The Gathering: Staging Change, A Conversation on Diversity in Dance – May 28

The Gathering 
Celebrating 10 years of showcasing, convening and support  for equity and pluralism in the Arts

Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) celebrates 10 years of working with providing services to and facilitating learning forums for artists and arts organizations in equity, diversity, inclusivity and pluralism. Through centering their work around empowering the arts communities of Ontario with a focus on galvanizing opportunities for Indigenous and racialized professionals and organizations, CPAMO will convene the arts community around a  four day event, The Gathering: Celebrating 10 years of showcasing, convening and supporting equity and pluralism in the Arts. For more information about all four-day click here!.

The Gathering: Staging Change, A Conversation on Diversity in Dance
In collaboration with Diverse Dance Initiative
Tuesday, May 28, 2019 | 3-6pm | Please note time change – this session starts at 3pm.

Aki Studio Theatre
585 Dundas Street East, Toronto, ON M5A 2B7
Panel General Admission:  $10 – Register on Native Earth’s Box office.

What does diversity mean to you? What are some misconceptions about diversity? How do we deepen our understanding of viewership? What are some of the politics around creating as a IPOC artist?  Why is this conversation still relevant? What are some of the circumstances that continue to fuel the divide in the contemporary dance community in Toronto? Panelists will speak about their various artistic practices and address the continued barriers faced by IPOC artists in Toronto. We aim to put forward some approaches explored by the Diversity Dance Initiative to combat these systematic challenges.

Participants: Kevin A. Ormsby, KasheDance – Moderator | Roshanak Jaberi | Sashar Zarif, Sashar Zarif Dance | Laurence Lemieux, Citadel | Nova Bhattacharya, NovaDance | Carmen Romero, Compania Carmen Romero | Robert Sauvey, Dance Umbrella of Ontario. Performance by Ronald Taylor Dance.


Kevin A. Ormsby. Program Manager of Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO), Kevin is also the Artistic Director of KasheDance, movement coach and Arts Marketing Consultant. The Ontario Arts Council’s Chalmers Fellowship recipient (2017), KM Hunter Dance Award Nominee (2016), Toronto Arts Council’s Cultural Leaders Lab Fellow (2015) and The Canada Council for the Arts’ Victor Martyn Lynch – Staunton Award 2014 recipient for outstanding achievement by a mid career artist, he has many interests in the creative practice and administration in dance. He has honed his passion for dance, advocacy, writing and education while performing with various companies and projects in Canada, the Caribbean and the United States.

Kevin is an adjunct artist with the Dance Exchange (Washington D.C), was a company member of Garth Fagan Dance (NY), Ballet Creole’s Assistant to the Artistic Director and Marketing / Outreach Coordinator, and performed in works by Gerry Trentham. Wind in the Leaves Collective, Marie Josee Chartier, Allison Cummings, Ron K. Brown, Menaka Thakkur, Mark Morris and Bill T. Jones. He sat on the Toronto Arts Council’s Dance Committee (2012-2015), the Community Arts Programs Committee (2009 -2012) and is a Board Member at Prologue to the Performing Arts, Nia Arts Center and is Co-Vice President, Chair of the Dance Companies National Standing Council and the Pluralism Advisory Committee at Canadian Dance Assembly.

Roshanak Jaberi is an Iranian-Canadian performer, choreographer, producer, and the Artistic Director of Jaberi Dance Theatre (JDT). She creates inter-disciplinary work that focuses on the intersection of art and social justice. Jaberi has a research informed artistic practice that values collaboration, community, experimentation, risk-taking and knowledge sharing. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from York University and has presented her work in Canada, US, and Europe.

Jaberi currently serves on the Toronto Arts Council Dance Committee (TAC) and the board of directors of the Dance Umbrella of Ontario (DUO), and is the resident artist with the project Political Prisoners: The Art of Resistance. Past highlights include: Associate Producer of Expect Theatre, member of the Canadian Dance Assembly Pluralism Committee, Juror for the Dora Mavoor Awards, guest lecturer at the University of Toronto, finalist in the Soulpepper Theatre Dance Awards (Community Arts), and co-host of Evi-Dance Radio.

Sashar Zarif is a multi-disciplinary artist, educator and researcher whose practice invites a convergence of creative and cultural perspectives, steeped in traditional, ritualistic, and contemporary dance and music of Western/Central Asia. He has toured in over 36 countries promoting cultural dialogue through fieldwork, residencies, performances, and creative collaborations.

Zarif holds a Master of Dance Degree from York University, where he also directed courses in dance and performance studies from 2004 to 2012. He has been awarded the title of Master of Dance, as an honorary faculty member of Uzbekistan State Institute of Choreography. In 2012, Zarif received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Laurence Lemieux is a choreographer, performer, presenter, teacher and artistic director of Citadel + Compagnie. Born in Québec City in 1964, Lemieux trained as a gymnast before approaching dance. She began studying ballet in 1979 and demonstrated such promise that one year later, Ludmilla Chiriaeff, founder of Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, invited her to continue her dance education at the company’s school in Montreal, where she progressed quickly under the tutelage of Ballet Master Daniel Seillier. During a summer workshop run by the Banff Centre, Lemieux met choreographer David Earle, who was working on his masterpiece, Sacra Conversazione. Under Earle’s instruction, she began learning Graham technique, an approach well suited to the young dancer, and in 1984 she followed Earle to Toronto to study with Toronto Dance Theatre (TDT). She joined the company in 1986, dancing for founders Earle, Peter Randazzo and Patricia Beatty, and later for Christopher House. Her 1998 performance in House’s Cryptoversa earned Lemieux the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best Performance in Dance.

Nova Bhattacharya studied bharatnatyam technique in Toronto with Menaka Thakkar. An eloquent performer, she is described by the press as “sly and dreamily contemplative” (Now Magazine), a “contained goddess” (Globe & Mail), and a “mischievous visitor from another world…” (Märksiche Allemeine). Her choreographic language offers poetic, metaphoric, and mythic exaltations of the human spirit. She has created works for the Canada Dance Festival, Dancemakers, Tarragon Theatre, Toronto Dance Theatre, and others. The desire to integrate her practice into contemporary Canadian cultural expression, continues to take her along an exhilarating path of exploration and collaboration with a wide range of artists, including Peggy Baker, Dana Gingras, Ed Hanley, Mika Kurosawa, Marc Parent, and José Navas.In 2012 she received the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award for artistic achievement in dance, and in 2016, the Summerworks’ Outstanding Direction Award. The jury citation lauded her “radical work that pulls apart notions of power, tradition, and ritual, puncturing exoticism and querying the contemporary.”

Compañía Carmen Romero is Canada’s most provocative flamenco collective. In their twenty-six years-plus in operation they have developed a rich and original aesthetic that employs flamenco as a language of expression and not as a cultural art form to solely preserve the traditional and historical origins. They invite curiosity, challenge and risk into the process as the genesis to their creations. Compañía Carmen Romero is described as a company that “conveys old traditions to the modern world articulating the primal essence of flamenco.” June Heywood, Caravan World Rhythms.  Compañía CarmenRomero breaks the glass ceiling and lets flamenco tell the story, express the idea and open the creative door for all to enter and explore.

Compañía Carmen Romero is based out of Toronto, Canada. Originally founded in 1986 by Carmen Romero as artistic director to Candela Flamenca. Carmen Romero is of Spanish heritage and immigrated to Canada in 1971. It is remarkable that she has developed a collective of Canadian dancers and musicians that perform in prestigious events and stages in Europe the United States and Asia.  “The exclusive focus and depth of Romero’s commitment to the art of flamenco is not just understandable given her family heritage, but somehow fitting and more authentic.  She truly belongs to the history of flamenco in a way not easily achieved.” Dance International.

The collective produced five full-length theatrical flamenco productions: El Embrujo (The Bewitched) (1993), Flamenco Ayer y Hoy (Flamenco Yesterday and Today (1997) Carmen Complex (2003). Flamenco de Ayer y Hoy premiered through Dance Works at the DuMaurier Theatre Centre, Toronto, then toured Canada the United States parts of Europe and Asia until 2002. Y entonces….. toured through Canada in 2014. The collectives latest dance drama JACINTO, world premier 2017 won a Dora Award for best sound composition for dance.

The collective also creates smaller works such as Luna Llena (Full Moon) that competed in the 9th annual Certamen de Coreografía de Danza Española y Flamenco (2000) at the prestigious Teatro Albeniz in Madrid, Spain. As well as May I join you? In 2014 at the International Festival de Castanuelas in Girona, Spain. UNO DOS y TRES toured with Dusk Dances in 2018. Compañía Carmen Romero has also created choreography and music for films such as: El Cambio by Dan Eisen,  Sombra by Bravo Fact, CARMEN by Paola Marino Films and Flamenco by Gloria Kim.

Compañía, Carmen Romero is very grateful for the creative financial support from the Canada Council for the arts, The Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council as well as public funding initiatives and private supporters.

Compañía Carmen Romero established The School of Flamenco Dance Arts, that offers training in flamenco dance, music, choreographic development and professional coaching. In 2010 Carmen Romero coached latin pop star Shakira for her song Gitana featured during her world tour “Sale el Sol.” Whether it be for recreation or profession, Carmen Romero invests her energy in finding people’s strengths and gives them the tools to train their mind and body. Compañía Carmen Romero’s moto “Discover your passion!  Invites you to explore through the power and artistry of flamenco.

Robert Sauvey has an extensive background in arts and cultural leadership positions and is currently the Executive Director of the Dance Umbrella of Ontario. Before joining DUO he was the Executive Director of Dancemakers, the second oldest contemporary dance company in Ontario, recently celebrating their 40th anniversary. At Dancemakers Robert successfully developed and implemented a new curator led operating model to position the organization for the future. His experience in dance also includes over five years as the Director of Touring and Artistic Administration for Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

His diverse cultural background includes leadership positions at Groundswell, Manitoba’s longest running new music series, The National Screen Institute, where he managed creative film and television training initiatives and working as the Head of Distribution for Video Pool Media Arts Centre, a non-profit, artist-run centre dedicated to the creation, exhibition and promotion of independent media art. He has curated exhibitions for galleries, sat on National arts juries and has been a board member for arts organizations.

His background also includes considerable experience in film and television working as the Manager of Development for a well established film and television company, and running his own independent company developing and producing projects and winning a Canadian Screen award for best-produced documentary.

Performance by:
Ronald A. Taylor is the Artistic Director of the Toronto-based company Ronald Taylor Dance founded in 1993.

After leaving his Trinidad/Tobago in 1986, home to the renowned Astor Johnson Repertory Dance Theatre and Taylor’s mentor/teacher, Ronald moved swiftly to pursue his dream and enrolled in the Juilliard School Dance division in New York.

His stay with Dance Theatre of Harlem afforded him two prestigious awards, the DTH Scholarship Award and the Maxwell and Muriel Bluck Scholarship Award. Taylor’s move to Canada in the early ’90’s and eventual MFA from York University, catapulted him to a “leading force in dance”.

Over the course of many years, Ronald Taylor Dance has premiered many thought-provoking productions. Ronald’s upcoming presentation of PSYCHOSIS will be shown in June 2019 and also in October. Remaining true to his Caribbean roots, his cutting edge work fuses Modern with Folk and traditional Ballet, in a distinctive style which Taylor best describes as Contemporary Caribbean.

The Gathering on May, 21 and May 27-29 is in collaboration with:


Accessibility: Aki Studio Theatre, CSI and Regent Park Film Festival are accessible. Nia Centre for the Arts is partially accessible.

We aim to host a fragrance-free event. Please do not wear perfume, cologne, or other scented products.