Artist-in-Residence : The Research Series

The Research Series is a paid artist’s residency developed for dancers and artists working on the research phase of movement-based art forms.

Meet the 2020 Research Series Artists in Residence:

Emily Solstice Tait, Mark Dela Cruz and Neilla Hawley will be collaborating during this research process.


Emily Solstice Tait is of mixed settler and Ojibway heritage, from Treaty 5 Territory, living in Treaty 1 Territory, Winnipeg, Manitoba. She is a 2019 graduate of the Professional Program at the School of Contemporary Dancers and a multidisciplinary artist with her practice crossing into theatre, devising, choreography, and stage management. Past projects include performing with Odette Heyn- Projects/Canada Day Live Ottawa & Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, WCD’s Actualize (Ming Hon) and Calibrations of Flux (Jolene Bailie), Théâtre Cercle Molière Marathon De Crèation (Miguel Fortier), Stephanie Ballard and Dancers, Sarasvati Productions, Theatre New Brunswick/ Confederation Centre for the Arts (PEI), Raven Spirit Dance & Vines Art Festival (Vancouver), Rouge-gorge/ New Dance Horizons (Regina), New Blue Emerging Dance (Toronto), and in Creando Lazos a Través de la Danza (Léon & Guanajuato, México).


Mark Dela Cruz markiatsu (Mark Dela Cruz) was born into a family of farmers in barangay Osmeña of Solano, Neuva Viscaya. At the age of 8, he immigrated with his family of 4 to North End Winnipeg, Manitoba. His foundations in dance came from dance classes offered in high school and from weekly sessions with a hip-hop dance crew. After high school, he completed his Honours Degree Bachelor of Arts through the School of Contemporary Dancers. He now works with a Toronto-based charity called Outside Looking In that brings dance classes to Indigenous youth in remote First Nation communities.


Neilla Hawley is a contemporary dance artist based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In high school, her only plan for the future was to win the lottery at eighteen – a dream she abandoned at nineteen to become an artist. In her career thus far, she has had the opportunity to perform the works of Rachel Browne, Harold Rhéaume, Stephanie Ballard, and Jolene Bailie. Neilla has worked professionally in Québec with Le fils d’Adrien danse, in Léon & Guanajuato, México for Creando Lazos a Través de la Danza, and here in Winnipeg with Gearshifting Performance Works and Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers. She is a member of BOSS Dance Team, a hip-hop team that performs and trains in Winnipeg and she holds a BA Honours in Dance from The University of Winnipeg (School of Contemporary Dancers).

Meryem Alaoui and Sasha Amaya will be collaborating during this research process.


Meryem Alaoui is a dancer-choreographer from Morocco, living in Toronto, Canada. Her work is often an invitation towards a softer, more contemplative and sensorial experience of dance.

A graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, she has danced for choreographers Amanda Acorn, Peggy Baker, Jennifer Dallas, Karen Kaeja, and Antony Hamilton with the company Dancemakers, among others.

Her choreographic works ‘Sand Body’ and ‘Solo (not solo) Water Study’ have been shown in Toronto, Montreal and Hamilton. She was most recently commissioned to create a solo for principal dancer Sonia Rodriguez, through the National Ballet of Canada’s CreativAction program.

She’s been studying Body-Mind Centering® since 2016, with support from the Ontario Arts Council and the Dancer Transition Resource Centre.


Sasha Amaya works performance, installation, choreography, and direction. Trained first at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet School, she holds degrees in philosophy and urban studies, and is fascinated by the ways in which space, place, history, and imagination work together. Particularly interested in the relationship between space, sound, music, movement, and dance, Sasha enjoys regular collaborations with dancers, musicians, composers, and architects. In 2020 Sasha continues to co-lead a WAC WITH ART project, as well as support the Cluster Festival for New Music + Integrated Arts through her role as a board member.