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soup of the day

Soup Of The Day

Across Oceans Arts - Soup Of The Day

Soup Of The Day: 1996-2002


Monthly research studio on creation processes in diverse movement arts and sharing discoveries publicly in a pioneering online blog.

An Across Oceans Arts project with the support of the Toronto Arts Council.


Artistic Director: Maxine Heppner


"Soup of the Day Open Studio" was an ongoing free forum for dance artists who wanted to practice improvisational skills and techniques used in creation and performance.


Every first Monday of the month: from 1996 to June 2002.

Taking inspiration from the longevity of the Contact Jams, the soup kept cooking for a full 5 years, contributing and supporting the Toronto dance community’s development of this fundamental aspect of contemporary dance research and creation.



Improvisation is an essential tool for many dance creators and interpreters. Like any other skills in movement arts it is important to continue to practice, develop and explore techniques and approaches to improvisation.  Many of us have found that often in creations and performance situations, movers are challenged to work with others from different backgrounds and experiences. Soup of the Day was a forum for dance artists to bridge the gap through studio practice between their own knowing place, and the backgrounds of their co-artists. It provided an open environment for exchange and serious investigation into the samenesses and differences of approaches, interests, conceptions, and preconceptions about how we create and perform.



For Toronto movement artists wanting to practice and hone creative process and performance skills.


The sessions were free; enabling all interested to participate.

inspired by

Once a week, from about 1978-1980, when Lawrence and Miriam Adams ran 15 Dance Lab, a loosely knit group of dancers met, united mostly by their common desires to explore and stretch their notions of creation and performance. Called Soup of the Day (and some remember it once being called Tossed Salad) over 3 years, the activities shifted and transformed, reflecting the natures and interests of the people who participated. The participants now read like a who’s-who of Canadian dance and some claim that these sessions were invaluable in their development. Participants included Lawrence Adams, Conrad Alexandrowicz, Miriam Adams, Mimi Beck, Susan Cash, Elizabeth Chitty, Vera Davis, Lily Eng, John Faichney, Denise Fujiwara, Louise Garfield, Andrew Harwood, Joanna Householder, Maxine Heppner, Jo Leslie, Sallie Lyons, Terril Maguire, John Oswald, Joan Phillips, Ted Robinson, Peter Ryan, Holly Small, Linn Snelling, and many others…


In 1996-97 Maxine Heppner, with the help of Pam Johnson, pulled the pots out again, with monthly open studios, and intensive training workshops on different research and performance techniques with invited guest facilitators to each session. More than 300 people participated over the 5 years.



Each session was led by a guest facilitator, with the overall artistic direction of Maxine Heppner. Run in a collective format, the two and a half-hour sessions are structured by the participants of that day, with the facilitator bringing his/her own particular flavour to the nature of that days recipe, and to keep things on track. Scores and notes from previous sessions are referred to as a developmental tool in the research process. The notes were distributed in a revolutionary way - by email - before each session and were available at the studio to look at, becoming a comprehensive resource on improvisation techniques of those times.

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