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The Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts (TAPA) announced today that this year’s recipient of the George Luscombe Mentorship Award is Karen Kaeja. This award recognizes an individual for “mentorship in performing arts” and is awarded every two (2) years.

Ms. Kaeja is the Co-Artistic Director of renowned dance company Kaeja dDance, and is an award-winning performer, choreographer, educator, community builder and project instigator. With over 30 years of gracing the stage, Kaeja has a remarkable track record of mentorship and has demonstrated her ability to challenge and nurture future generations of young dancers. She empowers her mentees and holds space for agency and individuality, which results in poignant work that resonates with the artists as well as enthralling audiences.

A Leader On and Off the Stage

Karen Kaeja is recognized by her contemporaries as a leader and mentor for artists both inside and outside the studio. She invests her time and knowledge and is a strong pillar of support for the artists she collaborates with. With a generous spirit and open heart, she encourages them to explore their individuality without imposing her own ideas. Naturally, many of her mentor/mentee relationships have evolved and blossomed into new and fruitful collaborations. Kaeja is noted to have shaped the confidence of generations of young artists, inspiring them to take risks and lead with conviction.

“I truly love mentoring and dramaturgy and have had the pleasure of doing so with many dance artists from all walks of life over the past two decades. Mentorship relationships permeate a lifetime of connection and communication. It gives me great pleasure to unravel, learn and deepen curious artists’ practices, while tending to the correlation of thinking, imaging and the moving body, within the creative process. For me, the mentor/mentee equation leans into an intimacy of minds that flourish, a kind of two-way symbiosis. I am always learning with my senses and my heart from the next generation.”

  • Karen Kaeja, 2022 George Luscombe Award Recipient
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