YENSA Festival is produced and presented by Lua Shayenne Dance Company (LSDC).
YENSA Festival’s mission is to highlight choreographic work by black women choreographers around the globe and the accompanying research/process which lead to developing their creative practices.
YENSA Festival’s driving principles are solidarity, sisterhood and artistic excellence.
To invest in black leadership, knowledge-sharing and in the empowerment of black women dance artists.
To bring awareness and recognition of the broad contribution of black female dance artists and African and Afro-diaspora cultures to our global cultural wealth.
YENSA Festival is committed to the practice of empowerment of black female dance artists and a response to the systemic exclusion of black female dance artists from Canada’s historical record, the denial of their contribution to the arts and the rejection of misogynoir.
YENSA Festival offers to the Canadian public an alternative to what contemporary dance is thought to be and steers away from representing one single Black Canadian cultural identity.
YENSA festival was born out of meaningful exchanges that Lua Shayenne, artistic director of Lua Shayenne Dance Company’s (LSDC) had with leading black female dance practitioners, Esie Mensah, Jaz ‘Fairy J’ Simone, Natasha Powell, Collette Murray, Shameka Blake, in Toronto and its surroundings. These conversations prompted LSDC to take the lead in the development of a biennial New Festival that elevates the voices of Black Women dance practitioners. The need for a festival, formal discussions and networking emerged as an urgent matter and underlined the lack of existing platforms.