Pratibha Arts’ Diversity Dance Initiative
Written by Bageshree Vaze, Artistic Director
In 2018, Pratibha Arts launched the Diversity Dance Initiative (DDI), a collaboration and support system between culturally-diverse dance artists to address challenges in the dance sector preventing the growth of their companies, and to make visible styles that reflect the diverse demographics of Canadian dance.
“Styles like Bharatha Natyam and Flamenco are so widely practiced and popular, and have been just as much part of the Canadian dance fabric for decades, and yet they continue to be programmed as ‘sideshow’ events or as part of ‘ethnic’ programming in mainstream dance festivals,” says Bageshree Vaze, Pratibha Arts’ Artistic Director. “Given the political events of 2020 and the calls for racial reckoning, DDI’s mission is to ensure our stages and curriculum are reflective of the cultural diversity of Canada in a post-pandemic reality.”
DDI artists have conducted outreach workshops at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and in 2021 are performing and teaching workshops as part of the Toronto Public Library’s Artists in the Library program. DDI artists include Carmen Romero, Esie Mensah, Christine Friday and Emilie Andree-Jabouin. Pratibha Arts is also currently programming DDI ‘Presenter Education/Outreach’ workshops in association with the CanDance Network and Made in BC- Dance on Tour; the next virtual session takes place on June 9, 2021.