I know we are likely not alone in being thankful that 2016 is finally coming to a close. During this time with an ever-growing list of troubling world events we are even more grateful for the gifts and good fortune that came our way this year.
Our work took us all over from Moncton to Gros Morne, Newfoundland to a two and a half week tour to six cities all around Mexico.
Porch View Dances
traveled to three cities - Ottawa for the Canada Dance Festival, Kitchener and Toronto, and then spun off into Downtown Dances: Moncton where we made dances on 80 employees from local businesses and even the Mayor and city council! We had commissions for Ridley College, George Brown College and PULSE 2016. Allen won the Kathryn Ash Award and created another powerful work for School of Toronto Dance Theatre's fabulous graduating class. Karen brought performances of her beautiful 2013 work Crave to the Ottawa Dance Directive and the year is wrapping up with a very special joint choreographic contribution to Judith Thompson's RARE Theatre production of Wildfire, exploring the boundaries of love for people with visible differences.
All the while we have also been in rehearsals for our upcoming Theatre Centre season this May.
Watching the news at night brings in reflection of our own work. ReGeneration created for and with local non-dancer residents of the Etobicoke community at Montgomery's Inn, explored the history of the Inn as a community hub for new immigrants, particularly within the context of the upcoming 170th Anniversary of Black '48, the worst year of the Irish Potato Famine, which signaled a massive influx of refugees to Canada and many families to Etobicoke. The movement of families to the safe haven of Canada is reflective of the many currents of immigration that took place both in the recent past, as well the current wave of Syrian newcomers in the present day.
Since our earliest days we've been interested in finding ways to bring together the public and dance, creating performances where you'd least expect them and providing opportunities for everyday people to be creators, storytellers and performers.
Fast forward to today: Kaeja is still committed--perhaps more than ever--to accessibility, authenticity and using dance as a tool for community engagement, and expression. One of our Etobicoke seniors in ReGeneration says:
"Performing for my community has been very uplifting. I was born and raised in Etobicoke, and for a long time I felt like anything 'cultural' happened downtown. Having this project happen right in my backyard...it's amazing, and I hope more projects like this happen in my community. The value this project has for our community is that it brings the community together in a way that people who aren't so familiar with dance or the arts in general have the opportunity to experience it." Loretta Faveretti
We all know that art has the power to break down barriers, create pathways to understanding and share joy and hope with our neighbours both immediate and abroad. Something we need, perhaps now more than ever!
The positive social impact of Kaeja d'Dance goes well beyond our public space animations. It's felt in our mentorship work with emerging artists, in our commissioned works around the world, through our collection of Holocaust-based dance films as part of the collections at the MoMA and Yad Vashem (Israel), and in every iteration of our Express Dance and Kaeja Elevation school programs where we've given the gift of expression to over 50,000 youth around Ontario to date.
So as we prepare to close the book on 2016 we are hoping you will consider renewing your partnership with us by making a financial donation that will help Kaeja continue to engage communities and youth through dance.
Donating is easy - click the Donate Now button up on the top right and Canada Helps will do the rest! Need help? Call 416-516-6030 and Shana or Nadine would be happy to help.
Whatever the amount, your gift keeps arts and culture alive in our amazing city and strengthens our ability to get everyone dancing.
Thank you so much in advance. We wish you the very best for the holidays and look forward to seeing you again in 2017!
Karen and Allen Kaeja
P.S. If you able, we'd love you to consider becoming a monthly donor for just $20 a month. All donations we receive make an amazing difference in carrying out our programming and are crucial in enabling us to continue working with communities. But in these difficult economic times monthly donations help us to plan in a way no other gift does.
There are many perks when you become a Kaeja donor!