The artistic director of Toronto's Dancemakers, Michael Trent has lived with his partner, Kirk Bryant, in a 2,100-square-foot one-bedroom loft conversion in Toronto's Corktown district since 1998. Trent, who has performed works by such eminent Canadian choreographers as Sylvain Émard and Jean-Pierre Perreault, initiated a year-long renovation of the unit in what was originally a CBC building after purchasing it in 1997. Its light-filled music room is his favourite for being an escape from work. "This is where I like to go and improvise on the piano and browse through my books," says the 50-year-old choreographer, whose latest work, Loveloss, a paean to his recently departed mother, is being performed in Toronto until Feb. 24. "I gravitate to it daily."
The umbrella stand
"Kirk went through a short-lived antique phase and fell in love with this piece, which he found in Denver (where he's from) in the early 1980s."
"This is a poster for Eironos, by Quebec dance icon Jean-Pierre Perreault, in which I performed in 2003 in Montreal. I cherish the work for its sheer bravura, scale, complexity and emotional impact. It's one of the highlights of my performing career."
The Muskoka chair
"This is called a Bear Chair and I purchased it at a fundraiser for the North Bay Arts Centre in 1995. I was attracted to artist Alana Pierini's ballsy choice of incorporating the image of a naked man on the chair's surface."
"Lionel and Huguette Caris, the parents of my childhood best friend, Nathalie, are interior decorators. They transformed two church windows [only one is shown] into mirrors. I got them because I had the right wall height."
"I commissioned this piece from a friend in 1994. It houses my favourite books, including some inherited from my maternal grandmother – classics, novels, travelogues, reference sources."
"This is a portrait of my partner and me that I painted one summer on vacation when I needed some therapeutic time away from making dances. I used a paint by-numbers kit I got online and based it on one of the earliest photographs of our courtship period almost 23 years ago. Check out the website: www.easy123art.com. It's hilarious."
"I inherited this 1935 Hamburg Steinway from my mother, as I was the only child in my family who played the instrument. I have vivid memories of her and of playing Mozart sonatas for four hands in our home in Ottawa, where I grew up."