On June 3, 2023, Canada’s National Ballet School welcomed more than 3,000 guests to the second annual NBS Block Party – the keystone event of Dancing Opens Doors.

Guests roamed the sprawling NBS campus, participated in a plethora of games and family-friendly activities, joined a variety of diverse dance workshops and enjoyed working rehearsals and pop-up performances throughout the day. A true community hub for families, friends, neighbours!


And – thanks to the generosity of Dancing Opens Doors and NBS Block Party Supporters – the event was entirely free to the public. Dancing Opens Doors is a three-year initiative (2022-2024) that is raising funds to help make dance more accessible to people and communities across Canada and beyond. Donations to this ongoing campaign help NBS open doors through dance, making initiatives like Block Party possible.


Take a look at the 2023 NBS Block Party photo album on Facebook to see some of the photos we captured from the event, and click the video to watch a recap - you might even spot yourself!


Click here to view the full Block Party schedule

Had a great time at the NBS Block Party on June 3?

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Dance Workshops

Twelve free ‘all ages and levels’ dance workshops, and 8 pop-up dance performances offered throughout the day.

Bartira Barretto

Family Ballet

Bartira Barreto was born in Brazil where she had her ballet training and danced professionally at the contemporary company Ballet Teatro Castro Alves. Bartira has performed in Germany, France, Belgium, Holland, England, Brazil and Portugal. Ms. Barreto has been teaching for over 25 years. She graduated from the Canada’s National Ballet School's Teacher Training Program with distinction, winning both the Betty Oliphant Award and the Carol Chadwick Award. Bartira is a proud staff member of Canada’s National Ballet School, teaching both the Young Dancers Intensive Ballet Program and the Community Dance Program.


Street Dance

Founded in 2004 by dancer-choreographer Crazy Smooth, Bboyizm is Canada’s premier street dance company. Our mandate is to promote and preserve the foundation, authenticity, and essence of all street dances. Our ethos is centered on the premise that authentic self-expression enables an individual – and by extension, a community – to realize its full potential.






Zachary Cardwell


Zachary Cardwell is a dance artist  interested in cultivating connections within ourselves and between one other through dance education, performance, and facilitation.

Zachary’s training began at the National Ballet School of Canada’s Young Dancers Program (formerly the Associates Program) where he expressed himself in spacious studios, supported by industry-leading teachers, accompanists, and administration. Zachary later trained at Arts Umbrella under the direction of Artmeis Gordon, where he received a diploma of dance and toured Holland with the Arts Umbrella Post-Secondary Dance Company.

A former dancer with Toronto Dance Theatre, Zachary currently works with Little Pear Garden Dance Company and hART Dance. The artistic direction of Christopher House, Martha Hart, and Emily Cheung respectively has greatly influenced Zachary’s career.

As a Toronto-based freelance dancer,  Zachary has had the pleasure of working with Dusk Dances, Zata Omm Dance Projects, Jane Alison McKinney, ACE dance Theatre, and Caroline’s Creative Initiatives, and continues to connect with current artists and companies.

In 2019 and 2020, Zachary facilitated and presented ‘In Response: An Evening of Music and Dance I and II). Since 2017, Zachary has been teaching his own partnering workshop, B I S BIC (Bodies In Space Bodies In Contact), in which dancers explore fundamental principles of partner-based dancing.

Learn more about Zach at zacharycardwell.ca

Edz Gyamfi

Dancehall, Hip Hop

Edmund “Edz” Gyamfi (born, 1986), better known by his stage name Edz Gyamfi, is a Ghanaian-Canadian dance choreographer from Ottawa, Ontario Canada. Born in Kumasi, Ghana Edz was exposed to dance at an early age. He was exposed to various genres of music from all around the world. In addition to cultural influences, Edz was also heavily inspired by his two older brothers who danced in the 80s. Edz dedication to the Toronto dance scene has made him the proud recipient of three consecutive One Immigrant Productions (“O.I.P.”) dance scholarships (2011-2013), he's completed The Motivating Excellence (Intensive Program) series with world renowned Choreographer Rhapsody James. Edz has completed the Freshman & Sophomore Program Intensive, organized by world renowned choreographer Luam Keflezgy called Rock the Industry in NYC. Edz also trained under another world-renowned choreographer for an Intensive in LA with Galen Hooks. Edz's approach to teaching is a genuine focus on history, foundation and technique before hitting the choreography aspect of the dance style. Edz is always looking to branch out and share his love of dance with anybody who seeks to learn and grow.

Feryn King

Indigenous Hoop

Feryn Karahkwiiohstha King, is an Indigenous (Mohawk) artist from Akwesasne, Quebec. Her name in Kaníekeha (Mohawk Language) means ‘She makes the moon beautiful.’ or ‘Bright Moon.’ A name given to her on the day of the full moon. She is a dance performer, teacher, and free artistic skill of drawing. Even an acrobatic performer in Aerial Hoop of the circus world. 

At an young age she took interest in learning traditional dancing, and later in life started training in Modern, Contemporary and expression movement. She even attended Centennial Colleges Dance Performance program where she had trained in a variety of dances and took in knowledge of the history behind those dances. As of last year in 2021, she fully entered into the world of circus and is continuing in training of Aerial. 

She is an international performer where she has travelled abroad all across Canada, some parts in the U.S and overseas sharing and teaching hoop in both traditional and fusion style. And in 2019, she was recruited for a hoop dancing role in Cirque Du Soleil TOTEM where she traveled overseas in Europe. Today she still continues to share her passion for dance in her own image.

NBS Students

Sharing Dance Choreography & Company Life Program Open-Rehearsals

Catch NBS students in action with surprise performances featuring the 2023 Sharing Dance Choreography, and works being rehearsed by the Company Life program. Learn more about Sharing Dance and the Company Life Program. 



Nova Dance

Nova Dance Technique

Nova Dance is a diversiform company dedicated to bridging cultures and communities through the power of dance. Over the last 15 years Nova Dance has established itself as one of the leading forces in the evolution of Canadian contemporary dance. Led by by Founding Artistic Director Nova Bhattacharya, in collaboration with Associate Artists including Neena Jayarajan and Dainty Smith Nova Dance’s genre-defying, barrier-breaking programming expands the cultural space for a breathtaking multiplicity of movement and storytelling art forms. At Nova Dance we believe that dance can transform, invigorate, and soothe the psyche and we invite everyone to embrace the visceral experience it offers.

Kevin Orsmby


Kevin A. Ormsby Artistic Director of KasheDance, he has performed with companies in Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean. A finalist for the 2021 Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prizes and 2014 recipient of Canada Council fort he Arts’ Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award, Kevin was an inaugural TAC Cultural Leaders Fellow. Kevin is on the faculty of Centennial College’s Dance Performance Program and has been a Guest Artist in Residence at the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts at the University of the West Indies (Mona), University of Wisconsin-Madison, Northwestern University and University of Texas -Austin. KasheDance, celebrating its 15th Anniversary, has had a long relationship with Canada's National Ballet School since its inception. Through a creative practice based on traditional and contemporary Diasporic dance languages, the company's creative practice exists in constant interrogation of Caribbean and the African Diaspora's cultural nuances towards understanding space in creation, research, and presentation. www.kashedance.com

Phillip Payne

Ballet (ages 16+)

Born in Newfoundland and Labrador, Phillip started his ballet training at Quinte Ballet School of Canada and later completed his training with Murray and Nancy Kilgour at the Alberta Ballet School. As a dancer, Phillip has performed with companies such as Alberta Ballet, Ballet Jorgen Canada, Les Grands Ballet Canadiens and Opera Atelier. In 2018, he joined Canada's National Ballet School's Teacher Training Program for Former Professionals. Two years later he graduated with distinction, was the recipient of the Betty Oliphant Award and joined the artistic staff at NBS. As a teacher, Phillip hopes to foster a positive learning environment where his students can explore their musicality, strengthen their technical ability and develop their artistry.

Ritmo Flamenco Dance & Music Ensemble


No family lives the flamenco tradition more fully than the Scannuras. They are Canada's preeminent flamenco family, pursuing their art form with authenticity and excellence.   Since 1995 they have enthralled audiences in dance and music festivals worldwide in venues across North America, Europe and the Middle East.    Renowned flamenco guitarist and composer Roger Scannura has recorded over 11 CD’s of original flamenco music.  Artistic Director Valerie Scannura has received acclaim for her numerous self-produced concerts while teaching at her Toronto based school as well as guest teaching at many professional dance schools.   Their performance company has received acclaim for their passion and originality, garnering rave reviews for their authentic brand of flamenco that is “bred in the bone”.  You can find out more about them at www.ritmoflamenco.net and www.rogerscannura.ca




Matthew ‘Snoopy’ Cuff is a multidisciplinary artist from Toronto with the drive to build bridges, break molds, while spreading the reach of Ballroom culture. Matthew is a graduated of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre; where he attained intensive technical training in Contemporary dance; working with the likes of Christopher House, Debbie Wilson, and Julia Sasso. As a founder of Canada's first official Ballroom house (House of Monroe), Matthew is a trailblazer to the extensive Vogue scene in Canada, offering his expertise and dedication. As The resident choreographer for Dance Ontario’s ‘Dance Weekend 2021’, Matthew combined his love for Vogue, theatre, and Contemporary dance to create a piece never seen before in conventional spaces. Matthew brought forth Vogue internationally by being featured on “So You Think You Can Dance Canada”, also assisting choreographer Sean Cheeseman. In addition to being the featured Voguer on “CBC Arts: The Move”. Honing his skills in New York City, Matthew learned from and battled some of the greatest performers. Impacted by the performance driven dance style, Matthew has also shared and taught his love for Vogue overseas in Moscow & Paris. With numerous accolades Matthew continues to create and perform in Toronto's thriving Ballroom Scene. Through the art of movement, Matthew ‘Snoopy’ Cuff hopes to inspire creativity while sharing their passion for dance.

Van Goth

Story time

Van Goth is Toronto’s painting come to life, always bringing hair, makeup and looks to the party. Known for her magnetic personality and killer performances, Van is an entertainer you won’t soon forget. Most notably she has been featured in IN Magazine’s 2021 July/August Issue and placed 4th in Absolut Empire’s Ball Season 2. Catch Van on all social platforms @itsvangoth and book her to bring the D – I – V – A to your next event.

Block Party Highlights

It was a jam-packed day of fun and excitement for the whole family! Free admission — made possible by the generosity of sponsors, partners and donors.

  • Live DJ, retro games, fun house obstacle course and tons of family-friendly activities

  • Mobile Scavenger Hunt and self-tour

  • Creative movement space for toddlers and kids

  • Drag Queen Story Hour with Van Goth

  • The Shoe Room dancewear sale

  • Block Party BBQ and Patio Bar

  • Over 500 prizes and giveaways

  • Mystery Box Experience; a unique fundraising activation where everyone is a winner!

Check out the photos from Block Party 2023

Take a look at the 2023 NBS Block Party photo album on Facebook to see more photos we captured from the event!


Photos by Celeste Cole and Arne Peterson.

Block Party Supporters

Thank you to the generous supporters who have made an important contribution to Block Party through Dancing Opens Doors.

Presenting Supporter

Lead Supporters

NBS’ Block Party is a true community hub for families, friends and neighbours – made possible by the generosity of sponsors, partners and donors. Thank you.

Media Sponsor

Artist Sponsor

Event Program Sponsors

Event Workshop Supporters

Event Supporters

Gift Partners

Art Gallery of Ontario | AvenueMD | Barry's Canada | Best Shortbread by Jess | Brightfield | Bruno Rosales Salon Pour Hommes | Canadian Opera Company | Candy Crush Designs | Capezio | Carolina's Brownies | Chandler Honey | Colliers | Davina’s Swim House | Design in Words | Fall for Dance North | Formula Fig | fox and beagle company | Gardiner Museum | General Assembly Pizza | Greenhouse | Guests on Earth | Bradley & Hilary Hennick | Jiffy on Demand | Labelle Wines | Lisa Gozlan Jewelry | Little Canada | local | Luminato | Mastermind Toys | Montana Labelle Lifestyle | Mos Mos Coffee | Ontario Science Centre | Pehr | PERMISSION | Purplesful Snacking | Revelle | Ripley's Aquarium of Canada | Roncy Packs | Roo Family by Caron Irwin | Scaramouche Restaurant | Sleep Country Canada | So White | The Blake House | The Keg Mansion | The National Ballet of Canada | Thursdays | Tonic Blooms | Toronto Symphony Orchestra | Tuck Bedding | Vuori | XO Bisous

Block Party Committee

Hilary Hennick

Allison Freeman, Ratika Gandhi, Angela Greenberg, Kulin Matchhar, Tyler Reaume, Anisa Tejpar

* Fondly remembered

Opens Doors

NBS’ Dancing Opens Doors initiative is raising funds for programs of high need and potential across all areas of NBS’ programming, making the limitless opportunities of dance more accessible and inclusive. Through Dancing Opens Doors, the following generous donors have made an important contribution to Block Party and to The Assemblée Internationale 2023. Thank you!

Opens Doors

NBS’ Dancing Opens Doors initiative is raising funds for programs of high need and potential across all areas of NBS’ programming, making the limitless opportunities of dance more accessible and inclusive. Through Dancing Opens Doors, the following generous donors have made an important contribution to Block Party and to The Assemblée Internationale 2023. Thank you!