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4th Year Dancer Wins Prestigious Hnatyshyn Foundation Grant

October 21, 2020
Maria Riano wears a black tops and looks at the camera, with a gentle smile.

Photo by Camila Riano.

The School of Performance is proud to announce that 4th year dance student, Maria Riano is this year's winner of the prestigious Hnatyshyn Foundation Developing Artist Grant for Contemporary Dance!  Maria is one of seven winners across Canada, each receiving $10,000 for continued study in their artistic fields. Maria is the only recipient in dance. 

This award is a milestone testifying my commitment to this art form... I am so grateful to have been nominated and chosen for this award.

Maria Riano

"The Hnatyshyn Foundation is a private charity established by the late Right Honourable Ramon John Hnatyshyn, Canada’s twenty-fourth Governor General, to assist emerging and established artists in all disciplines with their training and professional development, and promote to the Canadian public the importance of the arts in our society. Its programs are funded by donations from government, foundations, corporations and individuals. Since it began programming in 2005, the Foundation has provided over $3.2 million in support of Canadian performing artists, visual artists, and curators" from, external link.

Past winners from the Ryerson School of Performance Dance Program include Judy Luo (2018), Lukas Malkowski (2015), Justin De Luna (2014).

Congratulations, Maria, on this remarkable achievement and honour!

Maria Riano wears a body suit and stands in profile on one leg with the other extended behind her. She is standing on large rocks in front of a vast body of water

Photo by Maxim Luca Bortnowski.

About Maria Riano

Maria Fernanda Riano of Toronto, Ontario is honoured to be this year’s grant recipient for Contemporary Dance. Maria returns this fall to complete her final year in the BFA Performance Dance program at Ryerson University where she has worked with many renowned choreographers and distinguished instructors. In 2019 Maria was chosen to participate in the world-wide Cunningham Centennial celebrations through the remounting Changing Steps, originally choreographed in 1973 by Merce Cunningham. The work was staged by Dylan Crossman and was presented at The Art Gallery of Ontario in partnership with Fall for Dance North.

“I am both thrilled and extremely humbled to have received this award for my ongoing development in dance. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to The Hnatyshyn Foundation to all of the educators who have supported me throughout my journey, helping to make me the artist that I am today. My passion for dance has driven me my whole life and today is a milestone testifying to my commitment to this art form.”

Maria Riano