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Toronto poet, artist, and singing dancer Aisha Sasha John takes Diana Ross Dream to Vancouver

Aisha Sasha John
Aisha Sasha John premiered Diana Ross Dream in 2022. Photo by Steffie Boucher.

The Diana Ross Dream continues for its Toronto creator. Choreographer, poet, artist, and singing dancer Aisha Sasha John will perform her tribute to Black belonging for the first time on the West Coast on Friday (March 1) and Saturday (March 2).

John, a former University of Toronto Scarborough writer-in-residence, developed Diana Ross Dream during a Dancemakers choreographic residency from 2019 to 2021. Danse-cité premiered John’s duet with Devon Snell in her hometown of Montreal in 2022.

In the upcoming Plastic Orchid Factory–Electric Company Theatre presentation at Left of Main in Vancouver, Karine Gauthier oversees lighting design. Meanwhile, Amy Manusov is the music director. Nyda Kwasowsky and Snell are responsible for costumes. And Ellen Furey and Evan Webber serve as outside eyes.

John traces the origins of the show to the summer of 2015 when she fell asleep to a question. According to the Plastic Orchid Factory website, it “was answered in the form of a dream: Diana Ross on Broadway in a sea of rose-gold costumed dancers—a dream of spiritedness and belonging so vivid as to announce itself as instruction, as a call”.

Aisha Sasha John
Devon Snell performs the duet with Aisha Sasha John. Photo by Kinga Michalska.

In 2017, John debuted her first full-length solo, The Aisha of Oz, at the Whitney Museum in New York. According to John’s bio, she is “interested in choreographing performances that occasion real love”.

John has also written three published collections of poetry. Her third, I have to live. (McClelland & Stewart), was shortlisted for the 2018 Griffin Poetry Prize.

In addition, John’s video and text art have been exhibited in the Doris McCarthy Gallery and Oakville Galleries.

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Charlie Smith

Charlie Smith

Toronto Spark editor Charlie Smith has worked as a journalist in print, radio, and television for more than three decades.

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Arts for Canadians Tomorrow Society is grateful to be held on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, that is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We acknowledge our privilege to be gathered on this land, and commit to work with and be respectful to the Indigenous peoples whose arts and stories inspire us to bring communities together.