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The Press

”The pervading energy is that of joy through endlessly innovative, flowing movement: at times an invisible string seems to pull the dancers up toward the ceiling from their chests. Telford’s piece shows off the expressive finesse of Jung, Zenon Zubyk, Ellis, Jacob Williams, and Chessa (back from a stint at Nederlands Dans Theater). Like the other works on the program, Lean-to feels like a pure celebration of dance—of bodies moving together in space in front of a live audience.” - Janet Smith, Stir Vancouver

“The magic that Telford achieves with her 11 dancers is something akin to suspended time, like we enter an instant, then rewind, then freeze, then enter it again from a different perspective. Dancers hurtle backwards like they’re being pushed by some unseen force, then fall on the floor and lie still. New corps member Emily Chessa, in one intense scene, rushes toward something unseen then runs backward, again and again, drawn and repelled by powers we can’t fully understand. Telford pushes the dancers off axis, bends them over backwards, and sends them leaping in reverse. Amid them all wanders the always magnetic Rachel Meyer, sometimes stepping through their frozen, fallen bodies, as if she is somehow looking at what could happen or what could have happened. Heady stuff, yes, but strange, haunting, and thought-provoking.”- Georgia Straight / Janet Smith,  Vancouver.

"The Festival Madrid en Danza closed last Sunday with what was undoubtedly its best creative work in dance: Brittle Failure. Working with a very thoughtful and sustained balance between the intellectual and the choreographic material, (the work) … demonstrates how aesthetic awareness, maturity in scenic knowledge and the right selection of interpreters, are the basic ingredients for a successful work of ballet or contemporary dance and not mere platitudes.” - translated from EL PAIS/ Roger Salas,  Madrid

“Through various fraught couplings, Telford seems to be getting at the fragility of relationships and the way they can break under pressure. There is no doubt Telford has a clear, fluid, and utterly unique voice when it comes to choreography.” - Georgia Straight / Janet Smith,  Vancouver

Telford makes the considerable leap from conceptual to theatrical with elegance and wit. Telford uses science as a jumping-off point only, tackling entanglement at a human level. Her finely wrought choreography for five dancers has them skittering and skating around the stage... in various configurations, hypersensitive to each other and the space around them. Their articulated bodies, moving with freedom and force, often seemed more like particles of colour and motion than flesh-and-blood human beings. With Spooky Action, Telford hits her stride as a choreographer. The idea of entanglement hovers mysteriously in the air, creating a fresh paradigm in which to view the dance.” - Kaija Pepper/Globe and Mail, Vancouver.

"The movements are strung together with rhythmic diversity, punctuated acutely with the consideration of a composer or a beat poet.” - Naomi Brand/ The Dance Current, Vancouver

"The Canadian Lesley Telford starts this triple-bill with Everything Might Spill, giving extra meaning to the title with a tense and erratic choreography, startling and robotic. The piece is about the fragile balance and illusion of real stability (which is life, is it not?). …the shadows and the overall tone of the physical score were alive and moving." - translated from, David Cano, Teatro de Madrid

Lesley Telford

Lesley's Video Reel is here

Lesley Telford is based in Vancouver, Canada as choreographer and director of Inverso Productions. Her work has been described as having “a profound way of tapping into very deep recesses of our emotional and intellectual landscapes”. She combines impulse-based physicality with sensitivity to the minute relationships between performers and their environment. Her work is influenced by her decade long tenure at Netherlands Dans Theater I, where she initiated her choreographic career.  Lesley also has a Master of Arts in Cultural Production from the University of Salzburg and the Mozarteum.  


Lesley finished her studies in Montreal at L'École Supérieur de Danse du Québec before joining Les Grands Ballets Canadiens. She went on to dance with Nacho Duato´s Compañia Nacional de Danza in Madrid, Spain. Most recently she danced with Netherlands Dans Theater I where she worked with choreographers such as Jiří Kylián, Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon, William Forsythe, Ohad Naharin, Johan Inger, Crystal Pite and others and performed in major theatres worldwide.


She has set and staged the work of  Jiří Kylián well as Lightfoot/Leon.

Lesley has also created works for Netherlands Dans Theater 1, Hubbard Street Dance Company 2, Compañia Nacional de Danza 2, Ballet Vorpommern, International Project for Dance in Rome- DAF, Butler Ballet, University of Utah, and Arts Umbrella Dance Company.


Lesley founded her own company, Inverso Productions in 2012 to experiment with other art forms and ways of creating dance. She has worked with many collaborators including scenographer Yoko Seyama, writer Barbara Adler, videographer David Cooper and composer James Meger, among others. Through Inverso Productions she has produced and choreographed two full-length works: Brittle Failure, which has been a part of tours and festivals in Spain, the Netherlands and Canada and Spooky Action, which recently premiered in Canada to enthusiastic reviews.

Lesley also leads an initiative for emerging professional dancers through Inverso, creating research and performance opportunities. 


Her work has been presented in the CaDance Festival and Korzo Theatre in the Netherlands, International Festival Madrid en Danza and the Reina Sophia Museum in Spain, the Chutzpah Festival, the Banff Festival of the Arts, the Gothenburg Dance and Theatre Festival, the Schmiede Festival, EDAM Choreographic Series, the Fluid Festival in Calgary, and the Vancouver International Dance Festival.

Past creations include  works for Netherlands Dans Theater 1, Hubbard Street Dance Company 2, Compañia Nacional de Danza 2, Ballet Vorpommern, International Project for Dance in Rome- DAF, Butler Ballet, University of Utah, and Arts Umbrella Dance Company in Vancouver.

2022 saw the premiere of Beguile, a commission for Les Grands Ballets Canadiens which returned to the repertoire in 2023; a new creation in November for Toronto's Pro Arte; and her third creation for Ballet BC, Lean-to which premiered in November 2021. In 2023, Lesley created a new work for students of Royal Winnipeg Ballet School.

Leslie recently created, Flesh and Stone,  a new work for Zfin Malta Dance Company for the Gozo International Arts Festival which premieres on 6th April, 2024.



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