A Queen and her Inner Battles
Curated by Jacquie Comrie Garrido and produced by Art Starts’ Project Manager Julian Carvajal, we will create a cohesive work of multidisciplinary performance art based on Jacquie’s visual works. Using elements of Afro-Caribbean dance, samba drums, one-of-a-kind headwear and original costumes, Jacquie’s Colour Theory works will be brought fully to life in support of Social Healing, Mental Health and Wellness.
Jacquie ComrieLead Artist
“Colour is the universal language of emotions and a tool powerful enough to repair not only spaces but minds. Colour is light and energy, an electric current to the human brain, proven to possess healing properties and the ability to change our thoughts, behaviour and the way we feel for the better.” Jacquie Comrie
Jacquie Comrie is a Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist whose vibrant body of work intersects contemporary art and wellness at a global scale, using colour as a medium of social impact and mental health.
Whether as murals on buildings, large scale structures, or canvases, her body of work is a dynamic exploration of the science of colour as the universal language of human emotion. Colour has been proven to have a direct effect on human emotion, for which her palettes are consciously designed and orchestrated aiming to cater to mental wellbeing at large.
In such divisive times, and with mental health issues on the rise across the globe, her work aims to contribute to much-needed spaces of mental elevation and reset, to ultimately help improve quality of life of all individuals- one wall at a time.
Diseiye ThompsonLead Costume Designer
Diseiye Thompson is a Toronto based fashion and costume designer who graduated from Toronto Film School with a luxury eveningwear collection that was successfully exhibited at Toronto Women’s Fashion Week and various other platforms, creating brand awareness and developing Diseiye as a brand. Diseiye has interned and worked for industry professionals like Susan Dicks & Co, Greta Constantine & Lea-Ann Belter where they have honed their design and tailoring skills.
Rick LazarLead Percussionist
Rick was voted Percussionist of the Year five times by Jazz Report
Magazine and has produced and released 4 CDs with his Global Jazz group Montuno Police: Bang, Touch, The Call, and Nomads.
Rick has toured/recorded with such artists as Bruce Cockburn, Barry White, and Paul Shaffer, and is a regular collaborator with Loreena McKennitt on her recordings and tours.
Rick is the creator and artistic director of Samba Squad and has written, produced and released 3 CDs with this group,“Samba Squad” (2001), “Batuque,” (2006) and Que Beleza (2012).
He is also an educator at York University (ESCOLA DE SAMBA and CUBAN MUSIC courses).
His organizing skills are well documented. He was the musical director for the Grand Bateria Express (the uniting of 5 different Brazilian-based drumming groups for a special event) as well as the MD for the performance of Brass and Drums for Panamania in Toronto (50 drummers and 16 horns).
Lazar has also developed workshop techniques, which are being successfully used in the Samba Kidz and Samba Teens programs.
Rick's knowledge of world drums and his passion for percussion makes him a unique musician, who is first call for a diverse array of artists.
Victoria MataLead Choreographer
Venezuelan-Canadian choreographer-dancer with a background in urban planning. Mata’s sensibility to inclusion and passion for border stories is due to her eclectic upbringing in three continents. Mata’s career was first sculpted by pedagogic, self-directed training, which proceeded with local and international with internationally renowned choreographers leading her to showcase her repertoire throughout out the Americas. An active member of Toronto's progressive arts community and the abolishment of violence against women, Mata's aspiration is to continue beeing a catalyst for artistic curiosity. Her Masters in Contemporary Choreography, propelled dialogue between performance and embodied cultural memory, which awarded her the recognition of 2016 Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award finalist.
A graduate of George Brown College, Ayodele has over 20 years of experience in Toronto's fashion industry. Her personal line has been showcased at the ONEOFAKIND Show, SKYE SSUTU Boutique and Snapped. Ayodele is the lead designer and Stylist for artist Lisa Banton. Ayodele is the owner of Zipette Fashion, and an advocate for accessible community arts and ethical and sustainable clothing. She is the Lead Instructor for Scadding Court's Sewing Repair Hub, where she teaches basic sewing and alterations for marginalized women in the Alexandra Park community.
Amanda Paixão has dedicated her lifetime to dance as a performer, educator, and researcher. She has performed and taught in distinct marginalized communities as well as in post-secondary schools and festivals in Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Canada, USA, and the United Arab Emirates. She holds a BA in Dance from State University of Campinas in Brazil, and a MA in Dance from York University in Toronto where she taught and was a research associate at Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean. Amanda’s aim is to develop a creation strategy in performing arts that is committed to foster language exploration using memory as a way of stretching alternative and cross-cultural identity formations. In Canada since 2005, Amanda has collaborated with diverse range of performative projects, groups, and artists, in dance, theatre, music, and videos: the MT Space, Newton Moraes, Olga Barrios, Victoria Mata, Suzanne Roberts, Wind in the Leaves Collective, Maracatu MarAberto, Baque de Bamba, MaracaTALL Stilt Troup, Maya Annik, Bruno Capinan, The Human Rights band, Maria Bonita Band, and the Vulva Beats. She is also part of Conexão Samambaia, an International Trans-Aesthetic and Cultural Exchange Residence Program from the School of Music and Performing Arts of Federal University of Goiânia in Brazil.
Brittnee Habbib believes that there is always a bigger picture, that is takes a team to make anything work well. Prior to dance, Brittnee was a National Gymnast, Brittnee began training dance 4 years ago with Ballet Creole. She worked closely with Patrick Parsons and built her foundation. She was then taught by Arsenio Andrade and expanded her contemporary movement. Brittnee finally took the NU Dance program and also worked with COBA. Brittnee has been the lead dancer for The Next Edition in many productions, she has danced on stage with Ballet Creole and was recently in the Obeah Opera production in October of 2018 at the Sony Centre. Brittnee understands the importance of our next generation and is the Co-Founder of a Dance program called Girl Power’D.
Ravyn Wngz is an African, Bermudian, Mohawk, 2Spirit, queer and transcendent individual. Ravyn aims to challenge mainstream arts and dance spaces by Sharing her stories while continuing to create opportunities and platforms for marginalized LGBTTIQQ2S people with a focus on African/black communities. Ravyn is a co-founder of ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company- a queer multiracial dance company that aims to change the landscape of dance and provide accessible affirming dance education to the LGBTTIQQ2S community. Ravyn is the artistic director of OVA- Outrageous Victorious Africans Collective a Dance/Theatre collective that share the contemporary voices of African/Black and Queer/Self Identified storytellers. Ravyn is part of Black Live Matter Toronto Steering committee, A group who are committed to eradicating all forms of anti-Black racism, supporting Black healing and liberating Black communities.
Tereka is a passionate dancer/performing artist. She has worked with various companies & artists including Kashedance, Ronald Taylor Dance, Ballet Creole, Dance Migration, High Society Cabaret & Wind In the Leaves. She is most recently the recipient of a Dora Moore Award for Best Ensemble (Dance) with the cast of Holla Jazz Floor’d and dancer in Esie Mensah’s Dora nominated Shades
A veteran of Samba Squad, Chico Pacheco
has been here since the spring of 1999.
The official dance facilitator of Samba
Squad he knows how to get the party
started leading the crowd with fun easy to
follow dance moves. Chico owns a
grassroots marketing company and is also
an event promoter in the Toronto House
Music scene . He is fully equipped to get
any party jumping.
Diane Agudelo hails from Columbia. She works in banking and she joined Samba Squad in 2018. She has
developed into an excellent player on the Trio Surdo.
Linda Brown is one of the original members of Samba Squad, having been with the group for 20 years. She is also a Naturopathic Doctor, and enjoys making music that can heal the soul.
Lyba Spring has been playing with Samba
Squad since its inception 20 years ago.
She is not a musician by trade, but worked
as a sexual health educator for Toronto
Public Health for 30 years. She has two
adult children and two grandchildren - and
is an indefatigable dancer.
Normando Jones is dedicated to the healing benefits of sound. Educated at Humber College Creative and Performance Arts, and Sound Academy out of the UK and having certification as an instructor in Kundalini/Hatha give Normando the tools required to deliver powerful sound scapes for yoga classes, events and healing sessions. Born and raised in Toronto has exposed Normando a wide range of cultural musical genres. Samba Squad is on example of his musical diversity. He also has a background in Scottish, Irish, African, Latin, and music of North America.
His love of music and it's spiritual, mental, and healing power is what propels Normando to continue to bring music to the community at large through; Normando provides music for Yoga classes, workshops, and retreats Facilitation of drum circles in school, seniors homes, festivals, and corporate events Teaching percussion, drums, and musical concepts.
Normando says “Rhythm is the foundation of life, melody is the song of the spirit, and movement binds them together.”
Prior to his academic career as a professor of philosophy, Nikolas Kompridis trained as percussionist and composer at the University of Toronto and at Yale University. After a few decades away from music, he is delighted to have the opportunity to be playing again alongside Rick Lazar and the members of Samba Squad.
Sue Ashton just celebrated her 45th wedding
anniversary. She’s a great cook and cake maker and has been a caixa playing member of Samba Squad for over a decade.
Tracy is a Tam player with the Samba Squad for more than 10 years. She also works as a Continuous Improvement Manager in the Aerospace Industry.
Art Starts is Hiring!