Safe in Public Space: To Be Safe in our Skin (Livestream)
November 29 @ 2:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Concept and Direction: Karen Kaeja
Performer Collaborators: Irma Villafuerte, Nickeshia Garrick, Karen Kaeja
Livestream Direction Cinematographer: Allen Kaeja
Produced by: The Bentway and Kaeja d’Dance
Duration: 15 minutes
PLEASE NOTE: In order to keep our community safe and ensure public health regulations are being met, we ask that you tune into the livestream performance on Facebook in lieu of visiting the site in person.
We find one another in the wake of this pandemic in an unspoken dialogue of touch – our skin – tone, texture and colour, grazing and juxtaposed against The Bentway’s architectural landscape of concrete, corten steel, wood and earth. Our gathering is proof that we were there, together, making visible the connection that becomes invisible when we are gone. This ephemerality will live in the digital capture.
As a responsive creator investigating the power of Touch, choreographer Karen Kaeja is curious about what we can touch and cannot touch, and what is seen and unseen in public territory. In a raw live-stream performance that is intimate and up close, the presence and harmony of three womxn of different identities address public safety.
Karen Kaeja (Concept, Director, Performer)
Karen Kaeja is an award-winning performer, choreographer, mentor, community builder and project instigator whose work interrogates relational feminine perspectives. “The mastermind behind Porch View Dances” Toronto Star, she develops performance platforms provoking collaborative relationships between dancers, everyday people and the body. Co-Artistic Director of Kaeja d’Dance with Allen Kaeja, her awards include the 2019 Dance Ontario Lifetime Achievement Award, the CDA “I Love Dance” Community Award and the Paul D. Fleck Fellowship for Innovation (Banff). She was a finalist for the 2020 TAF Celebration of Cultural Life Award and the 2017 TAF Muriel Sherrin Award for International achievement. Karen has 7 Dora Mavor Moore nominations, including 4 for Crave (winning outstanding male). “When she dances, her reserve turns into something almost violently intense.” Globe and Mail. Karen is distinguished in The Canadian Who’s Who, and has been nominated for the CDA Innovation Award, NOW’s Best Local Choreographer and twice nominated for NOW’s Best Dance Company. Screened in over 400 festivals worldwide, her choreography and performances have appeared in TV documentary’s, including the Gemini nominated Old Country and Bravo! Freedom documentary series, XTOD: Moments in Real Time and is featured in 20 films for CBC, BRAVO! and Bravo!FACT, garnering international awards. Commissioned and presented by dancers and performance series around the world, including the recent NAC #CanadaPerforms of Fallow, she has created over 70 dance works and continues to dramaturg and perform for many of Canada’s brilliant choreographers. Karen was Stratford Festival’s first movement dramaturg for Wendy and Peter Pan (suspended due to COVID).
Allen Kaeja (Videographer)
Allen Kaeja is an internationally recognized and award-winning Choreographer and Dance Film Director, who has created over 180 stage works and choreographed for 28 films. Allen is Co-Artistic Director of Kaeja d’Dance with Karen Kaeja. His stage and film works have been featured in commercials, films and festivals around the world. He has received numerous national and international commissions, teaches Kaeja Elevations and Dance Film master classes worldwide. Allen co-developed many site-specific and audience interactive engagement performance strategies with Karen over the past 30 years. Allen and Karen recently completed performing/teaching in Japan, Singapore, China, Israel, across Canada, Mexico, USA and the UK. Allen was very excited creating with Director Keira Loughran, choreographing Wendy and Peter Pan until COVID closed Stratford Festival. Allen and Karen are creating for their upcoming 30th anniversary next year and have recently received the Dance Ontario Lifetime Achievement Award and are FINALISTS for the Toronto Arts Foundations-2020 Celebration of Cultural Life Award.
Nickeshia Garrick (Performer, Collaborator)
Nickeshia Garrick was born in Toronto, Ontario and has been performing for over 25 years. She is unapologetically a Black, Queer Artist, who believes in the healing power of breath through raw emotion and movement. Nickeshia has received the privilege of performing in pieces by COBA, TDT, Jaberi Dance Theatre, Kaeja d’ Dance, Serge Bennathan, James Kudelka, and the Newton Moraes Dance Theatre, just to mention a few. Nickeshia has performed the Canadian National Anthem at the Rogers Centre, was a commissioned artist for the 2010 Winter Olympics (Vancouver) as part of the Push International Performing Arts Festival, has made appearances in various art installations and shows for Scotiabank’s Nuit Blanche (Toronto) and Fringe Festival (Toronto), and was invited to perform at the Nafro Festival (Winnipeg) as a soloist and part of a trio. Furthermore, Nickeshia is a 2018 Dora Mavor Moore winner for Best Ensemble in ‘Pool (no water)’, has performed in the multiple Dora Mavor Moore nominated, No Womans Land created by Roshanak Jaberi and mentored by Karen Kaeja, along with her 2019 Luminato debut as a soloist and cast member in Obeah Opera by Nicole Brooks. She is currently working on the second iteration of her solo show, ‘To All My Past, Present, and Future Lovers…I’m Sorry’, which debuted in February 2020 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre as part of the Rhubarb Festival, and Fempocalypse with Nightwood Theatre.
Irma Villafuerte (Performer, Collaborator)
Irma Villafuerte is a Salvadorian-Canadian dance artist in Tkaronto. Graduate of George Brown Dance; her training extends to Latin American, Caribbean and Cuban Contemporary technique. She’s performed in Rhubarb Festival, DanceWeekend Ontario, Aluna Theatre’s RUTAS and Caminos Festival, Panamania 2015 at Nathan Phillips Square, La 12 Bienal de la Habana 2015 for (IN)DISCIPLINAS, Vanguardia Dance Projects Festival, International Dance Meeting by Danza Libre in Guantanamo, Cuba, CounterPulse Performing Diaspora in San Francisco, Mayworks Festival for Working People, etc. With the honour to be part of works by Jaberi Dance Theatre, Kahawi Dance Theatre, Alejandro Ronceria, Victoria Mata, Kaeja D’dance, Derek Sangster, Arsenio Andrade, Sharon B. Moore, Darryl Tracy, Malgorzata Nowacka, Jose Angel Carret. Since 2016, she has engaged in developing her choreographic practice, through residencies with Dancemakers, Toronto Dance Theatre and George Brown Dance Ensemble. She currently is on the faculty at Casa Maiz’ Semillas Maiz summer camp for Latin American children and Randolph College for the Performing Arts.
Feature photo by Drew Barry