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Timothy Spain


Timothy began his work life in 1963 performing children's roles with the National Ballet of Canada. Yes, that long ago. He continued with NBC through his teens as an apprentice, and joined as a full time member during their 1969 tour in Mexico. By 1972, though, he had performed in one too many Nutcrackers, and left for Europe with dreams of exploring the extremes, of discovering himself within the context of the latest in revolutionary dance.


Instead, he joined the English National Ballet. Though he'd been offered a position in Sweden's Cullberg Ballet, it wouldn't be available for six months. And after a summer of riotous living when he arrived in London, he no longer had that luxury and was compelled to join ENB. Nutcrackers ensued. There were some upsides, though, and he fully enjoyed the experience of learning and dancing the Diaghalev repertoire. Along with the rights to most of the works, ENB had inherited the costumes and sets from Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo, and the services as ballet masters of a pair who had danced with BRMC and regularly regaled dancers with their tales from the heyday of that storied era.


Despite the challenges and excitements of ENB's full time touring schedule, and one of the most diverse repertoires in the ballet world at the time, there were still those pesky Nutcrackers. In 1974, Timothy went to Paris for the weekend and stayed for ten years. There he met Molly Molloy, a choreographer and teacher in the lineage of Luigi. Timothy threw away his dance belt and tights, bought a pair of jazz shoes and began channeling Molly. He likes to characterize this transition as 'going rogue', but in reality it was the beginning of his serious dance career. For the first time, he was working with purpose and studying dance for the sake of dance itself. Rather than for the perks. For the next 16 years, he pursued a career combining concert work and commercial projects across Europe and around the UK.


In 1987, Celia Franca, founder and then director of the NBC, invited him back to Toronto to take part in the National's 35th anniversary. It seemed like a good time to come home. Back in Canada, he taught dance in commercial studios and choreographed works for the Ottawa Ballet. Through the process of working on a scenario of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner with Frank Augustyn,  he found himself at U of T in a course on romantic poetry. The ballet never materialized, but Timothy stayed at the university studying English, Semiotics and Film. After graduating, he lucked into a gig writing and choreographing The Toy Castle, a TV program for preschoolers.


After three seasons of TC, Timothy realized that being a TV choreographer was quite the lifestyle. He sat by the phone and waited for it to ring. 


It didn't. A year later, he came to with a start, swept away the cocoon of cobwebs covering him and the phone and ran into the street to find a Globe and Mail. Back in 2004, that's how you looked for work. Flipping it open on the kitchen table, the very first thing he saw was a full page ad for The Bishop Strachan School. Suddenly, Timothy was a Dance and Drama teacher. Discovering during the next few months that he had no idea how to actually teach those subjects to children...was a shock. He'd had plenty of experience teaching dance to adults who were giving him their own money, but this was different. Thus began the rewarding process of learning how to teach the young - by watching people who knew what they were doing - and Timothy continued on happily at BSS until his retirement thirteen years later. But the adventure continues. He frequently returns to fill in for absent faculty. In fact, a recent three month stint covering for an injured colleague evolved into weeks of virtual teaching when the world went into social distancing. Timothy would be remiss not to mention, too, that among the various responsibilities he undertook at BSS was the role of chaplain, during the spring term of 2019. When he was pleased to be known among friends as Bishop Tutu .


Timothy has completed over ten years as a volunteer reader with PAL Reading Services. He has endeavoured as well to avoid speaking of himself in the third person...with patchy success.


He's very much looking forward to getting to know you properly and, as a member of team Sara Porter Productions, to supporting Sara's entrancing visions and fabulous projects.

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