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STORIES THAT MOVE

Frog in Hand is a dance-theatre company based in Mississauga, Ontario. We are curious about human nature and the spaces we inhabit. Our mission is to uncover, make, and share stories through dance. We contribute to community by sharing resources, knowledge and experience through creation, performance and education.

 

We carefully attend to what we make and how we make it. We craft innovative work reflecting our passion for movement as a medium to transcend language. We are committed to engaging spaces in ways that recognize and honour diverse stories and storytellers. We create site-specific experiences as platforms for artistic exchange, collaboration and social change.

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 OUR FOUNDERS 

Frog in Hand was founded by Colleen Snell & Noelle Hamlyn - artistic collaborators and sisters. Since 2012, we have created over 45 original creations and hosted 3 interdisciplinary festivals. Our full-length work, Creature (2016), was an immersive site-specific performance in an abandoned heritage factory, produced in partnership with local advocates seeking to transform the space into a cultural hub. It was a milestone in placemaking. Our biggest creation to date was site-specific outdoor promenade-style dance theatre production, Stories in the Woods, which premiered in the fall of 2019 and remounted in summer 2021, around the grounds of the Small Arms Inspection Building, the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority and Sawmill Sid. The work was a sober response to climate change and the formless anxiety that surrounds us; inviting audiences to be physically present and actively immersed in the story on site.

Our works explore diverse perspectives, cultivate new creative relationships and challenge us all to listen for the stories that are seldom heard.  We seek to create, perform, educate and contribute to meaningful social change through dance-theatre.

Our original works range from short works intended for celebrations and festivals to full length promenade style performances. We create and perform in unusual spaces; where we can meet people where they are at, bringing to life the buildings, community stories and the spaces we share. 

OUR TEAM

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COLLEEN
SNELL

Colleen Snell I Artistic Director, Cofounder

Colleen is obsessed wth storytelling; it shows in her multidisciplinary practice. She's an educator, dramaturge, world builder, placemaker, fight director, and sound designer - but she's most passionate about movement and dance as a vehicle for human expression. Colleen is the Artistic Director of Frog in Hand, a dance company she cofounded. For over 10 years she has devised and performed with Frog in Hand, generating cultural capital in her hometown of Mississauga and advocating for contemporary dance in a suburban setting. Colleen's choreography incorporates large, ensemble casts and themes inspired by science fiction. Her site-specific work has appeared in a brew pub, rowing club, arena, factory, sawmill, gym, and splash pad - as well as more "traditional" educational institutions and stages across Canada (like Springboard Danse, the Guelph Dance Festival, York and Metropolitan University).

 

Colleen completed her MA with Distinction at the London Contemporary Dance School in England, and her rare passion for grant writing has garnered support for Frog in Hand from the OAC, Canada Council, Mississauga Community Foundation, Trillium Foundation, Canada Summer Jobs, Federal Cultural Spaces and Mississauga Arts Council, among others. As a dancer, she most recently worked with TranscenDance Project on their 2024 immersive "Eve of Saint George" production, telling the story of Dracula across three entire floors of The Great Hall in Toronto.

"Snell has a long history of presenting site-specific and environment responsive work, and this was my first time experiencing her craft in action. I use the word craft because it was so measured and clear. (...) I was held captive by Snell’s deliberate rendering of human response." - The Dance Current

Noelle Hamlyn I Director of Visual Design, Cofounder
Holding credentials in Craft, Fine Art, and Costuming, Noelle Hamlyn uses craft practices to mediate embodied experience and memory. She blends the technical and conceptual - recognizing hands respond to their tacit subjective experience. Intrigued by textures, ideas, the world, and being in it, she believes objects have the power to absorb time, conjure experience, and hold a story. Her work has been recognized as a Salt Spring National Art Prize 2017 Finalist; Best in Show at TOAE (2014, 2019); and supported by residencies at the Banff Centre; Harbourfront; Burren College of Art; Salt Spring Arts Council; and Barefoot College, Tanzania, re-building Bee-Keeping suits as social-enterprise. Her work is held in permanent collections across North America. Currently Noelle is a member of IOTSE, working as a stitcher on Hamilton, the Musical. Her first solo exhibit "Lifers" is on until February 2024.

"Hamlyn has repurposed more than 20 life-jackets to draw attention to the destructive environmental effects of the fashion and textile industries. The one-of-a-kind textile sculptures are accompanied by large-scale photos from Geoff Coombs, creating an immersive experience that might make you think twice about buying the latest fast fashion to wear to the parade." - Toronto Star

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NOELLE
HAMLYN

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Jessica Cen I Director of Operations

Jessica Cen (she/her) is a queer second-generation settler of Chinese descent from Scarborough and a multidisciplinary arts worker based in Tkaronto/Toronto. She is a graduate of Albert Campbell C.I. (Arts & Culture Specialist High Skills Major) and Toronto Metropolitan University (BFA Theatre Production with a Minor in Acting & Dance). From this specialized foundation, Jess works across disciplines in stage and production management, arts administration, operations, marketing, and creation. She has worked across the GTA with organizations like Flato Markham Theatre and the Female Eye Film Festival. With her dynamic team-building and human-centered approach, she contributes to interdisciplinary artists realizing their visions in creating safe intersectional spaces and transcendent immersive experiences, and collaborates out of the confines of traditional performance venues and hierarchical, patriarchal working models. Jess has been working with Frog in Hand since 2019; she was the inaugural Production Assistant of the 2019 Summer Company, the Business Manager from 2020-2022, and stage manager for various shows. She is also the Project Coordinator of Jaberi Dance Theatre and Marketing & Social Media Coordinator of Kaeja d'Dance.

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Alice (she/her) is an Australian actor and movement coordinator for stage and screen who is fascinated by the art of physical storytelling. Trained as an actor at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne (2012), Alice became curious about the world of theatrical violence and physical communication. In 2013 she began to study stage combat and started her training as a fight director. After working for several years in the Australian Film & TV industry as an actor, Alice left Australia to continue her studies as a fight/movement director in the UK  and Canada. Alice is now working in Toronto as a movement coordinator and actor with dancers, actors, directors, filmmakers, stunt performers, photographers, models, poets, and musicians to create meaningful stories for the stage and digital space. 

Alice Cavanagh I Rehearsal Director

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Fortunato Pitaro I Financial Controller

Fortunato has over 30 years of work experience with small to medium sized companies.  His diverse background in Business Strategy, Process improvement, Enterprise Risk Management and Management Accounting has provided Fortunato with a well-rounded knowledge base that has been beneficial in integrating theory with real life experience to his teaching style.  Fortunato brings his effective communication skills, coupled with his natural people skills and enthusiasm to his current role at Sheridan and as a session leader for the current CPA Professional Education Program (PEP) and past role as a  moderator/mentor/facilitator for the Legacy CMA Strategic Leadership Program (SLP). Fortunato is entering his 10 year as an partial-load professor for Sheridan College. He brings the same enthusiasm and encouragement to the class as well as integrating the lessons with work related experience to help students gain a better understanding of the concepts. Fortunato has entered his 11th year of running a consulting practice catering to small business enterprises providing management consulting and project management services.   

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Photo by @lightsleakin

Mandy MacLean I Arts Activation Coordinator

Mandy (she/ her) is a Mad Artist. She is a proud Maritimer and is currently based in Toronto. Her formal training is in physical ensemble work and creating theatrical work from source material. She is currently managing a project in disability creation practices between Prologue for the Performing Arts & The W. Ross School School for the Blind, and was previously the Operations & Outreach Manager for Storytelling Toronto. She is an Actra Member, a graduate of Humber Theatre, and is originally from New Brunswick. Mandy has over a decade of experience working with youth, has driven a military tank, and is currently searching for baked goods across Ontario.

Mandy is working with Frog in Hand's Art Shelter.
Learn more about Mandy's work and this exciting project in creative placemaking.

Image by David Clode

OUR BOARD

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CHAIR Dr. Ruben Burga

Ruben Burga, PhD, MBA, P. Eng. is an Assistant Professor at the University of Guelph. He teaches and researches topics in Sustainability and Social Responsibility in business and is interested in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. Prior to his academic career, Ruben was a senior executive in various high tech organizations and was based at various times in Asia, Latin America, the US and Canada. Ruben is passionate about the arts and has been involved with Frog In Hand since its early days and prior to that when his daughter and the founders of Frog in Hand were both involved in dance competitions in the US and Canada.

SECRETARY James Roy

James began his career at 22 when he founded the Blyth Festival. This theatre in small town Ontario was one of the first to specialize in producing new Canadian works, and remains one of the most successful theatres in Canada today. Between 1980 and 1986 James was Artistic Director of the Belfry Theatre in British Columbia and the Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg. James joined CBC Radio in 1990 as the Executive Producer of Morningside Drama. Following two years as Head of Radio A&E, he left to lead the CBC team that launched Radio One on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. James was the Creative Director for Amazing Agency and its sister company, IT World Canada.

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TREASURER Lorraine Alyea

Lorraine (MBA CPA), is an entrepreneur turned educator. She has provided accounting and taxation services to corporate and personal clients. Lorraine has a strong passion for teaching, which can be seen in her role as Professor at Sheridan College, McMaster University and Certified Professional Accountants (CPA). Volunteering and supporting community is important to Lorraine. She assists parents of children with disabilities and Chairs the Halton Catholic School Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee. Lorraine has been recognized by the Peel Chapter of CPA Ontario for her volunteering efforts to the association and the community at large. In 2012 she was awarded the Ontario Distinguished Service Award by CPA Ontario.

Wayland Chau

Wayland lives in Oakville with his wife, four kids and two dogs. As a young child, he immigrated with his family from Hong Kong to Canada. Wayland is a professor in the Pilon School of Business at Sheridan College in Mississauga. He teaches business law and ethics. He also mentors students for case competitions and research theses. Wayland spent many years practising as a lawyer at respected law firms and a major bank. He is a graduate of McGill University, Osgoode Hall Law School and University of London. Wayland is a member of the Ontario bar.

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COLLABORATORS

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Callahan Connor
Spoken word, composer, musician, actor (spirit animal​)

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Clarke Blair

Dancer, voice actor (science fiction fan, D&D helpline)

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Miquelon Rodriguez
Composer, DJ, sound design, actor (technical help hotline)

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Andrew Gaboury
Dramaturge, actor, writing circle teacher (local clown)​

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Frances Samson

Dancer (Limon dance icon)

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Alvin Collantes
Dancer (improv idol)

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Abby Silvera
Dancer (creative hero)​

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Samuel Davilmar

Dancer (fashion hero)

Red haired man

Ryan Lee
Dancer (local legend)

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Daniel Levinson
Creative mentor (latke expert)

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Philippe Poirier

Collaborator (Québec cultural advisor, translator)

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Rohan Dhupar
Collaborator (Frog in Hand ambassador to London)

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Sid Sawant (video artist)

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Sully Malaeb Proulx
Dancer (pronounced Sue-Lee)

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Kaitlyn Seibold
Dancer (aspiring osteopath)

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