From October 27 – 29, Ballet Creole will present Naningo Calling at the Sandra Faire and Ivan Fecan Theatre. This performance will feature the choreography of Arsenio Andrade, a professor in the creative arts department at Toronto Metropolitan University, and Patrick Parson, Ballet Creole’s artistic director and York dance faculty.
Parson explains that this production celebrates over 30 years of Ballet Creole. “We decided to bring our artistic activities to York because of the environment and community,” he says.
Ballet Creole is known as one of the first professional black dance companies in Canada, with a focus on presenting African and Caribbean-centred dance programming for performance and communities.
“To be part of this performance is an honour and it allows me to convey my appreciation for this company through the various pieces,” shares Taelor Coleman, York dance alumna and Naningo Calling dancer. “The biggest challenge was re-training my body to endure the pieces I’m in and build my stamina. Nonetheless, the successes to highlight was being able to immerse myself into the dances and become one with the movement and music to tell a story.”
Naningo Calling is about a gathering of people and cultures found within the African diaspora, and a celebration of what brings people together. Parson explains that his three pieces carry very powerful messages, exploring themes of gender and expression, dance and bodies through a cultural lens, and the pandemic, focusing on the racial and social injustices that occurred around this time.
Martina Levi, York dance alumna and Naningo Calling dancer, explains that while the creative process has been demanding, it is equally as rewarding to explore rich themes, including love, entanglement, healing, and restorative justice.
“I believe that through this performance, we are not only celebrating Ballet Creole’s 30+ years of legacy but also spreading messages of unity, inspiration, and hope. It’s a privilege to be a part of something so meaningful and transformative,” adds Levi.
For Chelcia Creary, a Naningo Calling dancer, explains that dancing in this piece represents “the total and complete embodiment of dance, where the dancer is in accordance with the spirit of dance or the dancing spirit, so much so that it takes over and radiates throughout the audience.”
Along with four live performances on campus, Naningo Calling will also be presented on a livestream on Saturday, October 28 at 7:30 p.m.
To learn more about this performance and to find tickets, click here.