Outreach Initiatives


The Durham School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance is passionate about impacting change in the community through the power of the Arts. This year, DSBCD partnered with The Durham Children’s Aid Foundation to present The Surrender Gala: Using the Arts to Help and to Heal.

Our Surrender Gala was a tremendous success and a powerful night of creative healing! On Saturday February 25th, 2017 we raised over $5000 for The Durham Children’s Aid Foundation in honour of mental health awareness by using the arts to help and to heal!

Surrender Gala 2017 “Using the Arts to help and to heal”





The goal of this event was to create connectivity in our community that encourages honest dialogue about mental health that promotes inclusivity. The Arts have proven to be very effective as a means of therapy and the night was a creative release of energy! In addition to a formal sit down dinner, there was professional and youth performances in Dance, Music and Spoken word.

Proceeds from the evening helped create arts based healing therapy programs for local youth who have endured mental health issues, due to abuse and/or trauma in partnership with Art With Heart /Durham Children’s Aid Foundation.

The Durham Children’s Aid Foundation was established in 2004 and is a registered charity that supports children and youth associated with the Durham Children’s Aid Society. The Durham Children’s Aid Foundation is able to extend a helping hand to those children and youth in need, to help break the cycle of abuse and neglect and to foster the healthy development of children/youth into socially responsible adults. The areas supported by the Foundation are services that are not covered by government funding.

How does Mental health impact youth?

  • It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide.
  • Today, approximately 5% of male youth and 12% of female youth, age 12 to 19, have experienced a major depressive episode.
  • The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million.
  • Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected, allowing them to get back to their regular activities.
  • Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children; with Canada’s youth suicide rate the third highest in the industrialized world.
  • Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24 year old Canadians, second only to accidents; 4,000 people die prematurely each year by suicide.
  • Schizophrenia is youth’s greatest disabler as it strikes most often in the 16 to 30 year age group, affecting an estimated one person in 100.
  • Surpassed only by injuries, mental disorders in youth are ranked as the second highest hospital care expenditure in Canada.
  • In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them.

#Menatalhealthawareness #Communitybuilding #Healing arts #Durhamregion

Food 4 Thought drive + Comfort Me drive

Our Food 4 Thought Drive was a huge success! This year we collected non-perishable foods and donated them to the John Howard Society. The entire DSBCD community donated food and helped to make our goals a reality. Giving back feels good!


Comfort Me Drive

One of our favourite moments this year was handing out care packages to the homeless put together by our students at The Good Shepard Ministries in downtown Toronto. The students were amazed at the amount of people in need and experienced first hand the importance of giving back. It was an amazing day! This initiative was organized by DSBCD parent Dominique Chevers and we thank her for helping to make this happen.


Auto-Correct Humanity: a social experiment

Students from The Durham School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance participated in an experiment where there refrained from using social media and electronic devices replacing it with real-time communication and/or in person activities.

The real life experience of seeing how they felt with vs without the pressure/attachment of social media fuelled the creation of “Auto-correct humanity” choreographed by Madeleine Twyman set to the lyrics of Prince Ea.

This 8 minute video chronicles the 6 month long experiment and rehearsal process culminating in the finality of the piece.

This award winning short film has been featured at The Robert Mclaughlin Gallery, on Daytime Durham TV and by Prince EA.


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Moving Traffic from Madeleine Twyman on Vimeo.

The Durham School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance (DSBCD), came together with Partners International Canada on June 12th, 2014 for a social inter-active event using the arts to help and to heal survivors of human trafficking. The fundraiser supported The Mahima Home, in Kolkata, India, a holistic care facility for minors who have been trafficked.

The evening consisted of performances by The DSBCD youth dance company and high calibre professional performers in music and spoken word, raising over $5700 for The Mahima care home!

The event itself was birthed by Madeleine Twyman, an Artist who is also the owner of The Durham School of Ballet and Contemporary dance in Whitby, Ontario.
The event was inspired by a song she wrote title “Traffic” off her EP CHINESE BAMBOO.

DSBCD’s vision is to encourage excellence in all genres of dance, but foremost to foster individuality and unique artistic expression. The arts speak a mysterious universal language that has the capacity to impact change in thought, which manifests in physical change. DSBCD is more than a competitive dance studio, it is an arts organization that mentors young girls to harness their power and be aware of what is going on in the world around them. To help others is to empower yourself, and the girls at DSBCD are learning this first hand.

Corey Jon Baker from New York City, a celebrated Artist whose credits include the Broadway musical “Fela” as well as critically acclaimed choreography as artistic director of “Ballet Noir” performed, as well as set a piece for the DSBCD students. Corey is an electrifying performer whose passion ignites audiences in real ways and we were delighted to have him part of the experience and to share his artistry with the community.

Moving traffic committee members:

Tim Arkell
Anthony Twyman
Michelle Howell
Marcia Alexander
Juan Alexander
Debbie Burgess-Smith
Tina Geensen
Sheshana Collington
Karolina Klucweski
Marie Francis
Charles Francis


Thank you to Partners International for their amazing support!


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