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Government of Canada supporting efforts to break down barriers through dance

Investment will help KasheDance support next-level professional dance training in the Afro-Contemporary style.

TORONTO, /CNW/ – KasheDance is a professional Afro Contemporary dance company that was established in 2009 in Toronto. It offers a professional dance training program that takes dancers’ careers to the next level while addressing systemic barriers in the performing arts industry.

On February 21st 2024, the Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage, and the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, and Member of Parliament (Toronto Centre), announced a $200,000 investment to support KasheDance’s training program. They toured the facility and met with staff who showed off their talent and ingenuity.

Graduates of KasheDance’s professional program are working with KasheDance and other Canadian performing arts companies, such as Little Pear Garden Collective, Kaeja Dance, the Shaw Festival, the Stratford Festival, Fujiwara Dance Creations, the Collective of Black Artists, the Luminato Festival Toronto and Coleman + Lemieux.

The dance technique used by the company, KasheDanceTek, was created by Artistic Director Kevin Ormsby and incorporates Afro Caribbean and contemporary movements, music, philosophies and training techniques. KasheDance has performed at the Canada Dance Festival, Dancing on the Edge Festival, Dance Immersion’s presentation series and at many other acclaimed venues in Canadathe United States and in the Caribbean.

KasheDance is the only formal professional Black-led dance training program operating on an ongoing basis in Toronto, where there is a lack of training opportunities for Black artists in Black artistic traditions. This support, through the Canada Arts Training Fund, will allow KasheDance to expand and further develop its professional training program.

February is Black History Month in Canada, which is a time to recognize Black excellence, especially organizations that are leaders in their fields like KasheDance.


“Seeing vibrant, diverse forms of dance explored and taught is inspiring. KasheDance is a beautiful example of how cultures can be shared through art. Its training program will help teach new dancers these styles and provide opportunities for communities to experience it. It’s wonderful to be here and to see firsthand how much our investments really mean for people and communities. Our government is proud to support groups like KasheDance.”

—The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“As a proud Torontonian with Caribbean roots, I am thrilled to see the vibrant spirit and cultural richness that KasheDance brings to our city and our country. Its performances showcase the beauty of Caribbean heritage, while also serving as a powerful reminder of the diverse tapestry that makes Canada truly exceptional. I am so proud that our government supports KasheDance’s arts, and I know that it will continue to inspire and uplift audiences.”

—The Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, and Member of Parliament (Toronto Centre)

Quick Facts

KasheDance is unique in Canada due to its use of the Critical Response Process to create, teach, research and present dances based on the realities of African Diasporic experiences. This creative process includes giving and receiving feedback throughout the progression of a work’s creation.

Trained in classical ballet and contemporary dance, KasheDance’s Artistic Director Kevin Ormsby is an internationally recognized dancer, choreographer and teacher. He is the Program Manager of Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario and is on the faculty of the dance program at Centennial College in Toronto. He is also a frequent guest instructor at the National Ballet School, the University of Madison-Wisconsin and the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas – Austin. Mr. Ormsby is a 2014 Canada Council for the Arts Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award in Dance recipient, a 2016 Ontario Arts Council Chalmers Fellowship and a Toronto Arts Council Cultural Leaders Lab Fellow.

KasheDance is the Company In Residence at Citadel + Compagnie, a Toronto-based dance company and creation centre. Through this relationship, the organization has a dedicated space for sustained development, creative work, presentation and training. It is also a home to national and international guest artists and choreographers.

KasheDance is a new recipient of Canada Arts Training Fund and will receive $100,000 in 2024-25 and $100,000 in 2025-26. This funding responds to historic funding inequities for Indigenous and racialized training schools. This priority was announced in Budget 2022, as part of a $5-million funding increase for the Canada Arts Training Fund.

Associated Links

Canada Arts Training Fund


SOURCE Canadian Heritage

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