Mary Jo Mullins is an award winning Canadian dance artist and a photographer. Living near Pelee Island, a beautiful island paradise in the most southerly region of Canada known for its secluded beaches and provincial nature reserves, and immersing herself in The Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, she is deeply and intimately connected to her environment. With her formal education and training in the arts embedded in the forms of contemporary dance, she is also a self taught photographer approaching her arts practice with an interdisciplinary lens. She creates expressions of dance, photography and/or film, to integrate her life and art, make meaningful connections between her self and her environment and share the beauty of the world that surrounds her.
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. Over the last 25 years, Mary Jo has danced in the works of many acclaimed Canadian choreographers and educated thousands of young people through workshops, master classes and mentorship programs. She co-founded and directed Niagara Dance Company, one of the first regional professional contemporary dance companies in Ontario, where she performed in, choreographed for and/or presented the works of some of Canada's most renowned and treasured contemporary dance artists. One of her favourite projects during this time was her commission from the Niagara Artist Centre to create choreography for the first mobile art network in Canada. Elan was installed for 3 years at the brink of Niagara Falls for visitors from all over the world to enjoy.
Mary Jo is an avid practitioner of Conscious Bodies by Dreamwalker Dance which was introduced to her by Andrea Nann while participating in the Windows of Time project and film. This rejuvenating sensory awakening artistic practice has become a cornerstone in the development of her artistic endeavours. She fully resonates with this nourishing movement experience; inspiring empowering embodiment and allowing personal, unique and creative expressions to flow, consciously connecting her inner and outer worlds.
From her first full evening program of new choreography presented on a beach in Toronto to her most recent interdisciplinary performance work created on Pelee Island, her audiences have enjoyed works designed to integrate heritage sites, natural environments, provincial and national parks, museums, rural properties, art galleries, establishments, urban streetscape and more. Recently, Mary Jo released Okanagan: Peace in the Valley, a collection of photos to reflect the immense peace and serenity she experienced while connecting with nature despite the raging wildfires and pandemic outbreaks suffered during the summer of 2021.
Mary Jo is the Project Coordinator for Windsor and Region Dance, professional affiliate of Dance Ontario and facilitates Conscious Bodies sessions for diverse groups of participants. With a history of advocacy for the development of regional dance in Ontario, Mary Jo seeks to strengthen the professional dance milieu in Southwestern Ontario. She is very grateful for all opportunities throughout the years to practice, create, administer and evolve her art. Funding from the City of St. Catharines, City of Windsor, Niagara Region, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Arts Council and Canadian Heritage have encouraged and supported the development of her independent work and projects with other artists, companies and organizations. She is honoured to have received 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”.