Together with the Well Being Collective @ Hart House, Moving Dancing Knowledge: Blackness, Dancing and Wellness is a community event that brings together nationally recognized dance artists, educators and community leaders.
Join Lua Shayenne, Natasha Powell and Ashley Perez in the celebration of dance and movement at the intersections of spirituality, history, and community gathering.
Through West African, jazz, and street dance forms, this rare event brings together many traditions into one powerful class workshop. All levels of experience and ability welcomed.
This interactive workshop will open with a reflection from the panelists on how dancing, movement and community has always been central to Black wellness in difficult times. We will then build connection across geographic distance by moving together! Participation with cameras on is invited but not required.
The workshop is 90 minutes long with 30 minutes of Q&A to follow.
I am an artist who tells stories, through dance, song and word. My art practice is embedded in my cultural roots and my spiritual beliefs. In the past two years, I have been engaged in understanding and incorporating the practice of Seselelame (Southern Ghana) and studying the Baha’i Writings where art is “a gateway into spiritual worlds.” Seselelame - literally means “feel feel at flesh inside” - expands beyond the five senses and kinesthesia and expresses one wholesome state of being.
As the artistic director of Lua Shayenne Dance Company (LSDC), I commissioned, produced and danced in DORA nominated KIRA, The Path | La Voie which premiered at the Luminato Festival and toured in Ontario, to rave reviews.Through Shayenne Productions, I work as an independent artist, and write, choreograph and perform in my dance theatre children’s series Tales and Dances Around the Baobab.
A 2016/17/18 K.M. Hunter Dance award nominee, I proudly tour with Lars Jan’s (NYC/LA) Holoscenes (Toronto/ Florida/ Miami/ New York/ London,UK/ Abu Dhabi/ Australia tours), a multidisciplinary water installation on climate change.
In Fall 2020, amidst a pandemic, I was in Fall for Dance North, Dusk Dances and Jamii’s programming.
A recipient of the 2013 BMO seeds Fund Award for Artists working in community, I bring African dance, music, storytelling and culture to grassroots organizations and schools and love to produce engaging programming.
What am I doing now? I’m currently researching and developing WAVES | VAGUES & FRONTIERS | FRONTIÈRES for LSDC and Yassama and the Beaded Calabash for Wee Festival and Théâtre Français. I will also be teaching African Dance at Ryerson University.
Natasha Powell is a Toronto native who has been working in the dance industry for 17 years. Her soulful approach to movement that transcends genre can be seen and felt in her dancing, choreography, and teachings.
In 2016, she founded her company, HOLLA JAZZ as a forum for developing and presenting artists that work and improvise together, to create harmonious and transformative experiences. The company aims to reinvigorate jazz dance with its sister dances including hip hop and house, as innovative and important vehicles for expression, while showcasing freedom and one’s own identity through the spirit of jazz.
Teacher, Dancer and Choreographer
Ashley Perez is a Teacher, Dancer and Choreographer. She is the Co-Artistic Director of Mix Mix Dance Collective. Mix Mix has completed an Artist Residency at York Woods Library, showcased work at Fall for Dance North (2017) and Contemporaneity 3.0 (2019), and represented Canada at the Jeux de la Francophonie (2017) in Abidjan.
Ashley’s talent was awarded the 2018 Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Performance, Ensemble in the Dance Division for Floor’d presented by Holla Jazz in 2018. Adding to her repertoire, Ashley recently completed her 250 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, including pre and post-natal training. Ashley continues to teach street dances with her enterprise, Class with Colours. Ashley is currently working on her MA in Dance at York University.
(She/Her/Siya) is a Toronto based cis-queer millennial; second-generation Canadian-Filipinx; a daughter; a dawta; a sister; a sis; a mother of two little humans; a mutha of a kiki house; and an artist in which her work encompasses interdisciplinary performance, performing, choreography, collaboration, teaching, and active community participation and organization.
She likes to dance while eating, think out loud and laugh at herself, create and try new things ethically, move and sweat, get her 10's and battle, question questions, rest and practice self-care, un-learn and dismantle, dream and hope for a better world, live and learn... not in that order/sometimes in that order.
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