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Irene Whittaker-Cumming (Toronto, ON) is a Toronto-based choreographer, dancer, writer and photographer. Her professional dance training was undertaken predominantly at Ryerson Theatre Dance Program under the remarkable leadership of Nadia Potts, with supplementary training at York University and the Tisch School for the Arts at New York University. She has performed at and choreographed for festivals throughout North America, and in Toronto at Theatre Passe Muraille, Dancemakers Centre for Creation, Ryerson Theatre, Isabel Bader Theatre, the Junction Arts Festival, the Enwave Theatre and The Winchester Street Theatre. She was a co-creator and co-choreographer of Being Human Dance from 2009 to 2010.

Irene has been an educator in Kenya, Uganda, and Canada, and has used dance as a tool for HIV/AIDS education in Bénin in West Africa. She has been published as a writer, has edited dance publications, screenplays and novels, and as a photographer has had her work presented in gallery and print. She was a recipient of the Kenny Pearl Award for Choreography in 2008, and was interviewed on Evi-Dance Radio in autumn 2010. In summer 2011 she will be training at Impulstanz in Vienna, Austria, and upon return to Canada will be beginning creation of a full-length dance work to be performed in 2012.

Irene’s artistic purpose is to tell beautiful, genuine stories. Through various creative languages she aims to capture bittersweet human moments in a way that is authentic and stirring. She endeavors to express the timelessness, the solitude, lonesomeness, love, fire, fight, compassion, music and beauty that resides within the human creature. Irene intends on developing her passion for using creativity as a means of positive change.