South Slocan’s Carmen Moreira earns provincial, national recognition

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Top photo, Michelle Stilwell, Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation, presents Carmen Moreira with BC Social Innovation Award Youth Award during a ceremony in February at the The Imperial Vancouver while (inset and bottom photos) show an incredible display of arts and culture found right here in the Columbia Basin. — Submitted photos

Carmen Moreira has come a long way from participating in Capital Theatre’s summer theatre programs and graduating from Mount Sentinel High School.

The South Slocan native recently received BC Social Innovation Award Youth Award & Shaw’s Canada 150 Award for her work as the Executive Director of SQx Dance Company.

“It is a great honour, and I am humbled and incredibly grateful to be recognized amongst so many talented and selfless Canadians — all of whom are dedicating their lives to serving their communities,” Moreira said after receiving the two prestigious honours.

Moreira’s special contribution to art and culture across the Columbia Basin and beyond (on behalf of SQx Dance Company) has been both provincially and nationally recognized with these two awards in 2017. 

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As a teenager Moreira was a regular of the Capital Theatre’s summer theatre programs. Her formal dance training began with Mrs. Carole Bonin at the McKay School of Dance in Trail.

Moreira then furthered her studies at the School of Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers and the School of Toronto Dance Theatre before graduating from Mount Allison University (BA Hons) in 2008. In 2011, Moreira graduated from London Contemporary Dance School (LCDS) — BA (Hons) Contemporary Dance.

Shortly after graduation, Moreira founded SQx with of a mission of using contemporary dance to promote kinship, collaboration and teamwork. SQx’s most popular program, Interactive Dance Awareness was delivered 70,000 people in BC in 2015.

In 2016, this same programming was expanded to not only include BC but also YK, NWT, AB, SK, and delivered to 120,000 people.

Moreira said there are three significant qualities that set SQx apart from other art and culture organizations.

Vision -We are not like most art and culture or dance organizations who typically use genre in a specific artistic legacy. Instead, our mission is to use dance to make the world a better place.

Clarity in Target Populations while Embracing Diversity – We reach out to audiences that are often away difficult to reach geographically. Our target populations are:

  • minority language groups (we deliver in French & English)
  • minority ethnic groups & religions
  • indigenous groups (on & off reserve)
  • rural areas
  • inner-cities (particularly those with high occurrences of gangs)
  • communities with Syrian refugees or other newcomers to Canada
  • schools with special needs students

Location -Our home is Area I of the Regional District of Central Kootenay. Now we are the most booked school tours program in Canada.

SQx’s work has been supported by Province of British Columbia (BC Ministry of Finance and the Ministry Responsible for Multiculturalism, Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation), Government of Canada, Creative Scotland, Arts Council England, BC Arts Council, Columbia Basin Trust, Canada Council, Boeing, Canadian Tire, and Telus.

What’s more, Moreira been invited to TransCultural Exchange’s 2018 International Conference on Opportunities in the Arts, Exploring New Horizons. She will be presenting SQx’s work on embracing diversity through art and culture and social innovation as part of the panel discussion: “Artists as Agents of Change.”

She will also be a panel presenter and the 2017 Surrey Social Innovation Summit.

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