Santee Smith


Indigenous choreographer, activist, researcher and Artistic Director of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, Santee Smith has been announced as one of the Keynote Speakers for our next international conference Dancing into Communities which will be hosted online by daCi Canada from 10-15 July 2022 I

Tekaronhiáhkhwa Santee Smith is an internationally recognized leader in the performing arts. A multidisciplinary artist and producer from the Kahnyen’kehàka (Mohawk) Nation, Turtle Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario, she is one of Canada’s leading dance artists and an accomplished pottery designer. In addition to an MA in Dance from York University, she holds degrees in Physical Education and Psychology from McMaster University where she holds the position of Chancellor.


Luca 3

Luca 2 Photo by Jerick Colantes.jpgSantee will be joined by dancer, choreographer and motivational entertainer Luca “Lazylegz” Patuelli. Luca has been dancing (B-boying) since he was 15-years-old. He has developed a unique dance style incorporating his crutches and the strength in his arms, that has gotten him worldwide recognition. Lazylegz has been featured on Ellen, So You Think You Can Dance Canada, America’s got Talent, plus others. Luca was the segment director and lead performer for the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Opening Ceremonies. Luca is the founder and creator of the ILL-Abilities™ Crew, an international B-boy crew comprised of the world’s best “ILL-Abled” dancers. Luca also co-founded Projet RAD which was Canada’s first inclusive urban dance program offering people of all ages, all abilities the possibility to participate in accessible dance studios. Luca has been recognized as the Canadian Ambassador for Dance and received a Meritorious Service Medal from the Governor General of Canada for his dance outreach programs.

Luca speaks 4 languages (English, French, Italian, and Spanish) and travels the world teaching/sharing his passion for dance to people of all ages and all abilities. Luca is now combining what he has learned with ILL-Abilities and Projet RAD to take his career to the next level while constantly sharing his message to the world that “It’s about taking the bad and making it good” and there are “No Excuses, No Limits”!

Images ©Jerick Colantes


Keynote Classes have also been announced with Alfdaniels Mabingo, Ugandan dance researcher, performer, and educator.

Alfdaniels%201_edited.jpgDr Alfdaniels Mabingo is a Ugandan dance researcher, scholar, performer, educator, Afro-optimist and co-founder of AFRIKA SPEAKS. Born and raised in his ancestral village, Mbuukiro, on the shores of Lake Victoria in central Uganda, East Africa, he holds a PhD in Dance Studies from the University of Auckland. A recipient of the prestigious Fulbright scholarship, Mabingo also holds an MA in Dance Education from New York University; as well as an MA in Performing Arts and a BA in Dance, both from Makerere University in Uganda. He has taught dance courses at Makerere University in Uganda, New York University in the US, the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica. His research sits at the intersection of decolonization, interculturalism, postcolonialism, dance pedagogy, creative economies and African philosophy. Mabingo has published more than 20 peer-reviewed scholarly articles and book chapters. His book ‘Ubuntu as Dance Pedagogy: Individuality, Community, and Inclusion in Teaching and Learning of Indigenous Dances in Uganda’ was published by Palgrave McMillan in 2020. Mabingo’s academic writings have been recognized and recommended by NDEO and DSA as essential readings on anti-racist pedagogy.Mabingo has received numerous, prestigious scholarships and awards for outstanding academic leadership and excellence. He has taught dance in schools, presented research, and staged and performed choreography throughout the world.


Keynote Panel: Traveling back and moving forward - daCi Dance Scholars

Dr Ann Kipling Brown has been a daCi member since 1982. At the Dancing into Communities conference, she will present a retrospective on daCi exploring the history and evolution of the organisation led by volunteer Executives and Advisory Board members, a number of conference organising committees and attendees of all ages.



CONFERENCE:   July 10-15, 2022.

Logo Dancing Into Communities no yearOur next conference Dancing Into Communities is scheduled to be held at York University, in Toronto, Canada in July 2022. After much consideration, we have now taken the decision to deliver this conference digitally, to mitigate the risks of the ongoing global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our next conference is scheduled to be held at York University, in Toronto, Canada in July 2022. After much consideration, we have now taken the decision to deliver this conference digitally, to mitigate the risks of the ongoing global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to shift was made in consultation between the daCi Executive Committee, the Advisory Board and with the conference co-chairs Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt and Nancy Francis. The major factors in the decision making included the continuing uncertainty and unpredictability of the pandemic, and the emotional, physical, and financial fallout of prolonged and varying disruption worldwide.  In adopting this digital approach we also considered issues of access and reliable internet, a degradation of connectivity for participants and the challenge of multiple time zones. The conference organisers will now seek to reimagine the format and opportunities a digital or hybrid live delivery might afford. We hope to encourage members to continue to connect on a more local, national, or regional level where possible whilst participating in the digital program. As we work to navigate through this reimagining we have now updated our timeline to reflect this decision. Questions can be directed to either of the Dancing into Communities co-chairs:Norma Sue Fisher-Stitt: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Francis: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


CONFERENCE:   July 10-15, 2022.

Sir Ken Robinson courtesy of his websiteSir Ken Robinson: Brief encounters with deep impact

It was with huge shock and deep sadness that I received the news of Sir Ken Robinson’s death from cancer back in August 2020. It was with huge shock and deep sadness that I received the news of Sir Ken Robinson’s death from cancer back in August 2020.

I first met Ken (as I knew him) in the late 1980s in England after I heard him speaking passionately about plans for the arts within the government’s planned national curriculum for England and Wales. At this time, Ken was Professor of Education at Warwick University and I was team leader with the London Borough of Newham Dance Team. His strategic thinking and wise insights about the place of drama as a curriculum subject within its own right resonated with hopes for dance within the national curriculum. We spoke briefly and he encouraged my public advocacy work for dance education at the challenging time of Thatcher’s government leading Britain with neo-liberal influences upon education. We met again as Ken directed the UK’s Arts in Schools project and he provoked my thinking further about dance education advocacy as well as encouraging me to embark upon my Masters study in arts education.  

Later we met when I had moved to lecture not far from Warwick in Birmingham, and was board member with the Birmingham Royal Ballet where I established the education committee. I recall our conversations about the perplexing and frustrating low position of dance in the curriculum and, after I left for Australia, Ken followed me at the BRB with ever more innovative initiatives such as the company’s talent identification program Dance Track. 
Further brief encounters included meeting as Ken delivered stirring keynotes in Australia at the 2005 Australia Council’s Backingour Creativity conference in Melbourne, then in Lisbon 2006 at UNESCO’s first World Conference on Arts Education which culminated in the Road Map for Arts Education.  According to that road map, “21st century societies are increasingly demanding workforces that are creative flexible, adaptable and innovative and education systems need to evolve with these shifting conditions” (UNESCO 2006). Ken’s influence upon educators’ thinking about creativity and his ability to engage audiences with profound insight, humour and humility were a joy to behold. His telling of the story of ballerina and Cats and Phantom of the Opera choreographer Gillian Lynne  is well known to many as he provoked all to consider the complexities of embodied intelligence intrinsic to dancing. 

Later, as daCi and the World Dance Alliance embarked upon their first publication emanating from the 2012 Taiwan joint congress, Ken generously agreed to contribute the foreword to Dance Education around the World: Perspectives on dance, young people and change (Svendler Nielsen, Charlotte, Burridge, Stephanie 2015), and he since also wrote the foreword for the latest book Dancing Across Borders: Perspectives on dance, young people and change (Svendler Nielsen, Charlotte, Burridge, Stephanie 2019).

I didn’t know Ken at all well, but our brief encounters left a profound effect upon me as a dance educator and his thinking has inspired so many of us. Ken was indeed a close friend to dance, in 2018 prompting all to consider ‘Why dance is just as important as math in school’    

He will be very much missed. On behalf of daCi, my deepest sympathies go out to Sir Ken’s family and friends and to all those he inspired during his transformative time with us.

Jeff Meiners, daCi Chair-Elect

Meri in KingstonWith great sadness, I share the news about the passing of long-time member of daCi community Meri-Helmi Tegelman. She passed away on May 30, 2020 in Kuopio at the age of 82.

Meri was born in Vyborg on July 4, 1937. Vyborg, now part of Russia, was then part of Karelia, Finland. As a child, she experienced two evacuation trips from Karelia. During her school years in Munkkiniemi, Helsinki she developed a great interest in the arts and sports and practiced them, especially modern dance and water skiing, actively.

Meri joined her husband Heikki, an architect, to different cities in Finland and abroad, including Dar-es Salaam and Benghazi. With five children, she still found time to enjoy and practice the arts, especially dance. When the family settled in Kuopio and the children grew independent, Meri founded the Kuopio dance studio and also worked as a county artist in dance. With these activities, she developed the foundation for dance education in the Kuopio area. Internationality was a natural part of her dance school and her professional activities. Among these activities was a collaboration with Russian dance schools, with the aim to support the development of dance education there.  Meri was the founding member of daCi Finland and daCi national representative of Finland for many years. She was the local host of the memorable daCi 1997, “The call of forest and lakes”, and continued to take part in subsequent daCi conferences for many years to come.  

Meri believed in the educational power of art and dance.  For her, the interest of the child, and the student, was always the focus of dance education, and she cherished her students’ creativity.

Meri opened her heart and her home to others. I miss her warm humor and will always remember her deep love for children and dance. She was always an exceptional dance educator and human being who embodied daCi values throughout her life.

Eeva Anttila, daCi past Chair
Photo: DaCi advisory board meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, 2007. Meri is sitting in the center (4th person from left).



It is so painful to express one’s feelings in a foreign language, especially in such a sad occasion. However, I feel that I have to share a few of my thoughts with the daCi family which has meant so much to both Meri and me.

When I think of our dear Meri the photo of the two of us in Den Haag in 2004 (see below) speaks for itself. At that time, although geographically so far away, we somehow created an invisible bond and felt close to each other. (In spite of emails, we had even exchanged postcards occasionally.)  

Thank you, dear Meri, for our laughing together. Thank you for letting me share your warmth and above all to experience how great you were in your modesty.

Ivančica Janković, daCi Croatia

Dr Alfdaniels Mivule Basibye Mabingo
 is a longterm daCi Member who was born in Uganda and is currently teaching East African-style dance at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

Recently Mabingo spoke to Radio New Zealand about how he challenges his students to examine their own backgrounds and rationalisation of the world through dance.

Listen to his interview here 

We were very much looking forward to seeing you at the daCi 2021 conference Dancing into Communities, being held at York University, in Toronto, Canada.

Unfortunately, due to the global Covid-19 Pandemic we have taken the difficult decision to postpone our next conference to July 2022

This decision was made by extraordinary Zoom meetings of the daCi Executive Committee, followed by the Advisory Board, in consultation with the conference co-chairs Norma Sue Fisher Stitt and Nancy Francis. 


Please see some important new dates for your diaries.


Conference:   July 10-15, 2022.
Deadline for Proposals:  Friday, January 29, 2021
Notification of Proposal Decision:  June 25, 2021
Registration Opens: October 1, 2021

We have created this long timeline in order to give ample time to create a proposal, then apply for a visa.

Questions can be directed to either of the Dancing into Communities co-chairs This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dear daCi Friends,

We are facing global challenges now with the advancement of the coronavirus.  It has presented so many obstacles to everyone that focusing on daCi and our passions sometimes becomes secondary.  The issues and obstacles are constantly changing and shifting depending on where in the world we live and work.

Our first focus at this time is to be well, safe and care for those around us.  For those we don’t know who are suffering in the face of this virus, our thoughts and healing energies go out to everyone.

We certainly expect that with all these challenges, focusing on daCi, membership, gatherings and ideas toward the future are not our highest priorities.  Right now, the 2021 conference application deadline is more than two months away.  So, it could be that everything may begin to return to normal at that time and we can once again focus on daCi.  If for some reason the crisis is still continuing at that time, we will ask the Toronto conference planners to extend the deadlines.  Your health, safety and focus on your home community is our first priority.

So, reach out to our wonderful international dance community for the support and energy we can all share with each other.  Please send us any news items of resilience and hope to support us all through this challenging time. Be well, and take care of each other.

Susan Koff, daCi Chair and Jeff Meiners, Chair-Elect