Suzanne Liska

Region: ON Tkaronto
Generation: Sansei/Yonsei


Suzanne Liska is a teacher, choreographer, dancer and researcher specializing in somatic practices, contemporary dance/theatre, Japanese artforms and physical partnering. She has choreographed and danced in works for CanAsian KickStart, DanceWorks CoWorks, Dusk Dances, and Dance Matters, receiving grants and awards through the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, York University and SSHRC (Canadian Graduate Scholarship). Suzanne has a B.A., B.Education, and MFA in Choreography and is a Certified Alexander Technique Teacher. She published her paper “Somatic ethnographic research: A choreographic process informed by Alexander Technique” in the peer-reviewed Choreographic Practices. She teaches professional dancers, actors, community dancers, and high school and elementary school students; workshops across Canada, the USA and Japan; and workshops in Toronto for Randolph College, Ryerson University, and Humber College. She is contract Faculty in York University’s Dance department and faculty in George Brown College’s Theatre Arts Performance.

Artist Statement

I am a dancer, choreographer, teacher and researcher, located in Tkaronto on the unceded territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples.

I am a Japanese Canadian Sansei/ Yonsei. My maternal great-grandfather immigrated to Canada in 1896 from Japan. My personal movement history with dance and Japanese art forms, together with my identities (Japanese, Slovakian, Canadian, dancer, teacher, and mother) have shaped my life, and inform my creative work. I choreograph work that binds together my artistic vision, scholarship and teaching skills. My practices (physically dynamic partnering, dance improvisation, somatics, Taiko, and Butoh) are linked together through physical, collective, and cultural/social embodiment.

My choreography is inspired by questioning, transforming and embodying my cultural background: Thread Bound - co-choreographed/performed with Kathleen Rea, where I embody the history of the Japanese Internment of my family. Re-Place - co-choreographed with Susan Lee and visual artist JJ Lee, investigates multi-ethnicity as Asian Canadian artists. Yume-Iro (Dream Colour) - co-choreographed/performed with Takako Segawa and composer Heidi Chan, is a dance interpretation of the audible, visual, historical and emotional components of Taiko (Japanese drumming) and Japanese cultural artefact. Supported by Denise Fujiwara's CanAsian KickStart Program, Takako Segawa and I co-choreographed and performed a first draft of this piece, with direction from our dramaturg Tedd Robinson.

I apply my embodied choreographic methodology toward wholeness (biopsychosocial and cultural) in the rehearsal, performance and production process.

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