Vivine Scarlett- Founder/Curator
Vivine is an administrator, choreographer, and instructor, whose artistic goals and aspirations are rooted in the love of dance. She is the Founder and Program Director for dance Immersion, an organization that presents, produces and supports dancers and dances of the African Diaspora while providing a number of diverse programs for children and adults. As former Artistic Director and performing member of the Usafiri Dance & Drum Ensemble, Vivine created and presented works in both traditional influenced African and contemporary African dance styles. Vivine’s contributions to the field of dance are generated from an energy that has fuelled her passion leading her on a journey for over 34 years of giving and serving through the arts.
Drawn to all kinds of dance expressions and movement, Ms. Scarlett’s passion has manifested many experiences that have served Canadian artists of African descent with opportunities that have laid a foundation for continued growth and representation. Vivine is the recipient of the 2011 Planet Africa Heritage Award received for her contributions. In 2008 she received a Chalmers Arts Fellowships to work with youth in Ghana, West Africa. Her choreographic endeavours in the theatre production of "The Adventures of a Black Girl in search of God" won her a Dora Mavor Moore award in 2002 and her work in "The Freedom of dreams: The Story of Nelson Mandela" received a Dora nomination in 2003. Ms. Scarlett is the 2005 K.M. Hunter Dance Artist award winner and has taught for numerous institutions and organizations throughout Canada. She continues her creative explorations as a freelance choreographer.
Cassandra Belafonte - Program Director
Cassandra is a graduate of the Corporate Media Production Program and has a certificate in the Digital Media arts Program at Seneca @York University. Cassandra processes a keen eye for detail, is a strategic thinker, and has a passion for art, writing, and communication. She transitioned from Program Manager to Program Director of dance Immersion after mentorship with the organization where she provided administrative support in the Arts, working alongside the Curator to coordinate strategy development and implementation. Her passion is to grow the Canadian dance ecology providing support, contributing to the longevity of artists and company's artistic endeavours. She has travelled nationally and internationally connecting with organizations/artists who share her passion for maturing the dance milieu.
Shaleeka Scarlett - Events Administrator/YAP Coordinator
Shaleeka is a graduate of George Brown College’s Commercial Dance Studies Program where she was trained in acting, vocal, ballet, jazz, hip hop and musical theatre. Shaleeka started dancing when she was four years old; she started with some ballet but mostly West African. In 2001 she studied with Les Ballet Africans in Guinea, West Africa. She is a founding member of the youth dance and drum ensemble NGOMA. She has been taught by many mentors such as Ronald K Brown, Eleo Pomare, Cleo Parker Robinson, M’Bemba Bangoura, and Chuck Davis. In 2006 Shaleeka, along with NGOMA dance and drum ensemble, performed at the Emancipation Day Celebration in Ghana, West Africa. In 2008 Shaleeka was a performer in the South African Musical Production, Amakhosi: Kings of Africa. Shaleeka will be travelled to Denver, Colorado, to Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble Summer Intensive Program in 2011. She is now taking on the administrative side of the arts as Events Administrator and Youth Arts Coordinator for dance Immersion.
Ellie Govinden - Program Manager
Ellie Govinden recently completed her MA in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University. She spent three years living in the United Kingdom where she completed her undergraduate degree in English and Drama at Queen Mary, University of London. Her academic research explores burlesque and the history of black female bodily display in a variety of artistic mediums. She is particularly interested in how black female bodies can attain agency and emancipation through the practice of theatre and dance. Outside of her work as dance Immersion's program manager, Miss Govinden is a performance art practitioner whose artistic work intertwines with her scholarly research. In 2017 she performed a collaborative work with director Christine Rankin at Ryerson and York's Intersections Cross-sections conference entitled Breakfast At Timmies which interrogated representations of Canadian nationalism and how these representations intersect with Canadian representations of race.