World Music and Dance

Each year the Quinte Arts Council offers a World Music and Dance performance and workshop, providing performing arts experiences to students which they may otherwise not be exposed to.  This program is free to students in Quinte thanks to the generous support of the John M. and Bernice Parrott Foundation and the Marilyn and Maurice Rollins Foundation.  All schools (public, Catholic and private) in the Quinte region are invited to book seats (first-come-first-served).

Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre of New Zealand on March 4, 2015

kahurangi The 2015 World Music and Dance peformance and two workshops will feature traditional Maori dance and music from New Zealand. The show is called Taonga (Treasures) and it will highlight the different aspects of life that Maori people regard as precious, sacred, prized. The stories are told through a vivid repertoire of tribal music and dance. Wearing hand-crafted regalia and brandishing taiaha (Maori weaponry), the young men perform fierce war dances. Maori women dancers will gracefully twirl poi (a ball on the end of a string which depicts a bird in flight) in intricate patterns. The schools will be notified soon so teachers can book their classes. The show will be held in the auditorium at Centennial Secondary School in Belleville.

January 2014 – Fubuki Daiko Japanese Drummers

fubuki2 The 2014 World Music and Dance performance and workshop was held in the auditorium at Trenton High School on Jan. 20 and featured the amazing Fubuki Daiko, Japanese Taiko Drummers.

Fubuki Daiko has reinvented traditional Japanese drumming with their eclectic and energetic performances that are part martial arts athleticism, part meditation, and all rhythm.

The core members of the group each have over 20 years of Taiko experience and received their formative training from the founder of North American Taiko, Grandmaster Seiichi Tanaka.

After performing at Carnegie Hall with the San Francisco Taiko Dojo, and leaving with Tanaka’s blessing, they relocated to Winnipeg, Manitoba where they expanded into the current professional touring ensemble.  The group’s self-titled CD received a Prairie Music Award for Outstanding Instrumental Recording.

For over 18 years, they have performed at festivals, concert halls, and schools across North America.  Collaborations with a wide range of groups (including choirs, ballet companies and big bands) have continued to fuel their pursuit of excellence and innovation in this ancient art form.

View photo gallery.

October 2013 – The Sultans of String and Flamenco Dance

In 2013, we brought in Chris McKhool and the Sultans of String with Ilse Gudiño, flamenco dancer.  They performed in the auditorium at Centennial Secondary School in Belleville on Wednesday October 23.  They also held a workshop in the afternoon.

The Sultans of String perform a global sonic tapestry of Spanish flamenco, Arabic folk, Cuban rhythms, and French Manouche Gypsy-jazz, celebrating musical fusion and human creativity with warmth and virtuosity.  The students will hear fiery violin dances with rumba-flamenco guitar while a funk bass lays down unstoppable grooves.

The band is riding a wave of success from JUNO nominations to their sold out Yalla Yalla! Canadian CD release tour, their national features on CTV and CBC, and their triple nomination for the 2009 Canadian Folk Music Awards, winning Instrumental Group of the Year.  Both their CDs have soared to #1 across Canada on Top Ten national radio charts, and the Sultans of String won the award for Best Variety Act from Festivals & Events Ontario as well as the 2009 International Songwriting Competition!

A Canadian string super-group, The Sultans of String include 6-string violinist Chris McKhool (who has guest starred with Jesse Cook and Pavlo), duelling guitar wizards Kevin Laliberté (Jesse Cook) & Eddie Paton (Robert Michaels), bass master Drew Birston (Chantal Kreviazuk) and Cuban percussionist Alberto Suarez!


Ilse Gudiño has been a member of the Esmeralda Enrique Spanish Dance Company since 1996. She has studied flamenco in Madrid, Seville, New York and Mexico and has been trained by many of Spain’s most renowned artists.

Ilse has worked as a soloist for many years teaching and touring across Canada, the US, Mexico and Europe.  She received a professional development grant from the Canada Council and studied in Spain for half of 2007 where, besides dancing and performing, she also learned about flamenco singing studying with Esperanza Fernández. Since then Ilse has constantly returned to Spain to train and perform.

In 2007 she founded Los Amigos de Pilar, a music and dance ensemble that reflects the contemporary status of flamenco (tablao) but also delves into the artistic realm of visual art and theatre.  In 2012, Ilse received a MFA degree from York University.

Workshop: Explore a World of Music

Chris McKhool and Kevin Laliberté from Sultans of String broke down some of the styles and melodies heard in their concert. Students got to explore different rhythms by trying out songs like Dark Eyes (Gypsy-jazz), Lisboa (rumba-flamenca) and El-Kahira (Arabic rhythms).  Students also learned to use scales as a launching point for guided improvisation.  Harmonic minor, blues, and Arabic scales became a window into new worlds of music.


June 2012 – Sheesham and Lotus performing Old Time Ways 

Sheesham & Lotus passed on methods of music making and merriment that come from a time when instruments were scarce and mass media unheard of.  Old time music is traditional folk music from the Appalachian region of North America, and is the basis for such popular music as jazz, ragtime, bluegrass, country, rap and rock ‘n’ roll.  Sheesham & Lotus sing in two-part harmonies, play several instruments including fiddle/violin, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, jaw harp, spoons and washboard.  They also dance clog style – which is the grandfather of tap dancing.

October 2012 – David and Kimberly Maracle of Native Expressions, Featuring Rare Instruments From Around the Globe

David and Kimberly Maracle brought a truly global experience to the Empire Theatre for this show and workshop, performing on a variety of instruments rarely seen, such as the Chinese Guzheng, the Swiss Hang Drum, the Australian Didgeridoo, and the Mohawk Water Drum.  They also demonstrated African Percussion, First Nations Hand Drums, Flutes and Rattles and shared First Nations heritage and teachings.  Thomas Clair and Monica Clair performed traditional dances in full regalia.

October 2011 – Ballet Creole performing The Heart of Cuba

Ballet Creole’s Artistic Director, Patrick Parson’s ballet, The Heart of Cuba, traces the history of Cuban dance back to its roots. Traditional dances in Cuba are very diverse and take their influences from Africa, Spain and the rest of the Caribbean. The drums play a central role as their rhythms direct the movements of the dancers, melding movement and music into one.

October 2010 – Sashar Zarif and Company Performing Dances From Central Asia

Sashar Zarif is an internationally renowned multi-disciplinary artist, educator, and researcher in the field of dance ethnology and ethno-musicology.  His company performed music and dance styles of the Near Eastern and Central Asian regions.  The program included Kafkaz, a group traditional dance from the Caucus Mountains, which has a martial arts basis as well as traditional vocabulary.  Also on the program was a traditional Central Asian dance, and a dance based on the Sufi-Shamanic style of Western Asia.

October 2009 – Les Mouches Noirs Celebrating the French in Ontario!

Les Mouches Noirs (The Black Flies) – four extraordinary musicians who bring to life the exciting rhythmic music of the French in North America.  The band is comprised of Tim Hadley, Steve Fruitman and Luke Mercier.  The students heard traditional music from Quebec, Acadia, the Maritimes, Louisiana, and Ontario.  From the percussive rhythms of Quebec to the syncopated sounds of Zydeco, Les Mouches Noirs (The Black Flies) educated and entertained.  Our bilingual host was singer/composer Jeanette Arsenault who performed (with fiddler Zeke Mazurek) Acadian Moon, the Micmac Song and This Is My Canada.  Chris and Carol Bauer performed traditional Acadian stepdancing.