Workshop offered in English + French.

Ottawa residents of all ages are invited to join their Overbrook neighbours for a free outdoor Bélé dance workshop with Teacher Suzan (Suzan Richards), owner of The Cultural Arts Studio. Participants will learn Bélé dance movements and then integrate them into a short choreography. No past dance experience or skill required - all are welcome!  

The Bélé dance originates from the Yoruba women of Nigeria and represents the Creole folk culture to the Caribbean islands. The movements are typically accompanied by a call and response type music created by Chanterelles and Drummers. The Bélé Project aims to share this rich history by connecting Chanterelles and Drummers in the Caribbean with Dancers of Caribbean descent through community workshops.  

As we reconnect with our neighbours after a long time apart, how might the Bélé movements and call and response music invite us to come together and be with one another in new and different ways? 

The event is presented as part of the Neighbourhood Arts Ottawa Symposium: Blueprints for a hopeful future, with pop-up community arts events happening online and across Ottawa August 3 – 29, 2021. For more information, click here.  

Neighbourhood Arts Ottawa is a community-engaged arts program by Arts Network Ottawa / Réseau des arts d'Ottawa and is made possible through the generous financial support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Ottawa Community Foundation

Original print used in graphic by Melanie Yugo (Possible Worlds). 

Arts Network Ottawa acknowledges that the land on which we gather is unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin territory. 

About the artist: 

Suzan Richards shares her deep Dominican roots through her Cultural Arts Studio, School of Afro-Caribbean Dance; a creative space that mixes and celebrates African and Caribbean traditional dances. Trained in jazz ballet at the Montreal Jazz Dance Academy and then at the West-Can Folk Performing Company in Montreal, Suzan is an accomplished artist and a seasoned teacher and choreographer. Among her many awards and distinctions are the 3’s Company Cultural Mosaic Award, the Women’s Community Leadership Award from the Province of Ontario, and the United Way Ottawa Community Builder Award, for which her name now appears on the Wall of Inspiration in the Jean Pigott Hall of Ottawa City Hall. Her philosophy is that everyone should have the chance to tell their story through dance and movement, regardless of age, size, fitness or disability. 


About the Overbrook Community Association: 

Overbrook Community Association is a group of motivated residents collaborating to make life better for everyone in our dynamic community on the East side of Ottawa. Its mission is to co-create a vibrant, caring community in which our environment and everyone in it matters. 


The Bélé Project 

  • Saturday Aug 21 2021, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
  • Overbrook Park / Parc Overbrook
    33 Quill St
    Ottawa, Ontario