REAC - Current Members
Natasha Bakht is an Indian contemporary dancer and choreographer. She trained in bharata natyam (a classical Indian dance form) under Menaka Thakkar for over 20 years, touring internationally with her company. For 3 seasons she danced with the Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company in London, England. She has also worked with choreographers Yvonne Coutts, Wayne McGregor, Robert Desrosiers and Roger Sinha. Her choreography has been presented at many venues including the Canada Dance Festival. Her solo, Obiter Dictum, was nominated for a 2003 Dora Award for Outstanding New Choreography. In 2008, Natasha was the co-recipient of the K.M. Hunter Artists Award, presented to Ontario artists who have made a significant mark in their field. She has been described as “a brilliant diamond” (The Dance Current, 2005), a “powerhouse” (Hindustan Times, 2008), “all honed to the bone elegance and precision” (Vancouver Sun, 2004). Natasha is also a professor of law at the University of Ottawa where she writes in the intersecting area of women’s rights and religious freedom. Natasha was named one of Ottawa’s top 50 people by Ottawa Life Magazine in 2009.
Dalton Higgins is an arts programmer at the Harbourfront Centre, Canada’s foremost facility for contemporary culture. A respected online content provider, Higgins co-managed the Canadian chapter of NYC-based youth web organization Shine and shine.com, created content for NY-based, urban multi-media company UBO (indieplanet.com), is a consultant for Northside Hip Hop, an online resource that catalogues Canadian Hip Hop history and culture, and has been a Blogger-In-Residence at Open Book Toronto. One of 30 Torontonians handpicked by the Toronto Star to blog about ways to make the city more liveable, Higgins' latest book "Hip Hop World" takes a hard look at the impacts of globalization on the worlds leading youth culture, Hip Hop. His fourth book "Fatherhood 4.0: iDad Applications Across Cultures" (Fall 2010, Insomniac Press) dissects fatherhood through the lens of popular culture and multiculturalism. As a print journalist, Dalton is a Canadian National Magazine Award recipient, and his articles have appeared in esteemed print and online mediums in the United States (Vibe, the Source, Amazon.com, Urb) and Canada (Saturday Night, Now Magazine, Toronto Star, Quill & Quire and many others). Higgins has participated in national media summits on diversity and culture (Innoversity) and sat on juries that run the gamut from the Juno Awards and the Echo Prize (presented by SOCAN, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) to Honey Jam (Canada’s all-female talent showcase). Higgins has produced documentaries about barbershop culture ("More Than a Haircut" premiered at the 2009 Reelworld Film Festival) and human beatboxers (CBC Radio One), and has worked on CBC TV and SUN TV broadcasts of the Canadian Urban Music Awards shows as a scriptwriter for comedian Russell Peters, ex-Much Music VJ Master T and R&B songstress Jully Black. Dalton holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature/Mass Communications from York University, a Book & Magazine Publishing diploma from Centennial College, and spent a summer doing graduate research on Reggae music and Rastafarian culture at the University of the West Indies (Jamaica). He lives in Toronto, Ontario.
Zab Maboungou, choreographer and performer founded Le cercle d'expression artistique Nyata Nyata in 1986 for the creation, presentation and promotion of her work in a local, national and international context.
This prolific artist is active on many fronts: as choreographer, performer, musician, author, and teacher of philosophy and dance, she has been developing and promoting African dance in Quebec, across Canada and abroad. In 1995, she presented the première of her solo Reverdanse at New York’s Lincoln Center. In 1996, the same piece was a resounding success at the Pan-African music festival (FESPAM) in Brazzaville, in the Congo. In 1997, her solo work Incantation was presented by the CANDANCE network in a number of Canadian cities, including Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and Halifax. The same piece had its American première at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C in February 1998, and its Asian première at the Pusan ans Taegu International Dance Festival in South Korea in April 1998. It was also programmed during the Festival international de nouvelle danse à Montréal and at Cameroon’s Rencontres théâtrales internationales in 1999, as well as during the Italian festival Nuovo Danza in November 2000. In May 2001, the piece travelled to Germany. Mozongi, a work for 4 dancers and 2 musicians, toured from 1997 to 2001, and was presented at Montreal's Place des Arts (January 2001).
Ali Nedjati was born in 1968 in Tehran, Iran, into a family who cherishes art and science. His earlier career was dedicated to microbiology and behavioral neuroscience, for which he received the National Science and Engineering Research award after immigrating to Canada in the 1990’s. Upon being diagnosed with Narcolepsy in 2004, he turned his passion to the arts by studying Screen Printing, photography and Digital Media. Through Studio 303 in Montreal, he became interested in dance photography and started working on projects in collaboration with Andrew de Lotbinière Harwood, Corpuscule Dance (France Geoffroy) and others. In 2004, Ali met Karen Duplisea, associate professor in the Dance Program of Ryerson University’s Dance & Theatre Department, and developed the project “between & betwixt” - a collaboration with the Ryerson Dance & Theatre and Disability Departments. In January 2006, Ali was invited to work on a project with Debajehmujig Theatre Group through collaborate artist program on documenting aboriginals’ daily life by means of images and voice recording. Ali does experimental work on printmaking through incorporating classic and modern techniques of his own. He has also been collaborating with Picasso Project since September 2006. Although a science lover, Ali Nedjati has found art to be a soothing, exciting, stimulating and life changing experience for him.
Winston Xin is a Malaysian born media artist, curator, and writer. Xin was the programmer at Video In Studios, Vancouver from 1996-2000. He has curated numerous video and film screenings for Film & Video Festivals and Media Arts Centres nationally and internationally. He is a founder of Asian Heritage Month, Vancouver, an interdisciplinary arts festival and has sat on several arts and cultural boards in Vancouver. His short videos have played extensively nationally and internationally. Xin’s curatorial and artistic practice is centered around the ways in which media art and differing cultures meet, oppose, interface and dialogue.
Rosemary L. Vodrey
(Canada Council's Board of Directors representative)
Rosemary Vodrey has extensive experience working with Manitoba’s cultural community. A representative in the Manitoba Legislative Assembly from 1990 to 1999, where she held a number of Cabinet positions, including Minister of Culture, Heritage and Citizenship. In this capacity, she was responsible for Manitoba's Council for the Arts from 1997 to 1999. She is currently a member of the Western Canada Aviation Museum's Board. She has an educational background in psychology and law. [Appointed to the Canada Council's Board of Directors on April 23, 2009]