St. John’s, NL native Sarah Joy Stoker began her dance training as a child and graduated from the School of Toronto Dance Theatre’s Professional Training Program in 1996. She went on to work as an independent dance artist for David Pressault Danse, Pigeons International and Lynda Gaudreau’s compagnie de Brune, among others, performing throughout Canada, Europe, and in Brazil. Her own work has been presented throughout Canada, in New York and Italy.
Upon her return in 2001, Sarah founded Gutsink Productions Inc. and Collective Gutsink in St. John’s to generate opportunities for creation, improvisation and experimentation. Both were committed to working within the evolution and emigration of artistic practice to generate new forms of relation, collaboration and community.
Her creative process puts emphasis on the human condition; how we affect others, our environments, and ourselves. Sarah believes that art is an active force in life and should therefore be a vehicle for action in our communities. She keeps issues of ecology and humanity as the focus of her work, speaking to the fractured nature of our physical world.
Sarah has worked extensively with Neighbourhood Dance Works and the Festival of New Dance in St. John’s since 2003, acting as Festival Coordinator, Selection Committee member, General Manager, Board member and Chair of the Board. She has been an advisor to the Canada Council for the Arts, a board member of The Association of Cultural Industries of Newfoundland and Labrador and Eastern Edge, an artist run contemporary gallery in St. John’s. Sarah continues to create dance and cross - disciplinary work, co-owns and operates Pony Locale, a Pilates, Kinesiology Massage Therapy studio in St. John’s , adores her nephews more than life itself and grows organic food as much as she can.
"Sarah Joy Stoker moves with such a beauty and grace that it takes my breath away."
- Monica Walsh, Festival of New Dance blog, 2013
"...the always amazing Sarah-Joy Stoker...seems to take the chaotic sensation of too many thoughts in one’s head… the experience of having no idea what to do next, but wanting and needing to do many things, that experience that lies somewhere between panic and desire… and turns that into a symphony of meaningful, felt, phenomenological experiences for both herself and the audience. "
- Jenifer Dyer, Festival of New Dance 2013 blog
“The performance displaced our rushed workday sense of time...[and] achieved a lasting effect, at once hypnotic and provocative.” - Noreen Golfman, The Independent, May, 2005
“Stoker's installation...was the richest piece of the festival for me. [It] is both an eloquent hymn to nature and a lament for human destruction. The piece radiates a poetic series of shifting and provocative images.”
- Paula Citron, The Globe and Mail, June, 2006