Indigenous youth find empowerment through dance

Outside Looking In hosts 9th annual dance performance at Sony Centre in Toronto

TORONTO, April 25, 2016 /CNW/ - Indigenous youth from around the country will take to the stage for the performance of their lives at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. These dancers are participants in Outside Looking In (OLI), a national-based organization that offers a high school accredited dance program. OLI was created to inspire indigenous youth to pursue education, engage in self-expression, and celebrate empowerment.

"The program at Outside Looking In teaches valuable life skills such as time management, accountability and perseverance," says Tracee Smith, Founder and CEO of Outside Looking In. "Year after year, the students inspire us and raise the bar higher, taking responsibility for their education and working together for a common goal; celebrating self-expression at the big show in Toronto."

Founded in 2007, the program is open to indigenous youth in grades seven through 12. OLI hires Canada's top dancers and choreographers to work with the students and teach them the fundamentals of dance. Over the course of six to eight months, students work hard practicing their dance routines, while also building a foundation for empowerment and more.

The annual show in Toronto is more than just a performance. Students that fulfil the requirements to attend, travel to the Tim Horton's camp in Brantford, ON for two weeks, where they engage in daily rehearsals and team building exercises to prepare for their performances.

The effects of the OLI experience shine through the students' school work, personal relationships and within themselves. Based on 2015 survey results from participants in the program:

  • 97% of students said OLI helped improve their grades in all of their classes
  • 87% said OLI helped improve their relationships with their family
  • 100% said they gained more self-confidence in themselves and abilities
  • 100% said their physical health improved since being in OLI
  • 90% said OLI helped them develop leadership skills

This year, Canadians will have several opportunities to learn about indigenous culture and enjoy the OLI performance in Toronto at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.  On May 18th, there will be a matinee show for school and youth groups and a ticketed VIP reception and theatre performance in the evening. Tickets to the show start at $10.00 and are on sale now at

SOURCE Outside Looking In

Image with caption: "Canada's Indigenous youth take the stage in Outside Looking In's annual dance performance on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, in Toronto. (CNW Group/Outside Looking In)". Image available at:

For further information: For Media Inquiries: NATIONAL Public Relations, Mercedes Smith,, 416 586-1929

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