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Dance Immersion Presents TRIBUTE: A MOVING HISTORY OF CANADIAN BLACKS IN DANCE, 2/1-2

Vivine Scarlett, Program Director/Founder of dance Immersion, proudly announces the company's eighteenth annual Showcase Presentation, TRIBUTE: A Moving History of Canadian Blacks in Dance. This landmark, multi-media event launches Black History Month with two performances running tonight, February 1 and Saturday, February 2 at 8pm at Fleck Dance Theatre as part of Harbourfront Centre's NextSteps.

TRIBUTE honours nine iconic dance artists from across Canada - pioneers who have enriched the Canadian and global dance ecology: Len Gibson, Dr. Jeni Legon, Dindi Lidge, Zab Maboungou, Paul Pettiford, Kevin Pugh, George Randolph, Jean Sheen and Sharlene Thomas.

TRIBUTE highlights various dance disciplines - from folkloric to traditional to contemporary - and features leading artists and companies performing the work of those honoured: Zab Maboungou's dynamite Compagnie Danse Nyata Nyata perform Montreal by Night. Ronald Taylor and Tamla Matthews direct remounts of works by Jean Sheen (Mood of Zenzi) and Paul Pettiford (Pieces of Paul). Canadian modern dance icon Danny Grossman directs a remount of his piece Inching, a work that Dindi Lidge performed in.

While TRIBUTE offers a theatrical peek into the history and artistry of "Canadian Blacks in Dance," it also highlights how these groundbreakers have inspired a whole new generation of dance artists and movement.

Talented choreographer Kevin Ormsby, Artistic Director of KasheDance, directs the TRIBUTE Crew, an ensemble cast of gifted youth from COBA and the Children and Youth Dance Theatre of Toronto who embody this new generation. The TRIBUTE Crew anchor the evening and appear throughout to weave the various elements of the show together for a fresh and contemporary spin on how traditional forms have steered today's popular culture.

Visionary Len D. Henry is the Creative Director for the evening. Henry has won various awards from BravoFACT!, VideoFACT and the MMVAs and is the founder and a principal at fashcam - a fashion/music new-media Production Company.

dance Immersion is a Toronto-based organization that produces and promotes dancers and dances of the African Diaspora while providing skill development and networking through workshops, youth arts programs, collaborative projects and forums.

Honorees Biographies:

Alberta-born Len Gibson (1926-2008) had a versatile career that spanned over six decades. He choreographed and appeared in Bamboula in 1954, the first musical variety television series produced by the CBC from Vancouver and one of the first programs to feature an interracial cast. During the 1960s, Gibson pursued international opportunities and returned to Canada in the 1970s where he opened his legendary Len Gibson Dance Ensemble in Toronto and touched the lives of many with his passion for artistic excellence.

Chicago-born Dr. Jeni LeGon (1916 -2012) was one of the top tap dancers of the '30s, '40s and '50s. At 16, she was dancing in the Count Basie Orchestra's chorus line and went on to perform with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and Fats Waller, whom she worked with throughout her career. She was the first black woman to sign an extended contract with a Hollywood studio (MGM) and appeared in Hooray for Love, and Birth of the Blues, among others. In 1969, LeGon settled in Vancouver where she taught tap and point.


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by Barnett Serchuk