Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie Announces the Opening of the Citadel
- A New Centre for Contemporary Dance in Regent Park -
Opening on Valentines Day in Regent Park is a small centre for contemporary dance – but a small centre that augers something very big. The renowned dance company Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie (CLC) proudly announces the opening of the Citadel, a new centre for contemporary dance in Toronto’s Regent Park community. A ribbon-cutting ceremony, celebration and Open House will take place at the newly-renovated former Salvation Army building on February 14, 2012 from 5pm-6pm.
Designed by world-renowned Diamond + Schmitt Architects, the Citadel is nestled just south of the Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre at the corner of Parliament and Dundas Streets in Regent Park, across the street from the neighbourhood’s billion-dollar transformation from concentrated public housing to mixed community.
The Citadel offers a home to CLC’s celebrated contemporary dance company, and includes a theatre and a studio space, pay-what-you-can yoga classes offered by The YogaBeat and a host of innovative initiatives and activities. The building includes an 1,800 square foot studio/theatre for dance productions; a 900 square foot studio for rehearsals, yoga classes, workshops and community classes; an office space for Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie, and accommodation for visiting out-of-town artists.
The first work to be presented there will be Les cheminements de l’influence, a world premiere solo by Laurence Lemieux in honour of her father Vincent Lemieux, Quebec’s most celebrated political scientist, from February 15-25, 2012.
Bill Coleman and Laurence Lemieux first met as members of Toronto Dance Theatre in 1992. They developed solo choreographic careers as well, and each created dance works involving the other. When the couple decided five years ago to move the company – founded in 2000 – from its original home base in Montreal to Toronto, they settled on the 6,500-square-foot Salvation Army Citadel, a former soup kitchen and worship hall built in 1912.
They didn’t realize that their newly-purchased home was just across the street from what was to become one of the most ambitious urban renewal undertakings in Toronto history: the Regent Park Revitalization Project.
Regent Park residents now have a dance theatre in their community. It is something they have wanted for years, but that doesn’t often appear near public housing neighbourhoods.
“The wonderful thing about Coleman and Lemieux is that they did not simply relocate into a building in the Regent Park neighbourhood, but became important partners in the revitalization,” says local City Councillor Pam McConnell.
CLC have, since first getting involved in the Regent Park community, brought their extraordinary creative vision to the production of a series of events marking significant occasions in the neighbourhood revitalization process, such as street openings and school closings. CLC’s activities within the Citadel and beyond serve as a “safe space” for existing and returning social housing tenants to mix and meet with new condo and townhouse owners.
In the words of Mitchell Cohen, president of Regent Park’s private sector developers The Daniels Corporation, “We are truly fortunate that Bill and Laurence chose to settle in our neighbourhood. Their desire and ability to engage folks in the local community, as well as the larger artistic community, is particularly exciting.”
A key tenet of the revitalization is the inclusion of both rent-geared-to-income and market units together in the same community. Toronto Community Housing is reintegrating social housing with surrounding neighbourhoods to establish mixed income, mixed use communities and provide opportunities for affordable home ownership.
When Regent Park is completed over the next ten to fifteen years, 12,500 people will live across 69 acres of the largest publicly funded community in Canada. The plan includes the replacement of more than 2,000 existing Regent Park units with modern units, and the introduction of approximately 3,000 market units for sale.
Under co-Artistic Director Bill Coleman and Laurence Lemieux, Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie (CLC) has distinguished itself by its innovative, unbridled vision and by an artistic range that encompasses intimate, emotionally honest productions and spectacular stage shows featuring some of Canada’s greatest dancers, as well as large-scale, almost legendary site-specific events. CLC is highly regarded for always taking its art to the people. The company has toured across Canada, into the United States as well as to China, Mongolia, Russia and Brazil.
With the Citadel, Coleman Lemieux continue their outreach efforts to revitalize the place of dance and art in our society. Its Brick by Brick fundraising campaign towards the renovation of the Citadel continues.