Our Purpose

Black Arts Development Program

The Black Arts Development (BAD) Program consists of six sections that focus on Theatre and Film for Script Writers and Actors, Dance, Visual Arts, Media and Music. The two primary aspects of the BAD Program are training and mentorship. The Program was designed with the intent of providing emerging and pre-professional Black artists the tools and practical knowledge to take the next step in their artistic journey and generate an environment where African, Caribbean and Black Diaspora culture can flourish in Calgary. Woezo Africa has partnered with arts organizations, institutions, universities and businesses in Calgary to reform old systems and move into a place of renewed support that will help contribute to a thriving presence of Black Theatre, Film, Dance, Media, Music and Visual arts in Calgary.  Our ultimate goal is to acclimate and nurture the African Diaspora cache of creative artists to the performing and visual arts sector.

BADP_Wunmi WOEZO 2019-308

Why apply For This Program?

The BAD Program was created and designed with Black artists in mind by providing emerging artists the tools and practical knowledge to take the next step in their artistic journey. The BAD Program has teamed up with award winning professional faculty members for 6 weeks script writing and actors workshops. The benefits for this FREE program includes:

  • Access to professional script writers and actors that will help guide new Black artist 
  • Successful applicants will be paid for the 6 weeks development program 
  • Network with other artist on the same path 
  • Small class learning 
  • Practical and applied skills 
  • Introduction to theatre arts organizations in calgary 
  • Collaborative opportunities with other artists and organizations 
  • Enhance your professional art career 

Admission Requirements

The BAD Program will focus on creating spaces for African, Caribbean, and Black community members by supporting 40 professional (20 script writing & 20 acting participants) and emerging artists to learn, grow, and demonstrate their craft in script writing and acting. No prior acting or script writing experience is required however we are only accepting serious students who are passionate about learning and growing as a professional artist. The first cohort of script writers and Actors are 18-30 years of age. The second cohort of script writers and actors are 30 plus years. 

Program Eligibility

  • The BAD Program is for the African, Caribbean, and Black community members
  • No prior acting or script writing experience required 
  • The first cohort is for ages 18-30 years old 
  • The second cohort is for ages 30 years and above 
  • A $200.00 commitment fee will be required from successful candidates at the beginning of the workshop. This will be refunded upon successful completion of the workshop
  • $300.00 will be awarded to all candidates upon successful completion of program

Important Dates

Program Schedule Dates
Application opens January 15, 2024
Application closed for Script Writers Feb 19, 2024
Application closed for Actors April 5, 2024
Letter of admission for successful applicants for script writing workshop Feb 26, 2024
Letter of admission for successful applicants for actors workshop April 12, 2024
Script Writing workshop begins March 9, 2024
Script Writing workshop ends April 13, 2024
Actors workshop begins April 27, 2024
Actors workshop ends June 1, 2024

*Workshops are online Saturdays from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm MST

Note: All workshops are done virtually via Zoom

Contact information

For more information on the BAD program contact Program Coordinator, Nicole Pemberton at BAD.Program@woezoafrica.com

In 2021, a total of 33 African, Caribbean and Black artists concluded the Theatre and Film section of the BAD Program virtually between two cohorts with a focus on Script Writing and Acting support. The Black Arts Development Program teamed up with award-winning professional instructors Cheryl Foggo, Omatta Udalor from Calgary, in addition to Janelle Cooper and Fiona Clark from Toronto and Jesse Lipscombe from Edmonton to offer 6 weeks (18 hours) of workshops. Successful applicants were granted a $500 honorarium upon completion of the workshops

 

Beginning in June and ending in September 2021, the Script Writing and Acting workshops served as an introductory course for up-and-coming playwrights and actors with ample collaborative opportunities between the virtual cohorts. The two script writing cohorts produced 10-min plays based on “the Black experience” with the aim of pitching and producing such scripts in collaboration with local theatre organizations in Calgary, using actors predominately sourced from the Program’s Acting workshop. We were able to foster connections with theatre organizations in Calgary, Edmonton and Lethbridge who had publicly committed to the 35//50 Initiative and the pledge to supporting actions that resulted in a minimum of 35% BIPOC and 50% women and gender variant folx in equitably paid, professional theatre industry positions by the conclusion of the 2024/2025 theatre season.

Why apply For This Program?

The Black Arts Development (BAD) Program was created and designed with Black artists in mind by providing emerging artists the tools and practical knowledge to take the next step in their artistic journey. This free dance component of the BAD Program will be held in Calgary and invite five local and international guest dance artists to lead workshops and intensives for 50 African, Caribbean and Black participants ranging from five years of age to adults over three weeks from July 8 – 27, 2024. The instructors are from Zimbabwe, Jamaica, New York, Congo, Calgary, St.Kitts and Nevis. They will be bringing over 20+ years of experience in African diasporic dance forms.

Guest Instructors:

  1. Kevin Ormsby – Traditional Jamaican Folk dance – Jamaica
  2. M’Kayla Kongnetiman – Tap – Calgary, AB, Canada
  3. Kayin Queeley – Step – St.Kitts and Nevis
  4. Raoul Pillay – Vernacular Jazz – Zimbabwe, Africa
  5. Shotyme – Hip Hop – New York, USA
  6. Ajay Musodi – Mbokalisation – Congo, Africa

The benefits for this FREE program includes:

  • Imparting the value and traditions of African dance forms to students through classes and workshops.
  • Build physical and mental wellbeing from exposure to dance.
  • Learn about the relationship of dancer and musician in a cultural context.
  • Deepen their understanding of the art form’s movement and music.
  • Successful applicants will be paid for the 3 Week Dance Intensive.
  • Empowered to share experiences with others and build personal networks.
  • Small class learning. 
  • Practical and applied skills.
  • Provide exposure to dance forms that parents or grandparents were raised with, but have since ceased to find a place in the Calgary landscape.
  • Enhance your professional dance career.

Admission Requirements

The 3rd iteration of the Black Arts Development Program will focus on creating spaces for African, Caribbean, and Black community members by supporting 50 emerging artists to learn and grow. No prior dance experience is required; however we are only accepting serious participants who are passionate about learning and growing as a professional artist.

Program Eligibility

  • The BAD Program 3 Week Dance Intensive is for the African, Caribbean, and Black community members.
  • No prior dance experience required.
  • A $200.00 commitment fee will be required from successful candidates at the beginning of the workshop. This will be refunded upon successful completion of the workshop.
  • An additional $50 (Youth) and $100 (Adults) will be awarded to all candidates upon successful completion of the program.

Meet Our Instructors

Ajay (Jay) Musodi is an Artist who has been contributing to the Canadian Dance community for over a decade. 

He has trained in various styles such as: Hip Hop, Ndombolo, Afro-House and creative movement. He has gained this knowledge from world renowned teachers in New York, Mexico, France, Kongo, Las Vegas, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary.

His credits include: receiving 1st Place at World Of Dance Las Vegas 2019, 1st Place Monsters Santa Clara 2019, Radix Oregon 2018 Top Scoring Jr Hip Hop Choreographer and 1st Place AE Vancouver 2018.

Disney +, Lulu Lemon, Nickelodeon, Netflix, Lifetime, Showtime, NBC, CW, Redbull, Uniqlo and Holt Renfrew. 

Aside from industry work Jay dedicates his time teaching in-school Cultural dance residency programs to schools Canada Wide and programs internationally. He does so with the sole purpose of spreading the infectious Social dance practices that help teach the importance of respect, self love and appreciation for our differences.

 

Kayin Queeley is the founder and director of the Montreal Steppers which was formed in 2019 and has since connected with more than 15,000 participants and offered over 500 workshops in schools across the country. 

These workshops center the importance of Black Lives, Black history/futurity and stories in hopes to inspire, strengthen solidarity, to reimagine a just world where we can breathe, live, succeed, and thrive differently and together. 

Kayin was named a CBC Black Changemaker in 2023 for his dedicated community work. He is an educator, choreographer and writer. He has created and produced several original productions that explore Black diasporic life and resilience in Canada in the afterlife of slavery. 

He is also a Case Manager in Crisis Response in the Office of the Dean of Students at McGill University and has worked to support students in his various roles at McGill as well as other institutions over the past 10+ years. 

Kayin was born and raised in Saint Kitts and Nevis and completed his undergraduate and master’s degrees at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh before making a home in Montreal.

 

Artistic Director of KasheDance and Program Manager at Cultural Pluralism in the Arts Movement Ontario (CPAMO), where he delivers EDI programming for clients including the National Ballet of Canada, Canada’s National Ballet School, and Luminato Festival.

Kevin A. Ormsby has performed in Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean. Finalist for the Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize 2021, he is a recipient of Canada Council for the Arts’ Victor Martyn Lynch – Staunton Award, an Ontario Arts Council Chalmers Fellowship, and Toronto Arts Council Cultural Leaders Fellow.Faculty member of Centennial College’s Dance Performance Program he has been a Guest Artist at U-West Indies (Mona), UW-Madison, Northwestern University, and UT- Austin.

He’s on the Boards of Dance Collection Danse, Toronto Alliance for the Performing Arts, and previously Canadian Dance Assembly, Prologue to the Performing Arts, and Nia Centre for the Arts, where he was Chair of Canada’s first professional multi-disciplinary centre for African-Canadian art.

 

M’Kayla’s artistic journey began at the age of three after she took her first ballet class and never looked back. M’Kayla has had  the opportunity to perform and compete all across the world at various dance competitions, conventions & intensives including places like Germany, New York City, Seattle and Las Vegas.

M’Kayla was also a part of the 2019 Team Canada National Tap team that competed in Reisa, Germany. M’Kayla is currently studying at The University of Calgary, working towards a Bachelor of Arts inDance, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Economic and completing her first year of Decidedly Jazz Professional Training Program. 

M’Kayla performed in an ensemble group and featured soloist in Michele Moss’ 2021 “Why Dance” (contemporary & jazz). As a first generation Canadian with first generation immigrant parents that were born in Suriname, South America, M’Kayla often utilizes her technical training by incorporating aspects of her everyday life as a Black woman in North America to express herself through movement.

This connection provides her the opportunity to volunteer in different dance studios in Suriname through the YEEPI Foundation. She is a young choreographer that works in the stylings of Contemporary, Jazz, and a specialty in Tap. Currently, she is teaching at Elite Dance Academy & Decidedly Jazz Danceworks in Calgary, Alberta, where she choreographs for all ages, both recreationally and competitively. Teaching is something that M’Kayla has always had passion for, and she hopes to spread her knowledge.

 

Raoul Wilke, a multifaceted Dora Award winning artist, is the co-founder of The Moon Runners dance crew and the CEO of FeedYourSole. As a black emerging artist, his accolades extend within different communities, opening doors for new collaborations. He was a model for Seika Boye’s “This Living Dancer” in collaboration with the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario) and performed for The Raptors halftime show, as well as to produce his own film over the summer of 2019, commissioned by Canadian Stage Theatre.

As a leader of the street dance community within Canada, he has mentored various companies and dance schools over the years, on the importance of the historical context, within these vernacular street forms and the value of themselves. Raoul is currently Faculty at Toronto Metropolitan University, educating students on these vernacular dance forms that helped shape him into the man he is today. As a student of dance, he continues to live by the quote, “See the music, Hear the Dance” by Balanchine.

Born and raised in Queens, New York, ShoTyme has worked on world stages, tours, videos, movies, commercials and TV shows with many major artists proving that he is capable of giving his creative movement to many artists and dancers across the US and Worldwide.

Sho-Tyme’s versatility as a dancer, choreographer, teacher and mentor along with his creativity and extensive knowledge of Hip Hop dance culture as well as other Street Dance styles has enabled him to choreograph and artistically direct for many top artists, such as P. Diddy, Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z and Katy Perry, Shakira, Gwen Stefani, TLC and Aaliyah.

He also worked on the films You Got Served: Beat the World and Stomp the Yard, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, among others, and was a choreographer and judge on four seasons of So You Think You Can Dance Canada. With God’s mercy and grace it has allowed him to accomplish all these things and more. He looks forward to sharing his creative vision with you all.

Important Dates

Program ScheduleDates
Application opensApril 2, 2024
Application closed May 31, 2024
Letter of admission for successful applicantsJune 6, 2024
3 Week Dance Intensive beginsJuly 8, 2024
3 Week Dance Intensive endsJuly 27, 2024

Image of the student group from 2022.

In July 2022 Woezo Africa concluded the BAD Program – 3 Week Dance Intensive. The dance component of the BAD Program was held in Calgary, Alberta. The program was offered to participants at no cost and they had the opportunity to train with:

  • Star Dixon | TAP
  • Enock “Brotha E” Kadima | Ndombolo/Hip Hop)
  • Akosua Akoto | Traditional Ivorian Rhythms
  • Willy Noir | Afro House
  • Mikhail “Venom” Morris | Dancehall

The instructors traveled from the Netherlands, USA (Denver, Chicago, Washington) and Vancouver, bringing their 20+ years of experience in African diasporic dance forms to Calgary. Woezo Africa was thrilled to create a space for 58 African, Caribbean and Black participants ranging from ages 5 – 57 years to gain insight into the historical and cultural context of dance movements and sequences in addition to the history associated with the dance genre.

Successful applicants received a total of $7,800.00 upon completion of the workshops.

In July 2023, we concluded the second iteration of the Black Arts Development Program – 3 Week Dance Intensive. The dance component of the BAD Program was held in Calgary, Alberta. The program was offered to participants at no cost and they had the opportunity to train with:

  • Wesley Ruzibiza – Germaine Acogny contemporary
  • Imania Detry – Sabar Traditional and Mbalax (Senegal) 
  • Kieron Sargeant – Caribbean Folk
  • Akosua Akoto –  Coupé Décalé (Ivory Coast)
  • Omari Wiles – Afrobeats –  Nigerian, Ghanaian, and South African Footwork

The instructors traveled from Africa (Rwanda), Trinidad and Tobago and the USA (Atlanta, Chicago and New York) bringing over their 20+ years of experience in African diasporic dance forms to Calgary. Woezo Africa was thrilled to create a space for 63 African, Caribbean and Black participants ranging from ages 10 – 57 years to gain insight into the historical and cultural context of dance movements and sequences in addition to the history associated with the dance genre.

Successful applicants received a total of $9,300.00 upon completion of the workshops.
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