A producer, creative director, choreographer, and teacher originally from Windsor Ontario, Gina Lori Riley received her B.Sc. in Dance-Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo, her B.Ed. from the University of Windsor, and her M.F.A. with movement specialization from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has studied and trained with major dance and theatre artists and choreographers in England, the United States, and Canada and continues her professional development as a theatre artist. She founded Gina Lori Riley Dance Enterprises in 1979, an award-winning professional dance company that has toured across Canada and parts of the United States. Her research and original creative projects explore cross-disciplinary as well as interdisciplinary practice in post-modern dance, movement, and physical theatre that span a wide range of theatre including mask, composition, customs and manners for period plays and dance for the theatre.
The recipient of awards and grants from the Corporation of the City of Windsor, the Ontario Arts Council, the Canada Council, the University of Windsor, foundations, and agencies, Gina has professionally directed, created, and choreographed over eighty major original productions. She has organized and implemented tours across Canada and parts of the United States including an unprecedented six week tour of the Arctic's Keewatin and Baffin Regions. She has been commissioned by Canadian professional artists and organizations and has designed and executed programs for teachers, students, and professionals in all levels of education and training. Her film Commedia Fantasia, was filmed in six Windsor locations and included over 40 artists and designers. It was screened at international film festivals including New York, Tahoe, Houston, Monaco, and Rome and won the Gold Remi Award for Performance Arts (Dance, Drama, Music) at Worldfest Houston. Her most recent multimedia creation, I Am Here premiered at Tarragon Theatre, Mainspace, Toronto (2015) and is currently in film production for international festivals.
Gina was celebrated and honoured as a Star Recipient at the Windsor and Region Walk of Fame. Among her other awards are the Ontario Arts Council Fabian Lemieux Memorial Award, the first Mayor of Windsor Arts Award (1995), and the Mayor of Windsor Award of Merit (1998) for her outstanding contributions to the performing arts, arts education, and arts advocacy. Recently, she received the University of Windsor, Student Alliance Teacher of the Year Award (2012-2013). In 2016, Gina was nominated for the Canadian Association of University Teachers Distinguished Academic Teachers Award.
Gina has been guest artist-in-residence in educational institutions in Canada and parts of the United States and has been movement coach and choreographer for numerous University Players' productions. Gina has been instrumental in creating, organizing and implementing projects that have raised scholarship funds for the University including those that have initiated the establishment of the School of Dramatic Art Endowment Fund. In 2013, Gina was the conference organizer, director, fundraiser, and chairperson of the international conference Crossing Boundaries: Commedia dell’ Arte across Gender, Genre, and Geography, held at the University of Windsor. It was the first of its size and scope to be held in North America. In addition to her artistic and education pursuits, Gina remains active in arts organizations and is co-founder of the Windsor Endowment for the Arts and the Arts Council-Windsor & Region. Her creative process continues to question and explore movement as a dramatic vehicle for expression.