Toronto, ON, Canada
Robin McPhail-Dempsey was a classically trained dancer until high school, where she fell in love with modern dance. With this newfound passion, her performing career began at the age of 15 as a member of the Canadian Contemporary Dance Theatre and was fortunate to embark on the company’s first international tour to the People’s Republic of China in 1990. Further dance training included studying at Jacob’s Pillow, obtaining her BFA (Honours Dance) at York University and graduating from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre. Robin has performed locally, nationally and internationally as both an independent dance artist and for seven seasons as a company member with Toronto Dance Theatre. She has been fortunate to work with many exceptional artists along the way.
In 2005, Robin put her dance career on hold and began studying expressive arts therapy at The CREATE Institute. This led to an artist position at Toronto’s Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and extensive work with The Milkweed Collective, where she facilitated workshops in creative imagination through Exploring Creativity in Depth (ECiD) and mentored emerging artists for the Kreativ U-Turn Apprenticeship Project in 2015. Playing an instrumental role in developing the ECiD’s movement and sound curriculum served to reinvigorate Robin’s passion for dance.
Robin first volunteered at a Dancing with Parkinson’s (DWP) class in Toronto in 2012 and was deeply moved by the experience. She immediately began her teacher training under DWP’s founder, Sarah Robichaud, and has since taught extensively for DWP throughout the Greater Toronto Area, instructed online, and served as the Rehearsal Director for DWP’s Intergenerational Dance Project (2016-17) and Bridging Generations Through Dance (2018-19).
Alongside her work with DWP, Robin has performed in numerous community dance projects, worked with danceABILITIES on research studies examining the effects of dance on conditions such as COPD and post-stroke impairments and continues to lead expressive arts and movement programs in retirement and long-term care homes, as well as for students in local elementary schools.
Robin was thrilled to receive her Dance for PD Certification in the Spring of 2023.