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"Together in Dance" forum hosted by Flato Markham Theatre

By Samantha Mehra

On October 14th, Flato Markham Theatre hosted its inaugural “Together in Dance” forum at the Markham Civic Centre, which brought together artists, teachers, scholars, writers, administrators and entrepreneurs working in the dance milieu in York Region and Toronto. Proceedings began with opening remarks by Eric Larivière, the theatre’s general manager. Extending a warm welcome to participants and outlining the theatre’s continued mission to engage in discussion with various facets of the dance community to elicit positive change, he noted that this forum was a tool to create the discussion and togetherness the dance community needs for a healthy ecology. Larivière’s remarks were followed by a series of short presentations about success stories in community engagement, featuring speakers Dee Adrian, Emily Cheung, Bonnie Craig, Dr. Mary Fogarty, Vivine Scarlett, and recent winner of the Walter Carsen Prize, Menaka Thakkar. Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, The Honourable Michael Chan, was on hand to congratulate the organizers of the forum and to present panelists with certificates. Following a Bollywood dance workshop with Shiamak Davar (Interational Dance School), independent artist/consultant and former Toronto Arts Council dance program officer Soraya Peerbaye spoke of the state of dance in Markham and York Region, and revealed plans to develop a comprehensive inventory of individuals and institutions engaged in dance in the area. After a series of roundtable discussions on the topics of the Markham Theatre, education and dance organizations and schools, celebrity choreographer Tré Armstrong delivered the closing keynote speech.

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