Black Lives Matter

What HDC is doing to better respect Black Culture

Saturday, June 13th, we were invited to a Dance Community Leaders meeting hosted by Nii (Prince) Engmann. The panel consisted of Venom (Ketch Di Vybz), Aj Megaman (Heavy Hittaz Crew), and Kevin Fraser (Immigrant Lessons). We were educated though their personal stories and experiences as to how we, as a community, have not been doing our part to appreciate and honor Black Culture. We learned so much and still have a far way to go. But we are committed to making these appropriate changes that are long overdue.

Our 2 biggest takeaways were: awareness and action. Immediately after the meeting, HDC staff who were in attendance made a plan of action to hold an internal discussion with the rest of our street style staff to collaborate on how and what changes we will make. Nii Engmann has offered to come on board as our cultural consultant to help guide us in the right direction. We would love to make changes this very second, however, we want to make sure every decision we make is made with thought and consideration of fellow black dancers in our community.

We at Harbour Dance Centre are committed to working collaboratively with our faculty and community to honour the rich foundations of Black culture alive in our classes. We recognize that this work is ongoing and not all changes will happen over-night.

We are taking immediate action in the following areas:

  • Honouring true hip hop culture by ensuring all teachers who label their class ‘hip hop’ are educated and trained in hip hop history. We also encourage all our teachers to be active participants in the hip hop community.
  • Changing class names for specific teachers who offer a style that is not encompassed under the true DNA of hip hop. Class names will be reflective of their individual artistic offering.
  • Removing the word “street” from class names and descriptions to better represent what is being offered in these classes.
  • Updating class descriptions to reflect the authenticity of each style and the history behind them.
  • Bringing in guest teachers with knowledge of Black culture to share with our students and teachers, to continue furthering our education.
  • Increasing our presence on social media with regards to helping educate our community on the foundation of dance genres that were born from Black culture.

We will continue to update and be transparent with our community as we conduct this important work. Moving forward we are developing the following:

  • Establishing monthly community meetings and workshops with our staff to initiate dialogue and make changes where necessary.
  • Establishing an anti-racist committee that regularly consults with members of the community to ensure cultural considerations are taken into account all aspects of the dance industry.

We thank you for your continued support of Harbour Dance Centre as we tackle this necessary work. Let’s continue to foster conversation and make necessary change.

The HDC Staff and Pam, Moe, Sabine.