Patrick Parson - Dunham Technique
A native of Trinidad and Tobago, has been a dancer and musician from the age of 10. He continues to draw much of his artistic inspiration from the vibrant multicultural community that makes up the Caribbean. Patrick spent his early years singing in choirs, composing and singing calypsos, playing with steel orchestras, dancing and drumming with community folk groups, and studying ballet and modern dance at the Caribbean School of Dance and the Dance Academy of Trinidad and Tobago. He was trained in the dance and drumming styles of Guinea and Senegal by Mor Thiam, the Artist Director of Les Ballets Africains, and in Canada graduated from The School of Toronto Dance Theatre.
Patrick's founding of Ballet Creole in 1990 brought Black Dance to mainstream Canadian stages, establishing the Company as the forerunner of Black Dance in Canada. Patrick is the recipient of the Entrepreneurial Award of Merit from the African Caribbean Chamber of Commerce, and the New Pioneers Award from Skills for Change, for his pioneering work in the world of dance in Canada. He has served as cultural adviser to the Toronto Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts, Metro Cultural Affairs, Ontario Arts Council, Harbourfront Centre, Laidlaw Foundation, and the Arts Advantage Program at Downsview Secondary School.
Patrick holds a Masters Degree in Dance Ethnology from York University where he has been a course director in the Faculties of Fine Arts and Kinesiology. He regularly conducts workshops and lecture demonstrations for universities and schools in Ontario. Through extensive studies at the Katherine Dunham Institute for Humanities, Patrick has been awarded certification as a teacher of the Dunham Technique, which he teaches in Canada where it is little known and practiced.
Helen Jones - Graham Technique
Helen Jones first studied ballet in her native Wales and was accepted to London's Royal Ballet School at the age of ten. As a young professional dancer in London, she performed with emerging British choreographers including Richard Alston, and also worked in experimental theatre. She trained with American dancer/choreographer Robert Cohan at the newly formed London Contemporary Dance Theatre and in 1970 was invited to join Canada's foremost modern company, Toronto Dance Theatre, directed by choreographers Patricia Beatty, David Earle, and Peter Randazzo. She became a featured artist with TDT, performing across Canada, the USA and Europe.
Helen Jones went on to dance as a soloist in the company of Canadian choreographer Robert Desrosiers, performed in works for television, film and stage, and collaborated with performance artists including Elizabeth Chitty and Margaret Dragu. Internationally, she danced as a guest artist with companies and choreographers in Brussels, Rome and New York. As a member of the Martha Graham Dance Company, she appeared on Broadway and at the Metropolitan Opera House, and toured extensively. Her recent performances in Ontario include choreography by Peggy Baker, David Earle and Terrill Maguire.Helen Jones holds a Diploma in Adult Training and Development from the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education. Recent professional development studies include pedagogy at the National Ballet School of Canada, workshops with Stephanie Skura (Skinner Releasing) and Irene Dowd (functional anatomy for dance).
Helen Jones has taught at the Martha Graham Center for Contemporary Dance and at schools and universities in the USA, Europe and Canada. As well as York University, she currently teaches at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre, Dancetheatre David Earle and Ballet Creole, and is a visiting artist at the Claude Watson High School for the Arts in Toronto. She also runs a dance program for children and adults in rural Grey County.
Debbie Wilson - Horton and Ballet Technique
Choreographer Debbie Wilson is the Artistic Director and Founder of OMO Dance Company for which she has created a repertoire of critically acclaimed productions, including Aphrodite Unveiled, Raphael is whispering and Homo Office Sapiensis that in 2002 received a Dora Mavor Moore nomination for "Outstanding New Choreography". Through her international collaborative works like Planetarium (with Macedonia) and Diary of an Exile (with Trinidad and Tobago) she has introduced outstanding foreign artists in dance, music and art to Toronto while representing Toronto and Canada on the world stage. In October 2005, Wilson was honored to be invited to present Planetarium at the United Nations' Assembly Hall in Geneva, Switzerland for one of the events celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations.
Wilson is a dance and social activist who believes in using her art to forge ties between people and cultures through long-term projects that foster greater understanding between the participants. Her choreographic themes reflect our current social environment and provide insights to the beauty and truth of the human condition that audiences have found moving, relevant, accessible and most of all, powerful. Wilson has established links with and she continues to work with an expanding list of local and international community social groups that provide aid in the health and social sectors. For the past six years, she was a Board Member of the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation, serving on the Fundraising, Communications, Strategic Planning and Bike Rally Committees.
Wilson began her professional career with the Cincinnati Ballet Company at the age of 12 where she was promoted to soloist and rehearsal assistant. She has worked as dancer/rehearsal mistress for The American Dance Machine, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal, Howard Richard & Dancers and Ballet Jorgen. She has also worked for the Judith Marcuse Repertory Dance Company, the Randy Glynn Dance Project as well as many independent choreographers across Canada and the US.
Ms. Wilson's rich background as dancer, teacher and rehearsal director reflects a lifetime of work with some to the greatest artists of our time, a lifetime reflected in her resonant choreographic voice.
Jose Angel Carret Morejon - Cuban Contemporary
Dancer, Teacher, Choreographer and Artistic Director (CUBA), Guest Artist, CUBA
Jose (known as Carret) began his studies in the Matanzas province in Cuba. In 1989 he graduated from the Instituto de Arte and worked as a modern dance professor until 1991. From 1992 until 2000 he was principal dancer and choreographer with “Danza Espiral”. He toured to Spain and the Caribbean with this company. He received many important national awards as a dancer and choreographer and continued to choreograph for many other companies across Cuba, as well as for the student’s of Matanzas Provincial and National Ballet School for their international competitions. These students are presently working at the National Ballet of Cuba. He received several medals from Asociacion Hermanos Saiz as an honourable member for the 20th anniversary of the AHS.
In 2005, Jose Carret toured Canada as a guest dancer for Decidedly Jazz Danceworks from Calgary, AB. Jose and was a guest instructor and choreographer for Oakville School of Dance and The Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble Summer Intensive. Jose premiered “Dimension Cubana” in Toronto with Cosmopolitan Productions in 2009 and since April 2009, he is a guest faculty with Ballet Creole. He is the Artistic Director of Danza Corpus from Matanzas, Cuba.
Gabby Kamino - Modern Dance (Horton and Graham based)
Ms. Kamino is an independent dancer and choreographer. Her works have been performed throughout Canada, United States, and Europe. She has presented two major works at Ffida to critical acclaim, and her show The Story, in collaboration with PBJ, was named one of the top ten dance events by NOW Magazine in 1998. She is one of the three original graduates of the University of Waterloo Dance Program and also holds a B. Ed. from University of Toronto.
She has worked with Judy Jarvis, Til Thiele, Lawrence Gradus and Milton Myers. In 1975, Gabby joined the faculty of the University of Waterloo as lecturer and Artistic Director of the Repertory Dance Company and also co-founded her own company Dance Plus Four. During this time, she was a World Team Choreographer for the Canadian National Figure skating Association and Olympic Competitors. Gabby is a recipient of several awards, most recently from the City of Kitchener / Waterloo. She is currently creating works for Ballet Creole and PBJ Dance Projects and she teaches dance at Etobicoke School of the Arts.
Nicola Pantin - Jazz
Has been dancing, teaching and choreographing for various theatres and independent dance productions since 1990. Teaching has also been a large part of Nicola’s dance life. She has taught extensively throughout Ontario at various private dance schools, high schools (Highland JH, Windfields JH, Toronto French School, Wexford Collegiate, ESA), colleges (George Brown, Randolph Dance Academy,) and professional dance studios (Dance Teq, Toronto Dance Theatre, Ballet Creole, Metro Movement, Urban Studio Theatre) She has taught all ages and levels and has also acted as adjudicator at dance festivals and acted as a juror at arts high schools. Her work with both Spark Theatre’s “Romeo and Juliet Remixed” and LKTYP’s 2004 production of “Jacob Two Two Meets the Hooded Fang” garnered her Dora Mavor Moore awards for outstanding choreography in theatre. Her Stratford Festival credits include choreography for “Hamlet, Fuente Ovejuna, The Liar, Measure for Measure, Twelfth Night, Much Ado about Nothing, The Glass Menagerie, The Count of Monte Cristo, Timon of Athens, The Donnelly’s Sticks and Stones, The Brothers Karamazov” as well as performance in The King and I. Film credits in choreography include various music videos for Big Toad Productions and Revolver films and ‘The Table Dance’ for Bravo/FACT ! She has also performed in Jenn Goodwin’s short dance films ‘Stuck’ and Big Chief Ballet. Nicola created and performed in Static for Spark Theatre at Harbourfront Centre and choreographed LKTYP’s Seussical, Wizard of Oz and You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. Nicola’s latest projects include creating a new work with Andrew Massingham and choreography for Stratford’s As You Like It and The Tempest.
Mercedes Bernardez- Contemporary Ballet
Mercedes was born in Argentina, and graduated as a dance instructor in 1977 from Escuela Municipal de Danzas in Mar del Plata, Argentina. Mercedes began her professional dance career in 1979-84 being Principal Dancer for Ballet Oficial de Cordoba, Argentina. She had a prolific international career as a dancer , teacher and choreographer and has worked beside many well-known dance artists and master teachers such as Ramona de Saa , Artistic Director of National Ballet of Cuba , Nina Novak , AD , Ballet Clasico de Camara de Caracas , Ballet Contemporaneo del Teatro San Martin , Buenos Aires , Argentina , Ballet National Chileno, and 1stBallet Competition in Chile. She moved to Canada to become the Artistic Director of Quinte Ballet School of Canada from 1987-2003 and later worked as Ballet Mistress for the Alberta Ballet.
Ms Bernardez has worked as an assistant for Jean Grand Maitre , Artistic Director of the Alberta Ballet in his creation for the National Ballet of Cuba , 2006 “ Solitario”. She has performed character roles with Alberta Ballet and was Margie Gillis‘s assistant and repetitour for her creation for the Alberta Ballet’s “Rivers Without Bridges”. In August 2008, she was Guest Teacher at the Summer Programme for Richmond Academy of Dance and presently works as guest / resident teacher for Oakville School of Dance, teaches for Ballet Jorgen and Ballet Creole. Recent initiatives include a collaborating with the Canadian Ballet Youth Ensemble, Hamilton and teaching Latin Dance in Oakville for the Kerr Senior Recreation Centre.
Yuhala Muy Garcia - Afro Cuban
Yuhala was born in Havana, Cuba. She started her journey as an artist with National School of Rhythmic Gymnastics. In 1997, she auditioned for the National School of Arts in Havana where she began formal dance training and she earned her BFA in Modern Contemporary and Afro-Cuban Dance. Yuhala has participated in many workshops and has done choreography by internationally acclaimed teachers. Notable mentions include: Santiago Alfonzo - Director of Tropicana de Cuba and Alberto Mendez - Choreographer of the National Ballet of Cuba.
Ms. Garcia was a part of the 2-year Pre- Professional Training Program at Ballet Creole School of Performing Arts and after becoming a companyapprentice, she subsequently was invited to join the company. She has since joined the Ballet Creole Professional Training Program and Community School Faculty as a teacher and choreographer. She has also demonstrated for the company in workshops abroad.