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.

We strive to build safe places of connection through movement, music, and artistic expression.

 

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 experience with chronic illness, as well as her connections within the broader disability community on Vancouver Island, she had become increasingly aware of the inaccessibility of the performing arts in the area. She wanted to make more spaces for people to be able to engage with the arts. After receiving encouragement from the community  (including one particularly fateful conversation with current board member Luka Garvin), Tiffany sought to broaden her artistic training in inclusive practices.

 

Returning from her initial training, Tiffany began 'Embrace Performing Arts'. Over time we saw the demand for programs expand. Feeling the need to broaden access to our programs, Embrace took the plunge and officially became a non-profit (Embrace Arts Foundation) in 2017. Since this time, the breadth of programming available has grown  to meet the needs of our community. 

Now, in 2020, 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 interdisciplinary work. 

 

Our Team

Tiffany Tjosvold

Executive Director

Tiffany Tjosvold studied at the University of Victoria, where she received both her Bachelor's in Education, as well as her BFA in Applied Theatre with a focus on accessibility in drama and dance. She also completed teacher certification with DanceAbility International in Uruguay (2013).

 

She’s been involved in a variety of inclusive dance projects including choreographing the mixed ability dance shows Familiar Embraces and Threads, leading an informal street parade as a part of the Thinklandia festival and working on the Dance Alchemy Project.

 

Most recently, Tiffany has been involved with the creation of a number of new shows with Embrace including Creature Caste (2018), bloom (2018), Sylvia & The Cephalopod (2019) and S___PACE (2019)

Erin Koop

Director of Music Programming

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

 

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

 

Erin is so excited to be joining the Embrace team - using her skills to support our camps, community events, and the brand new "Stories Unfold" schools program. 

Our Board

A close up of Luka's face. They have dark curly hair that frames their face and are smiling with their lips closed.

Luka Garvin

Interim Secretary

 
A close up picture of Zelda. She is a white woman with blond hair that is pulled into a half ponytail. She smiles wide.

Zelda Coertze

President

A close up shot of Rahel's smiling face. She has short grey and brown hair that is parted down the centre

Rahel Umpherson

Treasurer