Cacao | A Venezuelan Lament
(she/her/ella) Dance Ensemble, Singer, Percussionist Also known as Fly Lady Di (she/her) is a multi-disciplinary artist, recognized for her work as a street dance artist, and DJ. Born and raised in Toronto, her current explorations combine her ancestral Filipino heritage with contemporary concepts - through dance choreography, performance making and joke writing. Most notably, her work includes Honey (Universal), Fall Out Boy's 'Dance Dance', and performances with artists like Ciara, Jason Derulo, the Clipse feat. Pharrell, MC Lyte and BlackSTREET to name just a few. She's been featured on etalk, Toronto Life, Toronto Star, Dance Current and countless publications in North America and abroad. Her work has also brought her all over Europe, Asia and South America and she's been supported by federal, provincial and city granting bodies. She plans to further investigate pre-colonial Filipino culture and incorporate that into her work as a performance maker. www.flyladydi.com
(he/him/el) Dance Ensemble, Singer, Percussionist. From Funza, Colombia and began training in Colombian folk dance at the age of seven with the group Zaquesazipa. He has since experimented with folk dance, ballet, contemporary dance, afro dance traditions, urban dance, and capoeira, in addition to parkour. He studied dance at the Academy of Arts of Bogota, during which he joined the folk group Orkeseos. In 2009 he moved to Toronto to join Ballet Creole. In 2015 he was part of Amalgama in the Pan American Games and in 2016 danced for Kaha:Wi Dance Theatre as a part of The Honoring. Since 2017, he has been performing in Mistatim with Red Sky Performance.
(she/yaja) Actor, Dance Ensemble, Singer, Percussionist. Salvadorian-Canadian dance artist in Tkaronto. She graduated from George Brown Dance and is trained in Latin American, Caribbean and Cuban Contemporary techniques. She’s performed in festivals and events in Canada, Cuba and the United States. She’s also participated in projects with Jaberi Dance Theatre and Kahawi Dance Theatre, as well as collaborated on projects with other leading choreographers. She has developed her choreographic practice through residencies with Dancemakers, Emerging Voices with TDT and George Brown Dance Ensemble. She currently sits on the board of Adelheid Dance Projects and is a TDSB Creates Resident Artist, as well as a faculty member for Casa Maiz’ Semillas Maiz summer camp for Latin American children and Randolph College for the Performing Arts.
(she/her/ella) Understudy Actor. Quadrilingual performer (English, French, Spanish and Haitian-Creole) and the Chilean-born daughter of Haitian parents who fled dictatorship under Papa Doc in Haiti, only to find themselves caught under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. This resulted in further displacements from the United States to Trinidad and finally to Canada. This upbringing has shaped Kim’s worldview and infuses her work. Kim’s stage credits include Breathing Corpses (Coal Mine Theatre), Richard II (Secret Shakespeare), For Coloured Girls Who Have Considered Suicide (Mainline Theatre), and Good People (Centaur Theatre). She is currently performing in The Was The World at the Tarragon in Toronto. Screen credits include Designated Survivor, Burden of Truth, Detention Adventure, and Orphan Black.
(he/him/el) Understudy Dancer. Graduated from the university of Trinidad and Tobago in 2015. He Attended Beijing Dance Academy from 2015 to 2016. When he first arrived in Canada, he worked with KasheDance and performed in Re Imagining TPM in April 2018. He also worked with Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) at The Gathering in 2018, 2019 and 2020.Michael has also had the pleasure of working for Wind in the leaves Collective on the Searching for Eastman project as a dancer and collaborator in the creation of that full length work. He has also work with Ronald Taylor Dance on a project entitled Psychosis in June 2019 and then again in October 2019 for Rendezvous with Madness festival as a dancer and costume designer. Michael has also travelled to Winnipeg and New Brunswick respectively to perform in NAFRO Dance Presents: Moving Inspirations Dance Festival with KasheDance and Impact Festival by Atlantic Ballet with Wind in the leaves collective. Michael is also a photographer for Ronald Taylor Dance as well as other noted dance companies. He also does social media and administrative work as well.
(she/her/ella) Actor, Singer, Dancer. Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, where she was immersed in a rich culture of Afro-Venezuelan traditions. Her love for music opened the doors to perform for local Venezuelan dance groups. In 2006, after meeting Victoria Mata, MataDanZe founder, she joined the dance collective. This new endeavour is where she was first introduced to theatre performance, and also had the opportunity to train and perform contemporary dance throughout Canada and Latin American countries. For the last 5 years, Misset has studied Afro Venezuelan and Latin American Caribbean percussion which landed her a role as a Percussionist and Actor for the piece The Mente by Paula Carreño (2019). Eager to keep exploring the performance world and to share her roots with wider audiences, we find her here now, as part of Cacao, offering us a deep dive into her upbringing through a character “written for her”-Victoria Mata.
(she/they/ella/elle) Dance Ensemble, Singer, Percussionist. Settler on the stolen land of Tkaronto and has performed on this land for over 25 years. They are unapologetically a Black, Queer Artist, who believes in the healing power of breath through raw emotion and movement and teaches this breathwork at the Toronto Film School. Along with teaching at TFS, Nickeshia is a Certified Personal Trainer and Pilates Instructor and often offers free and discounted sessions to the IBPOC LGBTQ2S+ community in Tkaronto. Nickeshia holds their BFA in Dance from Simon Fraser University (Vancouver) and is a Dora Mavor Moore, winning and multi-nominated artist.
(they/he/el/elle) Actor, Dance Ensemble, Singer, Percussionist. Is a Colombian-Canadian multi-disciplinary queer artist, healer, activist and vocal producer with a passion for community and the expansion of consciousness through creativity. He first began studying music at age 8 at the Youth Symphony Orchestra of Colombia (in his hometown of Bogota), before pursuing further training in voice and classical piano. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Musical Theatre performance from Sheridan College and is also the founder of Existt Soul Centre, an artist wellness collective dedicated to the curation of experiential healing events fostering creativity and liberation.
(she/her/ella) Dance Ensemble, Singer, Percussionist. Iranian-born Canadian artist, producer, director, and a Dora nominated choreographer and performer with a career that spans over 20 years. She is also the founding artistic director of Jaberi Dance Theatre, based in Toronto. Described as a “force to reckon with,” she has created and co-created over 30 works in dance, visual arts, film and music, has performed in numerous dance works, and has presented her work in Canada and Internationally. Roshanak is the recipient of the ISPA-International Society of Performing Arts Global Fellowship (2020, 2021) and the Chalmers Arts Fellowship (2019), and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours from York University. She has been a guest speaker and lecturer in various forums,and her work has been referenced in adult education courses and in critical pedagogy at the University of Toronto.
(she/her/ella) Actor, Dancer, Singer, Percussionist. Dominican actor with a background of street theater. Victoria theater passion was born by her community activit work in the Dominican Republic, as a way to speak and educate the community about local issues. Since living in Canada it has been harnessed to share her love to her Afro latinidad.
(she/her/ella) Singer, Soloist. Venezuelan-Canadian whose contagious passion for percussion has propelled her to travel far and wide to share her epic fusion of sounds of the South. She is one of the founders of Baobá, a trio formed by Toronto’s top female percussionists that takes traditional beats to the next level. Empowered by the natural musicality that flows from South American bodies, this trio-and-sometimes-quartet featuring fellow Jamphitheatre-er Anita Graciano, alongside Mari Palhares and Carla Dias, represents an ideal balance of voice, melody, and instrumentation. They bring new life to and transcend Venezuelan, Colombian, and Brazilian traditions. She also is part of the Amao Kuda Et les Bois crue.
Design & Production
Brescia Nember Reid
César El Hayeck
Flávia F. Martin
Daniela Arango Cano
Documentation & Research
Eloi Araujo Mata
Yamilet Pérez Palacios
Part of ArtworxTO: Toronto's Year of Public Art
Cacao | A Venezuelan Lament gratefully acknowledges the ongoing support of the above organizations.
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