As Co-Founding Artistic Director of COBA, Collective of Black Artists, Charmaine Headley champions Africanist dance. Through her work as an artist, choreographer, teacher & mentor she advocates for the inclusion of the contributions of ethno-cultural dance practices in Canadian dance history and culture today. Her doctoral studies at Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, addresses this lack of reflection in Canadian dance history in a multicultual society, as well as the need for cultural responsive pedagogy in the dance curriculum at all levels of education.
Mother of one, Trini-Bajan by birth & culture, Headley’s life is cradled in a crucible of dance. Her 30-year career started in Barbados on scholarship at the School of Barbados Dance Theatre. She went on to dance with the Barbados Dance Theatre Company for four years before moving to Canada to further her studies at the School of Toronto Dance Theatre. After graduating Headley was a guest with both the Gina Lori Riley Dance Company & the Danny Grossman Dance Company; she was a member of Usafiri Dance & Drum Ensemble, Meirim Dance Company & the OMO Dance Company.
A strong believer in the healing power of dance Headley uses her choreography as story-telling to challenge, celebrate, comment &/or draw attention to social, political and spiritual themes. She holds an honours diploma in Gerontology/Activation Coordination and has created a movement-based senior’s program for her Master’s thesis at York University.