz
Orchestra’s Artistic Director Josh Grossman, co-produced by Soraya Peerbaye and
directed by Emmy Award winner Ted Louis Levy, and dancing on the soundtrack of the critically acclaimed video game Cuphead, nominated for a 2018 Juno award for best orchestration.
Allison was thrilled to bring the vision of the Toronto International Tap Dance Festival (TITDF) to fruition in June of 2017. The inaugural festival marked the official launch of Toffan Rhythm Projects - bridging the goals, mandates, and facilitation of her professional body of work rooted in collaboration, creation, curation, and community development.
Allison is currently working on 2023 summer programming, Ripple Effect - Toffan Rhythm Project's outreach initiative, the Heather Cornell Legacy Project, TITDF 2024, and is thrilled to be a new board member for Manhattan Tap. Stay tuned for more updates, and news on other upcoming projects!
CO-PRODUCER, JULIANA KELLY
Beginning her training in ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, hip hop, pointe, and acrobatics, dance has always been a big part of Juliana's life. Her focus shifted to specializing in tap dance in 2004 when she joined Downbeats Tap Company under the direction of Cathy Duncan. With the company for two years, her performance credits include: East Coast Tap Conference (ECTC), Taking the Rhythm Train, Embrace the Rhythm, Toronto's Live in Culture Campaign, and many other shows across Ontario.
Currently Juliana works as a contributing artist with Toronto Rhythm Initiative where she has performed in sixteen shows to date. She has been on faculty for TRI's Youth Programming for many years, and in 2016 began working as co-producer for TRI's Summer Youth Intensive. In 2019, Juliana joined Allison to co-produce the next Toronto International Tap Dance Festival (TITDF), and various other projects in the interim.
Career highlights include: studying abroad with Heather Cornell, faculty member for the Rhythm, Body, & Soul Tap Festival (Calgary) and performing in Walk To The Beat (Nyack, New York), Rhythm Lives! (Montreal Tap Festival) alongside the legendary late Arthur Duncan and members of Tapestry Dance Company, the Inaugural Toronto Body Percussion Festival (Allison Toffan), both Ron Davis' SymphRONica and "Her" (2017 TITDF commission) both choreographed by Dianne Montgomery, Rhythm & Sound's Illumination (Johnathan Morin/Cori Giannotta) and both presenting choreography and performing for Fall For Dance North's Perspectives In Rhythm (curated by Allison Toffan and Michael Caldwell).
In addition to performance, Juliana's experience has led her to many opportunities as an educator including guest choreography, summer intensives, workshops, conventions, seminars, and adjudication. Specializing in education and choreography, she's received multiple accolades for her work, and her students are well known in the dance community for their technical and musical excellence.
In 2016, Juliana founded The Rhythm Ensemble, a pre-professional tap dance company dedicated to providing unique training and performance opportunities to serious youth tap dancers. She strives to spread the love, and respect for tap dance and its community to her growing company of dancers.