Dance Ontario Announces 2018/19 Creative Partnerships

Jul. 03, 2018

Dance Ontario's Commissioning Committee
(Jesse Dell, Tina Nicolaidis, Lola Ryan, Jennifer Watkins) has selected Makeda Benitez and Decades Collective as recipients of the Dance Ontario Creative Partnerships for 2018/19. These unique artists will present world premieres at DanceWeekend at the Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront January 26 and 27, 2019.

Makeda Estrella Benitez (above) will collaborate with Bahram Aghakhan and Persamenco, a Toronto-based Persian-derived musical ensemble for Dentro, taken from flamenco's inward turn of the hands, a gesture of welcoming and drawing in.  In this dance, they welcome each other's creative voices as fellow travelers and invite audiences to step inside the work to feel the power of duende, the flamenco spirit.

The recipient of the 2014 Dance Ontario Youth Dance Award, Makeda Benitez graduated from the Academy of Spanish Dance, Toronto and has since completed Advanced studies in Seville, Spain at the Fundacion de Flamenco Cristina Heeren. Makeda has been performing at various festivals with Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company as well as in Seville.
Decades Collective instigated by Sashar Zarif and Maxine Heppner will include six dance artists and two facilitators/dramaturge from eight heritages spanning generations from ages 20's-70's.

Mi Young Kim: Korean traditional and shamanic dances

Maxine Heppner: Contemporary from Balkan & East Asian sources
Sashar Zarif: Contemporary and traditional dance rooted in Central and Western Asia (including Iran & Azerbaijan)

Mafa Makhubalo: South African
Jennifer Dallas: Clown and contemporary
Atri Nundry: Bharatnatyam & Bengali folkloric

Jill Carter: Anishnawbee-Ashkenaz: theatre artist & activist
Jani Lauzon: Metis, accomplished in theatre & puppetry

The collective work proposed aims to take diversity to another level, co-creating on important issues that all face in Toronto and in Ontario precisely because of, and through our plural backgrounds, dance forms and generations. The planned work will be the outcome of a two-month process in which they will investigate their artistry focusing on "land", "home", "belonging" to make a collective creation.
  We look forward to both of these exciting and timely collaborations which be a true reflection of our province and its artists.