Park Life is a transformative performance, a death and rebirth of an individual and of a place, Regent Park; the distant past, the recent past and the here and now. A story that weaves itself between reality and the spirit realm.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Janis Mayers is a Playwright, Performer, Docu-Filmmaker and Audio Describer. A member of ensembles such as Derives produced by Sans Productions and The Solitudes, produced by Aluna theatre. She completed artistic residencies at the Banff Centre, Aluna Theatre and the Emerging Creators Unit with Buddies in BadTimes theatre.
She began training with Superior Description in 2022, most recent projects have been audio describing for the Indigenous Curatorial Collective short film festival, Thompson Highways’s “The Cave” and Yolanda Bonnell’s “My Sister’s Rage”. She has also produced a short documentary “A Pile of Dirt” that premiered at the Regent Park Film Festival.
Janis Mayers: Writer, Performer
Director and Dramaturge: Bea Pizano
Choreographer: Golnesa Amani
Lighting Designer: Rebecca Vandevelde
“Surrendered Spirits is an embodied paradigm where we heal inter-generational wounds through collective care, valuing ourselves and holding unconditional space for queer womxn of colour.”
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Nickeshia Garrick is a settler on the stolen land of Tkaronto and has performed on this land for over 25 years. They are unapologetically a Black, Queer Artist, who believes in the healing power of breath through raw emotion and movement. Nickeshia received their dance training at the Carousel Dance Centre (Kitchener), the NYIDE (New York Institution of Dance and Education), the National Ballet School of Canada (Tkaronto), Toronto Dance Theatre (Tkaronto), and Simon Fraser University (Vancouver).
Nickeshia is a Dora Mavor Moore, winning and multi-nominated artist who holds a BFA in Dance from Simon Fraser University and is a Co-Founder of the CinnaMoon Collective, which is currently working on their premiere piece, Surrendered Spirits.
Irma Villafuerte is a Tkaronto-based dance artist, educator, choreographer and first-generation daughter of refugees from Nahuat Territory Kuskatan, post-colonial El Salvador. Irma is the Program Director of Native Earth’s Animikiig Creators Lab, a Toronto Arts Foundation 2021 Emerging Artist Finalist, and a co-founder of CinnaMoon Collective. She’s been part of works by Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Jaberi Dance Theatre, Kaeja d’Dance, Victoria Mata, Aria Evans, Alejandro Ronceria, Diana Lopez and Michael Caldwell. Since 2017, she has led a journey nurturing her choreographic development through residencies with Dance Makers, TDT’s Emerging Voices, Kaeja D’dance KAIR, and Aluna Theatre; currently developing two important works Xilopango and Siwat Piedra. www.irmavillafuerte.com
Dedra McDermott is a new-generation Black artist-researcher, emerging curator, and movement dramaturg. She holds a BFA in Choreography and Performance (York University) and an MA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies (University of Toronto). Her artistic research explores identity, memory, and grief—utilizing autoethnographic methodology to weave movement and literary choreographies to create live, filmed, and installation works. As an emerging visual artist, she is focused on building containers for reflection and encountering the self—seeking opportunities to hold the ‘self’ accountable for the ways in which we engage with the people who love us, the people who are meant to love us, or the people we choose to love. Through installations, she creates a space to both confront and comfort oneself—questioning what is possible when audiences encounter and participate in an intimate, psychosomatic unraveling.
McDermott is currently an MFA candidate in Criticism and Curatorial Practice at OCAD University.
Irma Villafuerte: Choreographer/Performer
Nickeshia Garrick: Choreographer/Performer
Dedra McDermott: Dramaturg
Viktor Kei: Musician
Jessica Zepeda: Stage Manager
Surrendered Spirits’ team thanks Kaeja d’Dance (Kair Program), Aluna Theatre, and dance Immersion