Dance Movement Therapy Association in Canada

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Regional Representatives

Regional representatives are the point persons for dance movement therapy in their region. They help support and promote dance/movement therapy (DMT) locally, and facilitate DMT connections and collaboration across Canada.



Tannis Hugill


Tannis is a registered Dance-movement and Drama Therapist, Spiritual Director and creator of ritual theatre.  Initially a choreographer, she brings over thirty years’ experience of healing through the arts to her work with individuals, groups, adolescents and adults, especially those with trauma, eating problems, and addictions. She has co-coordinated a hospital eating disorder program, taught on the university level, performed and taught in the US and Europe, and directed a theatre company of disabled and non-disabled actors. 

Since she moved to Vancouver from Berkeley in 2001 she has been an Artist in Residence for the Vancouver School board, has brought Dance-movement Therapy to Tooba Centre for Physical Theatre, Main Dance and Sourcepoint School for Shiatsu; has served as Clinical Supervisor for Pacifica Treatment Centre, and a therapist and the Chopra Addictions and Wellness Center.  In addition to seeing clients for therapy and spiritual direction, she teaches Authentic Movement, Ecstatic Body Postures, Moving Prayer and leads Community Movement Rituals.  She also teaches with the West Coast Dance/movement Therapy Professional Training.


Karissa Martens


Karissa Martens (CCC, R-DMT, GL-CMA) is a graduate of the Creative Arts Therapies program at Columbia College Chicago, and currently resides in Winnipeg Manitoba. 

While working on her Undergraduate degrees in Calgary, Karissa created a dance program for older adults at an inner-city Community Centre, where she experienced firsthand the positive influence that dance and movement offers.  After recognizing the joy of movement through this outreach program, she chose to dedicate herself and her studies to the field of Dance/Movement Therapy and Counselling. 

Karissa has worked with a wide-spectrum of individuals through her volunteer work, internship, practicum, and employment at a the Selkirk Mental Health Centre and Seine River School Division in Manitoba.  These populations include; infants and children, older adults, older adults with dementia, individuals with schizophrenia, individuals with borderline personality disorder, and individuals with acquired brain injury.  Within each of these settings, Karissa has been able to expand her therapeutic knowledge, interventions, and approach through facilitating group and individual sessions.  

Ayana Spivak


Ayana is Toronto based Dance/Movement Psychotherapist with experience in working with a variety of age groups, both in individual and in-group settings.

She possesses a Master’s in Psychology and diploma in Dance/Movement Psychotherapy from Moscow, Russia and later on graduated as an Expressive Arts Therapist in Canada.

Since she moved to Toronto in 2011, Ayana has been collaborating with various social agencies providing Dance Movement Psychotherapy for groups of seniors, for individuals with ambulatory disabilities and for individuals with developmental challenges.

As a lead instructor of Wheel Dance Canada, Ayana uses her extensive dance teaching experience, group facilitation skills, and in-depth knowledge of the expressive, social and therapeutic aspects of dance. She runs regular Ballroom and Latin dance based classes for wheelchair users, choreographs and performs with the participants of the program. Ayana worked in partnership with the Canada Wheel Sport Association, providing Wheel Dance classes for seniors.

Ayana has been leading Dance/Movement Therapy groups for young adults with Developmental Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Complex diagnosis since 2013, working closely with the following organizations: Springboard Operation (SOAR Program), Sara Elisabeth Centre, Geneva Centre for Autism, Reena, Aptus Centre for complex disabilities and variety of seniors’ residences around the Greater Toronto Area. Passionate about helping people achieve a sense of belonging and freedom through dance and creative movement, currently she is developing her independent Inclusive Dance Project in York Region, GTA.

Ayana is a Professional Member of the Canadian Association of Dance Movement Therapy. Member of International Inclusive Dance Competition Expert Panel. Currently she runs her private practice in Richmond Hill, Ontario.


Meghan Thom


Meghan completed an MA in Dance Movement Psychotherapy in London, UK. She now works in Yukon as a Community Wellness Worker with Gwich'in, Inuvialuit and multicultural clients. Meghan draws on psychodynamic and trauma informed approaches to meet and support the client. Meghan works with all ages and offers individual, family and group therapy. 


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Paula Duffy


Paula is an emerging creative arts therapist based in Montreal. Her interest in dance and movement stems from a fascination with the power of the body and movement to create connection – within oneself, as well as with others. Paula completed her dance movement therapy Alternate Route training at the National Center for Dance Therapy in Montreal, and is a graduate of the drama therapy master’s program at Concordia University. She currently works with adults on the autism spectrum, as well as with daycare, elementary and high school students.

Paula has been involved with DMTAC since its early days, first as a student representative and later as an administrative assistant. She is passionate about building community among Canadian DMTs, and contributing to the growth of this field in Canada.


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