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About Us

Embrace is an organization devoted to creating meaningful artistic opportunities for individuals of all abilities. We run classes, camps, school programs, shows, and community events on Vancouver Island. Embrace strives to build safe places of connection through movement, music, and artistic expression.

As a community we decided on the phrase "all abilities" as we have a wide variety of ways that individuals in our community self-identify, including: disabled, a person with a disability, differently-abled, neurodivergent,  crip, chronically ill, d/Deaf, and non-disabled. 

Our Story

Our Story

Embrace began with the simple desire to make more opportunities for people to dance and create together. Through founder Tiffany Tjosvold's own lived experience of chronic illness and her connections within the broader disability community on Vancouver Island, she had become increasingly frustrated by the inaccessibility of the performing arts regionally. She wanted to make more spaces for people to be able to meaningfully engage with the arts. In 2013, "Embrace Performing Arts" was born, which primarily consisted of community dance workshops. 

 

Over time the demand for programs expanded. Feeling the need to broaden the access to our programs, Embrace took the plunge and officially became a non-profit (Embrace Arts Foundation) in 2017. In 2023, Embrace moved a step further and is now officially a charitable organization. 

Embrace runs two primary streams:

Embrace: Community - Where we run classes, camps, school programs, and community events for individuals of all abilities.

and

Embrace: Performance - For professional and pre-professional artists with and without disabilities to develop new and innovative multidisciplinary work. 

Team

Our Staff Team

Tiffany smiles at the camera. She's a white woman with long curly hair brown and blonde hair. She wears a blue t-shirt. The background is an out of focus bush with pink flowers.

Tiffany Tjosvold

(She/Her)

Executive Director

(Part Time Staff)

Tiffany Tjosvold is a multidisciplinary artist whose work is based in movement and play. Tiffany received her BFA in applied theatre and her BEd in elementary education from the University of Victoria. Tiffany grew up training in a variety of dance styles and in 2013 trained she trained with DanceAbility International.

 

Tiffany's own lived experience with chronic illness has driven her to make more accessible artistic spaces. She has a deep love of working with individuals of all ages and abilities. Whether it is facilitating dance improv workshops for young adults, summer camps for children, or seated dance fitness for seniors – Tiffany is always happiest to be moving and creating with the community.

 

With Embrace’s performance stream, Tiffany has recently directed a number of original shows including bloom, Creature Caste, and Sylvia & The Cephalopod. She also co-created and performed in Embrace’s most recent pieces: S___PACE, Chilly, articulate, and Briny.

Have questions about Embrace? Contact Tiffany here.

Erin smiles at the camera. She is a white woman with short dark brown hair. She wears thick rimmed square glasses and a turquoise t-shirt. The background is an out of focus bush with pink flowers

Erin Koop

(She/Her)

Director of Music Programming

(Part Time Staff)

Erin Koop received her Bachelor of Music Therapy at Canadian Mennonite University in Winnipeg and is accredited through the Canadian Association of Music Therapists (2010).

 

As a self-employed music therapist, she works in a variety of settings, providing group or individual Music Therapy sessions for people of all ages and abilities. For more information about her work, check out www.erinkoop.com.

 

In our community stream, Erin can be found making music magic or behind the scenes, putting her organizational skills into practice. With Embrace: Performance, Erin has been involved in the composition for music and soundscapes for Sylvia and the Cephalopod, Chilly, articulate, and Briny. 

Have questions about our music programs? Contact Erin here.

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Claire Bruce

(She/Her)

Arts and Outreach Associate

(Part Time Staff)

Claire Bruce is a spicy Latina dance and theatre artist who has cerebral palsy. She has worked with Embrace on a number of original pieces. Claire was involved in the development and performance of Creature Caste, bloom, Sylvia and The Cephalopod, Chilly & articulate. 

 

Claire has also facilitated in schools and community organizations with both Embrace and Victoria Opportunities for Community Youth Leadership (VOCYL). Claire is a part of the InterdepenDance collective and has experience in creating audio descriptions with this collective.

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Janelle Resendes

(She/Her)

Arts and Outreach Associate

(Part Time Staff)

Janelle is a visual artist with Cerebral Palsy born and raised in Nanaimo B.C. and now currently resides in Kelowna B.C. She has taken art all through school including some university courses. Janelle attained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and Creative Writing from Vancouver Island University. However, her true passion is visual arts.

She is a self-employed artist and loves to share her beautiful art with others. Janelle works with several mediums including pencils, crayons, pens and acrylic paints to name a few. She does portraits, landscapes, abstracts and lots more. To see her work check out: junique.ca

 

Janelle enjoys art, music, dance and nature. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of the Embrace Arts team.

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Devon Lewis

(She/Her)

Sessional Dance Instructor

(Part Time Staff)

Devon grew up just outside of Toronto, Ontario and has been dancing since she was 2 years old. She was a competitive dancer at Dance Elite Studio for the Arts in Milton, ON for 16 years. When she graduated high school, she went to McMaster University and was apart of the Mac Dance Recreational team. She was on the executive team for 3 years in the role of Head Choreographer Coordinator. While in university, she worked at various studios across the GTA as a recreational choreographer, and an adaptive dance instructor. She is a certified inclusive dance instructor through Rhythm Works Integrative Dance, and has experience working with organizations such as The Dance Ability Movement (ON), and now Embrace Arts Foundation.

 

Devon got involved with Embrace when she moved to Victoria in 2020 and has loved being apart of the team. She is also a faculty member of RNS Dance and Vertical Performing Arts. Devon finds joy in the Victoria dance community and is thrilled to continuously dance with Embrace!

Our Board

Interim Secretary

A photo of Gill. She is a white woman with long dark brown hair. She's wearing a striped shirt, a hat, and has her arms raised in the air. Behind her is a banner that reads "Goodtimes" but the ES is covered by her arm.

Gillian Anderson

Treasurer

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Lydia Montgomery

Director of Community

Our Board
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