ORI Ensemble

About the ORI Ensemble

Established in 2012, the ORI Ensemble (ORIE) is a collective of local tap dance artists and educators who each bring something unique along with a shared passion and dedication for the art of tap dance. We are artists, educators, and we champion and support this art form locally and within the Canadian dance scene.

We have a deep respect and appreciation for this rooted jazz dance form. The ORIE enlivens and supports the mandate of the Ottawa Rhythm Initiative. 

ORIE is study, creation and presentation-focused. We work with live music as often as we can in both practice and performance settings. Our work is rhythmically sophisticated, percussive, and grounded in the jazz tradition. 

Each member believes in the importance of individual expression as well as community. We each bring a life-long embodied understanding of tap dance, including through our individual and collective ongoing study and practice. ORIE accesses other aligned dance and movement, music and theatre experiences to inform creative explorations and performances.

Statement of Practice

Tap dance is both movement and music. As an aural and vernacular tradition, and an African American art form, tap dance is history, culture, and community; all are central to our work. We strive to build community, learn, teach and create with authenticity and integrity. 

Interested in auditioning for the ORIE? Contact us at ottawarhythminitiative@gmail.com

Performance + project highlights

Sankofa: A Rooted Jazz Dance Professional Development Study Project – January + February 2024 (funded by the Ontario Arts Council)

The ORIE wishes to acknowledge its gratitude to the Ontario Arts Council for funding for this important dance project.

Ontario Arts Council


Toronto Rhythm Initiative Explores the Music of Oscar Peterson Saturday, July 27, 2019 | Centrepointe Theatre, Ottawa ON

“Oscar’s 7 from the Six”, a new choreography by ORIE 2018/19 artist-in-residence Dianne Montgomery at the Toronto Rhythm Initiative’s show exploring the music of Oscar Peterson.

A selection of Toronto’s professional tap dance community
The ORI Ensemble
TRI Youth Intensive Participants
Live music from:
Piano: Mark Ferguson
Bass: John Geggie
Drums: Morgan Childs
Guitar/ Music Direction: Nathan Hiltz


TD Ottawa JazzFest 2018 – Friday, June 22, 2018 | OLG Stage, Ottawa ON

Dancers: Carmelle Cachero, Carolyn Hébert, Lisa Kilner, David Lafleur, Annie Micucci, Carole Anne Piccinin, Pamela Poulin, Jordan Samonas, Hannah Savoie, Gabriel Wolinsky.

Special Guest Artists: Travis Knights, Tanya Knights, Rebecca Noelle and Mackenzie Di Millo

Musicians: The François Gravel Trio – François Gravel (piano/musical direction), Michel Delage (drums), Dave Schroeder (bass)

Tap dance is sound and movement that tells a story…of time, place…and feeling!  In June 2018 at the TD Ottawa JazzFest, the ORI Ensemble performed new works from leading local and Canadian tap choreographers and repertoire from world Tap Masters. An exciting romp through jazz standards and other memorable tunes, works showcased rhythms of our past and present. The ORI keeps it fresh while showcasing the best of this time-honoured dance form.

Canadian choreographers: Eric Allan, Ryan Foley, Tanya + Travis Knights, Danny Neilson, Carole Anne Piccinin, Allison Toffan, Kai Somerville, Gabriel Wolinsky. Traditional repertoire:  Buster Brown, Willie Bryant and Leonard Reid

Listen to the ORI Ensemble interview with CBC’s All in a Day 

ORI Ensemble appears on the OLG stage for an hour-long feature performance at TD Ottawa JazzFest in June 2018.  Photo by Jessica Reardon Photography.


TADA! Festival
Our Love is Here to Stay – Saturday, September 9, 2017 | Wakefield Community Centre, Wakefield QC

At the 2017 TADA! Performance Arts Festival in Wakefield, QC, the ORI featured a 20 minute dance compilation all about love – unrequited love, lost love, and love everlasting. A fun romp through the 1920s to the 1970s, each piece showcased music and rhythms of our time.

Unrequited Love
Laura: Traditional repertoire | Choreographer: Buster Brown

Lost Love
Big Yellow Taxi: Contemporary work | Choreographer: Kai Somerville | Vocalist:  Mackenzie DiMillo

Love Everlasting
Shim Sham Shimmy: Traditional repertoire (the “anthem of tap dancing”) | Choreographers: Leonard Reid and Willie Bryant

No photo description available.

Big Yellow Taxi (rehearsal)

TRI Explores the Music of Duke Ellington |August 14, 2016 | The Great Hall, Toronto ON

Featured guest performance:  Take The “A” Train. Choreography by: Eric Allan + Carole Anne Piccinin

Event Poster

No photo description available.

Collected Soles – A rhythm tap and jazz music show (inaugural show) Sunday, June 2, 2013  | Arts Court Theatre, Ottawa ON

Check out this cool teaser clip from ORI’s first rhythm tap performance.

Collected _Final2Concert Group 1 copy

No photo description available.

Featuring:  The 2012/13 ORI Concert Group (photo above)

Back row, left to right:  Patrick Kidney, Marie Brislinger, Simon Young

Front row, left to right : Carmelle Cachero, Carole Anne Piccinin, Lisa Kilner, Peggy Soria

Missing from photo:  Rebecca Giesbrecht (non-performing contributing member)

About the 2012/13 ORI Concert Group

The 2012/13 ORI Concert Group (ORICG), made up of eight Ottawa dancers, was formed in November 2012. Collected Soles, an independently funded program, was created with the support and guidance of Tap Master and acclaimed Manhattan Tap Artistic Director Heather Cornell, whose rhythm tap and creative process workshops helped set the direction and intention for the show, and was the inspiration for ORICG’s own new collective and individual work. The ORICG also commissioned two rhythm tap artists and choreographers:  2012/13 ORI Artist-in-Residence Allison Toffan – Artistic Producer, Toronto Rhythm Initiative (TRI) – who created a new work on ORICG and participating TRI members; and Dianne Montgomery (independent artist/choreographer) who recreated a selection from her repertoire on ORICG, which was also performed alongside participating TRI members.  Throughout this process, ORICG also worked collaboratively with Ottawa musicians Craig Pedersen (musical director/bass), Francois Gravel (piano), David Pontello (percussion), Alex Moxon (guitar) to inspire and create work for this show.

Guest rhythm tap artists:  

*Rhythm tap and body percussionist

Musical Direction:   Craig Pedersen 


  • Francois Gravel (Piano
  • Craig Pedersen (Bass)
  • David Pontello (Percussion)


Technical consultant:  Andrew Prashad


Victory Arts  – Video recording

Bridgehead – Event coffee supplier

Fiona Melko – Photographer (fionamelko@gmail.com)

Program: ORI Program Final Version

Show Order:

 Collected Soles Show Order

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