Candace Thompson-Zachery, born in Trinidad and Tobago, now local to Brooklyn, NY, operates between the spheres of dance, cultural production and fitness and wellness, with a focus on the Contemporary Caribbean. She has had an established career as a performer, choreographer, fitness professional, cultural producer, teaching artist, community facilitator and Caribbean dance specialist. In addition to her work in these areas, she leads CanDanceFit, a full service fitness and movement entity, ContempoCaribe, an ongoing choreography and performance project and Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE, a organisational platform for Caribbean dance in the diaspora.
As a cultural producer and strategist, Candace has worked with many organisations and artists bringing their works and visions to life. These include Dance and Performance Institute of Trinidad and Tobago, WIADCA NY, Sydnie L. Mosley Dances, Renegade Performance Group, most recently assisting Claire Tancons, 1 of 3 curators for the Sharjah Biennial 2019, on the performance series within her platform ‘Look For Me All Around You’. Candace is currently a candidate in the M.A. in Performance Curation at the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance at Wesleyan University and completed the Executive Program in Arts & Culture Strategy at the University of Pennsylvania with National Arts Strategies.
Her dance training is extensive, beginning at La Danse Caraibe under Heather Henderson-Gordon in Trinidad and Tobago, and graduating from Adelphi University's BFA in Dance with the Ruth St. Denis Award for excellence. Candace is also a pioneer and expert in the Soca/Carnival Dance field and taught for one of the first Soca Dance classes in NYC started by La Shaun Prescott, from 2014-2018. As a performer, she is attracted to work that is challenging physically and emotionally, and is especially motivated to dance the stories of the Caribbean and its Diaspora. She has been honored to perform at major venues including, the Queen's Hall (T&T), Apollo Theater, the John F. Kennedy Center, New York Live Arts, Aaron Davis Hall, Danspace Project and the United Nations Plaza.
Candace produces her own dance work under two umbrellas: ContempoCaribe and Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE. ContempoCaribe is a choreography and performance project creating art that embodies the plurality of experiences within the Caribbean Diaspora. ContempoCaribe's work has been performed at Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE's New Traditions Festival, COCO Dance Festival (Trinidad and Tobago), Dancing While Black: jumpin’ fences, Dance Enthusiast's Moving Caribbean in NYC, Draftwork at Danspace Project among others. She has received special awards including being a part of the inaugural Dancing While Black Fellowship Cohort 2015/2016, an Adelphi University 2016/2017 10 Under 10 program awardee, and a Dixon Place Artist-in-Residence for fall 2017. Dance Caribbean COLLECTIVE founded by Thompson-Zachery in 2015, is a collaborative and organising body, creating platforms for dance artists developing work from a Caribbean perspective within the local diaspora community in NYC. DCC produces a season of Caribbean cultural and educational events leading up to the now tri-annual New Traditions (Dance) Festival. Learn more about DCC here.
Candace’s work as a Teaching Artist has led her to various K-12 schools, community centers, universities and cultural institutions, in most cases charged with education of Caribbean dance forms. She has brought workshops and masterclasses to several institutions including the Brooklyn Museum, Barnard College, Syracuse University, Oberlin College, Berkeley College, Virginia Commonwealth University and The Ohio State University. Her teaching philosophy grounds itself in creating enlivened spaces where traditions can live and innovation can be explored.
As a fitness professional, Candace conveniently brings holistic exercise and movement programs to fitness enthusiasts in NYC. She has been a sought after exercise leader for her wealth of knowledge across dance conditioning, corrective alignment strategies and strength and technique coaching. Currently, Candace does in-home training for clients in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and teaches Total Body Conditioning at Mark Morris Dance Center.
When not doing these things Candace is avidly analyzing Soca music, spending time with family and eating as many doubles as she can.
Skills and Certifications:
NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist (identify + correct movement dysfunction), NASM Performance Enhancement Specialist (sports performance + program design), Brookbush Institute for Human Movement Science (Corrective Exercise + Program Design coursework ), ACE Personal Trainer certification, Pilates Mat instructor, TRX® Suspension Trainer | Rip Trainer | FORCE certified instructor, Level 1 Kettlebell Concepts Instructor
Dance Credits: Trinidad & Tobago
Allan Balfour - Trinity Dance Theater, Astor Johnson Repertory Dance Company, ELLE NYTT for Lashaun Prescott, Patrice Roberts, Machel Montano HD, La Danse Caraibe - Heather Henderson Gordon for Peter Minshall, Island People, CARIFESTA, COCO Dance Festival
Dance Credits: USA
Andrea E. Woods-Valdez - Souloworks, André M. Zachery - Renegade Performance Group, Chris Walker - Facing Home: Love & Redemption, Christal Brown - INSPIRIT, a dance company, David Gordon - Pick-up Performance Company, Abel R. Salaam - Forces of Nature Dance Theater, Germaul Barnes - Viewsic Dance, Kevin Ormsby - KasheDance, Laura Anderson Barbata, Leda Meredith, Lynn Parkerson - Brooklyn Ballet, Makeda Thomas - Dance and Performance Institute, Request Band - Rayzor/Leonce, Shola K. Roberts - (for Ramajay Mas), Sita Frederick - Areytos Performance Works, Sydnie Mosley - Sydnie L. Mosley Dances and Trebien Pollard.