Open Space

The National Ballet of Canada’s Open Space programme provides approximately 2,000 hours of free studio space each year at The Walter Carsen Centre to dance artists in Toronto. By sharing the National Ballet’s studios with the local dance community, Open Space aims to support a wide variety of dance genres and disciplines. Dance artists at any place in their career working on movement research, a new creation or further developing an existing work are all encouraged to apply. We encourage applications from IBPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ artists.

The selections are made by an advisory committee made up of the National Ballet’s Choreographic Associate and Director of Artist Development Programmes Robert Binet, Associate, Artist Development Programmes Alyssa Martin, Artistic Director of Holla Jazz Natasha Powell and multi-disciplinary dance artist, choreographer and teacher, Danah 'Legendary Mother Maldita Siriano' Rosales. The advisory committee changes each season and in the past has included Esie Mensah, Nova Bhattacharya, Zahra Badua, Kieran Heralall, Alysa Pires, Rodney Diverlus, Hanna Kiel, Kevin A. Ormsby and Anisa Tejpar.

Artists have the option of applying for full days in our studio (eight hours) or half days (four hours). Also, a new Open Space bursary will provide successful applicants with $180 for each full day or $90 for each half day spent in the studio.


“The time was magical.” – The Platform

“We do not often have the extra time in a rehearsal process to really dive-deep in the characters and performative aspects of the works. Open Space gave us time and space to discuss these elements, and put them into practice.” – Irena Ponzinova, Nostos Collective

“Walking into the studio took my breath away. The space is so expansive, it just invites us to move in a full bodied way, and to create highly physical choreography.” – Colleen Snell, Frog in Hand


  • Open Space is available for periods of five to seven days or ten to 14 days
  • The dates may not follow a typical Monday to Friday schedule
  • The studios will generally be available from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on weekdays and 2:00 to 6:00 pm on weekends
  • There is a cap of 20 participants per group
  • All participants must sign a waiver and release form
  • We expect that all participants will be fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Studio Space:

  • The studio spaces available for Open Space are those used by the National Ballet for rehearsals and therefore only non-marking footwear is permitted. Due to the sprung floor and vinyl surface, any footwear that creates high impact in a small area (i.e. stiletto heels) is not permitted as it could permanently damage the floor
  • Sound equipment and pianos are available for rehearsal purposes
  • No A/V or large equipment or set pieces permitted in the studios
  • No overnight storage permitted

Applications are now closed for the 23/24 season and will reopen at the end of the summer for the 24/25 season.


Application Questions

The following questions will be asked when filling out the application.

Work: What is your artistic focus right now? (max. 200 words)

Project: Please write a brief description of the project you wish to develop through the Open Space programme. (max. 200 words)

Phase of Development: Please indicate the phase of development of your project and your creative interest through the residency. The aim of Open Space is to support a balance of projects in all phases of development, from research to preparing for performance to remounts. (max. 250 words)

Video Links: Please include up to two video links of your work, together totaling no more than six minutes. If possible, footage of the project you wish to develop through the Open Space programme is ideal. If that’s not possible, please include links to past work. You may indicate the timecode from where you would like the committee to begin watching.