Artistic Director

  • Full Time
  • Ottawa
  • Remote: hybrid or flexible
  • $80,000 – $85,000
  • Deadline: Open until filled (position may be filled before posting expiry date)
  • Posting expires: September 07, 2024

Propeller Dance

Propeller Dance has been an innovator in the field of contemporary integrated dance and diverse performance practices in Canada since 2007. Propeller Dance is committed to excellence — creating, teaching, performing, presenting integrated dance and inter-arts performance. At the core of our work is the belief that dance is for all people, and as wide a breadth of expression as possible is of value. We are recognized as a leader in Canada for our innovative, inclusive creations and teaching practices. 



We are so excited to welcome a new Artistic Director to Propeller Dance’s community!

Propeller Dance, a Canadian dance organization, has been a pioneer in the field of disability and dance since 2007. We focus on creating, teaching, performing, and presenting inclusive dance and inter-arts performances. Our core belief is that dance is for everyone, valuing diverse expressions. Propeller Dance has grown into a mid-sized arts institution with national and international recognition for its innovative work.

Renata Soutter, the long-serving Artistic and Executive Director, is stepping down after sixteen years of extraordinary leadership. The organization was co-founded by Renata Soutter, Alan Shain, and Shara Weaver with a mission to create inclusive performance works embracing people with disabilities. During this transition, Jaime Alink and Amelia Griffin serve as Interim Executive Director and Interim Artistic Director, respectively.

The incoming Artistic Director will collaborate closely with the Board of Directors, General Manager, and the artistic team. Together, they’ll ensure Propeller Dance thrives as it launches a new strategic plan and prepares for its 20th anniversary season (2026-27). The new Artistic Director will have a role in shaping the final version of the strategic plan before its public release.

The ideal candidate has:

Lived Experience or Disability Community Involvement: The ideal candidate should either have lived experience as a disabled artist or have worked closely with the disability dance community.

People-First and Kind: They should prioritize people, demonstrate kindness, and approach their work with empathy.

Access Knowledge and Respect: The candidate must understand access needs and requirements, integrating them thoughtfully into artmaking.

Professional Dance Background: Experience within a professional dance environment is essential.

Collaboration and Leadership: They should be skilled at collaborating with other dancers and creatives, leading projects effectively.

Creating Inclusive Spaces: The candidate should foster a safe, inclusive, and compassionate environment for artistic expression.

Adaptability and Positivity: Demonstrated ability to adapt to change and maintain a calm, positive demeanor is crucial.


Disability Leadership Commitment: Propeller Dance is committed to developing disability leadership. Propeller Dance will create a support plan for the successful candidate if they are new to executive leadership.

Access Accommodations: Propeller Dance will accommodate any access needs required by the incoming Artistic Director.

Application Details:

  • Interested candidates with at least 60% of the listed qualifications and skill set are encouraged to apply.
  • The application deadline is August 30, 2024, with a preferred start date of January 1, 2025.
  • The position is for three years, renewable once for another three years.
  • There is a 6-month probationary period and a 3-month notice period.
  • The salary range is $80,000.00 – $85,000.00, depending on experience.
  • Benefits include 25 days of paid vacation leave (with additional days based on years served), 10 paid sick days, and health/dental coverage by Manulife.

Work Arrangements:

  • Staff work in a hybrid manner from home or Propeller’s office in Ottawa.
  • Full-time hours are Monday-Friday, with occasional weekend rehearsals and performances.
  • The Artistic Director must live in Ottawa and build relationships with dancers, teachers, parents, volunteers, donors, and community partners.  Over the summer months, they can work outside of Ottawa.
  • On-site presence is expected for performances, key events, and occasional classes/rehearsals.
  • Representing Propeller at city-wide events and conferences is encouraged.

Relocation Reimbursement: If hiring a candidate from outside Ottawa, Propeller will reimburse relocation costs up to $5,000.00 upon receipt submission


The Artistic Director oversees the artistic direction and overall success of Propeller Dance. They work closely with the General Manager, combining artistic vision with practical management to ensure the organization’s sustainability, growth, and impact in the arts community. The Artistic Director shapes the artistic direction and creative output, emphasizing inclusivity and celebrating the abilities and creativity of all dancers. Their responsibilities include key elements vital to the Company’s success and well-being.

1. Artistic Vision: Develop and articulate the artistic vision and goals of the Company and organization building on the goals articulated in the new strategic plan. This involves establishing thematic concepts, defining performance styles, and setting long-term artistic objectives.  It also includes overseeing and setting goals for Education and Outreach Programs, as well as large-scale sectoral and community innovative projects, digital programming, and peer exchange projects across Canada and internationally.  A special artistic project will entail the planning of Propeller’s 20th anniversary season in 2026-2027.

2. Repertoire Selection: Curate the repertoire for the Company by selecting choreographers, dance pieces, and themes that align with the company’s artistic mission and resonate with its dancers and audience.  Plan for the rotation and restaging of existing repertoire during the season.

3. Casting and Rehearsals: Direct casting decisions and lead rehearsals to ensure that dancers understand and execute choreography effectively.  Foster artistic expression and interpretation during rehearsals.  Rehearsal Director for works as required.

4. Collaboration: Collaborate with composers, musicians, costume designers, set designers, and other artists to bring productions to life.  Collaborate with partners engaged in touring and education projects.  Engage artistically with IBPOC partners as part of Propeller’s new Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility Framework.

5. Artistic Development: Mentor and coach dancers to help them grow technically, artistically, and professionally. Foster a supportive and inclusive environment within the company.  Build upon and capture Propeller’s dance and access methodology that currently exists within the bodies of founding dance company members.  Develop programs for company members transitioning out of the Company into retirement.

6. Audience and Community Engagement: Engage with audiences through outreach programs, educational initiatives, pre-performance talks, and partnerships with local organizations.  Enhance appreciation for dance and cultivate a broader audience base.

7. Advocacy and Representation: As a leader in the disability dance community, advocate for accessibility, inclusion, and representation, locally, nationally and internationally. Ensure the Company’s work reflects diverse experiences and follows the recommendations of Propeller’s Inclusion, Equity, Diversity and Accessibility Framework.

8. Board Relations:  As the Board’s direct report, the Artistic Director plays a vital role in facilitating communication, ensuring transparency, and fostering a collaborative environment.  The Artistic Director acts as the primary liaison between the Board and the Organization.  The Artistic Director translates the Board’s directives into actionable plans for implementation, aligned with the organization’s mission.  Working closely with the General Manager, the Artistic Director provides the Board with monthly reports and quarterly financial updates.

Staff Management and Administrative Duties:

  • Supervise the work of the General Manager, Education Manager, Company Manager, Tour Manager, and Artistic staff.
  • Liaise with the Chairperson of the Board of Directors and provide high-level updates in advance of Board meetings.  Attend Board meetings.
  • Collaborate closely with the General Manager.
  • Attend weekly staff meetings.
  • Support grant writing and fundraising, communications as required.  Identifies new funding opportunities to support organizational growth.
  • Be a public spokesperson, with senior company dancers and Board, for media and events.

To apply, email your details to