Modus Operandi (MO) was founded in 2007 by Artistic Directors David Raymond and Tiffany Tregarthen as part of Out Innerspace Dance Theatre (OIS). MO began as a progressive workshop series and gradually expanded to support the needs of both the professional community and the growing group of aspiring young professional dancers with whom Tiffany and David were connected. MO graduated its first group of students in 2012 and now engages with over 150 dancers in its training and outreach annually, with an average of 30 participants enrolled in the multi-year program. MO continues to assess, shape, and envision the possibilities of dance in response to its students’ needs and abilities and in tandem with the standards and goals of active dance professionals.
Rather than dictating the practices and goals of our students, MO guides students to discover and pursue their aims with the highest professional standards and integrity.
MO prides itself on offering a positive, encouraging and receptive environment and involves educators and students alike based on their commitment to upholding a vitalized and equitable space. We insist that our faculty and students maintain MO as a place where everyone has an equal opportunity to learn and pursue their goals.
A major factor in the success of our program is that for much of their development, students study together as one student body. This maintains deep investment in the individual and results in small groups of exceptional alumni joining the professional community each year. It supports the diversity of our students who come with specialized skills often unlike others in their year, so they can join in their strengths, weaknesses, similarities and differences for a broader spectrum of possibilities.
Rigorous foundational training is the backbone of the curriculum. Students develop sophisticated physiological understanding across multiple contemporary dance languages without one aesthetic or syllabus emphasized above another.
The curriculum is designed with and led by the professional community. Thus, the professional community has had an active hand in shaping the next generation who, in its turn, has a connection and responsibility to the community that trained them. Students are nurtured to be independent artists, developing meaningful ways to engage the form and navigate their careers. They develop physical, moral, social, creative, cultural, and personal perspectives that will allow them to contribute to the future of Canadian dance with understanding, excellence, and integrity.
Each generation of MO receives the most practical and advanced material in their training. Ongoing mentorship ensures that students are supported as their individual skills and interests evolve.
A big part of the work is making mistakes, being interested in what challenges us and celebrating open minds. The culture of MO – one of shared discovery, pleasure and pride in each other’s uniqueness – breeds an environment of inclusivity, adaptability and mutual appreciation where each student’s success is every student’s success.
Mentors provide assessment as they engage in ongoing dialogue with students, so that students have an active role in interpreting their progress, developing their goals, and can experience a meaningful connection between their daily work and aspirations. Success is measured not only by assessing breadth of skills and achievement of goals, but also by assessing developmental milestones including the ability to approach work with joy, to give and receive meaningful feedback, to develop a respectful relationship with colleagues and professionals, and to have a healthy and sustainable work ethic and self image. Assessment also takes the form of reflective writing and conversation, creative activity and peer exchange.
Modus Operandi & Out Innerspace
MO is the education initiative of the non-profit organization Out Innerspace Dance Theatre and Film Society, which were created simultaneously in 2007. MO and OIS collaborate with and support one another. Students gain an understanding of the life, practice, and conduct of a professional dancer as they assist in the development of OIS ideas, research, and outreach, and interact with OIS’s interdisciplinary collaborators. Historically, every OIS project has offered selected MO alumni paid creation and performance opportunities and apprenticeships.