Globally Connected: 2023 IABD Conference & Festival Toronto


Originally posted in the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) “Keepers of the Flame” Newsletter in 2022.

Toronto, Ontario has a population of over 2.5 million people and is the most populated city in the country of Canada. Toronto is made up of many diverse expressions that carry dynamic vibrations from around the world connecting us instantly to each other. With such a wide variety of people, dance Immersion welcomes the IABD conference & festival to join us for the 3rd time as we re-connect and establish lasting relationships amongst our international communities. 
Today we are able to be globally connected through live and digital means better and faster than ever before utilizing the many opportunities to converse from our own environments, discuss our different techniques, relish in our similarities, while sharing resources, ideas and solutions that move us forward as a collective whole.  

Connecting our dances allows for an interactive flow of dialogue, movement sharing and viewing of work, that creates synergy amongst artists in a variety of ways that enhances our knowledge about each other. Embracing a deeper understanding of different artistic expressions helps to move forward the development of plans and strategies that strengthen and motivate communities to rebuild in a live and digital world.  

What lies before us is a global opening to connect, network, strengthen and enhance each other’s voices within a system that builds our own working infrastructure. Creative forces have always and continue to allow us to persevere seeking ways to elevate the work we do despite the many attempts to disrupt, silence, destroy and eliminate our history. Working outside of one’s own country broadens the scope, education and experiences that is gained through exchanges, presentations, residencies, consultations and more. All of this establishes global networks and relationships that are essential to maintaining and growing different platforms amongst each other. Connections offer expansion of our outreach that explore ways to improve and develop self and our movements within the global ecology and economy.   

The pandemic gave us time to dig deep, engage, create and develop art from within one’s own perspective, while at the same time, discovering that there is a whole world of skilled individuals ready to connect. As each of us continues to grow and strengthen our respective entities, as people of African ancestry, how do we bring back together that which has been forcibly torn apart? The 2020 IABD conference & festival in Philadelphia provided us with a glimpse of the kind of energy that we can manifest when we all come together to build multifaceted relationships.  

Connecting and learning from each other helps to rebuild the historic contributions, distinct practices, and future visions of dance artists within our global communities. We must remain conscious in how we include each other from an international perspective, it is through conversations and initiatives that offer a wide range of knowledge that supports sharing that benefits all. Global networks and connections bring profound experiences that impact foundational exchanges that evolve work inside the context of our chosen practices. As we broaden and expand our networks, development of structures that support what we do must grow simultaneously, investigations around systems that connect, link, share and elevate who we are and what we do, must be continuous.  Symposiums, forums, prototypes, blueprints and more have and will continue to be tried, worked, and reworked as we forge ahead in a community where we are able to share, allowing each other to shift within milieus that define oneself amongst like minded people and practices.
Global networking creates additional challenges but is important in fostering a true development of artists from the African Diaspora who continuously work amongst the inequities within the cultural sector.  We stand on the shoulders of those ancestors whose global work shared our stories and expressions in extremely challenging times. Their work continues to influence many as we honour the legacy they left behind for us to follow.

Let’s forge into the universal language of our art form, networking and sourcing information that nurtures and builds who we are. The goal is to erase old concepts while re-imagining a wider understanding that shifts pre-defined perspectives, stereotypes and popular images we subliminally gravitate towards in the belief that it is the only way.  

All journeys in art, no matter its discipline or genre, are formed, inspired, developed and created from its environmental landscape, geographical location, traditions and histories, that shape not only art but the very core of human existence. Globally Connected moves our dance in a manner that allows for informing and being informed about each other’s surroundings and prospective. Connecting on a global scale, assists each other to develop partnerships in a synergy that brings reciprocal understanding of each other’s mission, mandate and financial competency for continuance. 

dance Immersion looks forward to connecting with you in January: Conference & Festival Website 


Vivine Scarlett
dance Immersion Founder & Executive Director
International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) Board Member

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