We are deeply saddened by the recent passing of Lola Ryan. As a MASC artist for almost three decades, Lola brought dance, movement and joy into classrooms and seniors’ venues, impacting thousands of people.  

Lola joined MASC in 1997, offering various dance workshops in schools, often working with everyday rubber balls.  It was extraordinary to see what she was able to achieve in a short time with students.  To background music, Lola encouraged the students to play with the balls, to engage with each other, to exaggerate their movements and then asked them to put the balls down.  Students then continued these movements without the balls, imagining the balls, and it was incredible to watch what unfolded: beautiful, spontaneous creative dance, filling the school gym.


Lola offered many school programs over the years, often collaborating with other MASC artists; for example, combining dance with drumming, offering cross-disciplinary experiences to students.  Lola’s programs were unique and creative and encouraged dance and movement from even the most reluctant participant.

“We don’t stop playing because we get old; we get old because we stop playing.”

Lola Ryan

In 2017, Lola started offering workshops to older adults. Lola brought a sense of play to her workshops. Lola approached her workshops with a lens of inclusivity and a gentleness that created a space for everyone. Senior participants loved their sessions with Lola.

At MASC, we try to build a community of artists, administrators and supporters that is like a family. Lola never missed one of our 5 à 7 events and she was always an eager participant at our professional development days. She was always open to connecting with other artists and keen on finding ways to collaborate.

Lola was a uniquely creative and generous professional artist who always brought a sense of joie de vivre to her work. Our extended MASC family will miss her in so many ways.

There will be a Celebration of Life for Lola Ryan at the Arts Court, 2 Daly Avenue in Ottawa, on Sunday May 19th in the afternoon. Details to follow.