Mary Jo Mullins is an award winning dancer, choreographer, teacher and artistic director based in Windsor-Essex, the most southerly region of Canada. Her work has been supported by municipalities throughout the province of Ontario, Niagara Region, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Arts Council and Canadian Heritage.
Living near Pelee Island, a beautiful island paradise, known for its nature trails, secluded beaches and Provincial Nature Reserves and immersing herself in The Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, she is intimately connected with her environment. Her audiences have enjoyed choreography designed to make meaningful connections with heritage sites, natural environments, museums, art galleries and urban streetscape.
Her formal education and training in the arts is embedded in the forms of contemporary dance. A self taught photographer, she approaches the creation of her work with an interdisciplinary lens, seeking to fully integrate her life and environment with her artistic practice. This process creates a range of work from photographic collections of Land, Body and Nature to fully interdisciplinary live performances integrating dance, photography and film. In 2021, she released WAVE, an interdisciplinary series of movement and photography, inspired by travel to the Gulf of Mexico and Vancouver Island, created on site in Wheatley Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. Her new work in process, she walks both worlds, was designed in part during her artistic residency on Pelee Island with Stone and Sky and will integrate photography, dance and film for live interdisciplinary performance.
An honours graduate of University of Waterloo’s dance program, she complimented her studies with training at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and a 5 year mentorship with Patricia Beatty, Co-founder of Toronto Dance Theatre, during the early years of her career. Her work now spans over 25 years, having danced in the works of such artists as Patricia Beatty, Elizabeth Chitty, David Earle, Danny Grossman, Terrill Maguire, Graham Mckelvie, Andrea Nann, Anh Nguyen, Barbara Selinger and Suzette Sherman. As Artistic Director of Niagara Dance Company from 2006 - 2014, Mary Jo commissioned the works of esteemed contemporary dance artists throughout the province of Ontario, taught master classes in Graham Based technique, mentored emerging dance artists in creative process and choreographed several works for NDC and for companies and collectives that created and presented a range of dance, theatre, music and visual art. It was during this time that she was commissioned by the Niagara Artist Centre to create choreography for the first mobile art network in Canada. Elan was installed at the brink of Niagara Falls from 2012 - 2015 for visitors from all over the world to enjoy. She was honoured to receive in 2013 both the Arts and Culture Award from the City of Welland and the Established Artist Award from the City of St. Catharines for her “dedication and commitment to excellence in dance in the city and beyond”.
Mary Jo is also a practitioner of Conscious Bodies by Dreamwalker Dance and the Project Coordinator for Windsor and Region Dance, professional dance network affiliate of Dance Ontario. With a history of advocacy for the development of regional dance in Ontario, she seeks to strengthen the professional dance milieu in Southwestern Ontario. Most recently, she participated in Dance Ontario’s Windows of Time project which united and showcased the communities of Windsor, London, Sault Saint Marie, Halton and Dufferin, in collaboration with Dreamwalker Dance Company. Andrea Nann’s rejuvenating sensory awakening Conscious Bodies artistic practice was the foundation of the Windows of Time project and film and has become the core creative process for the development of Mary Jo’s artistic endeavours. She fully resonates with this nourishing movement experience; inspiring empowering embodiment, making meaningful connections between herself and her environment and allowing personal, unique and creative expressions to flow.