P.E.I. dancer/choreographer chosen to take part in new international festival

·2 min read
Reequal Smith, 3rd from left, seen here with some of the dancers with her company, Oshun Dance Studios. (Submitted by Reequal Smith - image credit)
Reequal Smith, 3rd from left, seen here with some of the dancers with her company, Oshun Dance Studios. (Submitted by Reequal Smith - image credit)

P.E.I. choreographer Reequal Smith of Oshun Dance Studios is one of 13 Canadian artists selected to be part of a new international project collaborating with artists from the United States.

It's called Connecting Perspectives, and is being put together through The Social Distancing Festival.

"It's basically, like, a big accomplishment," Smith told CBC Radio: Mainstreet P.E.I.'s Matt Rainnie. "The fact that I was selected out of 400 candidates, that meant the world to me."

Smith said she stumbled across the festival while researching new ways to present her dance studio's work.

'We've been working extremely well together and it's been an amazing experience so far,' says Reequal Smith of the collaboration with U.S. artist Kashimana Ahua.
'We've been working extremely well together and it's been an amazing experience so far,' says Reequal Smith of the collaboration with U.S. artist Kashimana Ahua.(Tony Davis/CBC)

"I just told myself, 'Rather than saying no, just take the chance and apply, do your best,'" she said.

Two weeks later, she got an email from festival creators saying she had been accepted.

"To this day, I'm still in a little bit [of] disbelief."

Here's how it works: 13 Canadian BIPOC artists are matched with 13 BIPOC artists from the U.S., with a goal of creating new work to be presented at The Social Distancing Festival.

'The perfect match'

Smith, who is originally from Nassau in the Bahamas, is working with Minnesota singer-songwriter Kashimana Ahua, originally from Nigeria.

"I think he made a perfect match, because she's a singer, I'm a dancer," Smith said.

They're connecting via Zoom and creating a work based on the topic of "flow," she said — how they see the world today through platforms such as the virtual meeting staple.

"We are going to be just making a fabulous piece, bringing our minds together of how we see the world through the lenses of Zoom," Smith said. "It's been an amazing experience so far."

The pieces are due Saturday, April 17, and will be shared online through the festival's website in a couple of weeks, Smith said.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

<cite>(CBC)</cite>
(CBC)

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