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Julie et l’univers

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The inspiration for Julie et l’univers was a simple childhood memory I had, of walking to school with my two friends through the snow in the streets of Quebec City where I grew up. The snow would muffle our steps and our conversations. The years passed and the daily walks in the snow continued without us ever discussing our respective passage from childhood to adolescence.  


This idea of passage is how the collaboration with Morgyn, Sierra and Claire began in 2019, and it became a starting point to investigate our memories of childhood. We took time with this investigation. Their stories, mixed with mine, guided me in creating a specific choreographic language for Julie et l’univers. Scenically, the inspiration came a bit later through a painting of the same title, created in 1965 by renowned Quebec painter Jean Paul Lemieux (no immediate family relation to mine!). This anchored the work in a specific era and place, and gave me the task of trying to imagine how that painting would move, if it could. 


Like so many other works created in 2020, the pandemic delayed our creation, but in a certain way it allowed for deeper introspection. Parallel to this, discussions with my good friend and collaborator Jeanie Chung led us to using the incomparable Schubert Sonata in B Flat Major, a work Jeanie suggested would support these stories well. While Jeanie had never performed this Sonata herself, I knew it quite well. In 2007, I had started to work with it when creating Interiors, a work for my then husband Bill Coleman and our two children Jimmy & Juliette. 2007 was also the year we moved back to Toronto from Montreal as a family, purchasing The Salvation Army Citadel at the corner of Parliament and Dundas, that was to become The Citadel: Ross Centre for Dance. That year, I never had time to finish choreographing to this Schubert Sonata and only used the first two movements for Interiors. Fifteen years later, I finally gave myself the space to return to it, re-choreographing it completely, and this time committing to the whole Sonata. 


Julie et l’univers is a dance that dances, a work that challenges the performers by its demanding physicality and requires their utmost emotional commitment. It celebrates youth while embracing memories from another time and place. The work oscillates between the utter wonderment and discovery of youth and the uncertainty and loneliness of adolescence. 


I am dedicating Julie et l’univers to my daughter Juliette, in whom I witnessed a determination and resilient passage through adolescence. Her strength is my inspiration, and it guided me through the creation of Julie et l’univers.

– Laurence Lemieux 


Artist Credits

Choreography: Laurence Lemieux

Piano Performance: Jeanie Chung 

Dance Performance: Morgyn Aronyk-Schell, Sierra Chin Sawdy, Claire Whitaker
Music: Franz Schubert Piano Sonata in B-Flat Major, D.960

Lighting: Noah Feaver
Set Design: Simon Rossiter
Costume Design: Krista Dowson

Photography: Jeremy Mimnagh


Artist Bios

Laurence Lemieux_Photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic.jpg

Laurence Lemieux | Choreographer

Laurence Lemieux is a dancer, choreographer, and Artistic Director of Citadel + Compagnie. Born in Québec City, Laurence studied dance at L’École Supérieure de Danse du Québec, and at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre (TDT). She danced for TDT from 1986 to 1998, winning a Dora Mavor Moore award in 1998 for her interpretation of Christopher House’s Cryptoversa. Lemieux has choreographed over thirty original works and has danced for some of Canada’s most prominent choreographers, including Margie Gillis, James Kudelka, and Jean-Pierre Perreault. Lemieux is a passionate advocate for the arts and is a member on the board of Daniel Leveillé Danse in Montreal. In 2012, Lemieux created The Citadel Dance Program, bringing high quality, free dance classes to children and youth living in Regent Park

Morgyn Aronyk-Schell_Photo by Morgyn Aronyk-Schell.png

Morgyn Aronyk-Schell | Performer

Morgyn (she/they) is a Dora award winning contemporary dance artist and an arts educator for youth and seniors. They are one of the co-creators behind ‘blank space’, a series of movement-focused, queer-centred multidisciplinary community workshops. Originally from Edmonton AB, she moved to Toronto to study at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, graduating in 2019. Since then, she has worked with the Toronto-based dance companies Frog in Hand, Human Body Expression, OVERSIZE.LOAD, Citadel + Compagnie, Wind in the Leaves Collective, Tiger Princess Dance Projects, and Rock Bottom Movement, as well as with independent choreographers Krista Newey, Rumi Jeraj, and Eilish Shin-Culhane. She creates, teaches, organizes, and performs to foster a sense of community and to inspire others to live creatively.

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Sierra Chin Sawdy | Performer 

Sierra Chin Sawdy is an independent dance artist and arts educator based in Tkaronto. Since graduating from Toronto Metropolitan University, she has had the opportunity to work and perform with Alysa Pires Dance Projects, BoucharDanse, Brodie Stevenson, Citadel + Compagnie, Dancetheatre David Earle, Dusk Dances, Emma Kerson, Hanna Kiel, Peggy Baker Dance Projects, Aria Evans/Political Movement, Tiger Princess Dance Projects, and Toronto Heritage Dance. She has toured throughout Canada, China, Europe, Mexico and the UAE.

Claire Whitaker_Photo by Kendra Epik.jpg

Claire Whitaker | Performer

Claire is a freelance dance artist based in Toronto. After graduating from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, her class did a residency with La Escuela Profesional de Danza de Mazatlán in Mexico. Claire attended the Gaga Intensive at Orsolina 28, TransFormation Danse and online Dance Church classes organized by Kate Wallich. Claire has worked and performed under Colleen Snell (Fringe, 2018), Citadel + Compagnie (2019-22), and Kylie Thompson (Fringe, 22) and is a member of the Wind In The Leaves collective. Most recently, Claire has been collaborating with two collective artists in curating social events around poetry and dance. 

Jeanie Chung_Photo by Bo Huang.jpeg

Jeanie Chung | Pianist

Pianist Jeanie Chung enjoys a rewarding performing and teaching life. She has given solo recitals, concerto performances and chamber music concerts throughout North America, Central America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Recent and long-term collaborations include projects with Barry Shiffman, Andres Diaz, Colin Carr, Rachel Mercer, Ian Swensen, Yehonatan Berick, Mayumi Seiler; Susan Hoeppner, Ian Clarke, Frank Morelli, Shalom Bard, YaoGuang Zhai; William Vermeulen, Michael Sachs; Alexander Dobson; Laurence Lemieux, Margie Gillis, and Tedd Robinson.


Following her studies at The Glenn Gould School and The Taylor Academy for Young Artists at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, she attended the Juilliard School where she obtained Bachelor of Music, Masters of Music, and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. Her principal teachers have been Boris Lysenko, Leon Fleisher, John Perry, and Herbert Stessin. Ms. Chung was the recipient of the Career Development Award from the Women’s Musical Club of Toronto and numerous grants from the Canada Council and Chalmers Fund.  She is a faculty member of the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Glenn Gould School and the Taylor Academy for Young Artists.

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Noah Feaver | Lighting Designer

Noah is a Dora Award nominated lighting designer. Recent designs include: Resonance (Human Body Expression); The Team on the Hill (Blyth Festival); All of our Dreaming (Dreamwalker Dance); Amorous Playlist (Social Growl Dance); The Magic Flute (The Royal Conservatory); Le Nozze di Figaro (Toronto City Opera); Letters From The Great War (Soulpepper); Once (Theatre St. Johns); There She Was (Jane-Alison McKinney); Floor’d (Holla Jazz); Factory (Michael Caldwell); La Bohème (Against The Grain Theatre); Hollow Mountain, Dolphin, String Quartet no. 14 in G Major, MANICPIXIEDREAMGIRLS (Rock Bottom Movement); and several shows for The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. He has assisted for companies such as The National Arts Centre, Soulpepper, Fall for Dance North, Ballet BC, and spent two summers as a lighting design practicum at The Banff Centre. Noah holds a BFA from the Ryerson School of Performance and is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada.

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Simon Rossiter | Scenic Designer 

Simon Rossiter is a lighting designer who occasionally designs scenery. A long-time collaborator with Citadel + Compagnie he has created designs for more than 18 of the company’s works, including A Perfect Day, Four Old Legs, #lovesexbrahms (Dora award), Looking for Elvis (Dora nomination), Against Nature, Les Paradis Perdus, and From the House of Mirth (Dora nomination). He has created more than 275 designs, which have been honoured with 3 Dora awards from nine nominations for Outstanding Lighting Design. Simon is also Business Agent for the Associated Designers of Canada, IATSE Local ADC659.

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Krista Dowson | Costume Designer 

Krista, happily, is a ballet “lifer.” 

Her first formal ballet class was at the age of 6, and at the age of 12 she joined Canada’s National Ballet School. Upon graduation, in 2000, she entered the National Ballet of Canada under the Apprentice Program. With a bit of luck and a lot of hard work, she advanced to the Corps de Ballet two years later. Krista retired from the National Ballet after a fulfilling 14 year career. She remains situated within the dance world, designing and building costumes and dance wear for dancers and companies, both nationally and internationally. She had had the pleasure of designing costumes for The National Ballet of Canada’s Being and Nothingness, and was delighted to design and build costumes for Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Seven Deadly Sins, Toronto Dance Theatre’s production of Alyssa Martin’s Bin Chicken, Citadel + Compagnie’s Julie et l’univers and the Bicycle Opera Company’s film Sweat as well as multiple productions for ProArteDanza, Côté Danse, Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre, Ballet Kelowna, Barbara Cole and Hit and Run Dance Productions. Making costumes helps artists share the stories that matter to them.

Marianna Rosato_Photo by Kristina Smith Photography.jpg

Marianna Rosato | Stage Manager

A Toronto native, Marianna Rosato received her BFA as a graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University’s (formerly Ryerson University) Performance Production program – where she now teaches Dance Stage Management. Marianna spent three years as the assistant stage manager for Toronto Dance Theatre before working as a freelance SM in Toronto. During that time she stage managed works for Fujiwara Dance Inventions, Tiger Princess Dance Projects, Adelheid Dance Projects, BoucharDanse, Blue Ceiling Dance, the Older & Reckless series for Moonhorse Dance Theatre, the National Ballet School of Canada, the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, and many others. Outside of dance, Marianna spent 11 seasons as the Production Stage Manager for Mainstage Theatre Company. In 2014, Marianna began stage managing for Citadel + Compagnie, and after receiving a Metcalf internship, became the company’s Production Stage Manager in 2017.

Citadel + Compagnie

Citadel + Compagnie is an artistic and community entity with a dual purpose. It is at once both place and people. The Citadel: Ross Centre for Dance is a remarkable building nestled in the Regent Park neighbourhood of Toronto. Since 2012, The Citadel has established itself as an open and welcoming space for artists to rehearse, create and perform, and where the community can learn, communicate, and share.


The Citadel plays host to a range of presentation platforms and residency programs for some of Canada’s most interesting choreographers and dance companies. It is also the home of the Citadel Dance Program, providing free dance education to local children and youth, and neighbour Toronto Council Fire’s Indigenous dance program, First Fire.


Compagnie de la Citadelle is the professional dance company within Citadel + Compagnie. Founded in 2000, the Compagnie is known for its creative processes and intimate performances of classic works and new creations. Through remount initiatives, the Compagnie also dedicates itself to the preservation of important Canadian dance work, making available iconic repertoire to a new generation of dance artists.


Arts Orillia and Compagnie de la Citadelle would like to thank Canada's National Ballet School for their generous support in lending equipment to fulfill the design requirements for Julie et l'univers.

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