JAN 25 to 27 – 8PM
Betty Oliphant Theatre


This production exemplifies my evolution as a choreographer, marking my return to creating full-length productions since 2016.

Over the past seven years, my focus has been dedicated to immersing myself in the study and exploration of traditional African storytelling, music and dance and its influence in the western world. This journey led me to collaborate with a diverse range of choreographers, mentors, and teachers, taking me across the globe. Notably, my experiences on tours with Holoscenes alongside Lars Jan have been particularly influential. This durational installation, set in a water tank, provided profound insights into the significance of collective gathering and public spectacle. Additionally, I devoted time to exploring various artistic practices under the guidance of mentors such as Erika Batdorf, Funmi Adewole, and Fides Krucker. This period of growth has transformed my creative practice, making it more intentional and emphasizing the pivotal role of the audience and community.

My ultimate goal is to forge connections with hearts through the art of storytelling. 

LSDC’s latest works, WATER SPIRIT & FRONTIERS | FRONTIÈRES explore profound aspects of human existence, making the creative journey both challenging and profoundly enlightening. Delving into the intricacies of each character’s backstory, goals, and needs has been a transformative experience. This process has not only fueled my passion for storytelling but has also compelled me to narrate significant and impactful stories. Throughout, my Faith has been tested, acknowledging a force beyond me steering the creative course. The challenges of this unique creative journey prompted personal and professional adaptations, pushing me beyond my comfort zone into uncharted territories. It’s unlike any other experience I’ve encountered, but I prayed fervently for its significance and impact—and it has exceeded my expectations, and, continues  to do so.

For me, this production stands out as my best yet, primarily because I embraced every moment, invested my utmost effort, collaborated with exceptional professionals, did my best to set aside my ego, and allowed the work to transcend my individuality. Gratitude fills me for the wonder and mystery that accompanied this process, and, ultimately, through the grace of the Almighty, everything seamlessly came together. My hope is  that these works will imprint on audiences and make them reflect on the themes Lua Shayenne Dance Company is engaging in.



Led by the female-force Lua Shayenne, LSDC is creating a catalyst for communities to form, nurture and grow together.

I am honoured to have witnessed, supported and contributed to the expansion of the company’s impact through a leader who is relentless, yet kind, courageous, yet humble and independant, yet collaborative.

Congratulations to Lua and the entire cast and crew.


Dedicated to those who have crossed to the other side and to those who were lost during the journey. Lua Shayenne

“I know it’s a death game but I don’t care.” Alimany (Sierra Leone Migrant)


FRONTIERS | FRONTIÈRES  follows the emotional journey of three travellers as they set out to fulfill their dreams in the elusive New World. In their pursuit of the Golden Life, they navigate not only geographical boundaries but also confront metaphorical barriers that test the limit of their aspirations.


Choreographer and singer: Lua Shayenne

Interpreters: Rose-Mary ‘Rosie’ Harbans, Kwasi Obeng Adjei, Kemora Manning

Understudy: Aisha Nicholson

Composer: Yohance Francis Parsons

Compositional Arrangement for throat singing: Reza Moghaddas

Inuit Throat singing: Naulaq LeDrew

Dramaturge: Tawiah M’Carthy

Partnering Creative Advisor : Allen Kaeja

Voice Coach and Musical Dramaturgy: Fides Krucker

Intimacy Consultant: Anisa Tejpar

Costume Designer: Courtney Roy

Lighting designer: Arun Srinivasan

Associate lighting Designer: Sruthi Suresan

Stage Manager: Tara Mohan





Seek the path of enlightenment, Write the pages of your own destiny, Dignity, respect, patience, courage, you have all of that within you, so rise up and show strength to others. Go, Go. Paint your story with the pen of compassion and love.

Written & composed By Lua Shayenne 

Singers: Miranda Liverpool & Lua Shayenne

Guitarist & arrangements: Connor “King Chino” Chan


Traditional rhythm from Guinea, West Africa

Dundun: Yohance Francis Parsons

Djembe & percussive instruments: Cécé Haba, Kemar Akeem Scarlett, Kevin Howe



Mami Wata wake up,make the rivers flow, make the rain fall. Wipe away our tears, make the water overflow. Mami Wata wake up, answer our prayers, fill our calabashes. We have heeded your counsels. Forgive our bad actions. Mami Wata wake up

Call and response and songs in Soussou (Guinea), Fanti (Ghana) and French.


Tano, a mischievous child, ventures too close to the ocean and gets abducted by Mami Wata, the powerful water deity. After a frantic search, libations and advice from the Griots, Tano’s family embarks on a journey into the Water Spirit World to search for him. Allowed to return to land by Mami Wata, Tano and his family are bestowed with a new spiritual understanding of their identity and purpose. LSDC invites you to witness this powerful Goddess’s influence on life and the afterlife.


Choreographer & Songwriter (Mami Wata, La Sirène Baleine): Lua Shayenne 

Interpreters: Rose-Mary ‘Rosie’ Harbans, Miranda Liverpool, Kwasi Obeng Adjei, Aisha Nicholson, Kemora Manning, Lua Shayenne

Composer: Fara Tolno (Guinea, USA)

Guitarist & arrangement: Connor “King Chino” Chan

Dundun: Yohance Francis Parsons

Djembe & percussive instruments: Cécé Haba, Kemar Akeem Scarlett, Kevin Howe

Voice Coach and Musical Dramaturgy: Fides Krucker

Dramaturge: Tawiah M’Carthy

Intimacy Consultant: Anisa Tejpar

Costume Designer: Courtney Roy

Lighting designer: Arun Srinivasan

Associate lighting Designer: Sruthi Suresan

Stage Manager: Tara Mohan


LUA SHAYENNE DANCE COMPANY Staff and Production Team

Artistic Director & ProducerLua Shayenne

Administrator: Monica Pain del Rio

Assistant Producer: Mariah Ventura

Marketing: Lua Shayenne, Miranda Liverpool

Production Manager: Arun Srinivasan

Stage Manager: Tara Mohan



This production was made possible with the financial support of the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of Canada.



Artistic Director:  Mavis Staines

Executive Director:  John Dalrymple

Production & Theatre Operations Manager: Susan Worthington

Technical Director:  Paolo Collantes

Assistant Technical Director:  Sharlanne McStay

Manager, Venue and Food Operations: Amanda Camilleri



Toronto Metropolitan University

Ballet Jörgen / George Brown College




Miranda is a classically trained graduate of the Toronto Metropolitan University Dance Program, establishing herself as a well-established performance professional. She predominantly excels in dance styles such as Samba, West African, Afro-Brazilian, Cuban Cabaret, and Contemporary. Her career has encompassed performances in TV shows and commercials, cruise ship liners, and numerous local, national, and international stage shows. Miranda was part of the Dora Award-nominated cast of Shades, choreographed by Esie Mensah, and she performed Emmy-nominated choreography in the CBC’s television series The Porter, choreographed by Christian Vincent. Most recently, Miranda has performed in Les Moutons and the Dora Award-nominated show Divine Interventions with Corps Dance Projects. Miranda’s resume also includes singing with artists such as Kreesha Turner, Anjulie, Karen, and Melanie Durrant in their “Simply the Best” Tina Turner and The Supremes tribute shows, as well as with “Wannabe,” a Spice Girls Tribute Show. Additionally, she is enjoying her second year teaching Jazz at Sheridan College in the Musical Theatre Department. This marks Miranda’s 12th year working with LSDC, and her 6th full-length production with the company.


Aisha Nicholson, an Artist, Choreographer, Teacher, Spiritual Being, and Reiki Practitioner, hails from Toronto. She is the creator of the Movement CheckIn, a program that brings artists together on Instagram Live. Alongside three other artists, Aisha co-founded a collective called the D.I.A Kollective, a safe space for dance, inspiration, and alchemy. Currently, Aisha is dancing with the Lua Shayenne Dance Company. She has worked with various choreographers and companies such as Arsenio Andrade, C.O.B.A (Collective Of Black Artists), Garth Fagan, Aria Evans, and KasheDance, to name a few. Aisha has performed in Obeah Opera for the Luminato festival and the Carifesta XIV festival in Trinidad and Tobago. In 2020, she choreographed her first inaugural solo called Abandonment and is currently working on remounting this work. Her artistic practice is rooted in Caribbean, West African, Contemporary, and Afro-contemporary dance styles, and her exploration of movement is multilayered, polyrhythmic, and rooted in the Black experience. @movementcheckin


Rose-Mary “Rosie” Harbans (she/they) is a multifaceted performer, emerging choreographer, and dance educator based in Toronto, Ontario. They are a Dora-nominated artist whose artistic practice centers on dance and movement as a powerful vessel for inner transformation, liberation, and healing. Their movement vocabulary has its roots in jazz, West African, and Afro-Caribbean dance, as well as Western styles of movement. Rosie is also a graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University (BFA). Some of their credits include Treemonisha (Volcano Theatre), Evita (Drayton Theatre), Trinity: Music, Dance & You (Vicki St. Denys), Dixon Road (Musical Stage Co./ Ray Hogg), Kira, The Path | La Voie (Lua Shayenne Dance Company), A Revolution for Love (Esie Mensah), and After Midnight (Norwegian Cruise Lines/ Warren Carlyle).


Kwasi Obeng-Adjei is a Canadian multidisciplinary artist, emerging choreographer, and dance educator based in Brampton, Ontario. His journey began with acceptance into the regional arts program at St. Roch Catholic Secondary School, where he developed a strong foundation. Training under leading artistic directors and choreographers, such as Esie Mensah and Lua Shayenne, has opened doors to opportunities like the Pan-American Games, Kira, The Path | La Voie, The Raptors halftime show, Zayo, and more. Kwasi believes dance is a spiritual experience that involves connecting with all those around us.


Kemora is a dancer and choreographer trained in tap, ballet, modern, contemporary, jazz, hip hop, Afro-Caribbean, and traditional West African Dance – with a specific focus on the dances of Guinea. She is also a skilled djembe musician. Her arts journey, which started at age four, has included training at York University, Etobicoke School of the Arts, and Ngoma Ensemble. Dancing has allowed her to travel and represent Canada in international dance festivals in Scotland, Jamaica, Barbados, and Trinidad. Her work as a choreographer has been commissioned by dance and gymnastics studios and training institutes in Canada and the USA. Beyond dance, Kemora is a public speaker who has spoken on panels at Harvard University, the University of Toronto, the International Association of Blacks in Dance conference, and Pop Moves. Kemora seeks to empower and advocate through the arts, which is evident through her work with community efforts such as “Girl Power’d” and “Peace S I.S: Sistaz in Sound” programs for young black girls in gymnastics and Black Mothers in the Rexdale area, respectively.


Yohance D.A.D.A Francis Parsons is an accomplished percussionist, musician, producer, and songwriter who has been performing professionally since the age of 2. Yohance started off his career as a djembe player with Ngoma Ensemble, eventually growing and maturing into a dynamic artist with his own solo accomplishments as a musician and writer. Collaborating with many artists, drummers, and dance companies internationally, music has taken Yohance across the world, allowing him to share his talents in the Caribbean, South America, Africa, America, and Europe while maintaining a creative director role with Ngoma Drum Ensemble and HiClass Union to this day. Notable performances: Ghana – Panafest 400 Years – Cape Coast Castle for the Year of the Return in Cape Coast Africa, Me To We, Guyana – Independence Day, Tobago – Muhtadi International Drum Festival, Black Lawyers Association – Johnny Cochran, Raptors Halftime


Kemar started his musical career at the age of 4. He studied with various renowned djembe masters at home and abroad, including Les Ballets Africains in Conakry, Guinea, West Africa, Fareta School of Dance & Drum in Harlem, New York, and many more. He has worked closely from a young age with master Drummer M’bemba Bangoura and many more from the respected Djembe community. Kemar performs regularly with Ngoma Drum and Dance Ensemble and Lua Shayenne Dance Company. Performance highlights include Dance Immersion Showcases and In-Studio presentations, Sharing The Stage (National Ballet of Canada and Harbourfront Centre), Common Ground Festival, Toronto Raptors Giants of Africa celebration, The Power of Trust Conference, and many more.


Connor Chan, professionally known as King Chino, is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, and music producer hailing from Toronto, Canada. Having graduated from the York University Jazz Program with honors in 2013, he has an extensive background in jazz composition and performance, which he often incorporates into hip-hop and RnB productions. For several years now, Chan has been accompanying the Lua Shayenne Dance Company on his main instrument, guitar. In recent performances, he has been exploring using effects processing on the guitar sound to create ethereal soundscapes to complement Lua’s storytelling.


Cécé Haba hails from Guinea, West Africa. His passion for percussion (djembe and dundun) led him to study the traditional rhythms of his culture. He is currently a company member of Lua Shayenne Dance Company. Cécé is also a musician in OS, a new play in development by Vincent Leblanc-Beaudoin. He regularly tours with the children’s tale Yassama and the Beaded Calabash that premiered in 2022. Performing highlights include Fall for Dance North, Vox théâtre, Centre Culturel Frontenac, Yensa Festival, Sharing the Stage/National Ballet of Canada at Harbourfront, Jamii, Dusk Dances, and more. Cécé has played with artists such as Lua Shayenne, Collette “Miss Coco” Murray, Pulga Muchochoma, Newton Moraes, Amara Kanté, and more.


Originally from the East Coast of Canada (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Kevin has taken full advantage of Toronto’s cultural richness to immerse himself in the rhythms and percussion techniques of both Guinea and Ivory Coast. Having studied in North America with Amara Kante and in Ivory Coast with Djo Bi Irie Simon, and recently returned from a Jamaican tour with Reggaddiction (a Toronto-based Reggae group), Kevin can be found sharing his talents as a core member of Lua Shayenne Dance Company.


Tawiah M’Carthy is a Ghanaian born, Toronto based theatre practitioner, notable as a Director, Writer/Creator, Performer and Dramaturg. Directing credits include Here Lies Henry (Factory Theatre) Topdog Underdog (Canadian Stage),  Fairview (Obsidian Theatre/Canadian Stage), Death and the King’s Horseman (Stratford Festival) and Rihannaboi95 (Young People’s Theatre). Writer/Creator credits include Maanomaa, My Brother (Blue Bird Theatre Collective), Yɛn Ara Asaase Ni (21 Black Futures, Obsidian Theatre), Black Boys (Saga Collectif) and Obaaberima (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre). Performing credits include Sizwe in Sizwe Banzi Is Dead (Soulpepper Theatre). Tawiah is a multi Dora-nominated playwright and performer and Co-Artistic Director of Blue Bird Theatre Collective.


Allen Kaeja (Co-Artistic Director, Choreographer, Film Director, Educator, developed PVD with Karen) is an internationally recognized and award-winning Choreographer and Dance Film Director. The child of a refugee and Holocaust survivor, Allen has created 30 years of Holocaust inspired stage and film works. Overall, he’s created over 210 stage works and Choreographed/Directed 35 films. Co-Artistic Director of Kaeja d’Dance with Karen Kaeja, Allen’s works have been featured in commercials, films and festivals around the world. He has received numerous national and international commissions, teaches Kaeja Elevations and Dance Film master classes Worldwide. Karen and Allen received the DanceOntario Lifetime Achievement Award; were Finalists for the TAF-2020 Celebration of Cultural Life Award and are nominated for the Eldred Family Dance Award for lifetime achievement in dance. Allen was very excited creating with Director Keira Loughran, choreographing Wendy / Peter Pan until COVID closed Stratford Festival in 2020. Allen and Karen recently created Kitchen Dances Web Series with Moze Mossanen and In Case of Emergency, celebrating eighteen dance artists in our community. The Kaeja’s toured to the USA in 2023 and will be touring to Western Canada in 2024.


Fides Krucker has sung and created award-winning work internationally for forty years. In 1991 she founded the music-driven, interdisciplinary ensemble URGE; their final work is published by Playwrights Canada. Her company, Good Hair Day Productions, produced Girl With No Door On Her Mouth, an electroacoustic monodrama; CP Salon, an R&B disability love cabaret/NFB film; Julie Sits Waiting, a sexual catastrophe opera (five Dora nominations); and In This Body, a song cycle with dance (Baker/Lemieux/Strauss) for Canadian Stage. She has worked extensively with Peggy Baker Dance Projects, and directed pieces by choreographers Louis Laberge-Coté and Jessica Runge. Her vocal creation for Erica Mott Productions’ 3Singers was praised for its “feminist jolt,” “avant garde sensibility” and “heartbreaking descant” in the Chicago Tribune. Her recording of Berio’s Folk Songs on Vancouver’s Turning Point Ensemble’s Curio Box CD was noted for its “blazing theatricality and playful brilliance.” In 2019 she released the improvisational album Vanishing with Philadelphia guitarist Tim Motzer and was praised for her “staggering range and control. Krucker’s voice is less an instrument than a force of nature.” Her long awaited book Reclaiming Calliope: Freeing the Female Voice through Undomesticated Singing was published by North Atlantic Books in 2022.


Fara Tolno is one of the most influential African artists of this generation, actively increasing the professional recognition of African Dance in North America. He brings an innovative perspective to African dance and music, steeped in his knowledge of Guinean culture. Fara spent nine years as the lead drummer for Les Merveilles de Guinea (The Wonders of Guinea) under the tutelage of West Africa’s most influential director and choreographer, Kemoko Sano. Fara has performed with many of the world’s premier musicians including Mamady Keita, Burning Spear, Neil Young, Sekouba Bambino, Otis Taylor, Joe Cocker, Youssou N’Dour, Salif Keita Habibe Koite, B.B. King, Oumou Sangare, and many more. Fara teaches and tours around the world on the African international dance scene.


Anisa Tejpar (she|her) is a dancer, choreographer, and creative contributor with 20 years of experience in performance. From stage, to film and television, video games and commercials, Anisa has created and supported all scales of media as an Intimacy Professional. Anisa has a certificate from Principal Intimacy Professionals in Vancouver and currently teaches Consent + Boundaries for Dancers at Toronto Metropolitan University. As a graduate of Canada’s National Ballet School, her training has directly translated to how she assists the creation of dance works and feeds her vision in the field of intimacy. She has collaborated with prestigious institutions such as The National Ballet of Canada, Ballet BC, Côté Danse, Ex Machina, and various film and television productions. Anisa serves on the Board of Directors for Canada’s National Ballet School and is a member of the Performance Program Advisory Committee for St. Lawrence College. She has also made significant contributions to Dancing with Parkinson’s, where she has served as a choreographer and director for their Intergenerational Dance Project, which aims to connect youth and seniors through dance. Anisa is also the host of Inside the Arts on Sauga.



Tara Mohan is a Stage Manager who enjoys working on dance, theatre, musicals, and everything in between. Favourite credits include: Universal Child Care (Quote Unquote Collective/Canadian Stage), Championess (SaMel Tanz), YOU dance (The National Ballet of Canada), Toronto Festival (Just For Laughs), Outheis (Talk Is Free Theatre), Young, Gifted & Jazz (Dance Immersion), Loss (The Theatre Centre/Luminato), KickStart (CanAsian Dance), The Chemical Valley Project (Broadleaf Creative), YENSA Festival (Lua Shayenne Dance Company), The Red Priest (Guild Festival Theatre), inTO focus (dance: made in canada/fait au canada), Beats + Intentions (Expect Theatre), Brain Storm (Lucid Ludic Productions / Why Not Theatre), Here Are The Fragments (On ECT Collective/The Theatre Centre), The Seat Next To The King (Minmar Gaslight Productions / Green Light Arts), Million Dollar Quartet (The LOT), Now You See Her (Quote Unquote Collective), Cabaret (The LOT), Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Hart House Theatre), NOISY (Toronto Dance Theatre).


Arun has worked extensively in the performing arts for 30 years. Dance collaborators include Robert Desrosiers, Danny Grossman, Peter Chin, COBA, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Tiger Princess Dance Projects, Throwdown Collective and ProArteDanza.  He has been the resident designer for CCDT since 2002.  Theatre credits include Soulpepper, Tarragon, Crow’s, Stratford, Factory, Canadian Stage, The Globe, Cahoots, Musical Stage Co., Luminato & Buddies In Bad Times.  His career has garnered him 10 Dora Award nominations for outstanding lighting design in both the dance and theatre categories.  He has had the privilege of teaching lighting design at York, TMU (formerly Ryerson), the University of Waterloo and mentorship at The National Theatre School. Productions have taken Arun to Ukraine, Malaysia, Singapore, India, China and across North America.  He will be returning to Banff as faculty for Final Tuning, then back to Stratford for Wendy & Peter Pan.


DESIGNER Sruthi is thrilled to be working with Lua Shayenne Dance Company. Her past credits include Lighting Design: The Two Noble Kingsman (Shakespeare BASH’d) Legally Blonde, London Road (MacEwan University); La Boheme, Is He Dead?, Almost Maine, The Underpants, Stupid F***ing Bird, Threads: Impact (University of Wisconsin – Madison); The Drawer Boy (Port Stanley Festival Theatre); Three Sisters (University of Windsor). Associate Lighting Designer: Maggie: the Musical (The Savoy Theatre), The Rhubarb Festival (Buddies in Bad Times). Assistant Lighting Designer: Rent, Much Ado About Nothing and Les Belles-Soeurs, Chicago, Hamlet, The Miser (Stratford Festival Theatre); Nutcracker, Fall For Dance North (2023) (at Meridian Hall); White Girls In Moccasins (Buddies in Bad Times); Tea (University of Wisconsin – Madison); Old Wives Tale (Port Stanley Festival Theatre). Training: MFA – Theatre and Drama – Lighting Design (University of Wisconsin – Madison); BAH: Drama and Communication Media and Film (University of Windsor).


Courtney is a professional stitcher in the fashion and film industry. Over the years she has applied her creative eye and technical skills in bridal and shoe making. When she’s not in her sewing studio she’s probably having coffee, doing yoga or walking her cat.



Mariah is thrilled to join her first production with Lua Shayenne Dance Company! During the day, she works at a non-profit that focuses on Effective Giving, and in the evenings and on weekends, she works as a freelance stage manager and producer for various shows and events around the GTA. Some of her favorite credits include: The Oprah Conversation with Elliot Page, Raps City Social, Disney on Broadway Toronto Auditions, Design Thinkers Toronto Conference, Special Olympics Canada Awards, Manulife STARS of Excellence, Women in the World Canada, An Evening with Stephen Schwartz.


Naulaq LeDrew is originally from Apex Hill, Nunavut on Baffin Island. She comes from a large family of 9 children and has grown up traditionally with her parents who raised her in 2 worlds, European society and Inuit culture ways. She is married to Randall and between them they have 7 adult children and 12 grandchildren. Naulaq is Inuit knowledge keeper for Toronto Inuit Association (TIA). She contributes her time with other organizations to open their events and meetings. She also had done throat singing and drum dancing for the organizations.




Monica has over 25 years of experience in the Canadian dance community as a performer, instructor, arts administrator, dance presenter and outreach and community engagement coordinator. She attended York University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts program, specializing in Dance and received her Performing Arts Diploma at Randolph College for the Performing Arts (formerly Randolph School of the Arts).  Over the years, her work supported dance companies, including Ballet Creole, Little Pear Garden Dance Company, Newton Moraes Dance Theatre and Danza Corpus to name a few. At Flato Markham Theatre (FMT), Monica was the Ontario Dances Presenter & Animator for eight years, working with more than 30 Ontario based dance artists. She currently serves on the Board for the Dance Umbrella of Ontario. She is excited to be part of LSDC and continue to support and nurture its vision!

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