Showcase Presentation

Our Showcase Presentations take place in a professional theatre. We facilitate and promote selected and commissioned works of various dance styles by dance artists and choreographers from the African Diaspora living in Canada and abroad.  Our Showcase Presentations have taken place in Toronto at the Harbourfront Centre since 1995. 



Saturday October 14, 2017
Harbourfront Centre Theatre
231 Queens Quay West


dance Immersion presents a Movement In Time a celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary, highlighting the many voices of Canada’s rich dance legacy from the African Diaspora. This presentation celebrates a diverse roaster of artists revealing expressions that will resonate and inspire dance from within the fabric of Canada and its rich artistic community.

An explosive collection of work by seven Toronto companies– Ballet Creole, COBA, Esie Mensah Creations, Holla Jazz, KasheDance, Lua Shayenne Dance Company, and Shameka Blake  – will grace the stage with works that include Jazz, Contemporary, African, and more.

Audiences will celebrate Canada's 150th by embarking on a total dance experience reflecting the many expressions of Canadian artists.

BOX OFFICE 416-973-4000

"Movement In Time reveals expressions from artists of the African Diasopra using the art of dance.  This presentation celebrates some of the many voices and expressions that reflect Canada, and the existence of our unlimited dance that exists in this country. ~Vivine Scarlett

Meet The Artists



Established in August 1990, Ballet Creole comprises both a professional ensemble of dancers and musicians, as well as a Professional School of Performing Arts.  With an emphasis on the disciplines of the Caribbean and Africa, Ballet Creole focuses on traditional and contemporary dance while infusing music from around the world. Ballet Creole is at the forefront of Contemporary Afro-Caribbean dance and has been labeled as the forerunner of Blacks in Dance in Canada.  

Ballet Creole was founded by Trinidadian-born dancer, choreographer, drummer and educator, Patrick Parson (Masters in Dance Ethnology, BFA in Dance).  Combining traditional Caribbean and African aesthetics with the Katherine Dunham modern technique, he has produced a technically strong and versatile professional dance company unlike any other in Canada.  Ballet Creole explores the power of drums and rhythms as a means of communicating between people and communities and aspires through the Arts to show their central philosophy that “Harmony in Diversity Creates a New Energy”

“Ballet Creole, is a vibrant company melding the vocabulary of modern and ballet with exuberant African and Caribbean dance styles.”  Judy Stoffman; The Toronto Star


Described as a company that "makes you sit up and take notice for all the right reasons" (Deirdre Kelly, Globe & Mail), COBA has carved a niche for itself as a performance collective that both educates and entertains.

COBA was founded in 1993 by Junia Mason, Charmaine HeadleyBaKari E. Lindsay (formerly Eddison B. Lindsay) and Mosa Neshama (formerly Kim McNeilly) four Black dancers fired with the raw passion to fill a void on Toronto's arts scene by constructing a platform for dance creations that reflected their physical and social realities.

From the beginning, the quartet championed arts education, working extensively with teachers in Ontario and New York state. In 1994, they launched, in 1994 NIA - Education in Action COBA's first school touring program with an African History theme.

That same year DanceWorks presented COBA's first main stage performance at Festival in the Square, where COBA premiered Portrait. Portrait, a female trio set to the music of Nina Simone, takes a stark look at race, colour and the human condition, along with a suite of West African dances entitled Jambalaya.

Whether it was the "pulsating live drumming" (NOW Magazine) or the powerful social message in Portrait COBA had made its mark. The performance gave audience recognition to the Collective and propelled it on its artistic journey to the present.

Under the leadership of artistic co-founders BaKari E. Lindsay and Charmaine Headley for the past 14 years, the driving force behind the Collective has been the creation and production of works that reflect Africanist social themes and perspectives of movement. Using storytelling, music and drama interwoven with dance, COBA is able to share life wisdom with audiences and future generations.


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Esie Mensah, dancer/choreographer/teacher/model was named 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada in 2017, 2015 recipient of the Cultural Promotion award from the Ghanaian-Canadian Association, 2014 Black Canadian Award Winner for Best Contemporary Dancer. Esie and her company The Black Stars were recently on stage with French Montana on Live with Kelly and Ryan in Niagara Falls. She has worked with some of the industry's biggest icons such as Rihanna, Drake, Janelle Monae, Nelly Furtado, Flo Rida, as well as Coca Cola, Luminato, TIFF, Estée Lauder, FIFA, WE DAY and more. Esie was the co-choreographer for “Panamania" Victory Celebration as apart of the 2015 Pan Am Games entertainment. Choreographer of the CHFI commercial "Mornings are a little different" for the Erin and Darren show. Featured dancer in the 2016 FOX TV remake of Rocky Horror Picture Show “Let’s do the time warp again” featuring Laverne Cox and Adam Lambert directed by Kenny Ortega and Lou Adler. Esie was the movement designer for 1837: Farmer’s Revolt directed by Philip Akin for the 57th season of Shaw Festival. Esie and director Alexis Wood (Vice/CBCArts) shot a short documentary surrounding her recent work, Shades of Blackness. It speaks about the issue of shadeism within the black community and several communities of colour. “Dancing with Shades" aired on "The Exhibitionists” on CBC in February.


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Through their soulful and funky approach to vernacular jazz dance, Holla Jazz presents engaging and entertaining performances, intriguing choreography, and dynamite collaborations.  The Holla Jazz experience is marked by their cool and contemporary way of producing fresh dance works, all while inspiring a lasting love and appreciation for jazz dance and music.

Established in 2016 by Artistic Director Natasha Powell, Holla Jazz was founded as a forum for developing and presenting artists that work and improvise together, to create harmonious and transformative experiences.  Working with both live and recorded music, the company aims to reinvigorate jazz dance and its sister dances as innovative, important, and necessary vehicles for expression.



KasheDance echoes in a new genealogy of Afro contemporary dance grounded in Creation | Research | Presentation. Rooted in the connection of technique, creative exploration / process and performance, KasheDance investigates the space where artistic diversity in technique, form and choreography converse with ballet, modern dance and dances from the Diaspora.

KasheDance’s most recent work, FACING Home: Love and Redemption with co-choreographer Chris Walker has toured the US, Jamaica and was voted Top 10 performance of 2015 in Madison, WS. The company has performed to critical acclaim in Canada, the United States, Jamaica and the UK. It’s Artistic Director Kevin A. Ormsby draws inspiration from collaborations with visual arts, music, spoken word, and video.  

"Walker and Ormsby show what inspiring collaboration can yield, for what began three years ago as separate creative research projects…create scenes, anecdotes, and subversive impressions that vividly demonstrate the seductive power of dance.” [Keith Garebian] 



LUA SHAYENNE DANCE COMPANY presents dance works that explore current subject matters with the aim to be a catalyst of social change and spiritual progress. Choreographer and founder, Lua Shayenne, draws on the aesthetics and values of West African dance and culture and creates dance pieces that seek to upset and challenge multiple conventions and stereotypes. 

LUA SHAYENNE DANCE COMPANY promotes community development as well as cross-cultural exchange and collaboration with national and international artists.

Since its inception in 2011, LSDC has presented five productions including Djaa, the Drought (Arts in the Parks, Toronto - 2016), Hybrid and Woman’s Whisper (CCF Frontenac, Kingston, ON - 2016),, (Harbourfront Centre, Toronto - 2014); Djaa (Festival International Danse Encore, Québec - 2013); Departure 00:00, (Lower Ossington Theatre, Toronto - 2012).

LSDC has also been featured in major venues and festivals such as Fall for Dance North (Sony Centre, 2016), Centre Culturel Français Frontenac (Kingston - 2016/17), Ryerson Parodos Festival (2017), Mayor’s Art Lunch (2017), Intersection Dance (Burlington Performing Arts Centre - 2016), Francofest (Hamilton - 2016), Dusk Dances (Toronto - 2012/14/15), Dancing On the Edge Festival (Vancouver - 2015), Africa Festival of Arts & Culture (Halifax - 2014/15), Dance ON Dance Weekend (Toronto - 2013), Kuumba (Toronto - 2013), Afrofest (Toronto - 2011/14), Irie Festival/Dance Immersion (Toronto - 2011/13/16) and more.



Shameka Blake, is the 2015 Black Canadian Award recipient for Best Urban Dance Act. In 2008, she founded Artists in Motion (AIM), a multi-disciplinary dance company, that bridges cultural and societal gaps by bringing different styles of dance under the same roof. In the last 9 years AIM has attained recognition, winning the NML Best Dance Crew, starring in commercials for Xbox and Much Music, company members performing at the MMVA's (with artists such as Arianna Grande, Lady Gaga, Flo Rida, and Mariana's Trench), choreographing and touring for local and international artists. Shameka's, work has been featured at the APAP Convention in New York City, as well as, Toronto's Fringe, Pride and TIFF Festivals. Furthermore, Shameka was co-choreographer for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games; the Victory Celebration. 

Shameka has produced, directed and choreographed 5 full length productions and is currently remouting her fifth, <ASHES>. She created the dance and arts event "1234", in order to encourage collaboration among fellow artists and explore different avenues of artistic expressionism; a platform for artistic unification across the GTA. 

With a unique style of choreography and creative vision, Shameka Blake is one of the top influential figures in the Toronto dance scene.


Thank you to our generous Funders

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