Tapping right into his performance with vibrant, upbeat energy is choreographer Shawn Byfield. Beginning his routine within the crowd, the charismatic dancer is one of eight choreographers being celebrated as part of Dance Immersion’s Celebrating Our Men In Dance special Black History Month presentation.

With incredibly quick footwork, Byfield captures the audience with his rhythm as his routine tells a story revolving on themes of evolution and unity in the African Diaspora. The sounds of exhilarating funk music fill the theatre and the audience claps and stomps along.

“You know what I love? [It] honestly would be the audience’s participation. It just shows that everybody has rhythm… it’s just an evolution of communication from before,” says Byfield.

The crowd shows just as much love for another star of the night, Trinidadian-born choreographer BaKari Ifasegun Lindsay. He steps out on the stage in a red body suit, controlling leaps, athleticism and endurance to last an entire performance by himself and showcase a clear passion and dedication toward his craft: dance. His routine, called “Blood Memory”, symbolizes a belonging to a certain subculture and never losing that sense of culture, no matter how far one goes. There is a lot for the audience to take in, while enjoying the captivating dance moves of eight incredibly talented Canadian choreographers.

Words By. Moreblessing Munangwa + Photos By. Iris Gill