BLACK FLAMES PERFORMANCES

BLACK FLAMES
Friday AUG 23 & Saturday AUG 24
8:00 PM
Betty Oliphant Theatre

YENSA Festival’s BLACK FLAMES features two days of electrifying performances.
In its second edition, the festival proudly hosts audacious black women choreographers who fearlessly experiment, reimagine, and disrupt conventional dance norms. 

Hip hop embraces technology through tangible wire and steel objects, sparking thought-provoking inquiries.
Tradition dances hand in hand with contemporary influences, unveiling new perspectives that invite us to immerse ourselves in the vibrant rhythms, lush culture, and sacred practices of Haiti. Blazing trails, a new generation of choreographers embarks on a journey of self-exploration, delving into profound questions that ignite their artistic practice.
Be ready to be set aflame!
 

Artists

Sezam website dance

SEZAM

Dancers: Aurélie Ann Figaro, Coralie Millet, Mya Métellus, Anais Gilles

Sezam is a reflection on human experiences, and on the desire to move towards oneself and towards others. An invitation to open doors, this work delves into the wisdom of water and examines the transformative phases of life.

Sezam immerses us in a choreographic universe inspired by ancestral Haitian dances, challenging us to change our perspectives. It is a deliberate leap into wonder and a commitment to human kindness.

sherane head

CIE OREDANS ( Montréal)

SHÉRANE FIGARO – Choreographer

Shérane Figaro is a dancer, choreographer and teacher based in Laval (Canada). After more than 20 years evolving as a dancer, Shérane founded her dance company Oredans in 2009. She works with different groups of dancers, teaching them the basics of traditional Haitian dances. Through the ESANS method that she has designed, Shérane wants to deepen what defines the gestures of traditional Haitian dances. As a choreographer, she is interested in different themes related to social issues, history and spirituality. For Shérane, tradition is a thread that keeps alive the dialogue between generations. In her creative process and her choreographic works, one can observe the connection between tradition and contemporaneity. Shérane was nominated in 2021 for the CALQ prize: Artist of the Year, in Laval. She is also a professional member of the Regroupement québécois de la danse (RQD), and of Culture Laval.

ithandi munro-website

FREEFORM

“As a choreographer, mover, and metalsmith, I combine mediums to create expansive landscapes of thought.”

Freeform explores the tension between movement and restriction, examining how we navigate confined spaces and find freedom within set parameters. This piece reflects I’thandi Munro’s reality as a racialized person in a post-colonial society, where movement has been a healing source for the bonds placed upon our communities.

Using wire structures, Munro creates an improvisational dance that embodies our histories, traumas, and bounded lifestyles. Through this performance, Munro aims to transform constraints into new paths forward, finding beauty and liberation within and beyond the limits.

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I’THANDI MUNRO (Halifax)

Choreographer & Dancer

I’thandi Munro is a mixed Afro-Euro L’nu Professional performance and Visual artist living in K’jipuktuk, Miꞌkmaꞌki, the unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People. As a racialized person living in a postcolonial environment, Munro uses the representation of line and of lineage as the underlying concepts through her fine art, craft, and dance. Often merging mediums into finished pieces there is always a sense of multiness within her work. Melding notions of the digital within her craft Munro continuously seeks to learn new ways of making. They leave space for her pieces to naturally evolve through reaction and discussion. This creates an ever changing flux body of work that can be continued, explored, and realized in many different ways. Munro is a parent of two young children, which often influences their work and is at the core of their creativity.

Rosie-dance pic website

THE FALL INTO FLOW

The Fall Into Flow is a journey into the depths of self discovery. Into the place where questions to self go unanswered and the discomfort of unclarity asks us to seek new pathways from within. It is movement exploration that embodies the ebbs and flows of learning to trust your intuition and the universe. 

 

Rosie Harbans bio pic

ROSIE HARBANS (Toronto)

Choreographer & Dancer

Rose-Mary “Rosie” Harbans (she/her) is a multifaceted performer, choreographer, and dance educator from Toronto, Ontario. She is a Dora nominated artist whose artistic practice centres art as a vessel for inner transformation and movement as a powerful form of medicine and healing. Rosie is of Caribbean ancestry, and this greatly informs her passion for rhythm and storytelling. She is a graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University (BFA). Some of her credits include, Dixon Road (Musical Stage Co./ Ray Hogg), A Revolution for Love (Esie Mensah), Kira, The Path | La Voie (Lua Shayenne Dance Company), After Midnight (Norwegian Cruise Lines/ Warren Carlyle), and Trinity: Music, Dance & You (Vicki St. Denys). She is currently a teacher at Etobicoke School of the Arts and Canada’s National Ballet School. She is excited to continue expanding and growing within her artistic practice and beyond.

Olivia dance web

FEMININE

Feminine explores the exclusionary boundaries surrounding femininity in the Western context. This piece reflects an understanding that femininity within certain spaces and communities often fails to recognize the qualities of Black female beauty as feminine. This solo work demonstrates the duality of Black women, portraying them as beings who possess not only power and strength but also elegance and gentleness.

 

Olivia website heads

OLIVIA OKONKWO (Toronto)

Choreographer & Dancer

Olivia Okonkwo (she/her) is a biracial Nigerian-Canadian multidisciplinary artist, with a creative practice based in dance creation, performance and choreography. Originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Olivia currently resides in Toronto, Ontario. Graduating from Toronto Metropolitan University’s (formerly Ryerson) BFA Performance Dance program in 2024, Olivia has trained in various dance disciplines under the direction of Tanya Evidente, Vicki St.Denys, Louis Laberge-Côté, and other renowned dance educators. She has performed in both stage and film works by Robert Glumbek and Roberto Campanella (ProArteDanza), Kaitlyn Seibold, Vicki St. Denys, Guillaume Côté (Côté Danse), and several others. In recognition of her artistry, versatility, technical proficiency, diligence, and collaborative spirit, Olivia was a recipient of the Karen Green in Memoriam Scholarship at the ProArteDanza 2023 Summer Intensive Program. As an emerging choreographer, Olivia’s works have been debuted with Fall for Dance North and TO Live’s: Innovative Ballet Theatre. Olivia’s passion for dance and movement is a driving force, allowing her to further develop her artistry as a mover, performer and a creator.