Established in August 1990, Ballet Creole comprises both a professional ensemble of dancers and musicians, as well as a Professional School of Performing Arts. With an emphasis on the disciplines of the Caribbean and Africa, Ballet Creole focuses on traditional and contemporary dance while infusing music from around the world. Ballet Creole is at the forefront of Contemporary Afro-Caribbean dance and has been labeled as the forerunner of Blacks in Dance in Canada.
Ballet Creole was founded by Trinidadian-born dancer, choreographer, drummer and educator, Patrick Parson (Masters in Dance Ethnology, BFA in Dance). Combining traditional Caribbean and African aesthetics with the Katherine Dunham modern technique, he has produced a technically strong and versatile professional dance company unlike any other in Canada. Ballet Creole explores the power of drums and rhythms as a means of communicating between people and communities and aspires through the Arts to show their central philosophy that “Harmony in Diversity Creates a New Energy”
“Ballet Creole, is a vibrant company melding the vocabulary of modern and ballet with exuberant African and Caribbean dance styles.” Judy Stoffman; The Toronto Star
Ballet Creole consists of a professional ensemble of dancers and musicians that provide a culturally dynamic forum for professional artists. It is the first dance company of its kind, to offer a recognized Professional Training Program and School of Performing Arts to young, aspiring dancers in Canada and abroad. The company presents two, main-stage productions as part of their Annual Dance Season with exclusive performances held at Harbourfront Centre’s Fleck Dance Theatre in Toronto. Signature pieces include dance works of the Artistic Director, Patrick Parson, Associate Choreographer, Gabby Kamino and other notable guest choreographers like Milton Myers(Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre) and Danny Grossman.
Ballet Creole is a non-profit charitable organization. In accordance with its constitution and is governed by a ten member Board of Directors.
“Ballet” is a specialized type of dance, originating in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century French courts, used in social settings and used by the people to tell their stories through movement. This dance form was further developed in England, Italy, and Russia as a concert dance form.
The term “creole”, meaning “native to the locality”, refers to people born and raised in the Caribbean, but of mixed European and African descent. The term also refers to the Creole language which developed in the African diaspora as a common language for inhabitants coming from so many different linguistic and cultural groups.
Similarly, the Ballet Creole repertoire reflects the multicultural fusion characteristic of Caribbean culture for centuries. Indeed, Ballet Creole represents the forging of a new language, a unique blending of dance traditions from the old world and the new world. For the past twenty years the Company has sought to bring forth old traditions, nurturing their evolution in this North American “new world” thereby establishing a dynamic new artistic tradition in Canada. The result is a continuous creation of new energy through dance.