Left: Emilie Jabouin Profile Picture by Michael Mortley; Right: Coco Murray Profile Picture by Sean Harrison

Spotlight Presentations: Miss Coco Murray and Emilie Jabouin

Friday, October 14 / 2pm
Audain Gallery
149 West Hastings Street


Collette “Coco” Murray is a dance educator, cultural arts programmer, mentor and arts consultant. This award-winning artist was one of 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women honourees in 2020 and the 2019 Toronto Arts Foundation’s Community Arts Award winner and Canadian Danse Assembly's 2013 I love Community Award winner. Murray pursues a PhD in Dance Studies and holds a Master of Education, and Honours BA in Race, Ethnicity and Indigeneity from York University and a BA in Sociology from University of Toronto. Currently her doctoral work focuses on dance education in the Canadian Afro-diasporic dance sector archive and anti-racist dance pedagogies. Along with Miss Coco Murray, her mobile, dance education business [www.misscocomurray.com], Murray is published in dance media and academic journals. Additionally, Murray is Artistic Director of Coco Collective offering culturally responsive projects connecting participants, organizations, and schools to African and Caribbean arts. Murray is Vice Chair of Dance Umbrella of Ontario's board and serves as Board member of Arts Etobicoke and the National Board of Canadian Danse Assembly offering an equity, diversity and inclusion lens. Murray's performance experiences include Caribbean folklore and West African dance styles, along with curating and advocating for spaces that amplify Black arts and dance styles.


Presentation Description:

Riding a Tidalectic wave…. Using the symbolism of Kamau Brathwaite’s tidalectic, an alternative historiography to linear models of colonial progress, Murray briefly unpacks their journey of claiming her Black Canadian presence, lived experience, community arts practice, and entrepreneurship informing academic activities that amplify African diasporic dance styles in the Toronto dance sector.


Emilie Jabouin is a PhD candidate  in the joint Toronto Metropolitan/York University Communication & Culture program. Her doctoral dissertation explores Black women's intellectual histories, organizing and expressive cultures in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century English-Canada. Her research has grown under the supervision of Dr. Cheryl Thompson, whom she assisted in her SSHRC-funded project, “Newspapers, Theatres, and the Spaces of Black Performance in Toronto, 1880s to 1930s”, with whom she has co-published on media reporting on the black arts. Emilie’s peer-reviewed article “Black  Women Dancers, Jazz Culture and ‘Show Biz’: Re-centering Afro-culture and Re-claiming Dancing Black Bodies in Montreal, 1920s-1950s,” received an honourable mention by Canadian Historical Association Jean-Fecteau prize for 2022. As a multidisciplinary academic and dance artist, Emilie merges research and performance to share stories with the public that are under-explored and silenced. Digging through the archives, her work explores early twentieth-century health and black Canadian dance history. In 2020, Emilie began to use her research in choreography and dove deeper into learning, sharing and preserving Haitian folklore – drumming, song, and dance under the guidance of master drummer and choreographer Peniel Guerrier. In manifesting her vision, Emilie founded Emirj Projects, a multi-faceted research, performance, and production company inspired by the dance process of curiosity, intuition and exploration, (www.emirj.ca).


Presentation Description:

Emilie is a multidisciplinary academic and dance artist who merges research and performance in order to make history more accessible and relatable to our everyday. The approach of translating research and ideas into movement and performance is a rigorous and challenging process that requires both introspective reflection and tactile experience. This presentation will center itself on the importance of the process, first in the writing of “Black Women Dancers, Jazz Culture and ‘Show Biz’” which required a deeper exploration of Emilie’s own practice as a dancer and what she is learning from her mentor Peniel Guerrier in terms of pedagogy and creation from a Ayisyen (Haitian) folklore perspective. Second, Emilie will provide context to her contribution to SFU Audain (2022) iteration of It’s About Time and speak to her experience with primary sources and archives, and her journey with documenting black dance history from 1900-1970 as a research assistant for the creator of the exhibit, Dr. Seika Boye.