ROCKING THE BOAT
CELEBRATING QUEER CONTENT IN CANADIAN CONCERT DANCE
DiverseCITY DANCE COMPANY
Toronto is home to ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company, a “queer positive multiracial” dance company with its beginnings in 2007. Choreographer-performers – Jelani Ade-Lam, Sze-Yang Ade-Lam and Kumari Giles – operate as a collective. Through dance, they strive to work against oppressive power structures and give a voice to people across a spectrum of sexual identities, abilities and body types, as well as to people of colour. As dance artists, they draw upon Hip Hop, Ballet, Jazz, House, Vogue, Step, Latin, Irish Dance, Contemporary, Modern, Wushu Kung Fu and Dancing in Heels. The nurturing of aspiring choreographers and performers through mentorships and workshops is central to their mission. They offer free classes to the LGBTTIQQ2S* community and they are a force behind the LGBTTIQQ2S Spectrum Dance Conferences, “Making Stages for our Stories”.
*Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, 2 spirited
Photo Credit (above): ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company by Alejandro Santiago
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Fire is a work by ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company that shares the stories of three queer people of colour from various backgrounds and identities confronting their personal experiences with homophobia, racism and other intersecting forms of oppression. Fire was created through a co-collaborative process under direction/dramaturgy of Gein Wong, drawing material from each dancer’s lived experiences. It is multi-disciplinary work that utilizes dance, movement, storytelling, spoken word, music and projection.
– ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company
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Originally presented at the 34th Rhubarb Festival at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.