YENSA Festival – A Celebration of Black Women in Dance

Dancers: Monique Pascall and Rose-Mary Harbans. Photo by Dahlia Katz

Where: Multiple venues in Toronto’s Regent Park
When: August 13-28, 2022
Cost: Schedule and tickets available at

Details: YENSA Festival  is the first Canadian international biennial festival that celebrates the work of women in dance, from African and Afro-diasporic culture. The inaugural dance festival taking place at multiple venues in Toronto’s Regent Park with workshops and performances by Tasha Ricketts, Tamla Matthews, Shameka Blake, Jaz Fairy Simone J, Funmi Adewole, Esie Mensah, Ekspresyon, Lua Shayenne Dance Company and more.

The festival  will begin with a series of workshops including: Dancing the Cloth: The Joy of Skirts and Sashes in Caribbean Dance with  Tamla Matthews; Hip Hop Fusion Choreography by  Shameka Blake; followed by a public talk and conversation titled ‘ Crafting the story of your choreography: for black female dance artists’ with  Funmi Adewole and much more.

The closing weekend will include performances at Daniels Spectrum’s Ada Slaight Hall showcasing black women in dance featuring:  Jaz-Fairy J Simone, Artists in Motion Dance Company, Lua Shayenne Dance Company on August 26;  Funmi Adewole, Esie Mensah, and Ekspresyon on August 27; and an ATSIA CIRCLE, a dance and drum celebration led by US master drummer  Fara Tolno on  August 28.

Led by artistic director Lua Shayenne, YENSA Festival invites audiences to witness and celebrate the incredible history and evolution of Black dance. In Fanti, yensa means ‘Let’s Dance’, while yenka means ‘let’s talk’. This incredible festival sparks conversations about the diversity of African Diasporic aesthetics, its histories and politics through performance, workshops, exhibitions and public talks.

YENSA Festival is open to women artists from around the globe who self-identify as black. The mission is to champion, highlight and present choreographic work by women of Black, African Diaspora and African descent. Its driving principles are solidarity, sisterhood and artistic excellence. With this Festival, Lua Shayenne Dance Company wishes to highlight black women choreographers, from African or Afro-diasporic culture and the accompanying research/process which lead to developing their creative practices.

More Info:  @YensaFestival