Damarise Ste Marie is a dancer, teacher, and choreographer. She completed studies in contemporary, ballet, and modern dance at York University (Toronto) and L'École de danse de Québec (Québec City). Since 2012, she has been learning and exchanging dances with communities in Western & Southern Africa and Brazil. The blessings and support of her teachers throughout the African diaspora have nourished her passion for bringing joyful movement experiences to her community. Ongoing study of functional anatomy with the Axis Syllabus community is a major influence on her teaching and creative work. Damarise works with children, youth, and adults. She has years of experience as a dance teacher in studios, community centres, and schools across Canada and internationally. She has directed and produced artist residency programs in Québec City, Toronto, Vancouver and Kamloops. Her classes balance process and product, celebrating the simple love of movement as well as preparing students for onstage performances. Damarise is inspired by dancing as a celebratory and joyful experience; an expression of balance between the individual and the collective; the embodiment of culture; and physical communication of the sacred and the beautiful.
Since 2010, Damarise Ste Marie has been involved with my arts-based charity, The Big Little Caravan of Joy, travelling to communities in South Africa, Swaziland, Burkina Faso and throughout rural Canada. Damarise honours and celebrates the child's expressive and authentic spirit by drawing on the artistry of the performing arts and the magic of creative play. Sarina Condello, Founder and Director, Big Little Caravan of Joy, Toronto
From the moment my students stepped into the gym for their workshop with Damarise they were captivated. She set the tone for a space that was welcoming and accepting and they felt at ease right away. They were ready to take risks and follow her lead to try their hand at some new movements and new things. I was so pleased to see their faces light up as they felt her encouragement and tested their abilities. Elizabeth DeVries, Teacher, École South Sahali Elementary, Kamloops
Ballet, contemporary, creative dance, musical theatre, partner dance, gumboot/body percussion, West African, Brazilian samba, urban dance... Damarise offers expressive and technically solid workshops in several styles for K-12 students. Younger students explore movement concepts through rhythm games, group/solo/partner tasks and improvisation. Older students develop clarity, versatility, physicality and performance quality through anatomically sound and inspirational dance classes. Workshops can be tailored for curriculum enrichment, PE requirements, and lunchtime or after-school programming.
An intensive week of creation and performance for Elementary schools. I work with the school to create a dynamic program that interweaves the performing arts. Students explore technique and expression, leaving room for individuality and collective energy. Projects may integrate creative and traditional dances, improvisation, vocalization, physical theatre and music. Within a short timeframe students learn, create and interpret material. Themes are chosen with the school, and can include environmental stewardship, mythic storytelling, history and culture, curriculum connections and more.