Dancing into Place and the Collective Sensual Experience:

A dance based workshop intensive that explores sensuality.

The underpinnings of this work are the special blend formed by Kathleen (Cat Ray) and Leslie (Madame Lou Lou) along with their personal experience and work in dismantling isms.  Kathleen, who has Autism, comes with the perspective of neurodiversity and Leslie brings her experience having an invisible disability as well as her experience as a racialized person with a grounding in theory and impacts of racism.

Time will be spent creating a solid, safer, braver container through building deep body-based listening skills and exploring how unconscious biases and other “ism”s influence the space.  We will engage in this endeavour with compassion in a non-judgemental manner.   Once in this container, we will invite a deeper consciousness of body-based awareness and the explorations will be in the form of dance structures as Kat Ray and Madam Lou Lou believe that dance and movement can be used as a powerful tool in this journey.

The idea of the workshop intensive is that once a safer braver container is built, profound and sensual dances are free to emerge which can expand our conscious choices and range of possibilities.

Dance based exercises specifically designed to invite and welcome our sensual selves and the sensual collective will be offered.  The activities that Leslie and Kathleen will offer throughout the intensive are inspired by their love of Contact Improvisation, training as Expressive Arts Therapists, Leslie’s explorations in HAI and Kathleen’s unique understanding of her own synesthesia and how they all interplay with sensuality.


Leslie Heydon

Leslie Heydon grew up with amateur, dedicated dancers and remembers her grandmother going dancing every Saturday night in gold sparkled shoes.  She earned a BA in Psychology and Fine Arts and trained as an Expressive Arts Therapist at the CREATE Institute.  Leslie worked in Addictions, in specialized programs for women and black youth, providing individual therapy and facilitating groups.  She completed an Outdoor Leadership program at Outward Bound.  Over twenty years ago, Leslie started dancing 5 Rythms.  In 2016, after years of toe-dipping, she began the practice of Contact Improvisational Dancing in earnest.  She facilitates a monthly BIPOC Jam and is on the Toronto Sunday Contact Jam Safety Committee.  Leslie has completed levels 1 and 2 of The Human Awareness  Institute’s (HAI) workshops, attended Touch&Play 3 times and has experienced deep healing with Ayahuasca plant medicine in Peru. These experiences, along with a Betty Martin Wheel of Consent workshop, sharpened Leslie’s awareness and sparked her to delve further, specially relating to sensuality, sexuality, gender, race and other dimensions of identity, power and consent in conjunction with CI.  Leslie and Kathleen have also co-facilitated  David Campt’s ‘White Alley Toolkit’ specially for CI dancers.  Her passion is to explore and guide, in the outdoor wilderness, on the dance floor and in the internal wilderness of the soul.

Kathleen Rea

Kathleen Rea danced with Canada’s Ballet Jorgen, National Ballet of Canada & Tiroler Landestheater (Austria). She fell in love with contact improvisation (CI) 21 years ago and has been involved in the CI community ever since. She has choreographed over 40 dance works and been nominated for 5 DORA awards. Kathleen has a learning disability that throughout her life has meant that writing take 4 to 8 times longer than the average person. It is one of life’s great surprises and mysteries for her that despite the struggle she developed a love of writing and is a published author (“The Healing Dance” -Charles C. Thomas Publisher, as well as blog and academic writing). She has a Master’s in Expressive Arts with a minor in Psychology. She has a passion for functional movement and is a teacher candidate of the Axis Syllabus. She is the director of REAson d’etre dance productions, a not-for-profit contact improvisation based dance company that produces a weekly dance jam in Toronto, the Contact Dance International Film Festival and dance-theatre productions. Being on the autism spectrum she also identifies as being neuro-atypical and works to educate the world about neurodiversity.

Kathleen Rea