Ms Whyte remembers loving every minute at The School of the Toronto Dance Theatre and wafting across the street where she lived to TDT, coffee in hand but her sister would remind her of the stresses of being in school, taking ballet classes at night, working on her own choreography, dancing Independently at the same time and selling homemade cookies and coffee at performances at the Winch.
Upon graduating from The School of the Toronto Dance Theatre, Ms Whyte danced with the Toronto Dance Theatre including being in the original cast of David Earle’s Exit Nightfall and Court of Miracles, and then spent a season with the company as a Choreographic Apprentice.
“Whyte’s sensual imagery adds to TDT’s (Toronto Dance Theatre’s) choreographic tradition.” The Toronto Star, circa 1981
In 1983, Ms Whyte produced a concert of her own works, Notes from Phyllis Whyte at the Winchester Street Theatre working with TDT company dancers. She also danced for Murray Darroch and shared several programs with him. It was Murray’s Grey Lipstick that made Alina Gildner, of the Globe and Mail write this quote about her performance:
‘Moments of lucid brilliance.’
‘Phyllis Whyte was one of the first Independent Modern Dancers in Toronto and danced for TDT, Murray Darroch, Claudia Moore and Susan Cash among other highly acclaimed Canadian choreographers.’ (Quote from the 3rd Festival of Canadian Modern Dance, Winnipeg, 1987)
She also danced for many inspiring choreographers including Charles Weidman, Bertram Ross, Dindi Lidge, Trish Beatty, David Earle, Nadia Pavlychenko, Maxine Heppner, Karen Kaeja, Peggy Baker, and Andrea Nann.
As Head of the Dance Department for seventeen years at the Claude Watson Arts Program, Ms Whyte taught dance technique and composition and choreographed as many as six dances per year on her students. During her time as Artistic Director she introduced a fifth stream of study – Screen Arts.
Ms Whyte has been a filmmaker since 2007, and with Laurence Siegel made five documentaries as guest choreographers worked with Canadian Contemporary Dance Company (CCDT) on the work of choreographers Andrea Nann, William Yong, Carol Anderson, Susie Burpee and Sylvie Bouchard and also choreographing Tribute/Promise, his dance film about immigrants arriving at Pier 21, Halifax, in the 1920s, collaborating with Lucy Rupert, Jordana Deveau, Kendra Epic, Karen Kaeja, Peter Kelly, and Zhenya Cerneacov, and a cast of twenty dancers.
She has also created a number of ScreenDances including Lapidary Landscapes With Tiny Figures Tucked Into Them about chronic pain and Ease in the Leaves with Anna Finkel (See the trailer at
Since retiring from teaching, Ms Whyte has danced with Karen Kaeja (Krave, Moving Connections), for Maxine Heppner (Old Stories), at Fall For Dance North 2017 in 72 Person Ball Passing choreographed by Charles Moulton; for Older and Reckless, in Peter Chin’s (2017) Tell Everyone; and for Luminato, Paul Andre Fortier’s Le Grand Continental (2018). She is now preparing for the November 2019 O&R with choreographer Barbara Kaneratonni Diabo.
Creating choreography for Ontario Ballet Theatre she met dancer Helen Price, now director of Yokohama Ballet Intensive. For the past 9 Cherry Blossom Seasons, Ms Whyte has traveled to to work at the YBI. There, she teaches Contemporary Dance, improvisation, composition and ScreenDance. She also co-choreographed and created the video installation for a production of Alice Through the Looking Glass. In a Koganecho Artists’ Studio she researched and shot chapters of a ScreenDance on that area and the theme of doorways, so different in the West and in Japan. During the 2018 trip to Japan, Ms Whyte worked with five Contemporary dancers to create five short solos on video on the theme of identity. The result is Inner Worlds (See the trailer on Vimeo (https://vimeo.com/314394433).
Performed in November 2017 as part of Older and Reckless #40
Photo from video from Oct 2017 at Fall for Dance North at Sony Centre, Toronto