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The drums of Africa still beat in my heart. They will not let me rest while there is a single Negro boy or girl without a chance to prove his worth 

- Mary McLeod Bethune

Supporting Black Futures Fundraiser


 



We have officially launched our annual Supporting Black Futures Fundraiser throughout the month of February 2022!

There is a profound lack of support for the beauty, diversity, and contributions of African Diasporic dances in Canada. Though practiced in dance studios, schools, and stage programs worldwide, Black creative expression receives less recognition and donor and funding support, especially when projects are produced by Black-led organizations like dance Immersion.

These are the factors that fed the purpose and mission of dance Immersion; these are our reasons for being. Until these factors are no longer valid, our programs and services will continue to be vital. 

As the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic, we are collectively more aware of those around us, our communities, and how we interconnect. Through this, dance Immersion remains steadfast in our commitment to nurture Black dance in Canada. We continue to challenge the inequitable systems that prevent everyone from thriving and we maintain our focus on generating real change for our community. Over the next five years, our primary focus is on creating more fully-resourced opportunities for our artists and connecting to more communities across Canada.

Our February 2022 fundraising goal is $10,000. If you are able to join us in supporting this vision, please make a donation at www.danceimmersion.ca/donate 

If you are unable to donate financially, please consider reaching us at info@danceimmersion.ca to be added to our list of volunteers. We have some exciting events coming up in this and the next season!

Thank you for your ongoing support!

Visit www.danceimmersion.ca/donate to make a donation between February 1 – 28, 2022.

 

CLICK HERE TO DONATE
Artist Spotlights
Spotlighting Canadian dance, drum, & theatre artists of the African- diaspora that have, and continue to pave the way.
 
Eleanor Collins

 

Born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1919 as Elnora Ruth Proctor, this prodigy's musical training began when she took part in her family's tradition of signing playing music with the guidance of her uncle. Collins parents were originally from Oklahoma but migrated to Canada in the early 1900s as the result of the Canadian government advertising land for settlers at 160 acres for $10. Her natural talent aided her in winning a talent competition at the age of 15. This led her to sin on radio station CFRN, where she began her journey as an artist.  
 
In 1939, Collins moved to Vancouver where she met her husband Richard Collins. The two married in 1942, and had four children; Rick, Judith, Barry, and Tom. In 1945 she began to sing on CBC Radio and CBC TV. She first started by singing with a jazz quintet known as the Three E’s and went on to sing in a gospel group with her sister Ruby Sneed, and their friends Edna Panky and Zandy Price. They were known as the Swing Low Quartet. She went on to join leading Ray Norris with CBC Radio studios, in the formation of a Quintet where she was the featured vocalist. The jazz series titled Serenade in Rhythm was short waved to the Canadian Troops in Europe on CBC Radio International Service.  Collins was also several stage productions and even performed in a concert at Stanley Park in Vancouver in 1952. It was around this time that she started to gain the title of " Vancouver’s first lady of jazz."

In 1954 she showcased her musical talents on Bamboula which was written and choreographed by Len Gibson. This show was the first live musical variety series created in Vancouver, the first interracial cast to perform on Canadian television. Later that year she became the headline of her very own variety show on CBC TV The Eleanor Show, making her the first Black host on television in North America. The show ran through the summer of 1954 and was later reprised as just Eleanor in 1964.
 
Collins has had several other appearances on CBC radio and television as a lead artist throughout the 60s and ’70s. She has also performed in numerous concerts, clubs, and events including Dominion Day Ceremonies on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and the Jazz Canada series. Though she has received numerous offers throughout the years to go abroad, Collins has stayed in Canada to be close to her family. Her contributions to the Canadian jazz and television industry have continued to be celebrated. In 2009, CBC hosted a special birthday tribute to her for her 90th on the Hot Air Jazz Show hosted by Paolo Pietropaolo. She has received many awards including 1986 when she was the recipient of the Centennial Distinguished Pioneer Award and induction into the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame. This past January, at the age of 102, Collins was given her own commemorative stamp to celebrate and pay tribute to her career as a musician and a mentor.

Thank you Eleanor for helping to shape the jazz culture in Canada.


 

David “DKC Freeze” Dundas 


Born in Montreal in 1965, DKC Freeze belonged to the original generation of the organized street dance movement in Canada. A street dancer from the get-go, he has no formal dance training and is a first-generation autodidact of the Canadian street dance scene.
 
From 1982 – 1983 DKC Freeze was a member of the Flash Trick crew. From 1983 – 1987 DKC belonged to the legendary crew New Energy, one of Canada’s most influential groups of the time.  In 1995 he joined the Flow Rock crew and in 2004 he was a founding member of Legz Crew.
 
DKC has been active as a competitor and judge in events all over the world. He has been invited to judge at the renowned Just 4 Rockers breaking event in France three times: 2016, 2017 and 2019.
 
DKC Freeze has performed for James Brown (1985 live concert), DJ Grand Master Flash, and during the 1986 Les Expos de Montreal series. His festival appearances include Les Francofolies (Montreal), Jazz Festival de Montreal and the Nancy Jazz Pulsation Festival in France.
 
DKC has been an active community leader for decades. Over the past 20 years, he has been a positive influence on generations as the youth coordinator at both the Cotes de Neiges and Laval community centers.  He is the founder and organizer of one of the longest-running street dance events in Montreal, Gravity Rock.  
 
DKC Freeze is a living library for the Canadian Street Dance community and is one of the newest members of Bboyizm Dance Company, where he continues to influence the evolution of B-boying.

DKC will be featured in IN MY BODY by Bboyizm/Crazy Smooth, which will run from March 17th- March 19th at the Bluma Appel Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, Toronto.

Click here to purchase your tickets

Wunmi Idowu


Wunmi Idowu is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist, choreographer, filmmaker, performer, and producer and the Founder and Director of Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre Inc. Since 2006, Woezo Africa has been passionately dedicated to bringing the history of African culture to the masses through traditional and modern modes of performing arts, including dance, music, theatre, and storytelling. Her community outreach work with Woezo Africa has granted her numerous milestones, including her involvement in the inauguration of Alberta’s first Black History Month in 2017 and a Certification of Recognition from the House of Commons of Canada (House of Parliament) in 2018. Looking to buttress her arts management and leadership skills, Wunmi graduated from the Haskayne School of Business’ Rozsa Arts Management Program (RAMP) in 2019 and the Rozsa Executive Arts Leadership (REAL) program in 2021 with the Rozsa Foundation.

As a producer, Wunmi has organized both local and international productions, including; Africa Jo, UNITY: Dance Across Africa, Woezo Africa’s annual Black History Month event UNGANISHA: Explore. Connect. Dance, two successful runs of the Woezo Africa Festival in collaboration with the Guild of Nigerian Dancers (G.O.N.D) and Ijodee Dance Center in Lagos, Nigeria, as well as the 2020 and 2021 Woezo Africa Cultural Festival in Calgary, Alberta.

Wunmi’s accolades in the art industry span winning the People's Choice Performing Arts in the category of Dancer of the Year at the 2016 Obsidian Awards. The 24th Annual Immigrants of Distinction Award and the Canada Vendors Entrepreneur Award in 2020, both of which were for the category of Arts and Culture. She won the Afro-Canadian (AC) Community Leader of the Year Award in 2020 and was a recipient of Avenue Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 Class of 2021. Wunmi was recently recognized on The Nigerian-Canadian Association of Calgary’s (NCAC) Wall of Honour for her outstanding artistic and cultural influence to the City of Calgary. By pushing for increased visibility of ethnically and culturally diverse artists in Alberta, Wunmi hopes that perceptions will shift around who participates in the arts. Through dynamic, cutting-edge work that captures the imagination of a range of audiences, her hope is to enhance the creative economy in Calgary, empower communities and perpetuate the movement for instilling social change.

Click here to learn more about Wunmi Idowu and Woezo Africa Music & Dance Theatre Inc.

Click here to follow Woezo Africa's Instagram page.

Photo credits Motif Photography

The dI Blog

 

Trained VS. Self-Taught: A False Dichotomy in Dance
by Zahra Badua


The 𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐦𝐮𝐧𝐢𝐭𝐲 𝐂𝐨𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐫 𝐂𝐨𝐧𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐬 𝐁𝐥𝐨𝐠 is back! In this blog, our administrative assistant Zahra Badua invites readers to share their thoughts on the difference between technically trained VS. self-taught within the arts, more specifically within dance. Do you feel as though one will ensure more success than the other? Do you think that an artist must have both aspects to flourish in their journey? Let's debunk together.

Visit the dance Immersion blog page to read Zahra's blog post, share your thoughts with us, and join the conversation! If you do not feel comfortable sharing your perspective publicly, please feel free to email Zahra at info@danceimmersion.ca with your thoughts.

We look forward to reading your comments!

CLICK HERE TO READ THE BLOG
UNGANISHA
Explore. Connect. Dance.

 



Exploring the importance of African origins in popular dance genres, this dance theatre production is a not-to-be-missed highlight for the 2022 Black History Month celebration

During Black History Month, on February 26, 2022, the UNGANISHA: Explore. Connect. Dance. showcase will take you on a multimedia journey through nine African diasporic dance forms as we amplify the vitality of such roots in the dance styles of today. We will be featuring the modern dance styles of Jazz, Hip Hop, Step, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Caribbean, Salsa, Samba, Capoeira, and Step while providing insight into their genesis into the mainstream. The rich visual spectacle revamped footage from our 2019 UNGANISHA production with deeper historical context to offer audiences old and new an intimate storytelling experience that highlights the uniqueness of African diasporic artistic expression. Did you know that the story is about 2 soulmates finding each other repeatedly throughout generations?

Join us this Black History Month and connect to African Diasporic traditions, historical learnings, and cultural celebrations. 

Photo credit: Ron Fillier Photography



Purchase your tickets via the link below
 

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS
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dance Immersion · 303-1000 Yonge Street · Toronto, On M4W 2K2 · Canada

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