Pickering Star – 2017/2018
Congratulations to Sarah Sharpe, our new Pickering Star!
Sarah is 15 years old and is attending Pickering High School. We are looking forward to celebrating a year of exciting opportunities with Sarah as she performs at a number of City of Pickering events, including her first event, the Mayor’s Gala!
New Hollywood has entertained audiences over the past 29 years. Brothers Damian and Dave have sung and played their way into the hearts of fans of all ages. With Todd, Manny and Brian as the solid rhythm section, plus Laura’s strong feminine vocals, this band can do it all, from Sweet Caroline to All About That Bass and everything in between.
They are always honoured to have the opportunity to perform and share great times with everyone.
With her West Indian parentage, Shireen Ali was surrounded by a plethora of cultural practices and traditions that ignited her passion for performing arts at an early age. She has achieved her B.A. and M.A. in Dance Studies from York University and has acquired training in diverse techniques such as: Caribbean, Bollywood, Belly Dance, Indian Folkdance, Jazz, Latin Dance, Samba, and West African.
Shireen teaches dance and fitness classes for York University, LA Fitness, Deloitte, Scotiabank, Toronto Western Hospital, and also runs her own private classes. For eight years, she worked with Sanskriti Arts, a Bollywood Dance Company in Toronto, as a coordinator, lead dance instructor, and principal dancer.
Shireen won the title of Miss Beauties of Asia in 2011. She performed for the Trinidad and Tobago Independence Day festival at Queen’s Park and in the closing ceremony for the ParaPan Am Games. Shireen is also a recipient of the Black History Month Award from the City of Toronto.
Sani-Abu Mohammed Allen
Born into a family of traditional dancers, Sani began performing and touring at the age of 15 with Benin City’s Uyi-Edo Dance Theater Troupe. He spent seven years in New Jersey and New York performing, teaching, and collaborating with top leading dance companies such as: Alvin Ailey American Dance Company, The Seventh Principle, The Brighton Ballet Theatre in collaboration with the Moscow Ballet, and Sankofa Dance Theatre. Sani has toured extensively in Europe and Africa and appeared in various television programs, films, and music videos.
In 2005, he moved to Toronto and started his company ijo vudu traditional African Dance Company and Sani-Abu School for African and Contemporary Dance. Sani’s most recent work involves leading drum and dance workshops for a dance company in Trinidad called Wasafoli TNT. These workshops sparked a new production entitled, Ajuba, which Sani co-produced and choreographed in May 2017. Ajuba was so well-received that he returned to Trinidad in August for another collaboration with Wasafoli TNT to choreograph and produce Ajuba Part 2.
The SwizzleStick Theatre
The SwizzleStick Theatre began with a cultural exchange between the Toronto Island artist community, Videocabaret Theatre and Carnival Artists from Trinidad. Stilt Dancers who trained and performed as part of this cultural exchange formed their own performing arts company in 1997. They create and perform in their own productions and perform in parades, galas, and public events all over Ontario.
They are also happy to collaborate with choreographers, theatre artists and others in their own productions. SwizzleStick performers also work as teachers in schools and communities. They run Carnival Arts workshops upon request for children and adults. They recently worked with City of Toronto Parks and Recreation running an arts and recreation summer day camp for seven years.
Our Stilt Dancer tonight is Omari St Aude who has been performing with the SwizzleStick Theatre for about five years now. Omari performed at the University of the West Indies Gala at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel this past spring.
VENOM Carnival Inc. is a non-profit organization that is committed to imparting, highlighting and celebrating the Caribbean/West Indian culture. They aim to demonstrate the various customs and traditions associated with the Caribbean/West Indian culture through social events, media, and other means that may require their services.
VENOM Carnival transpired when two great mas veterans shared a similar dream. These dreams were to bring an authentic carnival experience to Toronto. From this evolved a team of five that shared the same vision and passion for the ‘mas culture’.
Our Carnival Greeters for the Mayor of Pickering’s Gala were brought to us by one of the five members of this team – Dreevay Inc. They are an entity which has distinct Caribbean roots expressed through the arts, events, and entertainment arena. It has come to be a part of VENOM Carnival, bringing unique concepts, designs and creations, committed to delivering an exceptional experience.
Gareth Burgess (Trio)
Gareth Burgess has been playing the steel pans for over 20 years and is currently enrolled in the Music Faculty at York University, in the Jazz Program, having given up a basketball scholarship in the US to pursue a career in music.
Since participating in the relentless jazz ensemble playing in the York program over the last couple years, Gareth has developed into one of the finest Jazz soloists in the city, with a refined technique reminiscent of Northern Illinois University’s Liam Teague. He has played in three of Toronto’s top steelbands: Silhouettes, Panatics, and Earl La Pierre’s famed Afropan, and is currently the arranger for Panatics Steelband Network. Gareth teaches steelband classes for the TDSB and is a Teaching Assistant for the Faculty of Music at York University.
Silhouettes Connection has been captivating audiences all over the country for many years. Making crowds dance and feel the beat is what they specialize in.
From creating and maintaining the perfect tropical musical backdrop (music to wine, dine, mix and mingle) from raising the tempo filling your dance floor, to easy listening tunes leaving you feeling hot, Hot, HOT – They bring the Caribbean to you.
AFIWI Groove School is a performing arts program for kids in Durham Region. Established in 2013, the program promotes positive self-esteem, confidence, and an active lifestyle, while educating and connecting participants to arts and culture of the African Diaspora.
Dance Caribe Performing Company
Dance Caribe Performing Company (DCPC) was founded in 1989 under the direction of Martin Scott-Pascall. As a not-for-profit organization, the group has chosen Caribbean Dance as its main artistic expression.
DCPC’s repertoire of dances embraces the cultural diversity that is unique to the Caribbean. These dances are presented in their traditional form as well as in contemporary and modern dance styles preserving the energy and rhapsody of Caribbean cultural aesthetics.
DCPC has performed throughout Ontario, Québec, British Columbia, USA, Hong Kong, Mexico, and the Caribbean Islands of Dominica Antigua, Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago. The dance company represents Caribbean culture for many Canada Day events as well for charitable organizations.
DCPC has received numerous awards at multicultural and international festivals. They were voted Best Caribbean Dance Group at the 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2017 Caribbean Music and Entertainment Awards and Scarborough Urban Hero Award winner for 2014. DCPC also performed at the opening of the 2015 ParaPan Am Games 2015 with Cirque du Soleil.