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June 10 & 11 @ 8PM ET

  • Live Performance @ Array Space
  • Tickets $20 (Artist Rate: $15 – enter code artistrate at checkout)

Nostos Dance Collective Presents: Bad Rituals, a double bill showcasing soft music, a reimagined piece by Irena Ponizova, and That was Easy, a new work by Emily Spearing, co-presented with our friends at Arraymusic. Join us and trip into our magical dancing world as we dissect the off-colour rituals of modern day human existence.

Nostos Collectives is an autonomous group of emerging contemporary dance artists, based in Halifax & Toronto, focused on original and
innovative choreography & performance.

Nostos Collectives Dance Association first originated in Halifax, Nova Scotia in the Spring of 2014 by Jessica Lowe, Sarah Hopkin and Olivia Aubrecht for a scheduled performance at the 2014 Atlantic Fringe Festival. After their initial performance, Lowe and Hopkin would return to Toronto to pursue their dancing careers in the fall of 2014. They decided to continue Nostos Collectives in Toronto with the intention of bringing together local emerging contemporary dance artists to create, collaborate and perform together, developing their professional careers.

Now in both cities of Toronto and Halifax, throughout these few years of self-
discovery, we have established our identity as a diverse, inclusive group of young, talented, and hard-working dance artists from various training backgrounds. We are interested in pushing the rigour and theatrics of contemporary dance and performance, as well as creating genuine original works that speak from our personal experiences and desires. What binds us together is our passion for strong, dynamic physicality and the practice, creation, and performance of contemporary dance.

The work of Nostos Dance Collectives Toronto takes place on the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We are grateful to be on this land, and have deep respect for those who have been its caretakers for many generations. We are committed to uphold and live by the The Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Treaty which governs this land.



This program is made possible through the partnership with ArrayMusic and is supported by The National Ballet of Canada’s Open Space Programme and Barre Collective Toronto.


Bad Rituals


soft music

Direction/Concept: Irena Ponizova
Choreography: Irena Ponizova in collaboration with the performers

Performers: Jessica Germano, Kaelin Isserlin, Barbara Simms, Maria Riaño, Emily Spearing

Music: Loscil, Olafur Arnalds, Kevin Call, Lullify, Kangding Ray, Jimmy Durante, Jacaszek

“Medoc/are you here? I’ve been sleepwalking again my dear./ The plants are moving
under the rug” – SK

In this reimagined work we examine alternate worlds of consciousness and mind bending experiences through harmony and discord. This work explores the emotional states, behaviours and images that live and sleep in these worlds.

Additional Thanks:

Thank you to the original cast of this piece who brought this work to life 4 years ago. A very sincere thank you to my cast, Emily Spearing, Jessica Germano, Kaelin Isserlin, Barbara Simms, and Maria Riaño for your creative collaboration in this process and for being the curious, smart and trippy group of people that you are.


Intermission–We will take a 15minute intermission. Please feel free to get out of your seat, socialize, stretch and grab a drink at the bar.


That Was Easy

Direction/Concept: Emily Spearing

Choreography: Emily Spearing in collaboration with the performers
Performers: Irena Ponizova, Kaelin Isserlin, Barbara Simms, Maria Riaño

Music: Tsegue-Maryam Guebrou, ziwe & Patti Harrison, The Flying Lizards, Wolfgang
Amadeus Mozart

This work explores and challenges ideas of capitalism, power and money. What does it take to get rich? How far are we willing to go? Can we escape this game?

Additional Thanks:

Thank you to Sam Day, Rebecca Day, Amelia Brown, Maria Riaño for lending props and Jessica Germano for her special appearance. The biggest thank you to Irena Ponizova, Kaelin Isserlin, Barbara Simms, Maria Riaño for your trust, commitment and immense contributions to this piece, you are the most special.

Artist Bios

Emily Spearing

Emily Spearing (she/her) is a graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and the International Choreographic Exchange post-graduate program at Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance (SEAD). After completing the post-grad program at SEAD she was invited for a year long Artistic Residency where she also worked as rehearsal director for the academy. Emily has presented her works at New Faces New Dances Festival (Salzburg), Dance Ontario’s Dance Weekend, Dance Works Co-Works, Edmonton’s NextFest, New Blue Dance Festival and London Fringe Festival. She continues to make teaching, sharing her love of dance and art with others and creating performative works her main focus. She is a Cancer sun with an Aries rising, loves to slackline and is often singing really loudly.


Maria Riaño

Maria Riaño is an emerging dancer, choreographer and instructor in Toronto. She began her training in Colombia, Bogota where she was born. She is a 2021 graduate of the Toronto Metropolitan University Creative School for the Arts in performance Dance. Maria has had the chance to work in projects/ companies such as Foolish Operations, The Bentway, Frog in Hand and Angela Blumberg. She is so excited to be working with Nostos Collective on Bad Rituals and continues to learn and be curious as she establishes herself in the community.

Irena Ponizova

Irena Ponizova is a Toronto based dancer, choreographer and graduate of TMU, receiving her BFA in Performance Dance in 2016. She has danced in creative works by Emily Spearing, Krista Newey, Naishi Wang, Alan Lake, SamelTanz and Alysa Pires. Irena has choreographed for New Voices, Dance Matters, Nostos Collectives and TMU (formerly Ryerson) School of Performance where she returned as alumni to set various creative work on their students. She has danced in festivals across Canada including Fringe (Toronto), Nextfest (Edmonton) and Saint John Contemporary Dance Festival. She is also a certified yoga instructor with a teaching practice that emphasizes pleasure through movement and longevity.

Kaelin Isserlin

Kaelin Isserlin is a dancer, writer, performer, community organizer and movement artist. They graduated from STDT in 2020. Based in what is colonially known as Toronto, they explore physical and physic relationships to space, the body as a conduit for knowledge, and queerness as protest. Isserlin has had the opportunity to work with Apolonia Velasquez, David Norsworthy, General Effect Dance Productions, Marc Boivin, Noemie LaFrance and (notice me) KID VICIOUS to name a few. Under the guise of an OVERSIZE LOAD, Isserlin has produced theatre and film work and frequently collaborates with friends in a project titled ‘blank space’, offering space for people to lead their individual practices with participating dance artists in a multitude of art making forms. If given the opportunity, Kaelin would love to cook for everyone at least once.

Jessica Germano

Jessica (she/her) is a contemporary dance artist based in Tkaronto (Treaty 13). Jessica holds a BFA in Performance Dance from the Toronto Metropolitan University. Most recently, Jessica has been appointed one of Karen Kaeja’s 2022 RBC artist interns. In her spare time, Jessica enjoys attending as many concerts as possible, sipping on natural wine, and experimenting with her sewing machine.

Barbara Simms

Barbara Simms (she/they) is a dancer and performing artist currently based out of Tkaronto. She has a strong desire to absorb as much knowledge as possible, and to deeply understand a variance of teachings and methodologies. Barbara is a 2021 graduate of the Performance Dance program at Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson). She is the co-founder of Off Course Footing, which operates with the goal of bringing site specific work out of the studio and to the general public. Their most recent performances include Willi Dorner’s Bodies in Urban Spaces and In Relation, a four-hour endurance based duet created and performed with Off Course Footing in Whitehorse, Yukon.