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Alida Esmail

Dancer, Choreographer, Cultural worker, Researcher

Alida Esmail (alidaesmail.ca) is a Montreal-based dance and theatre artist born in Burlington, Ontario. She holds a Bachelor in Fine Arts (Major in Contemporary Dance, Minor in Psychology) from Concordia University and a Master in Rehabilitation Sciences from Université de Montréal. Her dance education also includes a year in India at the Attakkalari Centre for the Movement Arts and Mixed Media learning Bharatanatyam and Kalaripayyatu while maintaining training in ballet, contemporary, Pilates, and somatic practices. She has complimented these trainings with theatre, corporeal-mime, contact improvisation, and Vipassana meditation.

In addition, she has extensive training in International Ballroom/Latin dance and has competed nationally, winning in several categories. She currently uses this training to help develop and spread Liquid Lead Dancing, a gender-neutral approach to partner dancing, featured on TED.com.

Alida also coordinates and collaborates with many research projects. She has a deep interest in Arts and Health research. She has investigated the effects of dance on the physical, cognitive, and mental health of multiple populations as well as the role of clothing design on persons with a physical disability. She is currently involved in action-research for advancing cultural equity in the arts and cultural sector. She has published the various streams of her research in recognized scientific journals and presented at conferences across Canada, Europe, the United States, and India.

Her choreographic work often explores socio-political content and questions topics related to diversity and inclusion. Alida continues to choreograph, to perform and to collaborate with dancers and scientists, encouraging intimate crossover.

Select performance credits include: performing in Counter Offence produced by Teesri Duniya Theatre, self-choreographed solos at the Festival du Monde Arabe, the Festival Orientalys, and the Aga Khan Diamond Jubilee Arts Festivals in Toronto and Montreal, and a self-choreographed duet at Fashion Art Toronto.