Witness the Culminating Performance

Saturday, June 11 @ 7:30pm & Sunday, June 12 @ 6:00pm

GK Arts Center | 29 Jay Street, NY 11201

Christopher Walker‘s & Kevin A. Ormsby’s Facing Home: Love and Redemption
Candace Thompson, Jessica St. Vil, Maxine Montilus, Safi Harriott and Shola Roberts.

This Dance Your Caribbean festival will feature Facing Home: Love and Redemption, by Christopher Walker and Kevin A. Ormsby. The work explores the global impact of Bob Marley’s music—its expression of humanity’s struggle and inspiration toward love, redemption and hope— and the culture of homophobia in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean. In addition, the festival will present NYC-based Caribbean choreographers – Jessica St. Vil, Maxine Montilus, Safi Hariott, Shola Roberts and Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE Founder, Candace Thompson.

SATURDAY, JUNE 11 | 7:30pm

Jessica St.Vil/Kanu Dance Theater
Safi Harriott
Shola Roberts & Company
Facing Home: Love & Redemption (Chris Walker & Kevin Ormsby)

SUNDAY, JUNE 12 | 6:00pm

Maxine Montilus
Candace Thompson/ContempoCaribe
Facing Home: Love & Redemption (Chris Walker & Kevin Ormsby)

Meet the Artists

Christopher Walker is an Associate Professor of Dance and the Artistic Director of the First Wave program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also a choreographer and dancer with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica, and Co-founder/Artistic Director of NuMoRune Collaborative—an ensemble of dancers, choreographers, storytellers and musicians, who come together under a united artistic vision to create collaborative works. He is the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards including the New York-Thayer Fellowship, and the GOJ PM Award. He was most recently awarded the prestigious UW-Madison Romnes Fellowship. In February 2015, Walker was selected to present the annual Philip Sherlock Lecture in Kingston, Jamaica.

Kevin A. Ormsby is Artistic Director of KasheDance and Adjunct Artist at the Dance Exchange (Washington D.C.). He is a Canada Council for the Arts’ Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award (2014) recipient and a Toronto Arts Council’s Cultural Leaders Lab Fellow (2015). He has honed his passion for dance, advocacy, writing and education while performing in Canada, the Caribbean and the United States with various companies and projects in works by Garth Fagan, Marie Josée Chartier, Allison Cummings, Patrick Parson, Ron K. Brown, Menaka Thakkur, Mark Morris and Bill T. Jones. He is Program Manager for Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO) and the Co-Vice President at Canadian Dance Assembly where he chairs the National Standing Council (Dance Companies). He was recently nominated for the Ontario Arts Council’s KM Hunter Awards in Dance (2016).

Candace Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago, is a dancer / choreographer / performer, and a graduate of Adelphi University fluent in several forms including Modern, Contemporary, Caribbean/Diasporic, and Soca Dance. She currently performs with Renegade Performance Group, Sydnie L. Mosley Dances, Areytos Performance Works, and her own work ContempoCaribe, and is the founder of Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE. candacedancefitness.com

Jessica St Vil-­Ulysse is a graduate of Lehman College, where she received her B.A. in Mass Communications and Dance. She thus continued her training with a partial scholarship from the Alvin Ailey School; where she completed the independent study program. Jessica teaches classes and gives workshops in Ballet, Modern, and Afro­Caribbean dance. Some of her teaching credits include: Pratt Institute, the NAACP, NYC Sports and Arts, and the Dance New England Foundation in Maine. She currently works as a teaching artist for the Alvin Ailey arts in education program and for Purelements arts in education program. She is also one of the founders and co. owners of Danse Xpressions, dance studio in Valley Stream, Long Island. She has worked with many choreographers such as Christopher Huggins, Martial Roumain, Marcea Daiter, Sean Curran, Kayoko Sakoh, Kwame Ross, and Dyane Harvey. She has worked and performed with several dance theater companies, such as Feet of Rhythm, the Joan Peter’s Dance Company, Vissi Dance Theater, Tamboula D’ayiti, Opus Dance Theater, the Rod Rodgers dance company, and traveled to Haiti to perform as a guest artist with BFH (The national ballet folkloric of Haiti). In the spring of 2011 Jessica worked as a demonstrator/assistant for the Katherine Dunham seminar held at Tisch School for the Arts at NYU. Jessica also worked in collaboration with Unimix films; choreographing a short film titled One More Try. She is the artistic director/choreographer for KaNu Dance Theater. In 2012 Jessica was honored in Washington DC by the National Museum of Women and the Haitian Embassy for her accomplishments in dance for and her continued dedication to Haitian culture. Jessica is extremely grateful for all opportunities she has been given and aspires to continue to enrich her life and the lives of others through the arts.

Maxine Montilus is a native of Brooklyn, New York and a first­generation Haitian­American. Maxine has a B.F.A. in Modern Dance Performance from The University of the Arts, and an M.A. in Arts Management from City University London. She has also had the opportunity to study Afro Cuban dance and culture through the annual “Dog Aguas” program founded by Danys “La Mora” Perez from 2010­2012, which took her to Havana, Matanzas and Santiago de Cuba; and has studied Afro­Haitian dance with various master teachers, such as Adia Whitaker, Peniel Guerrier and Julio Jean.

As a dancer, Maxine has performed with Ase Dance Theatre Collective, Balasole Dance Company, KaNu Dance Theater and Tamara LaDonna Moving Spirits. Maxine is also a 2014 EMERGENYC artist with New York University ’s Hemispheric Institute for Performance and Politics.

As a choreographer, Maxine has presented work at the Being Bushified! culture and community series hosted by Urban Bush Women, The Pearl Showcase, The Makings of You (at Dance New Amsterdam) and Epic Narratives” (at The Actors Fund Arts Center) with Tamara LaDonna Moving Spirits, Shadow of a Pearl and Malgre Tout with KaNu Dance Theater at Jamaica Performing Arts Center, La Mama Experimental Theatre Club and the inaugural Rex Nettleford Arts Conference in Kingston, Jamaica. In 2014, she choreographed BallyBeg Production’s third play and Equity­-approved showcase, The Taste Of It, and was a 2015 nominee for Outstanding Choreography/Movement in The New York Innovative Theater Awards for her work in the production.

Safi Harriott specializes in dance education and cultural studies. She combines an awareness of her own movement through the world with an evolving understanding of systems of power and their impact on individual bodies. She has served as Visiting Lecturer in Dance at the Excelsior Community College in Kingston, Jamaica. She has also served as adjunct faculty for the Edna Manley College (EMCVPA) School of Dance.
Harriott has facilitated workshops and presented choreography for the Kingston on the Edge Urban Arts Festival, the National Gallery of Jamaica, and the Jamaica Dance Umbrella (JDU) in addition to serving as primary coordinator and assistant to the Curator for the JDU and Junior JDU. Committed to international exchange, she has performed and co­taught in Kingston and New York with collaborators Zita Nyarady (Toronto, Canada) and Nancy Hughes (Buffalo NY, USA). More recently, she has served as Visiting Dance Faculty at the Cambridge School of Weston. In 2014 she received an MFA in Choreography and Performance from Smith College, and is currently a candidate for certification at the Laban Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies.

Shola K. Roberts is a professional dancer, fitness instructor and model based in Brooklyn, New York. Shola, a proud Grenadian American, has had the opportunity to work with many renowned dance companies and choreographers. Her credits include performances with Kowteff West African Dance Company, David Dorfman, Francine Elizabeth Ott, Candace Thompson and Otis D. Herring, for whom she served as an assistant choreographer.

She has also worked with the Purelements, an Evolution in Dance as a professional company member, teaching technique styles like Dunham, African and Jazz, just to name a few. Trinidadian recording artist Preedy has featured Shola’s choreography. She even composed the award winning dance presentation the for Ramajay Mas band in the 2014 and 2015 West Indian American Day Parade in Brooklyn. In 2014, Shola was an awardee of Caribbean Life’s 40 under 40 Caribbean Americans who have made an impact in their community. She was featured in Caribbean Life’s News Paper. In 2015, Shola was named a Lincoln Center Scholar, where she and 9 other individuals received a full scholarship to attend the Hunter College Arnhold Graduate Dance Program. She is currently in her 1st year pursuing a Masters in Education. This is Shola’s 2nd year choreographing for the DCC New Traditions Showcase and she is extremely passionate about the arts and is grateful for the opportunity to share her passion of dance to inspire, to touch and change lives.

Dances of Jamaica & the Caribbean: A Masterclass with Christopher Walker

Sunday, May 29 | 6:30pm | 53 Chambers St, New York, NY | $17
Chris Walker’s ‘Dances of Jamaica & the Caribbean’ masterclass is designed to expose and reaffirm the physical effects of African cultures in the Caribbean, through the characteristics retained in the traditional and folk dances of Jamaica, Cuba, Haiti and Trinidad, and further reimagined through popular and contemporary dance expressions throughout the region. Dancers will be engaged in a process of exploring important characteristics of African Caribbean vocabulary as a means to understanding the technical mechanics necessary to safely and efficiently express a range of Caribbean movement from traditional to popular and contemporary expressions. These classes further highlight other important aesthetic elements of form through rhythms, songs, stories, and personal creative manipulation of movement.

This class is offered in partnership with Cumbe: Center for African and Diaspora Dance.

DCC Community Partners